White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Monday seemed to evade questions about explosive accusations President Trump has made against former President Obama — from the unproven allegation that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 election to the erroneous claim that Obama-era unemployment stats were fake.
Appearing on NBC's "TODAY," Conway said she could not comment on the wiretapping claim, noting that "it's under investigation" by the House Intelligence Committee. The top lawmakers on that committee have asked the Justice Department to hand over by Monday any evidence of electronic surveillance of Trump.
The Justice Department on Monday afternoon asked for more time.
In a separate appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America," Conway said she had "no evidence" to prove the wiretapping accusation.
Conway on Sunday said the federal government has many ways to spy on its citizens beyond tapping phones, telling New Jersey's Bergen County Record that "you can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets — any number of ways." She did not provide any evidence to support that claim.
She later added on Twitter that her "response to Bergen Record was about surveillance articles in news & techniques generally, not about the campaign." In an interview on CNN on Monday, Conway jokingly clarified her comments, saying: "I'm not Inspector Gadget. I don't believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign."
Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for Obama, has said "any suggestion" that the former president ordered surveillance on Trump was "simply false." Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" on March 5, James Clapper, Obama's director of national intelligence, denied that Trump Tower was tapped.
Conway on "TODAY" also defended the president's position on the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report, which he once denounced as "phony" but now, as the sitting chief executive, completely embraces.
"There was a lot of fakery going on" during the Obama presidency, Conway said, denying that Trump had a credibility issue after his press secretary on Friday quipped: "I talked to the president prior to this, and he said to quote him very clearly: 'They may have been phony in the past, but it's very real now.'"
Pressed by NBC's Savannah Guthrie to explain the reversal, Conway insisted Americans were more concerned with pocketbook issues and a strengthening economy.
The statistics released Friday show that U.S. employers added 235,000 jobs in February, and that the unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent. As a presidential candidate, Trump slammed what he described as "phony unemployment numbers" that he suggested had been fabricated.
Conway pushed back on the suggestion that Trump's flip-flop on the jobs data was comparable to him abandoning his infamous "birther" crusade, telling NBC's Matt Lauer that she did not see any similarity between the two.