CNN reported Thursday evening that “multiple U.S. officials” have informed them that the White House asked the FBI to “knock down” media reports about communications between the Russians and Donald Trump’s associates.
According to the CNN story, the FBI has rejected the request.
CNN and The New York Times first published reports of contacts between the Trump team and Russia on February 14. According to CNN, White House officials asked the FBI to issue a statement that the communications did not occur.
According to CNN’s story, the day after the report was published, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus met with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, but the White House said McCabe actually called Priebus and disputed the NY Times story as over-exaggerating what the FBI really knew about the issue.
Priebus reportedly followed up with McCabe later, and to FBI Director James Comey, asking them to “at least talk to reporters to dispute the stories.”
Comey declined to reach out to reporters, because the alleged communications are being investigated.
CNN is insisting that there was “constant communication” between Trump’s advisers and Russian officials during the summer of 2016.
Priebus has called the story “complete garbage.”
“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 said on Fox News Sunday last weekend.
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