Trump: Napolitano ‘a very talented legal mind’

President Trump on Friday praised Andrew Napolitano in a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, days after the Fox News commentator claimed a British intelligence agency had spied on the president at former President Barack Obama’s behest.

“We said nothing,” Trump said when asked about the former judge’s claims regarding the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). “I didn’t make an opinion on it.”

“All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television,” Trump said.

{mosads}“That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox [News]. And so you shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox.”

But Fox News host Shepard Smith denied on Friday that his network has information validating Napolitano and Trump’s claims after the president’s remarks.

“Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary,” he said. “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.”

Napolitano first made his claims about GCHQ spying on Trump Tuesday, three days before the president faced German reporters challenging his accusations against Obama.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer then quoted Napolitano’s remarks about GCHQ Thursday while defending Trump’s assertions that Obama wiretapped him last year.

“Judge Andrew Napolitano made the following statement, quote, ‘Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command,’” Spicer said during his daily press briefing. “‘He didn’t use the [National Security Agency], he didn’t use the CIA…he used GCHQ.’”

But on Friday, GCHQ rejected Napolitano’s claims that it helped surveil Trump for Obama in 2016.

“Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wire tapping’ against the then President Elect are nonsense,” said a spokesman for the agency, which rarely comments publicly on its operations.

Trump claimed earlier this month, without evidence, that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in New York City last year.

The president’s claims have been met with bipartisan skepticism, with both Republican and Democrats are on congressional intelligence committees saying that no evidence has emerged to support Trump’s allegation.

Tags Barack Obama Fox News GCHQ Government Communications Headquarters national intelligence Politics spying U.K. United Kingdom Wiretapping

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