Review Category : Politics

A timeline of President Trump’s unsubstantiated wiretapping claims

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The White House is standing by President Trump’s assertions that former President Obama ordered a wiretap of his phones, even as others — Democrats and Republicans alike — have said there is no proof.

But the president believes he will, ultimately, be vindicated.

Here is a timeline of Trump’s unsubstantiated claims, what other officials have said and how the White House has responded:

March 4

Early Saturday morning, while away at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump fired off his first tweet accusing Obama of wiretapping his phones at Trump Tower in New York during the election.

Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

Trump then posted three more tweets, comparing the allegations to President Nixon’s Watergate scandal.

Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

Obama’s spokesman released a statement later that day, rebutting Trump’s accusations:

“No White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice. Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”

March 5

Government sources told ABC News that FBI Director James Comey had asked the Department of Justice to publicly rebut Trump’s allegations out of concern that the president’s tweets might make it look as though the bureau acted improperly.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced in a statement that Trump requested that congressional intelligence committees “determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016” as part of their investigations of Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. election.

”Neither the White House nor the president will comment further until such oversight is conducted,” Spicer said in the statement.

March 6

The former director of national intelligence under President Obama, James Clapper, told ABC News that “there was no wiretap against Trump Tower during the campaign conducted by any part of the National Intelligence Community … including the FBI.”

The same day, speaking to the media — in an audio-only gaggle — for the first time since Trump tweeted, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was peppered with questions about the accusations.

“I think that there’s no question that something happened. The question is, is it surveillance, is it a wiretap, or whatever?” Spicer said, giving the first indication that the White House intended to broaden the scope of the allegations beyond monitoring phone calls.

When asked for clarification about whether Trump believed the FBI or Obama committed criminal acts in a potential pursuit of surveillance, as well as the appropriateness of the sitting president making such a public charge, Spicer repeatedly said that Trump’s tweets “speak for themselves.”

March 7

Another White House press briefing leads to questions about the promised investigation into the claims and Comey’s reported request made in private that the Justice Department publicly shoot down Trump’s claims.

Spicer tells reporters that “the president has not” asked Comey whether he was wiretapped and stands by his March 5 statement on the direction of the inquiry, saying, “I think the smartest and most deliberative way to address this situation is to ask the House and Senate intelligence committees who are already in the process of looking into this.”

The press secretary is also asked whether Trump has “any regrets” about making the accusation.

“No,” Spicer said, “Absolutely not.”

March 10

The House Intelligence Committee formally requested that the Justice Department turn over any documentary evidence, including applications, orders or warrants, by Monday, March 13.

Also, in the day’s briefing, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer whether President Trump would apologize to President Obama if his wiretapping accusation proves to be unfounded.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I think it’s important to see where that goes,” Spicer said, referring to the request from the chairman and ranking members of the House Intelligence Committee asking the Justice Department for evidence of Trump’s claim. “I don’t want to prejudge their work at this time.”

Karl then pressed Spicer about what could happen if no evidence surfaces. Spicer said he’s “not going to get into a series of hypotheticals” but that once the investigation is completed, “we’ll respond appropriately.”

March 12

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway discussed surveillance with The Record of New Jersey, causing a stir when she included an unusual item in a list of appliances that could be co-opted into listening devices.

“What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other,” Conway said. “You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets — any number of ways — and microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera.”

Conway later said her remarks were taken out of context and told CNN that she doesn’t “believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign,” and Spicer would say that the comment was “made in jest.”

March 13

Spicer launched a defense of Trump’s tweets centered around punctuation, calling attention, in the day’s press briefing, to the quotation marks employed by the president.

“I think if you look at the president’s tweet, he said very clearly “wiretapping” in quotes,” Spicer said, indicating that Trump meant the word as a reference to overall reconnaissance.

“The president was very clear in his tweet that it was wiretapping, that that spans a whole host of surveillance types of options,” Spicer said.

