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Fox News pulls embattled Napolitano from air after Trump report
21 March 2017, 03:09 | Darnell Patrick
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A short time later, a Fox News anchor said, "Fox News can not confirm Judge Napolitano's commentary".
On Monday, Napolitano was absent during the network's coverage of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
The President first made the allegations on Twitter earlier in March.
Napolitano's report last week on "Fox & Friends", saying he had three intelligence sources who said Obama went "outside the chain of command" to watch Trump, provoked an global incident.
Last week, the leaders of of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Mark Warner, said in a joint statement, "Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016".
"By bypassing all American intelligence services, Obama would have had access to what he wanted with no Obama administration fingerprints", Napolitano wrote in a column on FoxNews.com.
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That rebuttal did not stop Trump from citing Napolitano as a source again when he was asked about the wiretapping claims at a Friday news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The analyst's claim that GCHQ had helped former president Barack Obama bug Trump Tower was cited last week by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, sparking a diplomatic incident.
"Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct "wire tapping" against the then President Elect are nonsense", the agency said in a statement Thursday. And Fox's own news anchors disavowed Napolitano's claims.
The Los Angeles Times, citing anonymous sources, said "Napolitano is not expected to be on Fox News Channel any time in the near future". Fox News says Napolitano stands by his report. During Congressional testimony Monday, both FBI Director James Comey and National Security Director Michael Rogers said there was no evidence to support claims Obama arranged to have Trump phones wiretapped. He joined Fox in 1998 and had been working as a senior judicial analyst for the network.
Fox's Shepard Smith, on air on Friday afternoon, quickly distanced the network from Napolitano's claim. During a later segment, he said his sources told him President Obama asked Britain to spy.
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