No evidence of wiretap operation, says top White House aide

Kellyanne Conway
Updated 14 March 2017
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No evidence of wiretap operation, says top White House aide

WASHINGTON: Top White House aide Kellyanne Conway said on Monday she had no evidence to back up Donald Trump’s claim that his predecessor had wiretapped him, after suggesting her boss may have been spied upon using other methods.
The Trump administration is under mounting pressure to provide proof to shore up the president’s unsubstantiated allegation that Barack Obama ordered the phones to be tapped at Trump Tower during the election campaign.
“The answer is I do not have any evidence and I am very happy that the House Intelligence Committee are investigating,” Conway told ABC television.
Trump’s top aide was being pressed to explain weekend comments that seemed to suggest the Obama administration ordered wide-scale surveillance of her boss.
“What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other,” Conway told New Jersey’s Bergen County Record in a wide-ranging interview published Sunday.
“You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets — any number of ways,” including “microwaves that turn into cameras,” she told the paper.
“We know this is a fact of modern life.”
Conway backed away on Monday from the comments — which were greeted with ridicule on the Internet — telling ABC’s “Good Morning America” she had been referring to “surveillance generally” and not to the president’s allegations regarding Trump Tower.
Trump, meanwhile, appeared to take the media to task over its skeptical treatment of Conway.
“It is amazing how rude much of the media is to my very hard working representatives,” he tweeted minutes after she wrapped up appearances on several morning talk shows.
“Be nice,” he said, “you will do much better!”
Both Obama, through a spokesman, and his former director of national intelligence James Clapper have denied ordering any wiretapping operation targeted at Trump.
But Trump’s White House is standing by its demand for a congressional investigation into the allegations.
The Republican chairman and the top ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee have written to the Justice Department asking for evidence to be provided by Monday in support of Trump’s allegation.
Democrat Adam Schiff said on Sunday he doubted any evidence would be forthcoming, and said he would press the demand again during a wide-ranging open hearing set for March 20 on the issue of Russian meddling in the election.
Top Republican lawmaker and frequent Trump critic John McCain on Sunday challenged Trump to prove the wiretapping claim — or else retract it.


UK police think boy, 3, was attacked with acid at store

British police officers speak to members of the public in St Pancras station in London, in this file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 32 min 33 sec ago
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UK police think boy, 3, was attacked with acid at store

  • Police also report that innocuous liquids sometimes are thrown into the face of mugging targets to make them think they have been hit with a corrosive substance, panic and give up their valuables more easily
  • Most of the attacks have happened in London, but they have been reported in many parts of Britain

LONDON: A 3-year-old boy suffered severe burns on his face and arm during a suspected acid attack in England that investigators think was deliberate, police said Sunday.
West Mercia police Chief Superintendent Mark Travis said police were working to identify the substance that burned the child Saturday at a discount store in Worcester.
A 39-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm. Three others were being sought for questioning and police released photos to generate public tips.
“At this time we are treating this as a deliberate attack,” Travis said in a statement. “The incident will rightly shock the local community, and I would like to reassure local people that we are carrying out a thorough investigation.”
British police have reported seeing an increase in acid attacks during the last year, but it is very rare for a victim to be so young. Some attacks are related to gang fights or late-night bar confrontations.
Most of the attacks have happened in London, but they have been reported in many parts of Britain. A London teenager was given a prison sentence of more than 10 years this year after being convicted of spraying acid into the faces of moped drivers so he could steal their mopeds.
Police also report that innocuous liquids sometimes are thrown into the face of mugging targets to make them think they have been hit with a corrosive substance, panic and give up their valuables more easily.
Robin Walker, the Worcester representative in Parliament, said lawmakers are considering allowing tougher sentences for people convicted of any type of intentional assault with acid.
He described what happened to the 3-year-old boy as “horrific.”
A police statement late Sunday afternoon said the boy had been discharged from the hospital. He has not been identified.