Two out of Trump’s four tweets on the subject do not include the quotation marks, however, and he specifically refers to his “phones” in one.

Spicer also cautioned the media about reading too literally into the claim of Obama’s involvement:

“He doesn’t really think that President Obama went up and tapped his phone personally.”

The Department of Justice also asked for more time in meeting the House Intelligence Committee’s request for evidence of Trump’s wiretapping claim. The committee set the new deadline for before their March 20 hearing on Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election.

March 14

In light of the DOJ’s being given an additional week to gather evidence on surveillance, reporters continue to ask Spicer whether Trump feels assured in his position.

“I think he feels very confident it that will ultimately come to this — will vindicate him,” Spicer said during the press briefing.

March 15

The House Intelligence Committee leaders announced they didn’t find any evidence that Trump’s Manhattan office was wiretapped by Obama.

“We don’t have any evidence that that took place. … I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said during a Capitol Hill news conference alongside Democratic ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff of California.

Nunes also said it depends on whether you interpret Trump’s tweets literally.

“I think the challenge here is that President Obama wouldn’t physically go over and wiretap Trump Tower,” Nunes said. “So now you have to decide … are you going to take the tweets literally? And if you are, then clearly the president was wrong.”

Nunes continued, “But if you’re not going to take the tweets literally, and if there’s a concern that the president has about other people, other surveillance activities looking at him or his associates, either appropriately or inappropriately, we want to find that out.”

In an interview with Fox News that aired Wednesday night, Trump commented for the first time on the wiretapping allegations.

Trump explained that his claims originated from “reading about things” and news reports. He pointed to a New York Times article and a Fox News segment, though neither reports that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

When asked why he didn’t reach out to intelligence agencies to verify his claims, Trump said he didn’t “want to do anything that’s going to violate any strength of an agency.”

He added, “I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.”

March 16

Senate Intelligence Committee leaders — Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va. — released a joint statement: “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.”

Spicer defended Trump during the press briefing and said the congressional intelligence committees’ statements were not based on investigative work.

“They’re not findings. There’s a statement out today they have not begun this,” Spicer said. “Two days ago the Department of Justice asked for an additional week. The statement clearly says at this time that they don’t believe that.”

Spicer also launched into a lengthy spiel of citing various news reports that inspired Trump’s March 4 tweets, and included Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano’s suggestion that Obama used Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters to spy on Trump.

“The bipartisan leaders of the Intelligence Committee would not have made the statement they made without having been fully briefed by the appropriate authorities,” Sen. Warner’s spokeswoman fired back at Spicer in a statement after the press briefing.

March 17

The Justice Department announced it was complying with the Intelligence and Justice Committees’ requests for information on surveillance efforts, but did not provide detail on the extent of the information.

Word of the Justice Department’s actions came just as Trump was holding a joint news conference German Chancellor Angela Merkel in which he was asked by German media about the claims.

“As far as wiretapping, I guess, by this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps,” Trump said of Merkel, referring to the revelation first reported in 2013 by a German news magazine that a document apparently from a U.S. National Security Agency database indicated Merkel’s cellphone was first listed as a target in 2002.

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CBP issues requests for border wall proposals: It will ‘be physically imposing in height’

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border came one step closer Friday to becoming a reality.

The Department of Homeland Security’s law enforcement agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, released two formal requests for prototypes of a southern border wall.

The RFPs shed additional light on the Trump administration’s plans for a wall, including its height, aesthetics and anti-climb features. The budget blueprint the White House released Thursday includes $4.1 billion for the wall.

“CBP issued two RFPs to acquire multiple conceptual wall designs with the intent to construct multiple prototypes,” the agency says in a press release. “Prototyping is an industry-tested approaches to identify the best solution when considering a new product or methodology. Through the construction of prototypes, CBP will partner with industry to identify the best means and methods to construct border wall before making a more substantial investment in construction.”

One Request for Proposal (RFP) is for a concrete wall, while the other is for other types of barriers.

