There is no reason to believe President Donald Trump is the target of a counter-intelligence probe, according to the White House.
Press secretary Sean Spicer made the statement to reporters during his March 8 press briefing, Talking Points Memo reports.
A journalist asked Spicer, "Is the President the target of a counter-intelligence investigation?"
Spicer initially responded with uncertainty:
I think that's what we need to find out. There's obviously a lot of the concern ... There was considerable concern last cycle when a reporter was the target of one, but part of the reason that we have asked the House and Senate to look into this is because of that. And I think you know it was interesting if you look at last week, all a sudden these stories that keep coming out about the President and his links to Russia, it has continued to be the same old, same old, played over and over again.
Spicer returned to the matter 20 minutes later at the conclusion of the briefing with a more definitive answer.
"I just want to be really clear on one point, which is there's no reason that we have to think that the President is the target of any investigation whatsoever," he said. "I think that’s a very important point to make."
On March 4, Trump accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping phones in Trump Tower during his presidential campaign. The allegation, which has yet to be backed up with evidence, led to speculation as to whether Trump may have been the target of a counter-intelligence investigation.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey and Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente asking for information.
"We request that the Department of Justice provide us copies of any warrant applications and court orders ... related to wiretaps of President Trump, the Trump campaign, or Trump Tower," the March 8 letter states, according to Reuters.
"We would take any abuse of wiretapping authorities for political purposes very seriously," the senators added.
Presidents are not allowed to authorize wiretapping; the federal government must first get the approval of a court.
"We would be equally alarmed to learn that a court found enough evidence of criminal activity or contact with a foreign power to legally authorize a wiretap of President Trump, the Trump campaign, or Trump Tower," Graham and Whitehouse wrote.
Graham hopes to learn more following the response to the letter.
"I expect them to come forward as to whether or not a warrant was obtained or sought," Graham told CNN, according to Reuters.