Trump’s grotesque claim that the Obama Administration had collaborated with British Intelligence to “wiretap” him purportedly arose from something the Swindler-In-Chief saw or heard on Fox News, according to his spokesman, Sean Spicer.
As Spicer tells it (and as Trump confirmed yesterday) Trump was simply quoting from the “brilliant legal mind” of right-wing nutcase, 9/11 “Truther” and and Fox News Contributor Andrew Napolitano, who spewed the baseless smear on Fox & Friends.
On March 13, Napolitano told hosts of Fox News’ Fox & Friends that Obama circumvented the American intelligence community to ask “the British spying agency” for “transcripts of conversations involving candidate Trump” without “American fingerprints.” Napolitano’s claims were cited by White House press secretary Sean Spicer while defending Trump’s baseless claims that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential election.
We now know that Napolitano, in turn, was simply regurgitating information he had been provided by none other than former CIA official Larry Johnson. Johnson is the same person who invented the so-called “whitey” tape rumor in 2008 in order to spread the equally baseless claim that Republican operatives were in possession of a video showing the former First Lady railing against white people at the Reverend Jeremiah White’s church. The purpose was to derail Barack Obama’s candidacy. The tape, of course, was never found, because it never existed in the first place.
Where did Johnson make this accusation? Russian State Television, of course.
The New York Times has confirmed that Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano sourced his false allegation that former President Barack Obama asked British intelligence to spy on President Donald Trump to a discredited former CIA analyst. This analyst, Larry C. Johnson, floated the conspiracy theory on the Russian state-sponsored news network RT on March 6, the week after Trump’s original accusation that Obama was responsible for an illegal wiretap.
From yesterday’s New York Times:
Mr. Johnson, who was himself once a Fox News contributor, said in a telephone interview that Mr. Napolitano called him on Friday and requested that he speak to The New York Times. Mr. Johnson said he was one of the sources for Mr. Napolitano’s claim about British intelligence.
Mr. Johnson became infamous in political circles after he spread false rumors in 2008 that Michelle Obama had been videotaped using a slur against Caucasians.
According to Media Matters, Mr. Johnson had also published a “doctored” audiotape in 2013 in an attempt to smear former Secretary of State John Kerry as guilty of “war crimes.”
The RT interview of Johnson was picked up and disseminated by Breitbart, InfoWars, and Reddit sites, before it was appropriated as fact by the current occupant of the Oval Office, then used to by him to smear and discredit the British government, an action that has infuriated and alienated our closest strategic ally.
I would guess that Vladimir Putin is laughing his ass off right now.