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US Officials Reportedly Apologize To The UK Over Spying Claims

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Spicer was citing Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano, who recently suggested British intelligence agency GCHQ had helped then-President Barack Obama spy on Trump.

Asked if there was an apology by the administration to the British government over the matter, Spicer replied, "No, we were just passing on news reports".

Trump has stood by his claim, repeating the allegation again Friday while standing next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. And I think if you watch-if you watched the Bret Baier and what he was saying and what he was talking about and how he mentioned the word "wiretap", you would feel very confident that you could mention the name. "Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time, any way".

Press secretary Sean Spicer, who reportedly was told Tuesday the claim was false, nonetheless read from a Fox News report Thursday to bolster his boss's claim.

In a statement seen by The Guardian, a GCHQ spokesperson described the allegations as "nonsense", "ridiculous" and should therefore be "ignored".

But since becoming president, Trump has repeatedly questioned the loyalty and competence of U.S. intelligence bodies, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency. Top leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that Trump's allegation is unfounded, but the president said his administration "will be submitting things" to the panel and that he perhaps will be speaking about his claim next week. But the White House's refusal to back down has created more problems for the new administration.

Tim Farron, leader of the UK Liberal Democrat party - the junior coalition partner in the last British government - described the White House claim as "shameful" and said it risked harming U.S. and UK security.

US President Barack Obama shakes hands as he meets with Republican President-elect Donald Trump (L) on transition planning in the Oval Office at the White House on November 10, 2016 in Washington, DC.

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Earlier Friday, the Department of Justice confirmed that the classified report had been handed to US House and Senate investigators, but declined to comment on the document's contents.

"Mr Spicer was simply pointing to public reports, not endorsing any specific story", the White House explained in a statement.

MARCH 13: Conway says her comments the previous day were misconstrued but continues to air the allegation about the president and wiretapping at Trump Tower.

A spokesman said: 'Although we are not qualified critics, we are as intrigued as the rest of the residents of Cheltenham about the appearance of the mysterious artwork'.

Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone says he believes his contacts with a Russian-linked hacker who took credit for breaching the Democratic National Committee may have been obtained through a FISA warrant.

On Thursday, leaders of the Senate Intelligence committee said in a statement there is no indication that Trump Tower was "the subject of surveillance" by the USA government before or after the 2016 election. Conversations between Flynn and Russia's ambassador before inauguration were picked up by USA intelligence and later disclosed.

GCHQ - the Government Communications Headquarters - works alongside MI5 and MI6 and focuses on defending the country against cyber threats.

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