Tony Blair warned Donald Trump’s aides that British intelligence agencies could have spied on them during the election campaign, a new book has claimed.
The former prime minister shared the “juicy rumour” with Jared Kushner, Mr Trump’s son-in-law, when the pair met last February, according to journalist Michael Wolff’s book.
Mr Blair suggested the British “had the Trump campaign staff under surveillance, monitoring its telephone calls and other communications and possibly even Trump himself”, an extract said.
The meeting is said to have come as Mr Blair sought a new role in the Middle East after Mr Trump entered the White House.
A spokesman for Mr Blair dismissed the claim as a “complete and total fabrication” and denied he wanted a Middle East role from the US administration.
The claim is one of a series of explosive allegations in Mr Wolff’s book, called Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.
It is based on more than 200 interviews including with Mr Trump, members of his inner circle and other key players.
An extract published by The Times details what is said to have taken place when Mr Blair met with Mr Kushner almost a year ago.
It read: “In February Blair visited Kushner in the White House. On this trip the now freelance diplomat, perhaps seeking to prove his usefulness to this new White House, mentioned a juicy rumour: the possibility that the British had had the Trump campaign staff under surveillance, monitoring its telephone calls and other communications and possibly even Trump himself.”
Mr Wolff claims that while the Obama administration would not have asked British intelligence services to spy on the Trump campaign, UK officials may have believed it would be “helpful” to do so.
The extract continues: “It was unclear whether the information was rumour, informed conjecture, speculation or solid stuff.
But, as it festered in the president’s mind, Kushner and Steve Bannon went out to CIA headquarters in Langley to meet Mike Pompeo and his deputy director, Gina Haspel, to check it out. A few days later, the CIA opaquely reported back that the information was not correct; it was a ‘miscommunication’.”
It has been suggested that the episode may help explain a comment made by Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary, that caused a heated last March. Mr Spicer suggested GCHQ,
Britain’s listening outpost, may have been involved in spying on Trump Tower during the election campaign.
The comment triggered a rare rebuke from GCHQ, with a spokesman saying the suggestion it had been asked to take part in wiretapping was “nonsense”.