Donald Trump's backflip on Obama "wire tapping"

US President Donald Trump's White House is clarifying his allegations about wire tapping by US President Barack Obama.
US President Donald Trump's White House is clarifying his allegations about wire tapping by US President Barack Obama. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

AFTER launching an investigation into US President Donald Trump's wiretapping allegations against Obama, the White House is now backpedalling on a key point.

According to CNN, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told media that President Trump wasn't referring to actual "wiretapping" when he tweeted the serious accusation, which mentioned the word wiretapping directly.

"I think there's no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election," CNN reported Mr Spicer as saying.

"The President used the word wiretaps in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities."

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has asked for more time to respond to the congressional inquiry into the unproven wiretapping assertion.

Mr Spicer also reportedly said President Trump was referring to the Obama administration broadly when he accused the former President of being a "bad" or "sick guy".



Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway has admitted she doesn't have any evidence to support President Donald Trump's unproven claim that Barack Obama wire-tapped Trump Tower phone lines during the election.

Instead, she suggested that enemies could potentially spy on the US president through other techniques - like putting hidden cameras in microwaves.

"Of course I don't have any evidence for those allegations and that answer had nothing to do with what the President said last week," Ms Conway told Good Morning America on Monday when asked about Mr Trump's wire-tapping claims.

She later tweeted that the administration is "pleased" with the ongoing congressional investigation and "will comment after."

It comes after Ms Conway suggested that Trump Tower had been wire-tapped using technology like "microwaves that turn into cameras."

Asked during an interview on Sunday about President Trump's claim that former President Obama "wire-tapped" Trump Tower, Ms Conway said there are many ways to spy on somebody.

"You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets - any number of different ways - microwaves that turn into cameras," she said in an interview with the Bergen County Record .

In a later interview with CNN, she tried to make light of her surveillance comments: "I'm not Inspector Gadget. I don't believe people are using their microwave to spy on the Trump Campaign. However, I am not in the job of having evidence. That's what investigations are for."

Her comments were mocked on social media.

She has since walked back her bizarre spy suggestions, telling Good Morning America on Monday morning: "I wasn't making a suggestion about Trump Tower."


White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

Journalist George Stephanopoulos asked Ms Conway if she was suggesting the surveillance techniques used by the CIA and revealed by WikiLeaks last week were used to listen in to phone conversations at Trump Tower.

"Those are two separate things. I answered about surveilling generally," she said.

Pressed whether she had evidence of such hi-tech snooping, she said, no.

"I have no evidence but that's why there's an investigation in Congress," Ms Conway said.

Members of the House Intelligence Committee sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking for evidence proving that Trump Tower had been wiretapped. It is unlikely the Trump administration will meet the Monday deadline.

Mr Trump's critics have slammed the president for making the explosive wire-tapping claim on his Twitter account without evidence. Wire-tapping a US citizen would require special permission from a court, and Mr Trump as president would have the ability to declassify that information.

James Clapper, who was Mr Obama's director of national intelligence, has said that nothing matching Mr Trump's claims had taken place.

Also this month, WikiLeaks released nearly 8000 documents that purportedly reveal secrets about the CIA's tools for breaking into targeted computers, mobile phones and even smart TVs.

Topics:  donald trump editors picks

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