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White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during a daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Sources say Trump signed off on Spicer searching staffers' phones to discourage leaks


UPDATE: Feb. 27 at 7:01 p.m.

President Trump signed off on White House press secretary Sean Spicer's decision to search staffers' phones to ensure they weren't communicating with the press, sources confirmed tp CNN. 

Those sources also said Trump signed off on Spicer blocking certain reporters from Friday's press briefing. 

Spicer denied Trump being involved in either decision during a phone interview with CNN

Press secretary Sean Spicer is targeting his own staff as part of the administration's crackdown on leaks to the press. 

Last week Spicer called staff into his office to express his frustration regarding the number of leaks, which have shown up in not-so-flattering news stories, according to Politico. When staffers entered Spicer's office they were reportedly told to put their phones on a table for a "phone check" to prove they weren't communicating privately with members of the media. 

Sources told Politico that White House lawyers were present during the "emergency meeting." 

In the meeting, Spicer warned staffers that using encrypted texting apps, like Signal and Confide, violates the Presidential Records Act, multiple sources in the room told Politico. 

Politico reports that the phone checks were not limited to staffers' government-issued devices, but included any electronics they were carrying at the time of the meeting. 

Spicer also reportedly warned his staff not to leak information about the phone checks to the media, once source told Politico. 

Spicer was particularly frustrated with last week's leaks that Michael Dubke was tapped to serve as White House communications director. 

This all comes after President Donald Trump criticized the media for using unnamed sources in stories. 

Trump railed against the media Friday during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he called the press the "enemy of the American people." 

“I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news. It’s fake, phony, fake,” Trump said. “A few days ago, I called the fake news ‘the enemy of the people,’ and they are. They are the enemy of the people. Because they have no sources. They just make them up when there are none.”

Sources say Trump signed off on Spicer searching staffers' phones to discourage leaks

WATCH  | Trump says, "The fake news doesn't tell the truth." 

Later that day media outlets including CNN, The New York Times, Buzzfeed and Politico were blocked from a press briefing in Spicer's office.

Then, on Sunday, Trump announced that he will not attend this year's White House Correspondents' Association dinner. 

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