The Trump/Russia story continues, this time with a CNN story that the Trump regime directly asked the FBI to publicly disavow its own ongoing investigation into the regime's ties with Russia.
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.
So, at best, this is the Trump regime putting pressure on the FBI to publicly comment on an ongoing investigation in the regime's favor, when the rules exist expressly for the purpose of preventing such an obvious conflict of interest. Worst case: Reince Priebus is guilty of outright obstruction of justice. Democrats are not going to let this one slide.
House Judiciary Committee ranking member John Conyers said the report was cause for bipartisan concern, renewing a call for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from an investigation into what he called "clear ties" between the Trump administration and Russian officials.
"The need for an independent, bipartisan investigation into these matters has never been more clear," he said. "The Trump team has clear ties to the Russian government—and we ignore those ties at our own peril."
Several other former federal employees blasted the actions as improper.
Former Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem blasted Priebus' reported actions as "so wrong" and "so desperate." Another Justice Department alum, Matthew Miller, called the interaction "beyond inappropriate," adding that it "veers dangerously close to tampering with an investigation."
Brian Fallon, former press secretary to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, responded to the story by alluding to the FBI Director's letter to Congress about reopening the investigation into Clinton's emails.
"On the plus side, this story means Comey is going to leak word of any attempt by Trump WH to meddle in his inquiry," Fallon wrote on Twitter Thursday.
I'm sure this will be spun by the usual suspects as Priebus simply trying to get Comey to put the "rogue Obama deep state leakers" in the FBI in line, but the expectation is clearly there that the regime expects Comey to make the Russia story vanish by ending the investigation, and soon.