WASHINGTON — Donald Trump believes he and Angela Merkel have something in common: they have both been wiretapped by Barack Obama.
The president made the statement during a press conference with the German chancellor at the White House Friday. When a German reporter questioned Trump about his accusations against Obama, he turned to Merkel and said, “As far as wiretapping, at least we have something in common, perhaps.”
The president was referring to the 2013 scandal when the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel published a report claiming Obama authorized American intelligence to tap Merkel’s phone after he was briefed by then-NSA director Keith Alexander in 2010. The publication based its claims on a trove of documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and said they were legitimate enough that German intelligence confronted the United States over it.
An “angry” Merkel placed a “strongly worded” call to Obama when she found out about the eavesdropping allegations, which she told him were “totally unacceptable” if true.
Merkel did not offer a reaction Friday beyond a deadpan when Trump made his comment.
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