Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Trump, Merkel meet amid awkward exchanges

Trump, Merkel meet amid awkward exchanges

There are "no indications" that Trump Tower was under surveillance by the United States government before or after the election, a Senate committee has said. The president accused former President Barack Obama of tapping the phones at his NY skyscraper and compared the incident to Watergate.

"I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as the need for our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense", Trump said at a joint news conference with Merkel.

The statement from Republican Senator Richard Burr, Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, dismissed Donald Trump's claim his phones were tapped.

"Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command". Arizona Republican Senator John McCain said on CNN last weekend that "the president has one of two choices: either retract or to provide the information that the American people deserve".

At least four House and Senate committees are investigating Trump's charges, along with revelations about previously undisclosed Russian contacts with some of the president's top advisers.

A spokesman for May said on Friday that the charge, made on Tuesday by Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano, that the UK's signals intelligence agency GCHQ had helped Obama to wire tap Trump after his victory in last year's USA presidential election, was "ridiculous".

Asked if Trump will apologize to Obama for accusing him of wiretapping, if he comes to accept that his claims were wrong, Spicer said he wouldn't want to "prejudge where the outcome is".

Nor does it say Trump and his campaign were under investigation or surveillance. "I just don't choose to do it right now", he said.

The House Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on Monday on allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday said Trump is "extremely confident" that the Justice Department will produce evidence to back up his assertion.

"Immigration is a privilege, not a right, and the safety of our citizens must always come first, without question", the president said.

Previously, Trump said Merkel was "ruining Germany" and "made a catastrophic mistake" by allowing more than a million refugees and migrants in recent years amid the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.

Yet Comey is so certain that Trump's accusation is false that he asked the Justice Department to issue a statement refuting it.

Speaking from the White House podium press secretary Sean Spicer quoted at length from a Fox News report, which alleged Obama had used GCHQ to dodge United States legal restrictions on monitoring USA citizens.

Their respective counterparts on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes and Adam Schiff, made similar comments on Wednesday, Efe news reported.

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