Tony Blair today furiously denied claims he warned Donald Trump’s aides that British agents may have spied on them during the election at the behest of Obama administration.
From The Daily Mail
An explosive new book alleges that the former prime minister passed on the gossip during a visit to the White House last February as he was angling for a job as the US President’s Middle East envoy.
During the meeting with Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and a senior aide, Mr Blair is reported to have shared a rumour that GCHQ spies were monitoring the communications of Trump campaign staff and perhaps the future president himself.
But Mr Blair angrily denied the claims, made in a book by US journalist Michael Wolff, dismissing them as ‘absurd’ and a ‘complete fabrication’.
‘I have never had such a conversation inside the White House, outside the White House, with Jared Kushner, with anybody else,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
The revelations echo Mr Trump’s claims in tweet in March last year his ‘wires were being tapped’ by Barack Obama’s administration during the presidential election.
In Mr Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, he claims that ‘the British had had the Trump campaign staff under surveillance, monitoring its telephone calls and other communications and possibly even Trump himself’.
It suggests that Mr Blair gave the impression that the Obama administration may have dropped hints that such surveillance would be helpful.
The explosive book draws on 200 interviews with Mr Trump’s circle and the president himself.
In an extract printed in the Times, the book states: ‘In February Blair visited Kushner in the White House.
‘On this trip the now freelance diplomat, perhaps seeking to prove his usefulness to this new White House, mentioned a juicy rumour: the possibility that the British had had the Trump campaign staff under surveillance, monitoring its telephone calls and other communications and possibly even Trump himself.’
It later adds: ‘It was unclear whether the information was rumour, informed conjecture, speculation or solid stuff.’
The book explains that Mr Kushner and Steve Bannon went out to CIA headquarters in Langley to investigate the claims.
A few days later, the CIA reported back that the information was ‘not correct… it was a ‘miscommunication’.
A month after Mr Blair’s alleged tip-off, Sean Spicer, then White House press secretary, also claimed that GCHQ, Britain’s eavesdropping agency, had spied on Trump Tower during the election.
In a rare statement, GCHQ denied the claims as ‘utterly ridiculous’ and said such claims should be ignored.
Mr Blair said today: ‘This story is a complete fabrication, literally beginning to end.’
Asked if he had met Mr Kushner, the former prime minister replied: ‘Of course I have met him and we discussed the Middle East peace process.’
Mr Blair insisted he had not been ‘angling for some job’ during the meeting. ‘I never sought one, was never offered one, don’t want one,’ he added.
A spokeswoman for Mr Blair said: ‘The allegations printed in The Times are categorically absurd. They are a complete fabrication, have no basis in reality and are simply untrue.’
The book provides a scathing portrait of Mr Trump and paints the West Wing as a place plagued by inexperience and feuding among its senior staff.
It goes on to allege that Mr Trump had promised his wife, Melania, that he would not win the presidency and she wept when she found out he had won.
It also claims that his daughter Ivanka, who is married to Mr Kushner, wants to be the first female president.
Other allegations include that Mr Trump has banned domestic staff from touching his belongings, especially his toothbrush, over fears he could be poisoned.
This phobia apparently goes towards explaining his love of fast food, which is ‘safely pre-made’ by a McDonald’s cook.
A spokeswoman for Mrs Trump described the book as ‘bargain fiction’, adding: ‘Mrs Trump supported her husband’s decision to run for president. She was confident he would win and was very happy when he did.’