- Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images
White House press secretary Sean Spicer was grilled by reporters in his Monday briefing, held off-camera, that focused on President Donald Trump’s unfounded weekend claims that President Barack Obama ordered wiretapping of Trump Tower phones late in the presidential campaign.
Spicer was posed most frequently with the question of whether he was able to name the sources of information off which Trump had based his weekend claims. Multiple outlets reported Trump had sourced his rant to a theory floated on conservative radio host Mark Levin’s show, which was then written up and expanded on by Breitbart News.
Spicer repeatedly referenced the White House’s current position, first advanced by him on Sunday, which says it will not make any further comment on the matter until Congress makes a determination on whether it will look into it. Trump called for such an inquiry on Sunday. Other administration officials, however, such as deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, have commented further since Trump posted his tweets.
The press secretary was also asked whether he could “unequivocally” say the information was based off of more than just a Breitbart article and a talk-radio segment.
“I’m just going to say the president made it clear,” Spicer said, adding there was a New York Times story and “several sources” Trump was referencing but declining to provide further clarity. Spicer added he would not go any further until the matter is resolved.
Asked if Trump believed Obama was doing anything illegal if the phones were, in fact, tapped at the ex-president’s decision, Spicer said he would “seek further clarification on that.”
“In the tweet?” he said. “I’m just going to let the tweet speak for itself.”
Spicer said “there’s been enough reporting” to “strongly” suggest the wiretapping claims from Trump are not far-fetched. Spicer did not point to any specific examples.
“I think the president made it clear that he wants Congress to go in and look. … There is no question that something happened. The question is, is it surveillance, wiretapping or whatever?” Spicer said.