Fox News' legal analyst Andrew "Judge" Napolitano returned to the air on Wednesday morning, nine days after the network benched him when President Donald Trump cited the Fox talking head as the source of claims that Barack Obama used British intelligence to wiretap him. Napolitano refused to change his story saying he stood by his claim about spying on President Donald Trump that got him benched by the network on March 21 for an indefinite period.
“I stand by my statement on surveillance,” Napolitano told Bill Hemmer.
According to Deadline, Napolitano was there to talk about a Fox News report that the FBI allegedly wired a staffer of former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock, who has been charged with fraud and corruption. But first, Hemmer asked Napolitano about that Obama/Brit intel wiretap claim he first made on Fox & Friends. Napolitano said that was his story and he was sticking to it.
“And the American public needs to know more about this rather than less because of a lot of the government’s surveillance authorities will expire in the fall and there will be a great debate about how much authority we want the government to have to surveil us.”
“We’ll see how the story plays out,” Hemmer said, noncommittally.
“I think a lot more is going to come,” Napolitano responded..
His return raises the question as to why Fox News benched Napolitano in the first place.
Following the joint press conference between Trump and Merkel, in which the president cited Napolitano's allegation, Fox News reacted immediately saying it “cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary; Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now President of the United States was surveilled at any time in any way. Full stop,” Shepard Smith said on the network’s air moments after Trump gave his don’t-look-at-me response to the German reporter.
Previously, a spokesperson for British PM Theresa May had called the claims “ridiculous” saying “they should be ignored and we’ve received assurances that these allegations will not be repeated” by the White House, which may explain why Trump pointed the finger at Fox.
It was White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer who initially got the ball rolling, the day before Trump’s Merkel photo-op, admonishing reporters for their coverage of Trump’s Twitter rant about Obama-ordered wiretaps on Trump Tower. To make his case, Spicer read from a prepared list of reports he said support Trump’s claims, including one from a Fox News Channel broadcast.
“On Fox News on March 14, Judge Andrew Napolitano made the following statement: Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command…He didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA, he didn’t use the FBI, he didn’t use the Department of Justice. He used GCHQ… the initials from the British intelligence spying agency. By having two people say to them the president needs transcripts of conversations involving candidate Trump he’s able to get it and no American fingerprints on it.”