US President Donald Trump speaks at American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, Michigan with auto industry executives on March 15, 2017.
"We said nothing", Trump said in response to a question from a German reporter. "All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television".
"You shouldn't be talking to me", Trump added. "You should be talking to Fox". Merkel made a face and didn't respond.
"Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016", Burr and Warner said in a one-sentence joint statement Thursday afternoon.
The president denied that the White House was propagating the Fox News theory.
Napolitano reportedly directed the New York Times to call Johnson after facing skepticism regarding his United Kingdom wiretapping claim.
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In his interview with Carlson, Trump also mentioned a Fox News segment with host Bret Baier as a source. Johnson is perhaps best known for spreading a hoax that Michelle Obama had been videotaped using the term "whitey". Trump's claims widened to two of the U.S.'s staunchest allies.
The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, claimed in a briefing on Thursday that Obama partnered with the UK's Government Communications Headquarters for an operation spying on Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign.
"They never invited us for dinner, then at the last minute they realized that optically it wasn't playing very well in public for them, so they put out a statement that we didn't have dinner because I was exhausted", Tillerson said.
During the two leaders' talks, Merkel had already reiterated her government's commitment to increasing military spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), a target North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states formally agreed in 2014 to reach within 10 years.
"We just reiterated the fact that we were just simply reading media accounts".
Political reporters and analysts were aghast that the White House would not only stand by the wiretapping conspiracy theory, but also drag Germany into a freakish spat with the United States's closest ally just to dodge responsibility for its own baseless claims.