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WH promises not to repeat claim that UK spied on Trump

AP  |  Washington 

The has promised that it won't repeat its claim that spies snooped on President Donald Trump, the British said today.

The agreement comes after press secretary Sean Spicer pointed to the debunked claim publicly in a bid to defend Trump's earlier suggestion that former President wiretapped Trump Tower. Trump has not provided any evidence to support that claim, and several lawmakers say there isn't any.

Downing St said that Britain's ambassador to Washington, Kim Darroch, spoke to press secretary Sean Spicer directly, and that the prime minister's national security adviser, Mark Lyall Grant, also spoke to people in the Trump administration to put the claim to rest.

Spicer asserted yesterday that Trump's Twitter accusations that President wiretapped his phones in October were a broad reference to "surveillance," not to wiretapping specifically.

In an attempt to bolster his case, Spicer spent nearly 10 minutes reading from reports which he said pointed to possible evidence of surveillance. Among the items he quoted from was a transcript of a recent appearance by Fox analyst Andrew Napolitano on the network, in which Napolitano suggested GCHQ, the British electronic intelligence agency, had helped with the alleged tapping. Obama, he claimed, "went outside the chain of command" so there were "no American fingerprints on this."

According to a Western diplomat, Spicer had been made aware two days prior to yesterday's White House press briefing that the Napolitano report was untrue. Spicer and Darroch had spoken by telephone on Tuesday the diplomat said, during which time Darroch asserted that there was no basis to the report.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 17 2017. 23:07 IST