White House defends contacts with Federal Bureau of Investigation over Russian Federation reports

On Feb. 15, the day after the New York Times reported that members of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other associates had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence officials, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus spoke with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Priebus asked if he could say intelligence officials assured him the story was inaccurate, and Comey said he could, the official told reporters. They made that request at a time when Comey is working with the Senate Intelligence Community to investigate an election meddling effort Trump's inner circle has been linked to.

"Reince is doing an awesome job", Bannon told The Hill last week in a joint interview with Priebus.

Such a request was unusual as it contravenes restrictions on such contacts between the White House and the FBI on pending investigations, it said. "It got us out of a trade deal and let our sovereignty come back to ourselves", he said, referring to the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

US intelligence services and several congressional committees are investigating Russia's interference in the U.S election.

Years later, the Bush administration dropped the wall between the executive branch and the Justice Department, raising the number of officials who could have contact with the DOJ on criminal cases from 4 to 895 (!). Two hours later, Trump panned news stories that rely on unnamed sources, telling a conservative conference that reporters "shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody's name". If then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch shouldn't have had a brief social visit with the husband of Hillary Clinton, who was then a subject of an ongoing investigation, there surely shouldn't be contact between the president's chief of staff and FBI investigators about the substance of their work. A White House spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told the news channel: "We didn't try to knock the story down".

"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".

Guy Benson, a conservative political commentator, pointed out the timing of Trump's angry leak tweets, noting they "coincidentally" came the morning after news broke that the Federal Bureau of Investigation refused to leak favorable stories about Trump.

"They're going to pay a big price", he said.

According to some experts, the demand imposed by the White House breaks the rules that limit the level of communication with FBI during an investigation.

The FBI has not commented on it and CBS News has not confirmed the report.

  • Leroy Wright