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Later, he said, "from a White House perspective, there's no question that there had been an abundance of reports regarding surveillance and other activity that occurred during the 2016 election".

"That seems to have inspired, very directly, a series of tweets", Folkenflik said.

Spicer further claimed that Trump wasn't directly blaming President Obama, but rather his predecessor's entire administration, reported CNN. The president hasn't provided any evidence to support his claims.

"He doesn't really think that".

After recapping some of what Spicer said in the briefing, Zeleny reiterated his belief that the administration is laying the groundwork to take back the president's comments.

Much of the back and forth centered on Spicer's argument that Trump had put quotes around "wire tap", meaning he was speaking broadly about surveillance as opposed to personally accusing Obama of listening in on his calls (as the tweet might suggest).

No outlets had reported that Obama ordered an illegal wiretap of Trump's or his campaign aides' phones prior to the election, however.

Trump held his first cabinet meeting on Monday, with negotiations over the repeal and replacement of Obama's Affordable Care Act still dominating the political agenda and a budget proposal expected to be unveiled on Thursday.

Hallie Jackson, another NBC reporter, also pressed Spicer again on the CBO numbers. She said she'd listened many times after the fact and asked people she trusted to listen. "So. this is not about what my understanding or my belief of the CBO is". Alexander responded, and the exchange started to become somewhat testy.

However, Shree continues her onslaught asking: 'We have a great country?

"Yes!" Spicer cut in and exclaimed. Spicer asked in response. They tell me to leave the country.

"Is it phony or real when he says that President Obama was wiretapped?" "And we've seen what happened", she said.

He then wrapped up the briefing nearly immediately before more questions could be asked.

"If he's not joking, of course", Spicer said to laughter of disbelief from the press corps. "I have no reason to believe that the charge is true, but I also believe that the president of the United States could clear this up in a minute".

Donating the salary would be good, if Trump does it, but the implication of his pledge to not take a salary was always that he was making a sacrifice to benefit the American people.