White House Official: FBI Said Trump-Russia Story is ‘BS’

Comey, McCabe told Priebus as much in meeting last week, senior administration official says

President Donald Trump criticized the FBI for failing to stop leakers who have “prermeated our government for a long time.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
President Donald Trump criticized the FBI for failing to stop leakers who have “prermeated our government for a long time.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted February 24, 2017 at 8:23am

A White House official said Friday that top FBI officials told Chief of Staff Reince Priebus that the story that the agency is looking into ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia is “bull—-.”

The White House appeared to be responding to a CNN report that the White House asked the FBI to dispel media reports of the Russia story.

A senior administration official told reporters Friday that FBI Assistant Director Andrew McCabe told Chief of Staff Reince Priebus after a meeting on an unrelated intelligence matter last week that the story about contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence was “bull—-.”

The official said Priebus asked McCable what could be done about it, because the White House was “getting crushed” on the story and McCabe said he would get back to him.

McCabe later called back and said the agency would not be able to put out a statement, telling Priebus, “We’d love to help but we can’t get into the position of making statements on every story.”

 

FBI Director James Comey later confirmed McCabe’s assertion, the White House official said, but also said the FBI couldn’t put out a statement.

 

Trump started the morning criticizing the FBI for its alleged inability to identify individuals within the government who leaked the information in the story.

The president dubbed the agency “totally unable” to prevent the actions of “leakers,” tweeting that such individuals have “permeated” the government apparatus for some time.

As often is the case during his morning Twitter rants, which typically appear to be reacting to morning news show segments, Trump wasn’t finished. He used a second tweet to say the FBI is unable to locate leakers within its own ranks.

The president warned that classified data is being handed to the media, which he says could “have a devastating effect on U.S.” He wrapped up the Twitter two-fer with what seems a social media-delivered directive to a federal law enforcement agency: “FIND NOW”

Presidents rarely have publicly criticized the FBI or other federal law enforcement entities, especially during ongoing investigations. For instance, former President Barack Obama and his last press secretary, Josh Earnest, often declined to comment about probes that were still in the works. But the brash Trump during his first five weeks in office has abandoned that practice.

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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer responded to CNN on Thursday night to say the administration did not ask the FBI to refute the media reports: “We didn’t try to knock the story down. We asked them to tell the truth.”