Anderson Cooper claimed that Donald Trump wanted the FBI to interfere with the media. After introducing the claim, he had some guests on to elaborate on Trump’s efforts.
“So, Anderson — CNN is told that the FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications during the 2016 presidential campaign between Donald Trump’s associates and advisers and Russians that are known to U.S. intelligence,” Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto told Cooper, and he added that White House sought other agencies investigating the matter to say that communications didn’t happen.
After Anderson Cooper noted that this wasn’t a typical request, Justice Correspondent Evan Perez said that this began the day after several stories were published. White House officials said that the New York Times, in particular, vastly overstated what the FBI knew. Perez added that the White House wanted the FBI to at least dispute the stories, but they refused and declined to comment for this particular story.
Cooper noted that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus denied having constant contact with Russian spies. He then showed a video of Priebus’ denial.
“Basically, these are treasonous-like accusations. We have all kinds of people looking into this. I can assure you that the top levels of the intelligence community assured me that this story is not only inaccurate, but it’s grossly overstated. And it was wrong,” Priebus says in the video.
The New York Times article that came out on February 14 was called “fake news” by many on the right. However, the accusations were explosive.
“Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.”
The article adds that American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee — this is something that has been confirmed by three officials.
Anderson Cooper noted that the investigation is still ongoing and that Priebus is focusing on the New York Times instead of the CNN report, which is different.
“If Reince Priebus is saying there is nothing to the reports of communications between Trump advisers and Russians known to U.S. intelligence insiders during the campaign, that’s not accurate,” Sciutto said to Cooper, adding that the FBI really is investigating all the communications, and Congress is investigating as well.
Evan Perez stressed that the communication on this between the White House and FBI is unusual, and the request the White House made to the FBI would appear to violate procedures that limit these types of communications on pending investigations.
“Either way, the White House asking the FBI to help refute stories runs contrary to the Justice Department’s procedures that were issued in 2007,” Perez angrily claimed.
Anderson Cooper also spent time talking about the newly drafted travel ban that President Trump hopes to pass. He noted that there were new efforts from the administration to provide a factual basis for the ban. According to Justice Correspondent Pamela Brown, the Dept. of Homeland Security and the Justice Dept. are working on an intelligence report that will demonstrate that the security threat for seven countries is substantial and that these countries have all been exporters of terrorism into the United States.
Do you think Anderson Cooper accurately covered the issues of the FBI communications and the travel ban? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]