search
Sections List
American Journal News

FBI colluded with Trump White House. The time for an independent investigation is now.

Donald Trump’s White House is desperately trying to spin its way out of a bombshell CNN report which revealed that the administration tried to lean on the FBI to refute a story about Team Trump’s contacts with Russia, but succeeded only in deepening the scandal. The timeline for this current scandal is important, because it reveals […]

By Tommy Christopher - February 24, 2017
Share
Mike Pence, Joseph Clancy, Donald Trump, James Comey

Donald Trump’s White House is desperately trying to spin its way out of a bombshell CNN report which revealed that the administration tried to lean on the FBI to refute a story about Team Trump’s contacts with Russia, but succeeded only in deepening the scandal.

The timeline for this current scandal is important, because it reveals both the FBI’s culpability and the White House’s chronic dishonesty.

This past weekend, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was sent out to the Sunday shows to refute The New York Times’ reporting, and although his claims were embellished as the day wore on, he initially stated only that a high-level intelligence source told him that reports of “constant contact” were “grossly overstated”:

The New York Times, last week, 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.

In all of his appearances, Priebus took pains to explain that he was authorized to disclose what this “top intelligence official” said to him, without revealing his name, yet continued to embellish what was allegedly said to him.

Then came CNN’s blockbuster report, which former Nixon counsel John Dean aptly labeled an attempt at a cover-up:

The CNN report prompted blistering pressure for an independent investigation, and not just from Democrats:

The real scandal, though, is that not only did the White House try to influence the FBI to prejudice their own investigation — they appear to have succeeded.

As constitutional law professor Lawrence Tribe noted in an interview with ThinkProgress, what Priebus did was at the very least unethical, and potentially an obstruction of justice:

“[I]t could well be attempted obstruction of justice, and it’s certainly so unethical that it would be a firing offense for a chief of staff in any White House that respects the rule of law,” Tribe said.

Federal law prohibits any communication that “endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice.”

In attempting to side-step this scandal, however, the White House managed to implicate the FBI. On Friday morning, the White House held a “background briefing” on the report (from a pool report, via email from The White House, emphasis added, misspellings in original):

Background briefing by senior administration officials:

Major pushback on FBI-White House story. The ‘tick-tock’ starts with 7:30a meeting at WH 2/15 on unrelated intel issue conducted by Reince Priebus. FBI assistant director Andrew McCabe for 5 mins after meeting. At the one on one, McCabe said ‘I want you to know story in NYT (in FBI investigating contacts between Trump campaign people and Russian intel) is BS.’ (Some question whether he said bullshit or simply BS although officials best recollection is ‘bullshit.’) Preibus asked ‘what can we do about this?’ McCabe demurs and says he’ll get back to Preibus. Preibus’ can concern is he’s ‘getting crushed’ on the story. ‘What an I supposed to do?’

Later on, McCabe calls back and tells Preibus theFBI can’t say anything. ‘We’d love to help but we can’t get into the position of making statements on every story.’
Preibus asked if he could cite ‘senior intelligence officials’ as saying there’s nothing to the NYT story. McCabe says yes. Later on, FBI Director James Comey himself calls Preibus and reiterated much the same thing — story BS but can’t put out statement.

This means that the FBI authorized Priebus to disclose information about an ongoing investigation, in direct contradiction of Justice Department policy, which states that “components and personnel of the Department of Justice shall not respond to questions about the existence of an ongoing investigation or comment on its nature or progress.”

That the disclosure was made “on background” does not change anything; it was as much on the record as the above “background briefing.” What the disclosure did do, however, was to allow Priebus to embellish, and potentially lie about, the nature of that disclosure.

There are reportedly six intelligence agencies investigating Trump and his associates’ contacts with Russia, and with this revelation by the White House, the FBI has proven itself a hopelessly prejudiced member of that task force.

More than ever, this episode highlights the need for an independent investigation headed by a special prosecutor, and a complete recusal by the Trump Justice Department and the FBI.


AJ News
Get the latest news here first.

Tai News

Newsletter
Read More
AJ News
Latest
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Republican Bernie Moreno opposes existence of minimum wage

Republican Bernie Moreno opposes existence of minimum wage

By Jesse Valentine - February 23, 2024
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats building a wall on the Oklahoma border

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats building a wall on the Oklahoma border

By Jesse Valentine - February 22, 2024
More than 48,600 18-year-olds are registered to vote in Ohio, a 35% increase from late August

More than 48,600 18-year-olds are registered to vote in Ohio, a 35% increase from late August

By Megan Henry, Ohio Capital Journal - February 22, 2024
Not if, but when: Parents of slain Parkland students urge Utah lawmakers to pass school safety bill

Not if, but when: Parents of slain Parkland students urge Utah lawmakers to pass school safety bill

By Kyle Dunphey, Utah News Dispatch - February 21, 2024
Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

By Nick Evans, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024
Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024