Following a report in the Washington Post last night alleging retired Gen. Michael Flynn had spoken to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times in late December, CNN reported this morning that the Trump transition team confirmed the phone calls did take place.
But Spicer said the two men spoke a day earlier, on December 28, and discussed setting up a call between Trump and Putin after Trump's inauguration on January 20.
"They exchanged logistical information on how to initiate and schedule that call", Spicer said.
The Associated Press and Washington Post, citing unnamed USA officials, first reported that Mr. Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak had "frequent phone contact".
Russian President Vladimir Putin unexpectedly did not retaliate against the US for the move, a decision Trump quickly praised.
The other two sources, however, said the timing of the calls raised a question about whether Flynn had given Kislyak any assurances to soothe Russian anger over the US moves.
"This building doesn't see anything necessarily inappropriate about contact between members of the incoming administration and foreign officials", Toner said.
"That's interesting because the Russians have been very clear that they meant to exclude the Obama administration, the US, in the initial discussions of this, so that would signal a change". "What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the USA sanctions?" he wrote. The Logan Act bars unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments that are in disputes with the United States. It is aimed at preventing the undermining of official USA government positions.
A Russian embassy spokesman told the Interfax news agency today, "The embassy isn't commenting on multiple contacts with our counterparts here, which take place on a daily basis in line with the diplomatic practice".
However, Flynn has also expressed scepticism about Moscow's intentions - a view that does not seem to fit Trump's vision of closer ties with Moscow.
The president-elect also strongly denied unsubstantiated reports that Russian Federation has compromising personal information about him.
Flynn's own ties with Russian Federation have anxious some Republicans who are more skeptical of the Kremlin than Trump appears to be.
Asked Friday afternoon if he was bothered by Flynn's talks with the Russian representative, President Barack Obama's spokesman said it "depends on what he said".
Ignatius said he does not know how the government officials who spoke with him knew about the calls, and "one can obviously speculate".
The new subject of discussion is Trump's national security adviser, General Michael Flynn, and his contacts with Russian entities, which have been described as "frequent".
Trump, who has called for improving US-Russia relations, on Wednesday conceded for the first time that Russia was behind cyberattacks during the presidential election.
The timing of the calls however does raise questions about whether Flynn had given Kislyak any assurances to calm Russian anger over the United States moves. He said he could not weigh in without knowing the content.