Fox pulls Andrew Napolitano off air after GCHQ Trump wiretap claim

Posted March 21, 2017

Judge Andrew Napolitano has reportedly been sidelined by the news channel following his unproven assertion that British spies assisted Mr Obama in eavesdropping on Mr Trump. Despite a lack of evidence that it occurred, Napolitano claimed his sources indicated the British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters eavesdropped on Trump and provided transcripts to the Obama administration.

Napolitano, a graduate of Princeton and Notre Dame, served on the bench from 1987 to 1995.

Officials said he will not raise the diplomatic row which was sparked when White House press secretary Sean Spicer repeated allegations GCHQ spied on Mr Trump for Barack Obama.

Fox News did not respond to inquiries about Napolitano's status Monday.

Earlier on Monday, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey told the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee there is an ongoing federal investigation into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

By our count, there were 30 times between August 2011 and August 2016 that Trump tweeted or retweeted criticisms about then-President Obama golfing.

Some commentators said Spicer appeared "shaken―even frightened" during the briefing.

In response, GCHQ, usually silent on intelligence matters, sharply denied that it had engaged in any of the activities described by Napolitano.

GCHQ made an extremely rare public denial, calling the claims "utterly ridiculous", and saying they "should be ignored". In a news conference Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump pointed to Napolitano's appearance on Fox News when asked to defend his wiretapping claims, as The Washington Post reported.

During a press briefing, Spicer said some of those who are under investigation for their connections to Russian Federation, which is thought to have interfered in the 2016 election to attempt to swing it in Trump's favor, didn't have prominent roles on the Trump campaign - including one of Trump's former campaign managers. I didn't make an opinion on it.

Rather than issue explicit corrections about Napolitano's reports, the network aired a series of brief updates on Friday, with news anchors saying things like "Fox News can not confirm Judge Napolitano's commentary".

"Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now president of the United States was surveilled at any time, in any way".