By Julie Hirschfeld Davis
Kellyanne Conway, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, amplified Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama had tapped his telephone, suggesting on Monday that the former president’s surveillance effort could have employed any number of devices, even including a microwave oven.
Conway quickly clarified that she was not, in fact, accusing the former president of spying via a kitchen appliance, arguing that her comments had been taken out of context.
“I’m not Inspector Gadget,” she said Monday on CNN. “I don’t believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign.”
But in an interview on Sunday with a columnist for The Record of Bergen County, New Jersey, she said that Obama’s spying efforts against Trump could have been far more extensive than a simple telephone wiretap.
“What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other,” Conway told the paper. “You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets – any number of ways.”
Surveillance can even be carried out with “microwaves that turn into cameras,” she added. “We know this is a fact of modern life.”
The comments added fuel to the incendiary charge Trump made in a series of posts on Twitter last weekend accusing Obama of tapping his telephone at Trump Tower and calling him a “bad (or sick) guy.”
Neither Trump nor anyone at the White House has presented any evidence for the claim, instead asking Congress to investigate it as part of its inquiry into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, and vowing not to comment further until that examination is completed.
Conway told CNN that she had not been referring to the president’s charges when she talked about microwave surveillance, nor could she offer any proof of his allegations.
“I’m not in the job of having evidence,” she said. “That’s what investigations are for.”
Conway said she had never meant to imply that Obama had used a microwave to spy on Trump, saying headlines asserting as much were misleading.
“Response to Bergen Record was about surveillance articles in news & techniques generally, not about campaign,” Conway said in a post on Twitter.
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