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Rep. Quigley bewildered by White House defense of wiretapping assertion

Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., slammed White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday, comparing the daily media briefing and its defenses of President Trump to self-parody.

“I really don’t mean to be flippant, but apparently we are in the business of creating scripts for ‘Saturday Night Live,’” Quigley said on CNN’s “OutFront.” “I don’t even know where the satire begins.”

The comment was in reference to Monday’s press briefing, in which Spicer attempted to clarify Trump’s evidence-free allegation that former President Barack Obama wiretapped the phones in Trump Tower prior to the election. Spicer claimed that Trump “used the word ‘wiretapping’ in quotes to mean broadly surveillance and other activities.”

Quigley, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, rejected this defense, saying, “These are extraordinarily serious allegations about the former president and our entire system. To think that you even begin to make that kind of allegation without the proof in front of you is an extraordinary affront to the entire democratic system.”

The congressman was also on air to address the news that the Department of Justice asked his committee for additional time to provide evidence of Trump’s wiretap allegations. The Justice Department was granted an extension until March 20 by the chairman and vice chairman of the committee.

Asked if he supported the deadline extension, Quigley said, “I guess we don’t have any choice. The information’s not forthcoming. But at some point in time, they have to stop this charade.”

“And after today’s rather unique White House response, I guess we’re going to have to expand our request to include household appliances, including vacuum cleaners, microwaves, and whatnot,” Quigley quipped, referring to Kellyanne Conway’s recent assertion that “microwaves that turn into cameras” can be used to carry out surveillance.

“And I guess finally, it’s so absurd, I suggest that the White House put their best person on this investigation themselves,” Quigley suggested. “At this point, that sounds like Inspector Clouseau.”

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