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Spicer vague on wiretap claim; King urges Trump to walk it back

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, March 20, 2017. Credit: AP

WASHINGTON — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer wouldn’t commit Tuesday to whether President Donald Trump would address his now-debunked wiretapping claims, as ally Rep. Peter King urged Trump to walk back or explain the tweets.

Spicer didn’t defend the president’s March 4 tweets alleging that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower as vigorously as he has in the past, but he also didn’t indicate that an apology or clarification was forthcoming.

“Let’s see how the week goes,” the spokesman told reporters.

Trump did not mention wiretapping at his Monday evening campaign rally in Louisville, Kentucky, and has not tweeted about it since FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on Monday morning that his bureau found no evidence to support the allegation.

Lawmakers on either side of the aisle have urged Trump to apologize to Obama, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, both New York Democrats.

King (R-Seaford) didn’t go as far Tuesday, but said the president’s credibility is at stake.

“He should try to find a way to walk it back or explain it,” King told Newsday. “When you’re president of the United States, you have to watch what you say.”

King earlier Tuesday in a radio interview on WOR’s “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning” said Trump should be worried about “when a real crisis does come along . . . where the president gets real intelligence saying that a real attack could be occurring, and people may think it’s the same as his tweet about Obama.”

The congressman, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told Newsday that he believes Trump should have limited his argument to intelligence leaks or surveillance abuses in general.

“Trump has all that stuff going for him, but he overplays his hand,” King said.

Spicer was asked about a March 15 Fox News TV interview in which Trump said he “will be submitting certain things” to back up his allegation and may speak this week about it.

The spokesman again cited statements by intelligence officials with the Obama administration in arguing separately that there is no evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Comey had disclosed publicly that the FBI has been probing the possibility since last July as part of a broader investigation into the Kremlin’s meddling in last year’s presidential election.

Also Tuesday, Trump signed into law a $19.5 billion bill to fund NASA though he intends to cut the agency’s funding by about 1 percent in the next year.

Trump lauded the economic benefits of the program.

“It’s amazing what’s going on,” the president said in the Oval Office. “The commercial and the private sector will get to use these facilities and I hope they’re going to be paying us a lot of money. . . . They’re going to make great progress.”

At the ceremony, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) teased former GOP presidential primary rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) about their states’ rivalry in the space-exploration industry.

Rubio said, “I’m happy to see that Florida is going to continue to do more than Texas is.”

Trump’s schedule on Wednesday includes more meetings with legislators on the House GOP health care bill, as well as a discussion with members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

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