Intel Republican: Election Op Will 'Go Down in History' as Russia's 'Greatest Covert Action Campaign'
WASHINGTON -- A Republican on the House Intelligence Committee said the Russia influence operation surrounding the U.S. presidential election will "go down in the history of Mother Russia as the greatest covert action campaign" because it "created a wedge, whether real or perceived, between the White House, the intelligence community, and the American public."
Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), a former CIA operative, told ABC News this morning that he hasn't seen evidence President Obama ordered an illegal wiretap of Trump Tower, and it wouldn't "hurt" for President Trump to apologize.
"To quote by 85-year-old father who -- Bob Hurd -- who has given this advice to all of my friends when they get married, it never hurts to say you're sorry," the congressman said. "I think it helps with our allies. We've got to make sure that we're all working together. We live in a very dangerous world and we can't do this alone. And when we have a major ally -- and it's not just sorry to the president, but also to the UK for the claims or the intimation that the UK was involved in this, as well."
In a White House briefing last week, press secretary Sean Spicer cited Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox News alleging that Obama used British intelligence to circumvent domestic intelligence agencies.
That prompted the Brits to issue a rare public statement in response: "Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct 'wiretapping' against the then president elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored."
At a Friday press conference, Trump defended his administration: "All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn't make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox, and so you shouldn't be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox. OK?"
The Telegraph reported that National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster directly apologized to his British counterpart, while Spicer conveyed an apology through Britain's ambassador to the United States.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), also a member of the Intelligence Committee, appeared alongside Hurd this morning and called the past week "quite alarming."
"You think about our longstanding relationship with the British, our relationship and information-sharing with the 'five eyes,' for example, and how hostile the president has been, not only to the CIA and the FBI, our own intelligence agencies, but also to Australia, for example, now Britain, and certainly Germany," he said, referring to the intelligence alliance between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.