Sean Spicer: GCHQ bugged Trump Tower for Barack Obama

Reuters White House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway

Reuters White House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway

German chancellor Angela Merkel paid a visit to USA president Donald Trump and the White House, sharing an awkward moment with the photographers at their s first meeting in the Oval Office on Friday.

Yet the White House still has not backed down from Trump's original claims - nor has it offered any evidence to support them.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's public exchanges with President Donald Trump on Friday can be summarized in one word: awkward.

Public scrutiny of the German chancellor's facial expressions during her visit to Washington did not end there.

The faces say it all.

In a statement to FOX Business, BMW Group's head of business and finance communications said "We understand from the German government that one of the main topics for the business delegation will be to discuss training initiatives".

Speaking at the daily press briefing Thursday, Spicer maintained that Trump would be "vindicated" after new evidence came to light, echoing claims made by Trump in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday.

You can watch the full press conference here.

"Germany's like sitting back silent collecting money and making a fortune with probably the greatest leader in the world today, Merkel", Trump told Time.

The fallout of the claim repeated earlier in the week by Spicer was such that GCHQ took the nearly unprecedented step of issuing a public statement.

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The president, who appears to have made his allegation in a burst of anger, has asked lawmakers to investigate the claim. "They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored".

The wiretapping allegations have hung over the White House for two weeks, since Trump first alleged in a series of tweets that Obama had wiretapped his telephones at Trump Tower in NY.

"It's just too bad that we have to go to this length", Grassley said.

Merkel was originally supposed to visit the White House Tuesday, but that meeting was delayed due to snow.

Brian Lord, former Deputy Director for Intelligence and Cyber Operations, said: "The firmness of this response is indicative of the outlandishness of this claim rather than anything else".

"We have enough problems in our country, we don't need another one", the candidate said.

Trump had made European defence spending an issue during his campaign, saying the United States - which spends just over 3% of its GDP on defence - carries too much of the financial burden for supporting North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

He then went on to accuse the Trump administration of using the accusation to distract from their own current crises.

But White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Thursday the United States president maintained the allegation, adding: "He stands by it".

In an additional tweet following his meeting with Merkel, Trump wrote that Germany owes "vast sums of money" to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and that the United States "must be paid more for the powerful and very expensive defense it provides to Germany".

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