During a Monday morning media blitz, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was asked several times on Good Morning America, The Today Show and CNN’s New Day if the Donald Trump administration had evidence to support Trump’s sudden claim earlier this month that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign. During her CNN interview, she told Chris Cuomo that she’s “not Inspector Gadget,” referring to the children’s cartoon show.
Before Conway’s appearances on the morning shows, the Bergen Record of New Jersey published an interview with Conway. In it, she suggested that the Obama administration might have used “microwaves” to monitor the Trump team.
“What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other,” Conway told the Record. “You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets — any number of ways.” She added that monitoring could be done “microwaves that turn into cameras,” adding, “We know this is a fact of modern life.”
Conway’s morning started at Good Morning America, where George Stephanopoulos reminded Conway right at the start that the House Intelligence Committee set today as the deadline for the administration to put forth evidence to back Trump’s claims.
While on Today, Conway said that she has no evidence and that’s why there will be an investigation. Savannah Guthrie reminded Conway that Trump could himself just find out if his allegations were true and he must have had some information in the first place to make such an accusation.
“I can’t comment on the private conversations he’s having with his attorney general and other officials, as goes this topic,” Conway said. “But we’re well aware of the deadline and we’re glad that it’s happening.”
Also during the Today Show interview, Matt Lauer asked why Trump welcomed the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ February jobs report that showed 235,000 jobs were added, but had called previous ones “phony.” Conway pivoted to the health care discussion, saying that “There was a lot of fakery going on” during the Obama administration.
Then, while on CNN, Conway was asked specifically about her comments to the Bergen Record. She insisted she was speaking “generally” and referring to the “several articles” the public saw about how intelligence agencies could gather information. She was not specifically talking about how Obama could have monitored Trump Tower. “That screaming headline doesn’t even reach the quote and the comment accurately,” she said.
Cuomo then said that Bergen Record columnist Mike Kelly did ask a specific question and was about surveillance. She insisted that it was about surveillance “generally.”
“Chris, I’m not Inspector Gadget. I don’t believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign,” she said. “However, I have – I’m not in the job of having evidence. That’s what investigations are for.”
After her interview on CNN, Conway then took to Twitter to blast the way the Bergen Record published her words. “Response to Bergen Record was about surveillance articles in news & techniques generally, not about campaign. Headline just wrong,” she wrote.
In the next tweet, she linked to a U.K. Independent report on her Bergen Record interview that was headlined, “Kellyanne Conway suggests Barack Obama was spying on Donald Trump through a microwave.” “#FakeNewsAlert & why so many people don’t trust what they read Headlines don’t match story. Never made nexus,” she wrote.
The Bergen Record’s own headline reads, “Kellyanne Conway alludes to even wider surveillance of Trump campaign.”
Trump was also watching Conway’s performance on television and told the media that they have to “be nice.”
It’s still not clear what evidence Trump has – if any – to support his claim that his predecessor wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign. It appears that the claim might have originated from conservative talk radio host Mark Levin, whose comments were then expanded upon by Brietbart. An Obama spokesman denied that the former president ordered the wiretaps and the New York Times reported that FBI Director James Comey wanted the Justice Department to publicly reject Trump’s claims.
Instead of refuting what the president said, the administration doubled down, asking Congress to include investigating possible wiretaps of Trump Tower in their investigations into Russia’s meddling during the 2016 election.
“The President has one of two choices: either retract or provide the information that the American people deserve,” Senator John McCain told CNN’s State of the Union. “I have no reason to believe that the charge is true, but I also believe that the President of the United States could clear this up in a minute.”