President Trump began Monday morning how he usually does — tweeting out stuff he’s seen on TV. In this instance, he expanded his viewing options from Fox & Friends or DVR recordings of his favorite primetime shows and included little-watched far-right conspiracy network One America News, a channel that has gone out of its way to cozy up to Trump.
This time around, he revived a two-year-old baseless theory from the conspiracist behind a notorious Michelle Obama hoax that had previously led to a Fox News senior judicial analyst getting suspended.
“Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson accuses United Kingdom Intelligence of helping Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.” @OANN WOW! It is now just a question of time before the truth comes out, and when it does, it will be a beauty!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2019
“‘Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson accuses United Kingdom Intelligence of helping Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.’ @OANN WOW!,” Trump tweeted. “It is now just a question of time before the truth comes out, and when it does, it will be a beauty!”
Johnson is the blogger and occasional Russia Today guest that made a name for himself in 2008 by pushing the lie that the Republican Party were in possession of a tape that showed Michelle Obama spouting slurs about white people. Of course, the tape never materialized and was proved to be a hoax, something Johnson attributed to being played by the Democrats.
Fast-forward to 2017 and then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, in an effort to prove Trump’s claim that President Obama wiretapped him, highlighting a report from Fox’s Judge Andrew Napolitano that Obama had used British intelligence to spy on the Trump campaign. Napolitano had made the claim during a Fox & Friends appearance, citing unnamed sources.
After Spicer’s presser caused a diplomatic incident for accusing a U.S. ally of hostile spying, Fox News backed away from the report and Napolitano revealed Johnson was one of his sources. Eventually, Napolitano was hit with a suspension over his on-air report and Johnson noted that he posted the theory on an online message board and it was eventually passed on to Napolitano.
As they did back in 2017, the GCHQ denied that British intelligence had spied on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
GCHQ on Trump tweet: “As we have previously stated, the allegations that GCHQ was asked to conduct ‘wire tapping’ against the then President Elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
— Guy Faulconbridge (@GuyReuters) April 24, 2019
“As we have previously stated, the allegations that GCHQ was asked to conduct ‘wire tapping’ against the then President Elect are nonsense,” a spokesperson said. “They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
This latest accusation comes one day after the White House announced Trump’s first state visit to the United Kingdom has been set for early June. Whether Trump’s tweet will affect that visit remains to be seen.