The Queen and Barack Obama should team up to sue Donald Trump for libel, George W Bush’s ethics lawyer says

‘If only they were willing’, Richard Painter said

Rachael Revesz
Tuesday 21 March 2017 10:27 GMT
The Queen is set to meet Mr Trump in October
The Queen is set to meet Mr Trump in October (PA)

The former chief ethics counsel to President George W Bush has suggested the Queen pair up with former President Barack Obama to sue Donald Trump over his “libellous” claims that they wiretapped him.

“Obama could now have a co-plaintiff in a libel suit against Trump,” tweeted Richard Painter, one of the lawyers behind a case which alleges the President has conflicts of interest with his business empire. “If only they were willing.”

The current US President held strong that both parties subjected him to illegal surveillance at Trump Tower before the election, despite FBI Director James Comey declaring this week before the House Intelligence Committee that he had no evidence to prove it.

GCHQ in the UK and Mr Obama’s spokesperson also denied ordering the now President to be put under surveillance. The Royal Communications office declined to comment to The Independent.

Despite highly stringent libel laws in the UK, it would be unlikely for the head of state’s office to launch a lawsuit against the new President.

Mr Trump is scheduled to visit the Queen in October at Buckingham Palace. It was arranged for June but it was delayed following protests in the UK against Mr Trump’s controversial policies.

Prime Minister Theresa May visited Mr Trump in Washington DC in January, the first foreign leader to pay such a visit, to ensure US-UK trade deals would continue after Brexit.

The allegedly libellous allegations against Mr Trump's predecessor and the head of state in the UK, as Mr Painter described them, have a touch of irony given that Mr Trump promised Americans he would “open up our libel laws” to attack freedom of the press.

He first tweeted that he had been wiretapped on 4 March, based on reports from Fox News and state-sponsored news outlet RT Today. Critics accused the President of making up the claims to distract attention from the alleged ties between his campaign and Russian operatives before and after the election, which he has denied.

But Mr Comey, speaking on behalf of the Department of Justice and the FBI, testified that no President could directly order a wiretap.

“With respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets,” he told the committee.

Mr Painter’s tweet about the Queen suing the President prompted amusement.

One tweeter joked: “She said: ‘One is seriously f***ing tempted. But it wouldn't be quite the thing’.”

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