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‘Tis a grim headline: “Trump wiretapping controversy goes global”. The lede is pretty straightfoward: “President Trump can’t seem to get past the wiretapping controversy,” writes Niall Stanage. “It’s not even clear that he wants to do so, despite Republican lawmakers joining Democrats in rejecting his claims.”
The whole thing is a mess. The Trump presidency, that is. To wit, the problem is not that Stanage, of all people, gets that headline, or anything like that. It has an iconic ring, and his coverage of Donald Trump for The Hill managed to pull that one out. Somebody eventually would have, and it’s easy enough to say Stanage deserves it.
During the previous day’s White House media briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer had read remarks from a Fox News commentator, Judge Andrew Napolitano, who claimed that GCHQ—a British intelligence facility—had been “used” by Obama to get “transcripts of conversations” involving Trump.
This has sparked fury in London. GCHQ itself, which generally refrains from public comment, called the allegations “nonsense.”
But Trump insisted on Friday that “we said nothing,” and instead sought to put full responsibility for the claim onto Fox News. “You should be talking to Fox,” he told the German reporter who had asked about the episode.
Soon afterward, a Fox anchor, Shepard Smith, said on-air that the network “cannot confirm” what Napolitano had alleged, and added, “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.”
Or, rather: Whatever. The problem is that anyone gets to write that headline. It is some manner of thing that should not be.
Image notes: Top ― A Yoma feeds: Detail of frame from Claymore the Series. Right ― Detail of photo by Reuters/Brian Snyder.
Stanage, Niall. “Trump wiretapping controversy goes global”. The Hill. 17 March 2017.