Sean Spicer, Mr Trump’s press secretary, repeated a claim on Thursday evening – initially made by an analyst on Fox News – that GCHQ was used by Mr Obama to spy on Trump Tower in the lead-up to last November’s election.
The comments prompted a furious response from GCHQ, which in a break from normal practice issued a public statement: “Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wiretapping’ against the then president-elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
In a press conference with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, on Friday afternoon, Mr. Trump said his White House should not be blamed for quoting a Fox News analyst.
“We said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television,” he said.
“You shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox.”