At his joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today, President Trump put the blame on Fox News over commentator Judge Napolitano’s report that British Intelligence had spied on Trump at President Obama’s request during the 2016 election.
“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.”
The problem for the president is Fox News is throwing Napolitano under the proverbial bus. First Shepard Smith:
On Fox just now, Shep Smith said very clearly:"Fox…cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary" & Fox has "no evidence" of Trump's claim pic.twitter.com/7eKQD3uQQI
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) March 17, 2017
And later on from Bret Baier:
Brett Baier says Fox News "loves" Judge Andrew Napolitano, but that Fox News was not able to verify his 'report' pic.twitter.com/JPMZ2yQ4qg
— Salvador Hernandez (@SalHernandez) March 17, 2017
At issue is this piece written by Napolitano where he made the bombshell claim:
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. 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.
In a rare move, GCHQ denied Napolitano’s accusation and the British press reported this morning that Sean Spicer had apologized to the U.K. over his use of the report in Thursday’s briefing:
Apologies came directly from Spicer and McMaster per Telegraph https://t.co/RT0JvsabAM
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) March 17, 2017
However, Spicer denied that it was a formal apology:
Spicer says there was no apology to UK officials, says all he did was read public media reports: "I don't think we regret anything."
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) March 17, 2017
WH’s Sean Spicer didn’t make a formal apology to UK Ambo Kim Darroch but said in private convo he wouldn’t repeat false GGCHQ allegations
— Paul Danahar (@BBCDanahar) March 17, 2017
This has people asking questions about Fox News in general and if anyone vetted Napolitano’s report before it was published:
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 18, 2017
BREAKING: Sources say DOJ report does not back up Trump claim on wiretapping https://t.co/vRRPlwvEW9
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) March 18, 2017