- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The fallout from President Donald Trump’s wiretapping claims against Barack Obama have turned from the White House toward Fox News, and now, according to several reports, Andrew Napolitano, the outlet’s frequent “Judge Napolitano” legal commentator, has been benched.

Eh. He’ll be back. And back soon — rightly so. So note to left: Don’t crack the champagne bottle just yet.

Napolitano’s made several on-air statements advancing the White House narrative that supporters of Obama, through foreign intelligence, listened in on Trump conversations at Trump Tower.

In mid-March, on “Fox and Friends,” for example, Napolitano said he spoke with three sources in the field of intelligence who said Obama “went outside the chain of command” to conduct secret surveillance on Trump. Specifically, the judge said Obama went through Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, to keep off “American fingerprints” from the surveillance operation.

And on March 16, Napolitano doubled down on the claims in a penned piece for FoxNews.com, that went like this:

“The question of whether former President Barack Obama actually spied on President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition has been tantalizing Washington since President Trump first made the allegation nearly two weeks ago. Since then, three investigations have been launched — one by the FBI, one by the House of Representatives and one by the Senate. Are the investigators chasing a phantom, or did this actually happen? … Sources have told me the that the British foreign surveillance service, the … GCHQ, most likely provided Obama with transcripts of Trump’s calls. … So by bypassing all American intelligence services, Obama would have had access to what he wanted with no Obama administration fingerprints.”

It’s actually a very thought-provoking piece. A spokesperson for GCHQ vehemently denied — but then again, that’s expected. Seriously, how would it look now that Trump’s the president for British intel to admit why yes, we did spy on you — and at the request of your key political enemy, Obama, for that matter?

Of course, GCHQ would deny, too, if the remarks were false — there’s always that. But this is a peel-the-layers-back kind of story, and that’s what Napolitano, along with the rest of the nation’s media, has been doing, slowly but surely.

Anyhow, Napolitano’s remarks were subsequently used by the White House’s Sean Spicer to explain why Trump was standing by his wiretapping claims, in the face of pushback to the contrary.

“All we’re doing is literally reading off what other stations and people have reported,” Spicer said, when asked about the wiretapping claims last week, and while citing Fox News reports. “We’re not casting judgment on that.”

And they were used, too, when Trump met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to explain how he arrived at his wiretapping conclusions.

“So you shouldn’t be talking to me,” Trump said the, the Washington Post reported. “You should be talking to Fox.”

And Fox went — gulp.

Adding to that, just Monday, FBI and NSA chiefs James Comey and Michael Rogers, respectively, said in a House Intelligence Committee hearing they had no evidence to support any wiretapping claims coming from the White House — either domestic or foreign operations.

Napolitano’s not been on Fox since last Thursday. But count on this: He won’t be long gone from his pundit position. Napolitano, through the years, has been a consistent voice for the Constitution, from a limited government point of view, and a no-nonsense analyst with a talent for slicing through the bull pushed by the far left. On top of that, his wiretap discussions weren’t borne of thin air — they were actually based on intelligence sources and carefully worded viewpoints. Put it this way: Fake news, he ain’t.

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