According to sources, the FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly dismantle media reports about communications between Donald Trump’s associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the controversial 2016 presidential campaign.
The reports of the contacts were first published by The New York Times and CNN on February 14.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on Fox News Sunday last weekend:
“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.”
According to sources, Comey rejected the request for the FBI to comment on the stories due to the alleged communications between Trump associates and Russians known to US intelligence are the subject of an ongoing investigation.
However, the White House did issue its own rebuttal, with Priebus calling The New York Times story “complete garbage.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the goal of his panel’s inquiry is to follow “leads wherever they go even if they may be uncomfortable to Republicans. The American public will want to know if the President had personal or financial ties to the Russian government.”