What does White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus do when the media reports that the Trump campaign had constant contact with Russian officials?
Reince Priebus Asked the FBI to Deny The Trump Campaign’s Contact with Russia
On Valentine’s Day, The New York Times and CNN reported that the Trump Campaign had been in constant contact with the Russian government before the election. The stories were based on information provided by sources in the US Intelligence Community.
After the news reports ran, Reince Priebus hit up the Deputy Director of the FBI, asking that the FBI “publicly knock down” media reports about communications between Trump campaign associates and Russians known to US intelligence.
This is a real “no-no” because the FBI is supposed to be conducting an independent investigation, and as an independent agency, does not report at the pleasure (or insistence) of the White House.
When the shit hit the fan about Reince Priebus’ FBI request, a “senior White House official” (Reince Priebus, acting as his own anonymous source) said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate. The FBI has said that it did not report any such thing.
The White House Pressures Congressional Committee Chairmen to Deny Contact with Russians
Additionally, the White House (again, Reince Priebus) pressured Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees to deny any wrongdoing related to contact with Russian Intelligence by the Trump campaign.
These denials are suspect, and here’s why: on February 17, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held a briefing with FBI Director Comey, and when asked, some senators suggest that there was new information about Russia.
“Every briefing we go through we gain new information,” said Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, a member of the committee. Lankford declined to be more specific about the briefing. Sen. Angus King of Maine also declined to reveal what was discussed during the Comey briefing. In response to a question on Priebus’ strong denial of the claims, King said he was “surprised” that Priebus would be “that categorical.”
The White House Punished Media Outlets for Covering This Story
In order to punish the media outlets (the BBC, CNN, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Politico) that aggressively covered this fiasco between Reince Priebus and the FBI, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied them access to last Friday’s press “gaggle.”
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