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White House Crosses Line, Asks FBI to Publicly Discredit Reports of Ties to Russia, FBI Refuses

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‘The White House Is Simply Not Permitted to Pressure the FBI to Make Public Statements About a Pending Investigation’ Says Rep. John Conyers

Earlier this month White House officials requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation to discredit and knock down ongoing media reports detailing communications between persons associated with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian officials during the 2016 campaign.

First reported by CNN and then by The New York Times ten days ago, U.S. intelligence officials and others within the Justice Department aware of the request told both media outlets that not long after the reports surfaced detailing the contacts between Trump’s associates and the Russians, senior administration officials sought the help of the FBI and other U.S. agencies investigating the Russia matter to dispute the reports and state that those reports were wrong.

Direct communications between the White House and the FBI broke long held protocols and procedures first initiated by the Ford Administration in the wake of Watergate and is a violation of those decades old procedures that limit communications with the FBI on pending investigations.

“The White House is simply not permitted to pressure the FBI to make public statements about a pending investigation of the president and his advisers,” Rep. John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan and the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, told the AP.

CNN reported Thursday that “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 U.S. law enforcement official.” The White House publicly denied that version of the story claiming that McCabe called Priebus early that morning and said The New York Times story vastly overstates what the FBI knows about the contacts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWp0L0KF_JI

A senior administration official later contacted CNN and corrected the White House version of events to confirm what the law enforcement official described to the network. CNN also noted “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.”

FBI Director Comey rejected the request for the FBI to intervene stories, according to several sources, who told the New York Times, “because the alleged communications between Trump associates and Russians known to US intelligence are the subject of an ongoing investigation.”

Priebus himself labeled The New York Times story “complete garbage.”

During his appearance on Fox News last weekend, Priebus said, “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.”  

The administration’s efforts to press the FBI Director violates two separate 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 told CNN and the New York Times that incoming U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reviewing the memos and that “the Department is following the guidelines in its communications with the White House.”

The White House and the FBI both declined comment.

Brody Levesque is the Chief Political Correspondent for The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody at Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page. 

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'CLARIFYING THINGS'

Mark Meadows Retweets Trump’s Denial He Tested Positive for COVID Before Debate – a Fact That Appears in Meadows’ Book

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Less than 24 hours after former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows appeared to agree to cooperate with the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, news broke that The Guardian had obtained a copy of his new book, and from it the revelation that three days before appearing on stage with Joe Biden at the Sept. 26 presidential debate the then-president, Donald Trump, had tested positive for coronavirus.

Never mind that a second test showed a negative result – one Harvard epidemiologist says that merely meant Trump was not yet infectious but he was, by the debate, “blazing positive” but decided to go on a potentially infect countless others. That act, the noted disease specialist and professors says, “was a massive, dangerous and likely intentional decision.”

Trump, as usual, especially in recent days, issued a quick statement via his spokesperson, this time denying the revelation in Meadows’ book, a revelation The Washington Post Wednesday afternoon reported it had confirmed with two other former Trump aides.

What is stunning is that, as Politico National Political Correspondent Meridith McGraw notes, Meadows himself retweeted Trump’s statement of denial:

The Washington Post also notes that at least six people close to Trump tested positive for coronavirus shortly after the debate, including Melania Trump, Hope Hicks, Stephen Miller, and Kayleigh McEnany.

“Trump on Wednesday was furious that Meadows revealed the anecdote in his forthcoming book and that it was published via the liberal-leaning Guardian website, according to a person familiar with the former president’s reaction, who requested anonymity to reveal a private conversation,” the Post adds. “Meadows through an emissary has offered to put out a statement ‘clarifying things,’ but that offer was rejected, the person said.”

Which is likely why he decided to retweet Trump’s statement.

Writer and political activist Don Winslow has another take on the day’s events:

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BREAKING NEWS

Watch: Stacey Abrams Announces She’s Running for Governor of Georgia

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Stacey Abrams has just announced she is running for governor of Georgia. Abrams, the former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives for more than six years ran for governor in 2018, losing by a slim margin to then Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in a race many saw as tainted by his voter suppression actions.

Abrams went on to become a highly-effective voting rights advocate and activist, and many credit her with helping elect Joe Biden president by helping him win the state by registering an estimated 800,000 more voters.

Watch:

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'PRETTY STARK DIFFERENCE'

‘The Former President Was Suggesting People Inject Bleach’: Psaki Smacks Down Doocy Over COVID Deaths

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was quick to scuttle Fox News’ president anti-Biden propagandist after he tried to turn today’s news about then-President Donald Trump hiding the results of his positive COVID test barely days before standing on stage with Joe Biden at a Sept. 2020 debate into a story about President Joe Biden’s success in scuttling the pandemic.

“There’s a lot of talk about the first Trump-Biden debate today,” Doocy began. “But at the second one in 2021, roughly 220,000 Americans had already died of COVID. Joe Biden said about Trump, ‘anyone who was responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America.’ Is that still the standard now that more Americans have died under President Biden?

“I think the fundamental question here is what are you doing to save lives and protect people?” Psaki responded, with a tinge of anger. “And the former president was suggesting people inject bleach. He apparently, reportedly didn’t even share with people he was going to interact with that he had tested positive for COVID himself. He continued to provide a forum for misinformation, which probably led to people not getting, not taking steps forward to get to protect themselves, to wear a mask, to eventually get vaccinated. This President has made the vaccine widely available. He’s relied on the health – the advice of his health and medical experts, and he is trying to be a part of solving this crisis, getting the pandemic under control. And I think there’s a pretty stark difference between their approaches. ”

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