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Trump promotes baseless accusation of British spying a day after accepting an invitation for a state visit from the queen




President Trump lists during a briefing on drug trafficking at the southern border in the Roosevelt Room at the White House last month. (John Botsford / The Washington Post)

A day after accepting an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II for a state visit to Britain, President Trump on Wednesday promoted a baseless accusation that the United Kingdom had helped the Obama administration spy on his 2016 presidential campaign.

Taking to Twitter, Trump cited a report, attributed to the conservative One America News Network, that cited an accusation of British spying made by Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and blogger who has spurred controversy over other false claims as well.

“WOW! It is just a question of time before the truth comes out, and when it does, it will be a beauty! ”Trump wrote.

The spying claim was roundly denied by U.S. and British intelligence officials when surfaced two years ago

At that time, Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano raised the prospect of British spying on air, and Johnson later acknowledged being a source for Napolitano.

Then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer states the British government by mentioning the claim during a news briefing. The White House later backed away from the claim, and Fox News disavowed it.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said that the time that her government had made clear to U.S. authorities that Johnson's claims were "ridiculous and should have been ignored."

In a new statement Wednesday, Britain's main intelligence agency, Government Communications Headquarters, again dismissed the claim.

"As we have previously stated, the allegations that GCHQ was asked to conduct 'wire tapping' against the then President Elect nonsense, ”the statement said.

During his planned visit to Britain in early June, Trump is scheduled to meet with May as well as the queen. ] In a statement Tuesday, the White House said the trip would be the "steadfast and special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom."

Johnson, a longtime critic of US Intelligence has been at the center of several other controversies.

In 2008, he claimed a false claim that Michelle Obama had been videotaped using a slur against white people.

In 2013, Johnson falsely accused then-Secretary of State John F. Kerry of having committed crimes in Vietnam, alleging that Kerry had "raped some poor Vietnamese woman."

More recently, he has maintained that the CIA had been behind the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee.


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