Trump lies about British intelligence agency spying on Trump Tower for Obama and refuses to apologize

It just gets worse. Trump continues to inflame his false wiretapping claims against Obama, refusing to back down or apologize despite both GOP and Democratic leaders in both houses of congress rebuking him.

On Friday, Trump provoked a public dispute with America’s closest ally after the White House aired an explosive and unsubstantiated claim that Britain’s spy agency had secretly eavesdropped on him at the behest of President Barack Obama during last year’s campaign.

Livid British officials adamantly denied the allegation and secured promises from senior White House officials never to repeat it. But a defiant Trump refused to back down, making clear that the White House had nothing to retract or apologize for because his spokesman had simply repeated an assertion made by a Fox News commentator. Fox itself later disavowed the report.

The angry response from Britain stemmed from Trump’s persistence in accusing Obama of tapping his phones last year despite the lack of evidence and across-the-board denials. At a briefing on Thursday, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, read from a sheaf of news clippings that he suggested bolstered the president’s claim.

Among them was an assertion by Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News commentator, that Obama had used Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, the agency known as the GCHQ, to spy on Trump. In response to Spicer, the agency quickly denied it as “nonsense” and “utterly ridiculous,” while British officials contacted American counterparts to complain.

“We said nothing,” Trump told a German reporter who asked about the matter at a news conference. “All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn’t make an opinion on it.” He added: “You shouldn’t be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox.”

After the news conference, Spicer echoed Trump’s unapologetic tone. “I don’t think we regret anything,” he told reporters. “As the president said, I was just reading off media reports.”

Shortly afterward, Fox backed off Napolitano’s claim. “Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary,” the anchor Shepard Smith said on air. “Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now president of the United States was surveilled at any time, any way. Full stop.”

White House officials, who also requested anonymity, said Spicer had offered no regret to the British ambassador. “He didn’t apologize, no way, no how,” a senior West Wing official said.

The furor underscored the continuing troubles for the White House since Trump first accused Mr. Obama of tapping his phones, an allegation refuted by intelligence agencies as well as Republican and Democratic officials. Even as Trump refused to back down, fellow Republicans appeared increasingly irritated by what they see as a distraction from their policy goals.

Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma said on Friday that Trump had not proved his case and should apologize to Obama. “Frankly, unless you can produce some pretty compelling truth, I think President Obama is owed an apology,” Cole told reporters. “If he didn’t do it, we shouldn’t be reckless in accusations that he did.”

Foreign policy analysts expressed astonishment that Trump would so cavalierly endanger that partnership. “It illustrates the extent to which the White House really doesn’t care what damage they do to crucial relationships in order to avoid admitting their dishonesty,” said Kori Schake, a former national security aide to President George W. Bush now at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. “America’s allies are having to protect themselves against being tarred with the White House’s mendacity.”

John McCain and Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Trump’s dangerous attacks on the media and spectre of fascism

“If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free — and many times adversarial — press,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaking on NBC’s Meet The Press. “And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time — that’s how dictators get started.”

Citing history, McCain told NBC that “the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press,” though he hastened to add: “I’m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.”

McCain responded to the echoes of this Trump weekend tweet: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

Defense Secretary James Mattis disagreed with Trump’s “enemy” comment. While “I’ve had some rather contentious times with the press,” Mattis told reporters over the weekend that the media is “a constituency that we deal with, and I don’t have any issues with the press myself.”

Political analysts said there’s a difference between criticizing the press and calling it “the enemy” — a phrase authoritarian governments of the past have indeed used to de-legitimize political opponents and institutions.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace cautioned his colleagues and the network’s viewers Sunday that President Trump’s latest attack on the media had crossed the line.

The “Fox & Friends” anchors had shown a clip of Trump recounting that past presidents, including Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, had fought with the press. They then asked Wallace whether Trump’s fraught relationship with the media was a big deal.

In response, Wallace told his colleagues that Jefferson had also once written the following: “And were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Context was important, Wallace said. All presidents fight with the media, but Trump had taken it a step further in making them out to be “the enemy,” he added.

“Yes, presidents have always had — and politicians have always had — problems with the press. They want good press. The press doesn’t always give it to them,” Wallace said. “But what Jefferson [was saying] is, despite all of our disputes, that to the functioning of a free and fair democracy, you must have an independent press.”

“We can take criticism, but to say we’re the enemy of the American people, it really crosses an important line,” Wallace said.

refs:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/19/donald-trump-john-mccain-media-enemy-of-the-people/98126656/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/19/fox-news-anchor-chris-wallace-warns-viewers-trump-crossed-the-line-in-latest-attack-on-media/

Trump compares U.S. to Putin’s Russia: says “We’ve got a lot of killers too”. Also continues lies about election fraud.

President Donald Trump in an interview to air Sunday said he respects Vladimir Putin, and when challenged that the Russian president is “a killer” pushed back that the U.S. is not innocent.

Trump made the remarks to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly in an interview that will air before the Super Bowl.

When O’Reilly said “Putin’s a killer,” Trump responded: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”

Trump was also asked about claims that he has made about the people illegally casting ballots in the election, with no evidence. The claim has been widely debunked.

“Well, many people have come out and said I am right, you know that,” Trump said in the interview. O’Reilly replied “I know, but you have to have data to back that up.”

“Let me just tell you — when you see illegals, people that are not citizens and they are on the registration rolls,” Trump countered. “Look Bill, we can be babies, but you take a look at the registration, you have illegals, you have dead people, you have this, it’s really a bad situation, it’s really bad.”

ref: http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/trump-challenged-about-putin-says-our-country-s-so-innocent-n716906