U.S. authorities were concerned with and probing communications between associates of President Donald Trump and suspected Russian intelligence officials in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, sources familiar with the matter confirm to ABC News.
The news comes just a day after Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned amid questions about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador during the transition and continuing inquiries about the administration's relationship with Russia.
The New York Times first reported the alleged “repeated contacts” between the associates and Russians in the year leading up to the election. U.S. officials speaking with the Times noted however that there was no evidence of cooperation between the campaign and the Russians to “influence the election.”
A U.S. intelligence report released in January previously noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to undermine the November’s presidential election and steer American voters to Trump.
In January, Trump denied that he or anyone in his campaign had contact with Russia leading up to the election when asked by ABC News' Cecilia Vega. He has also denied having anything to do with Russia at all.
Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
And today, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked a similar question by ABC News' Jonathan Karl.
Spicer at first discussed Flynn, but when pressed said: "I don't have any -- I -- there's nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period."