Fox News anchor Shepard Smith on Friday said his network can’t confirm a legal analyst’s claim that a British intelligence agency helped former President Obama spy on Trump Tower.
Andrew Napolitano made the claim earlier this week on the network’s morning show “Fox & Friends,” and White House press secretary Sean Spicer repeated it at Thursday’s press briefing.
"Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano's commentary. Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the president of the United States was surveilled at any time in any way, full stop,” Smith said on air Friday afternoon.
Napolitano had claimed Britain’s GCHQ intelligence agency spied on Trump at Obama’s direction.
Top United Kingdom officials immediately slammed the claim. Spicer on Friday denied apologizing to the nation, insisting he merely referenced Fox’s report and did not endorse it.
"I don't think we regret anything," Spicer said on Friday, according to CNN.
Trump himself said during a press conference Friday that the report was Fox’s and did not say the White House backed the claim, although he called Napolitano “a very talented legal mind."
Smith has called out the Trump administration before for making claims without evidence. In January after taking office, Trump had made an unfounded claim that millions of people voted illegally for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonWATCH LIVE: Trump speaks at NRA forum When political opportunity knocked, Jason Chaffetz never failed to cash in Trump bragged about election win during 100 days interview MORE.
“The White House has provided no evidence of any kind to back up these claims. Fox News is not aware of any reliable studies or information that suggests that there is widespread voter fraud anywhere in America," Smith said.
Napolitano wrote an op-ed for Fox’s website standing by his assertion on Thursday.
"Sources have told me that the British foreign surveillance service, the Government Communications Headquarters, known as GCHQ, most likely provided Obama with transcripts of Trump’s calls," Napolitano wrote.
"The NSA has given GCHQ full 24/7 access to its computers, so GCHQ — a foreign intelligence agency that, like the NSA, operates outside our constitutional norms — has the digital versions of all electronic communications made in America in 2016, including Trump’s. So by bypassing all American intelligence services, Obama would have had access to what he wanted with no Obama administration fingerprints."
The GCHQ strongly denied any involvement.
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