Trump clings to Obama wiretapping claims - but no evidence yet

20 Mars, 2017, 13:08 | Auteur: Nathanaël Gerin
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits the section for measuring brain waves at the new research center for dementia diseases DZNE at the university hospital in Bonn Germany Wednesday

Mr Trump said immigration was not a right and that safety of citizens must come first.

Trump expressed appreciation for Merkel's assurance that Germany is committed to increasing its military spending. And he referred to the United States as "a very powerful company", before quickly correcting that to "country".

When the topic moved to trade, Trump said the U.S. would do "fantastically well" in its trade relations with Germany. Prompted by reporters, Merkel is heard asking Trump: "Do you want to do the handshake?" The public hearing is the first of several that the intelligence committees are expected to hold on Russia's interference in the election.

Prior to his inauguration, he declared NATO "obsolete" but has since modified his stance, telling European leaders the alliance remains of strategic importance. But Trump, who rarely admits he's wrong, has been unmoved, leaving his advisers in the untenable position of defending the president without any credible evidence.

Trump reiterated his contention that majority Republicans will win passage of a troubled health care bill that would repeal and replace the sweeping health care law signed by former President Barack Obama.

In brushing off the diplomatic row with one of America's closest allies, Mr Trump also revived another: the Obama administration's monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's calls.

Leading German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemiene Zeitung used the English phrase "awkward moment" to describe the photo-op incident in the Oval Office, the newspaper was however unsure if it was a "conscious gesture or misunderstanding?"

After the GCHQ labelled the charge "utterly ridiculous" and British officials called their US counterparts to complain, the White House said that citing the Fox News claim was not an endorsement.

"As far as wiretapping, I guess, by this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps", Trump said, looking over at Merkel, who reacted with anger in 2013 when documents provided by Edward Snowden revealed that the US had monitored her communications.

"Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct 'wire tapping' against the then President Elect are nonsense", said a spokesman for GCHQ, which never usually comments on criticism of its work beyond saying it always operates under a strict legal framework.

Earlier this month, German FM Sigmar Gabriel also questioned the feasibility of NATO's spending quota's. The president has been deeply critical of foreign trade and national security agreements but suggested he was only trying to revise trade deals to better serve U.S. interests, rather than pull back from the world entirely. "The US decides for itself how much it contributes to defending Nato".

"You shouldn't be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox". Those who currently don't spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defence are now increasing their defence budgets. But the top lawmakers on both committees have said they have seen no indications that Trump Tower was wiretapped.

But Germany is also the largest European host nation for U.S. troops, home to about 30,000 American service members.