According to The Los Angeles Times, Fox News senior judicial analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, has been suspended indefinitely because of the unverified claims he made that British intelligence, urged on by former President Barack Obama, wiretapped Trump Tower.
The Times reported Fox News did not respond to inquiries on Monday.
Napolitano’s absence on Monday was notable since the hearings regarding the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court commenced on Monday morning, an event that would likely have featured Napolitano’s commentary.
Anonymous sources told the Times that Napolitano is not expected to return to Fox News Channel in the near future. Napolitano was not available for comment.
On March 4, President Trump tweeted that Obama had wiretapped him:
Napolitano then claimed unnamed sources said the British foreign surveillance agency, the Government Communications Headquarters, “most likely” provided Obama with transcripts of Trump’s recorded calls. On March 14, he said on Fox News:
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, and he didn’t use the Department of Justice. He used GCHQ. What the heck is GCHQ? That’s the initials for the British spying agency. They have 24/7 access to the NSA database. So by simply having two people go to them saying President Obama needs transcripts of conversations involving candidate Trump, conversations involving President-elect Trump, he is able to get it. And there is no American fingerprints on this.
On March 16, Napolitano wrote on FoxNews.com, “By bypassing all American intelligence services, Obama would have had access to what he wanted with no Obama administration fingerprints.”
On Thursday, March 17, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reiterated Napolitano’s claims, stating, “Judge Andrew Napolitano made the following statement, quote, ‘Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command (to spy on Trump). He didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA … he used GCHQ.’”
The British spy agency said Napolitano’s allegations were “utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
Trump cited Napolitano last Friday at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying, ““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 … You shouldn’t be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox (News).”
Fox News has been attempting to walk away from Napolitano’s comments; last Friday anchor Shepard Smith stated, “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.’
But on Sunday, on Fox News’ MediaBuzz, Napolitano still defended his comments, saying, he “reported what the sources told me, reported it accurately and I do believe the substance of what they told me.”
On Monday, FBI Director James Comey said he had “no information” that Trump’s claim of Obama wiretapping him was correct.