White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is fanning out in interviews this week to defend, among other things, President Trump’s evidence-free claim that former President Barack Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower before election. And on Sunday, Conway offered a rather creative suggestion for how such surveillance could have been carried out.
“There are many ways to surveil each other,” Conway told the Record, a New Jersey newspaper, on Sunday. “There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, through certainly their television sets — any number of different ways. Microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. So we know that is just a fact of modern life.”
Conway seemed to be referring to WikiLeaks’ release last week of nearly 8,000 documents that purportedly reveal methods of the Central Intelligence Agency’s surveillance. Among them: the CIA’s ability to spy on people by hacking their iPhones, Microsoft-powered computers and Samsung mart TVs. Responding to the release, the CIA noted that it is “legally prohibited from conducting electronic surveillance targeting individuals here at home, including our fellow Americans.”
In morning show interviews on Monday, Conway admitted she has no evidence to back up either Trump’s wiretapping claim or her home-appliance spy theory.
“I wasn’t making a suggestion about Trump Tower,” Conway said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“I’m not Inspector Gadget,” she said on CNN’s “New Day.” “I don’t believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign. However, I’m not in the job of having evidence. That’s what investigations are for.”
Trump leveled his explosive wiretapping claim in a series of tweets last weekend.
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Trump declared.
“Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!” he added.
Trump provided no evidence to back up the claims, and a spokesman for Obama branded the accusation “simply false.” The White House then called on Congress to investigate to “determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016.”
The House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, has asked the White House to provide any evidence it has of Trump’s allegations by Monday.
On Sunday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he believes Trump “has one of two choices: either retract or to provide the information that the American people deserve.”
“President Trump has to provide the American people — not just the intelligence community, but the American people — with evidence that his predecessor, former president of the Unites States, was guilty of breaking the law,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Because if his predecessor violated the law, President Obama violated the law, we have got a serious issue here, to say the least.”
Last week, former CIA director Michael Hayden appeared on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” and was asked about the agency’s spy methods.
“Is the CIA listening to me through my microwave oven?” Colbert asked.
“No,” Hayden replied.
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