CNN has been in contact with several officials within the FBI that say they were asked to “knock down” media stories about their ongoing investigation into ties between the Trump administration and Russia. This new leak is not only embarrassing but will likely have the exact opposite effect that the administration was hoping for. Rather than ‘knocking down’ any of the current stories about misconduct, it has become yet another.
What makes this doubly upsetting is a current Justice Department decision that Trump’s team didn’t even bother to revoke before they went about violating it. In fact, after the story first broke, current Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn’t even seem to be aware of the rule. When asked, his department said it would “examine” the memos and that:
The [Justice] Department is following the guidelines in its communications with the White House.
However, this doesn’t really answer the question at hand. The accusation is that the White House may have acted inappropriately towards the FBI based on guidelines set up by the Justice Department. Not that any guidelines were violated by communications between the Justice Department and the White House. Either this is an intentional side-step that allows Sessions to avoid taking issue with his new boss’ behavior or Sessions and his team have no idea what is even being said about them.
Reince Priebus also tried to discredit such stories on Fox News Sunday saying:
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.
However, many Senators who have been repeatedly briefed about the ongoing investigation disagree. In fact, it seems that the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia has continued to expand, sometimes calling the same individuals back in for additional questioning. Obviously, whether or not there is anything to the charges against the Trump administration, someone in “the top levels of the intelligence community” at least believes something could have happened.
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