The concrete wall RFP states, “the wall design shall be reinforced concrete” and “be physically imposing in height.”

What constitutes “imposing?” According to the RFP, “the government’s nominal concept is for a 30-foot high wall.” But there’s wiggle room. “Offerors should consider this height, but designs with heights of at least 18 feet may be acceptable. Designs with heights of less than 18 feet are not acceptable.”

A key aspect to the concrete wall’s design is that it is impossible for individuals to find a way to get over — or under — the wall.

“It shall not be possible for a human to climb to the top of the wall or access the top of the wall from either side unassisted (e.g. via the use of a ladder, etc.),” reads the RFP. “The wall design shall include anti-climb topping features that prevent scaling using common and more sophisticated climbing aids (e.g. grappling hooks, handholds, etc.)”

And the agency is also aware that some individuals may try and go under the wall. “The wall shall prevent digging or tunneling below it for a minimum of 6 feet below the lowest adjacent grade,” reads the RFP.

And don’t even think about breaching the wall. “The wall shall prevent/deter for a minimum of 1 hour the creation a physical breach of the wall (e.g., punching through the wall) larger than 12-inches in diameter or square using sledgehammer, car jack, pick axe, chisel, battery operated impact tools, battery operated cutting tools, Oxy/acetylene torch or other similar hand-held tools.”

While the wall will serve a functional purpose, the CPB isn’t completely putting substance over style,

“The north side of wall (i.e. U.S. facing side) shall be aesthetically pleasing in color, anti-climb texture, etc., to be consistent with general surrounding environment,” reads the RFP. It’s unclear what the view from Mexico will be.

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President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel share awkward moment in Oval Office

Barcroft Media/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not shake hands in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon while pictures and videos were being taken.

The German Chancellor and the president were meeting before their joint press conference. Merkel turned to the president, seeming to ask if they should shake hands while cameras were flashing, and Trump did not turn in her direction.

Trump told photographers while they were snapping photos to “send a good picture back to Germany, please. Make sure.” It is unclear why the two did not shake hands.

Trump and Merkel shook hands upon her arrival to The White House and did so following their joint press conference.

The president was critical of the German Chancellor while he was campaigning. He tweeted in December 2015 that Merkel was “ruining Germany,” and also called her a “catastrophic leader.”

I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite They picked person who is ruining Germany

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2015

The two world leaders held a joint press conference in Washington on Friday in the first meeting between the two since Trump took office in January.

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Senator Jeanne Shaheen discusses health care and bipartisanship in this week’s Democratic Weekly Address

US Congress(WASHINGTON) — Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) delivered this week’s Democratic Weekly Address, discussing bipartisanship and the Republican leadership’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

She calls for Democrats and Republicans to turn their attention away from battling each other to start “listening to the American people,” pleading for Congress to “stop, take a deep breath, and work together to find a better way forward.”

Shaheen also highlights the impact of reshaping health care in America, saying, “The stakes could not be higher for the health and financial security of our families. We need to get this right.”

Read the full Democratic address:

Hello, I’m Jeanne Shaheen, Senator from New Hampshire. I previously served as New Hampshire’s governor. During my years as governor and now as Senator, I’ve worked across the aisle to get things done.

That’s not what we’re seeing in Washington right now. President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress have rejected bipartisanship. They are tying themselves in knots trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act – often called Obamacare. But for millions of everyday Americans, health coverage isn’t about politics, it’s a matter of life and death.

On Monday in Concord, NH, I met with a former construction supervisor named Philip Spagnuolo. Like millions of others in my state and across America, Philip had been struggling with addiction. But thanks to the expansion of Medicaid in New Hampshire – made possible by Obamacare – he has been able to get treatment, enter recovery, and build a new life.

I talked with a police officer in Laconia, NH, who has been reaching out to families struggling with substance use disorders. He estimates that of the nearly 170 families he has worked with, almost three-quarters rely on health coverage through Medicaid.

