By Alexander Bolton - 02/23/17
The FBI rejected a recent request by the White House to dispute media reports that Trump campaign officials had regular contacts with Russian intelligence officials before the election, CNN reported.
The revelation comes days after White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said during a weekend television interview that senior intelligence officials assured him that there were not significant contacts between Trump advisers and Russian agents.
But CNN reported Thursday, citing “multiple U.S. officials briefed on the matter,” that the FBI declined to publicly corroborate Priebus, despite a rare request from the White House to do so. The New York Times and CNN reported last week that Trump campaign aides and associates were in touch with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign.
Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN that it “exacerbates the air of suspicion” around the administration.
The report of White House communications with the FBI during a pending investigation into Russia’s influence on the 2016 presidential election could raise questions about whether the contacts violated restrictions established to insulate such probes from political influence.