The Trump Administration has come under fire recently after current and former US officials confirmed with The New York Times that, according to phone records, members of the Trump campaign did indeed have contact with Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.
The phone calls were recorded by the NSA as part of its routine foreign surveillance procedure. This came about at the same time that Russia was found attempting to hack into the DNC to leak embarrassing information, so intelligence officials sought to find out whether the Trump campaign was cooperating with Russia to try to influence the election.
Trump and his people have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing on their part. And of course, our President himself had something to say about the ordeal on Twitter. He tweeted that “The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security ‘leakers’ that have permeated our government for a long time.”
The White House also issued a statement in which it calls The New York Times story “complete garbage.”
Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that, “We didn’t try to knock the story down. We asked them to tell the truth.” The Trump administration has declared The New York Times, among other publications, to be “fake news.”
According to a report this week by CNN, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked the FBI to publicly condemn the story published by The New York Times. But what the FBI said in response is pretty surprising.
Priebus reportedly contacted FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and asked that they publicly label The New York Times’ story as being “total BS” and that the Trump campaign didn’t actually make any contact with Russian intelligence. When McCabe denied Priebus’ request, Priebus instead went to FBI Director James Comey, who also denied the request on the grounds that the matter is still under investigation.
But Priebus wasn’t out of ideas just yet...he then asked both McCabe and Comey if he could instead quote the two of them anonymously as “top intelligence officials,” saying that The New York Times’ story was incorrect. They agreed.
Interestingly enough, the White House requesting help from the FBI is pretty hypocritical, given that Trump himself was angered when Bill Clinton met with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, presumably to talk about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal before the investigation was up. Trump commented at the time that the move really was a “sneak.”
The scandal between the White House and the FBI is an unusual scenario because of age-old restrictions on communication between the two. Priebus’ contact with McCabe and Comey is in direct violation of the restrictions placed on communication during an ongoing investigation.
It’s hard to say exactly what’ll happen next, but some have gone as far as to say that this investigation will lead to a political crisis that compares with that of the Civil War era. The Guardian even stated that it could become the “greatest political scandal in American history.”
Whether or not this whole kerfuffle ever becomes the biggest scandal in American political history is beyond us, but it has happened to come at a time when the Trump administration has chosen to censor certain media outlets, which certainly could be interpreted as a tad suspicious.