The oldest rule in medicine is “do no harm.” But millions of Americans like Philip and those families in Laconia will be hurt by efforts to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the Republican healthcare plan, also known as Trumpcare. This week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office told us that 24 million Americans would lose their health coverage over the next 10 years – including 14 million next year. While premiums would go up an average of 15 percent next year if you buy your own health insurance, under Trumpcare, it would give tax cuts to the big drug and insurance companies. And top-income-earners would see tax cuts of nearly $200,000 a year.

Let’s be clear, President Trump does not have a mandate to take away people’s health coverage. In dozens of visits to New Hampshire during the campaign, he promised aggressive action to fight the opioid and heroine epidemic. He promised never to cut Medicare and Medicaid, and that no one would lose health coverage. But with this new Republican plan, millions of Americans will lose their health coverage, and those who keep it will pay much more.

This new legislation takes us in the wrong direction. It will have especially tragic consequences for New Hampshire and other states fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic. Our most powerful weapon in this fight has been getting people access to life-saving treatment, thanks to Obamacare. Under Trumpcare, 1.3 million Americans now in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders would lose their health coverage.

Not surprisingly, a whole range of groups are opposing this legislation, including doctors, nurses, hospitals, and AARP. AARP strongly opposes the Republican plan because it hurts Medicare – and it includes an “age tax” that allows insurance companies to charge Americans age 50 to 64 up to five times more than younger Americans.

Congress should stop, take a deep breath, and work together to find a better way forward. Let’s begin by listening to the American people. In poll after poll, they’re telling us not to end Obamacare but to mend it . . . keep the most successful parts, and fix what is not working.

And let’s listen to Republican governor John Kasich of Ohio, whose state is also struggling with the opioid crisis. He rejects the way Trumpcare would end treatment for people in recovery. I agree with the Governor’s call to put politics aside, use common sense, and find common ground. Many of my Republican colleagues in the Senate are also saying: Let’s slow down and work across the aisle.

Let’s keep our promises to the American people, so that millions do not lose their health coverage. And let’s come together to strengthen what’s working, and fix what’s not.

The stakes could not be higher for the health and financial security of our families. We need to get this right. And that means Republicans and Democrats working together, keeping our promises, putting people first.

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DOJ to appeal latest setback for Trump travel ban

ABC News.(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department announced today it will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that blocked federal agencies from enforcing certain parts of President Donald Trump‘s revised travel ban.

“The Department of Justice strongly disagrees with the Maryland federal district court’s ruling, and looks forward to defending the President’s Executive Order seeking to protect our Nation’s security,” a DOJ spokesperson told ABC News.

The move comes just one day after the federal judge in Maryland issued a nationwide preliminary injunction on one part of Trump’s revised ban — the section that imposes the 90-day pause on the issuance of visas to citizens of six Muslim-majority countries included in the executive order. U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang ruled that the plaintiffs had standing and a likelihood of success on the merits of their claims, including claims that the executive order discriminated on the basis of religion.

The nationwide preliminary injunction will remain in place indefinitely until it is either lifted by the Maryland judge or overturned by a higher court. The Trump administration is appealing the Maryland decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

One day before the ruling in Maryland, a federal judge in Hawaii, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, made a more sweeping decision to freeze the president’s executive order, saying there was “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation” of the revised order and its predecessor.

Watson’s ruling on Wednesday prevented core provisions of the executive order, affecting refugees and citizens of the six predominantly Muslim countries, from going into effect the next day.

At a rally in Nashville Wednesday night, President Trump slammed the decision as “an unprecedented judicial overreach.”

The Department of Justice said in a statement it “strongly disagrees with the federal district court’s ruling, which is flawed both in reasoning and in scope. The President’s Executive Order falls squarely within his lawful authority in seeking to protect our Nation’s security, and the Department will continue to defend this Executive Order in the courts.”

