Iraq's prime minister joked today during his first meeting with Donald Trump that his country did not help Barack Obama spy on the Republican when he was running for president.
'We had nothing to do with the wiretapping,' Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told Trump as they posed for photos in the Oval Office.
Abadi was making reference to the White House's charge that British intelligence could have surveilled Trump for Obama.
Iraq's prime minister joked today during his first meeting with Donald Trump that his country did not help Barack Obama spy on the Republican when he was running for president
Abadi was making reference to the White House's charge that British intelligence could have surveilled Trump for Obama
FBI Director James Comey was still in the host seat on Capitil Hill when Abadi arrived at the White House to hold talks with Trump and his administration about the fight against ISIS
Both Trump and his spokesman, Sean Spicer, have claimed that's not what the White House press secretary meant to imply when he read aloud a report accusing Britain's GCHQ of colluding with the previous administration to tap Trump Tower.
Rather, he was providing a general list of news reports that backed up the president's allegations.
Trump told a reporter Friday, as he took questions from the press alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that questions about the Fox News report should be directed to that station.
He did not apologize for his press secretary's conduct.
'All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn’t make an opinion on it,' Trump said.
The US leader also joked that he and Merkel had the wiretapping in common, 'perhaps,' given that the Obama's administration is known to have monitored her calls.
Spicer reportedly apologized to Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to the United States, and promised not to use the report as a supplement again.
He denied that characterization of his call with Darroch on Monday, saying in his daily briefing that he merely offered 'an explanation.'
'That was it,' he asserted.
The GCHQ had called the Fox News claim 'nonsense' and 'utterly ridiculous' in a statement.
As Abadi and Trump convened for their first in-person talks, the president was taking a drubbing on wiretapping in a hearing on Capitol Hill.
FBI Director James Comey told House Intelligence lawmakers that he had no information to substantiate Trump's tweets about Obama.
What's more, the law enforcement official affirmed that the bureau is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, including 'the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government.'
Spicer downplayed Comey's testimony on both the wiretapping and the investigation in an on-camera news conference that came four hours into the all-day spectacle.
'We started a hearing. It's still ongoing,' he said.
Defense Secretary James Mattis (far left) Vice President Mike Pence (left of Trump) and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (right of Trump) joined the president, Abadi and Iraqi officials for a discussion in the Cabinet Room about destroying ISIS
Comey was still in the host seat when Abadi arrived at the White House to hold talks with Trump and his administration about the fight against ISIS.
Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Defense Secretary James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus joined Trump, Abadi and Iraqi officials for a discussion in the Cabinet Room on Monday afternoon following a private chat between the two heads of government in the Oval Office.
Trump said in Cabinet Room remarks that Obama should not have removed troops from Iraq in 2011.
'Certainly we shouldn’t have left. We should never ever have left,' the current president said of his predecessor. 'A vacuum was created and we discussed what happened.'
Abadi is doing a 'good job,' he said, and Iraq's soldiers are 'fighting hard,' even though ISIS has not yet been decimated.
'We will figure something out. I mean we have to get rid of ISIS. We’re going to get rid of ISIS,' the president stated.