White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, right, accompanied by White House strategist Stephen Bannon, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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White House chief of staff Reince Priebus asked top FBI officials to dispute media reports that Donald Trump's campaign advisers were frequently in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the election, according to three White House officials who confirmed the unusual contact with law enforcement involved in a pending investigation. The officials said that Priebus' Feb. 15 request to FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe came as the White House sought to discredit a New York Times report about calls between Russian intelligence officials and people involved with Trump's presidential run.The officials said McCabe and Comey instead gave Priebus the go-ahead to discredit the story publicly, something the FBI has not confirmed.House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi accused Priebus of committing "an outrageous breach of the FBI's independence". She called on the Justice Department's inspector general to open a new investigation into all conversations Priebus and other White House officials have held with the FBI on ongoing investigations.Priebus and Comey then spoke later in the day, the officials said in a highly unusual accounting of the White House's discussions with FBI officials.
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