In arguing for the restraining order, the state of Hawaii alleged that the new executive order “began life as a Muslim ban,” and that the statements of President Trump and his advisers “provide direct evidence of the Executive Order’s discriminatory motivations.”

“The March 6, 2017, Executive Order was motivated by animus and a desire to discriminate on the basis of religion and/or national origin, nationality, or alienage,” the state contended.

The state of Hawaii also argued the ban would harm its tourism industry, as well as its ability to recruit foreign students and workers.

The Trump administration had argued that the plaintiffs were trying “to impugn the order using campaign statements” and that the court should not look beyond the stated purpose of the revised order, which has been substantially revised to exempt legal residents and current visa holders.

The administration asserted that statements made during the campaign by Trump and his surrogates were “irrelevant” and urged the judge not to look for “secret motives” of government officials in reaching his decision.

Watson, who was appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama in 2012, issued a thorough rebuke of the administration’s position.

“The remarkable facts at issue here require no such impermissible inquiry,” Watson wrote, referencing then-candidate Trump’s call for “a complete shutdown” of Muslim immigration as well as recent comments by Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller that the new order would result in “the same basic policy outcome for the country” as the first, now revoked, order.

“These plainly worded statements, made in the months leading up to and contemporaneous with the signing of the Executive Order, and, in many cases, made by the Executive himself, betray the Executive Order’s stated secular purpose,” Watson wrote. “Any reasonable, objective observer would conclude … that the stated secular purpose of the Executive Order is, at the very least, ‘secondary to a religious objective’ of temporarily suspending the entry of Muslims.”

Watson’s order capped off a whirlwind day of court hearings around the country, with plaintiffs in both Maryland and Washington State also seeking to block the ban before it was set to take effect Thursday.

The attorney general of Washington State, Bob Ferguson, whose lawsuit resulted in the injunction preventing implementation of the first version of the travel ban, on Wednesday night praised the Hawaii order as “fantastic news.”

“Today’s rapidly evolving events show the strength of our growing coalition, from the eastern seaboard to the Hawaiian islands,” Ferguson wrote on Twitter.

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Justice Department complying with congressional surveillance probe

ABC News.(WASHINGTON) –The U.S. Department of Justice today announced that it has “complied” with a request for information related to unsubstantiated accusations made by President Trump that he was “wiretapped” during the 2016 presidential election.

The information was solicited by the House and Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees in the aftermath of the allegations, first made via Twitter, almost two weeks ago.

The Justice Department did not provide details on the extent of the information it provided to the committees. The White House has yet to provide any evidence for the president’s statements, but has since claimed he was referring to surveillance in general terms and not specifically to the tapping of phones.

Shortly after Trump tweeted the accusations, FBI Director James Comey privately asked the Justice Department to refute the story, government sources familiar with Comey’s thinking have confirmed to ABC News. Comey, himself, has not publicly commented on the matter.

This is a developing story. Please check back for additional details.

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Accused White House fence jumper may have been on grounds for 15 minutes: source

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) –The intruder that scaled a White House fence last week may have been on the grounds for 15 minutes before he was caught, a source told ABC News.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said in a letter to Secret Service Acting Director William Callahan Friday that the committee has received allegations that the accused fence jumper, Jonathan Tuan-Anh Tran, 26, of Milpitas, California, “may have triggered alarms the USSS ignored [and] may have moved around on the White House grounds undetected for a considerable amount of time.”

He also states that the intruder “may have attempted entry into the building.”

A source familiar with the allegations told ABC News Tran may have been on White House grounds for approximately 15 minutes.

Chaffetz is requesting video and more information related to the matter.

“If true, these allegations raise questions about whether the agency’s security protocols are adequate,” Chaffetz wrote in the letter.

