ABC News(WASHINGTON) — White House press secretary Sean Spicer gave a lengthy and exhaustive defense of President Donald Trump’s wiretapping claims against former President Obama to reporters Thursday, even though leaders of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have 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 Thursday’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 Spicer began reading news articles from the podium 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 the former president used a British intelligence agency to spy on Trump. That claim, like all of Trump’s allegations about being under surveillance, are unsubstantiated.
Spicer also asserted that House Intel Chair Devin Nunes still stands in the administration’s corner, despite Nunes’ statement Wednesday 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 presser, 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 gave to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Wednesday night.
In that Fox News interview that aired Wednesday evening, 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.
Two of Trump’s four March 4 tweets related to wiretapping include the term in quotes.
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