WASHINGTON—Members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign had been in contact with senior Russian officials in 2015, The New York Times reported Monday night.
The Times says there is no evidence that the Trump team aided alleged Russian attempts to interfere in the election. However, the report cites four current and former officials who said phone records and intercepted calls showed the communication.
It is not clear if Trump knew about the reported calls.
The claims come shortly after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday that there was no evidence that there had been any contact.
“There’s nothing that would conclude me that anything has changed with respect to that time period,” Spicer said, backing up the administration’s standing denial.
The New York Times reported that Paul Manafort, who briefly served as Trump’s campaign chair, rejected the charge as a “absurd.”
Manafort left the campaign amid a different Times report claiming that a ledger purportedly from a pro-Russian political party in the Ukraine showed that they secretly paid him $12.7 million.
This has been a tough week for the administration when it comes to Russia.
National Security Adviser Mike Flynn resigned from his position Monday night after acknowledging that he had given his colleagues “incomplete information” on phone calls he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
The White House has not formally responded to Tuesday’s report, but Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that the leaks that fueled the article are a problem.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017