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Accused White House fence jumper may have been on grounds for 15 minutes: source

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) –The intruder that scaled a White House fence last week may have been on the grounds for 15 minutes before he was caught, a source told ABC News.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said in a letter to Secret Service Acting Director William Callahan Friday that the committee has received allegations that the accused fence jumper, Jonathan Tuan-Anh Tran, 26, of Milpitas, California, “may have triggered alarms the USSS ignored [and] may have moved around on the White House grounds undetected for a considerable amount of time.”

He also states that the intruder “may have attempted entry into the building.”

A source familiar with the allegations told ABC News Tran may have been on White House grounds for approximately 15 minutes.

Chaffetz is requesting video and more information related to the matter.

“If true, these allegations raise questions about whether the agency’s security protocols are adequate,” Chaffetz wrote in the letter.

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Some conservatives line up behind health care plan for vote next week

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Republicans are moving forward with their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, making several concessions to conservatives that appear to have put the American Health Care Act on track for passage late next week.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., predicted “there will be no upsets” when lawmakers vote on the proposal next Thursday, which coincides with the seven-year anniversary of President Obama’s signing of the Affordable Care Act.

Here’s the latest:

The art of the deal

President Trump met with several influential conservatives from the Republican Study Committee in the Oval Office today, committing to make several changes to the bill, including providing states with the option to block-grant Medicaid, which empowers states to spend Medicaid funds from the federal government however they want. The legislation will also be amended to include work requirements for Medicaid recipients who are able-bodied and without dependents.

Conservatives also received a commitment from the president to ensure that tax credits in the plan cannot be used to pay for abortions.

Trump told reporters that those changes had persuaded several Republicans who had been leaning against the measure to vote for it.

“These folks were noes, mostly noes yesterday, and now, every single one is a yes,” Trump said. “I just want to say, ‘Thank you.’ We are going to have a health care plan that is second to none. It’s going to be great.”

Any barriers left?

It is unclear whether the changes could cause some moderate Republicans to abandon support for the legislation, although McCarthy’s plans to proceed to a vote next week indicate his confidence that his vote count has sufficient backing for passage.

“On balance and with the changes we agreed to in the bill’s final text, I can vote for it,” Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, stated. “We will continue working to advocate changes to the bill, and hope the legislation improves in the Senate.”

Other conservatives from the House Freedom Caucus, like Rep. Mark Meadows, were not satisfied with the agreement, although Republicans can afford to lose 21 votes from within their conference before the bill is killed.

The House Freedom Caucus still opposes the GOP replacement bill in its current form.

— House Freedom Caucus (@freedomcaucus) March 17, 2017

What’s next?

The next step for the legislation is consideration in the House Rules Committee, where the underlying legislation is expected to be amended to include today’s developments. Timing for that hearing has yet to be announced, but is expected as soon as Monday evening.

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Trump stands by wiretapping claims, says he ‘very seldom’ regrets tweets

The White House(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump joked that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “have something in common,” referring to how Merkel’s cellphone was listened to by the Obama administration.

The remark came when Trump was asked about his unfounded claims that Trump Tower was wiretapped during the presidential campaign. Trump was specifically asked by a German reporter at his joint press conference with Merkel Friday at the White House about claims originally made by a Fox News contributor who alleged that British intelligence services were tasked with surveilling Trump and his team. The Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, has since shot down those claims.

“We said nothing,” Trump said in reference to the claims that GCHQ was responsible for spying on Trump Tower. “All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for [the claim.]”

“You shouldn’t be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox,” Trump said.

The claim in question was first said by Judge Andrew Napolitano who is a legal commentator for Fox News. White House press secretary Sean Spicer repeated Napolitano’s comments — along with several other news articles which made claims about surveillance — at the White House press briefing on Thursday.

A spokesperson for GCHQ, the British intelligence agency that Napolitano referred to, denied the report Thursday.

“Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wire tapping’ against the then president elect are nonsense,” the spokesperson said in a press release. “They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”

He also stood by his tweets, which have sometimes caused controversy.

When asked if he ever regrets his tweets, Trump said “very seldom.”

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