• 14:40
  • 23.08.2019
Blair denies warning Trump of spy activity

Blair denies warning Trump of spy activity

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The office of former prime minister Tony Blair has rejected as "categorically absurd" allegations he warned Donald Trump that UK intelligence agencies may have spied on him.

The allegation is contained in the book Fire And Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which has sparked furore in Washington with explosive claims about feuding within the US president's inner circle.

The president himself stoked the controversy by stating his former senior counsellor Steve Bannon - who told author Michael Wolff that meetings between Trump campaign officials and a lawyer linked to the Kremlin amounted to treason - had "lost his mind".
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The Times reported that Mr Wolff's book contains an account of a meeting between Blair and Trump's son-in-law and senior aide Jared Kushner at the White House last February.

According to Wolff, Blair shared a "juicy rumour" that the British had Trump campaign staff under surveillance during the election, "monitoring its telephone calls and other communications and possibly even Trump himself".

The former PM reportedly gave the impression that Barack Obama's administration had hinted that such activities would be helpful.
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The book reportedly suggested that Blair was angling for a role as Middle East adviser to the president at the time.

A month after the supposed meeting, the then White House press spokesman Sean Spicer provoked a trans-Atlantic spat by repeating claims made on Fox News that Obama had asked British intelligence to spy on Trump Tower.

The government's GCHQ surveillance centre dismissed the claims at the time as "utterly ridiculous".
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A spokeswoman for Blair described the allegations published in The Times as "categorically absurd".

"They are a complete fabrication, have no basis in reality and are simply untrue," he said.
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