White House press secretary Sean Spicer gave a lengthy and exhaustive defense of President Donald Trump’s wiretapping claims against then-President Obama to reporters today, even though leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence committees said they have seen no evidence to support the claims.
Spicer accused reporters of continuing “to perpetuate a false narrative” by not covering statements that could seem favorable to Trump and argued that the statements by the House and Senate Intelligence committees were not based on any investigative work.
“They’re not findings. There’s a statement out today they have not begun this,” Spicer told ABC News at today’s White House press briefing. “Two days ago the Department of Justice asked for an additional week. The statement clearly says at this time that they don’t believe that.”
At one point he began reading news articles from the lectern in the Brady Press Room. He quoted The New York Times, Fox News personality Sean Hannity, a former New Jersey superior court judge and Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano, who suggested that Obama used a British intelligence agency to spy on Trump. That claim, like all of Trump’s allegations about being under surveillance, are unsubstantiated.
A spokesperson for GCHQ, the British intelligence agency that Napolitano referred to, denied the report.
“Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wire tapping’ against the then president elect are nonsense,” the spokesperson said in a press release. “They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
Spicer also asserted that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes still stands in the administration’s corner, despite his statement yesterday contradicting the president’s wiretapping claim.
“I don’t believe just in the last week of time, the people we’ve talked to – I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” Nunes said.
During the press conference, Spicer reiterated that Trump’s use of the term “wiretapping” was all-encompassing.
“I think the president has been very clear when he talked about this … he meant surveillance,” Spicer said, referring to an interview Trump with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that aired Wednesday evening.
In that interview, Trump said he didn’t necessarily mean “wiretapping.”
“When I say ‘wiretapping,’ those words were in quotes. That really covers, because wiretapping is pretty old-fashioned stuff, but that really covers surveillance and many other things,” he said.