Friday, February 24, 2017

FBI refused White House request to knock down recent Trump-Russia stories

CNN The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN.

But a White House official 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.

White House officials had sought the help of the bureau and other agencies investigating the Russia matter to say that the reports were wrong and that there had been no contacts, the officials said. The reports of the contacts were first published by The New York Times and CNN on February 14.

The direct communications between the White House and the FBI were unusual because of decade-old restrictions on such contacts. Such a request from the White House is a violation of procedures that limit communications with the FBI on pending investigations.

Late Thursday night, White House press secretary Sean Spicer objected to CNN's characterization of the White House request to the FBI.

"We didn't try to knock the story down. We asked them to tell the truth," Spicer said. The FBI declined to comment for this story.

The discussions between the White House and the bureau began with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on the sidelines of a separate White House meeting the day after the stories were published, according to a US law enforcement official.

The White House initially disputed that account, saying that McCabe called Priebus early that morning and said The New York Times story vastly overstates what the FBI knows about the contacts.

But a White House official later corrected their version of events to confirm what the law enforcement official described.

The same White House official said that Priebus later reached out again to McCabe and to FBI Director James Comey asking for the FBI to at least talk to reporters on background to dispute the stories. A law enforcement official says McCabe didn't discuss aspects of the case but wouldn't say exactly what McCabe told Priebus. [...]

The Trump administration's efforts to press Comey run contrary to Justice Department procedure memos issued in 2007 and 2009 that limit direct communications on pending investigations between the White House and the FBI.

"Initial communications between the [Justice] Department and the White House concerning pending or contemplated criminal investigations or cases will involve only the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General, from the side of the Department, and the Counsel to the President, the Principal Deputy Counsel to the President, the President, or the Vice President from the side of the White House," reads the 2009 memo.

The memos say the communication should only happen when it is important for the President's duties and where appropriate from a law enforcement perspective.

A Department of Justice spokesman said Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reviewing the memos and that "the Department is following the guidelines in its communications with the White House."

The effort to refute the CNN and New York Times stories came as increasing numbers of congressional members were voicing concern about Russia's efforts to influence individuals with ties to Trump. [...]


  1. Meh-mos. There's more at stake here than concern for some hermetically sealed barrier between the White House and Justice Dept. Pres. Trump is fighting the People's Battle against FlakeyFakey news. All hands on deck.

  2. therefore he is above the law! Nixon had the same idea. All is permitted in a "righteous" battle against the evil establishment. That seems to have been what Bannon's latest comment meant

  3. "All" is a little strong, but, yes, all is permitted. We are in a War of Values, and it's no less a war than the military battles that America has fought, such as to defeat the Japanese in WWII.

    I live in Maryland and many of the Civil War battles were fought in this area. This is a civil war. My side used the Democratic process to gain power. Now is the time to push the envelope and consolidate power.

  4. And destroy Democracy and establish a dictator!?

  5. While I agree with much of what you wrote - or rather adapted - that is not my main concern. It is Trump's inability to recognize when he is saying a lie, his insistence that everything is about him and thus doesn't listen to what is being said and instead becomes defensive or belligerent and his monumental narcissism. In short it is not his values or even his program - it is his severe personality defects that make him a very loose canon. He is unstable and unpredictable - something which his follows feels is needed to destroy the Leftist Program - but can just as easily be used to destroy the country. It is the refusal of people like you to acknowledge the danger he represents and always paint any criticism of him as false or bias or an attack on G-d's messenger - that is the real problem. He is not stable mentally and that is like playing with nitroglycerin. The repeated response - He won just get over it and while he does some strange things but his advisers will keep him in line - is not very reassuring.

  6. (I didn't write this article; I copied and pasted from the NY Post. I apologize for not being clearer)

    This point of contention is very understandable.

    It boils down to whether the risk of Trump is worth it. If we ignore the far left and we ignore those who drank the kool aid: about 30-35% prefer the risk of allowing the corruption and self-interests of Washington to continue; about 30-35% prefer the risk of Trump. Each side has its disadvantages - and no good option was available. (Why is a whole different story, but is an integral part of the problem.)

    I just wish that it would be clear in your posts and that you wouldn't need to use the untrustworthy NYT, Washington Post and CNN.

    In general, I'm not bothered by fair and balanced criticism of Trump in the secular press. I don't like the hypocritical, exaggerated, false stories and bullying, but I don't mind the criticism that he does deserve. As to the Frum press, I do have a different opinion - for all its worth. I would against mocking Hillary Clinton - had she made it - besides for the few times when it directly affects us and our voice can make a difference. We don't need to antagonize her, especially after her emails showed how vain she is and that she was very upset that some little Yiddish newspaper cropped out her picture........ Since Trump is at least as vain as she is, I feel the same way. A classiddish guy - with him name emblazoned on his Yarmulka in bright blue lettering - should not volunteer to give the president the friendly question the he explicitly asked for at that moment - particularly if he's not sure that he can produce. (He tried, but failed.)

  7. Speaking as no Hillary fan, that wasn't vanity; the cropping was most troubling.


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