President Donald Trump on Friday suggested his administration bore no responsibility for promoting a Fox News analyst’s baseless claim that British intelligence agency GCHQ spied on Trump for former President Barack Obama.
In a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a German reporter asked Trump about the Fox analyst’s claim, which has been denied by GCHQ.
“We said nothing. All we did was quote a certain, very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television,” Trump responded. “I didn’t make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. And so you shouldn’t be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox. Okay?”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday read several media reports aloud to reporters in an effort to defend Trump’s baseless claim that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign. One of the reports he read out was an on-air a claim from Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano, who claimed that GCHQ spied on Trump at Obama’s behest.
GCHQ denied Napolitano’s claim, and British officials “expressed their concerns” to the White House about Spicer’s promotion of it, according to a White House statement. After that communication, the White House apologized and said it never meant to suggest that Napolitano’s report was credible.
Fox News’ Shepard Smith on Friday afternoon said that the network cannot confirm Napolitano’s claims.
“Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary. Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now President of the United States was surveilled at any time, in any way, full stop,” Smith said.
Watch a clip of Trump’s remarks via NBC:
Wow. Trump to Merkel about alleged wiretapping by Obama: “At least we have something in common, perhaps.” She appears to be very confused. pic.twitter.com/la4p9ZJGvo
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) March 17, 2017
This post has been updated.