Now, this is getting interesting: The FBI reportedly rejected a White House request to stop media reports about communication between President Donald Trump’s associates and the Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Of course, a White House official claims the request was only made after the FBI learned the reports were false, but at this point, does anyone believe anything coming out of the Trump administration?
According to CNN, the White House looked to the FBI and other agencies investigating Russian matters to come out and say that the news reports—most notably by the New York Times and CNN, which both reported pieces Feb. 14—were wrong and to add that there had been no contact between Trump associates and the Russians.
CNN notes that the White House isn’t supposed to have direct communication with the FBI on pending investigations, especially if said investigations include the White House and contacts close to the president.
White House press secretary Sean “Spicy Facts” Spicer told CNN late Thursday that the White House didn’t try to squash stories coming out about communication between Russia and Trump’s friends.
“We didn’t try to knock the story down,” Spicy Facts said. “We asked them to tell the truth.”
The FBI refused CNN’s request for comment.
On Feb. 15, the day after the stories were published in the New York Times and on CNN, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus began having talks initiated by Priebus, a U.S. law-enforcement official told CNN.
A White House official initially claimed that McCabe had reached out to them, noting that the New York Times story was false, but later backtracked, saying that Priebus did initiate the conversation.
“The same White House official said that Priebus later reached out again to McCabe and to FBI Director James Comey asking for the FBI to at least talk to reporters on background to dispute the stories,” CNN reports.
Because Trump’s associates’ communication with the Russians is part of an ongoing investigation, Comey rejected the request for the FBI to comment on the stories.
When the FBI refused to comment on the stories, the White House then claimed that the stories weren’t true. Priebus even went so far as to call the New York Times piece “complete garbage,” saying on Fox News Sunday, according to CNN:
The New York Times put out an article with no direct sources that said that the Trump campaign had constant contacts with Russian spies, basically, you know, some treasonous type of accusations. We have now all kinds of people looking into this. I can assure you—and I have been approved to say this—that the top levels of the intelligence community have assured me that that story is not only inaccurate, but it’s grossly overstated and it was wrong. And there’s nothing to it.
Preibus can spout all the foolishness he wants, but the FBI is still investigating what appears to be the case: that high-level folks in Trump’s campaign were in contact with the Russians while he was running for office. And, now, it’s beginning to look as if the White House got mad when the FBI refused to play ball. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.
But I’m here for this.
Read more at CNN.