Fox pulls Andrew Napolitano off air after GCHQ Trump wiretap claim

Sunita Patel-Carstairs, News Reporter

A legal expert who claimed GCHQ helped Barack Obama to spy on Donald Trump during the presidential campaign has been removed from air by Fox News.

Judge Andrew Napolitano has reportedly been sidelined by the news channel following his unproven assertion that British spies assisted Mr Obama in eavesdropping on Mr Trump.

The US media commentator claimed he had three intelligence sources who said Mr Obama went "outside the chain of command" to wiretap Trump Tower.

The allegations - repeated by Mr Trump, who claimed he was quoting a "very talented legal mind" from Fox - were dismissed by GCHQ as "utterly ridiculous".

The President first made the allegations on Twitter earlier in March.

Mr Napolitano has worked for Fox News since 1998 and was a New Jersey judge from 1987 to 1995.

However, a source at the channel told the LA Times he was not likely to appear in the near future.

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith also distanced the network from the comments, saying on air last week: "Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time, in any way."

The action by Fox follows FBI Director James Comey's testimony to the House Intelligence Committee during which he became the latest top official to reject the claims.

Mr Comey said: "With respect to the President's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI.

"The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice in all its components.

"The department has no information that supports those tweets."

America's National Security Agency (NSA) also dismissed the claims.

NSA director Admiral Mike Rogers insisted his organisation did not ask GCHQ to spy on the Republican candidate during his campaign.

Asked if President Trump's "baseless" claims against British security services damaged the close relationship between the two nations, Admiral Rogers replied: "I think it clearly frustrates a key ally of ours."

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