Press outlets are reporting that White House officials have confirmed on Friday that Reince Priebus, the president’s chief of staff, had spoken with the FBI’s top two officials about rebutting press reports of an investigation into contacts between representatives of the Trump campaign and Russia.
The Guardian has reported the White House statement as follows (which is matched by the Financial Times in wording)
According to the White House, McCabe told Priebus there was nothing to the New York Times’ report, using a colorful phrase. Priebus asked: “What can we do about this?” McCabe gave no answer, and told the White House chief of staff he would get back to Priebus on the issue.
Priebus told McCabe the White House was “getting crushed” over the depth of Trump’s ties to Russia, as reported in the New York Times, and asked: “What am I supposed to do?”
Some time later, senior administration officials told reporters, McCabe called Priebus and said: “We’d love to help but we can’t get into the position of making statements on every story.”
Priebus then asked if he could cite anonymous senior intelligence officials in rebutting the Times article, to which McCabe agreed.
Afterward, FBI director James Comey called Priebus and echoed McCabe’s comments. While the story was baseless, Comey declined to issue an FBI statement saying so publicly, according to senior officials.
The Department of Justice has confirmed that;
Under policies followed by both Republican and Democratic administrations, White House political appointees such as Mr Priebus are prohibited from discussing with the DoJ or FBI officials “pending or contemplated criminal or civil investigations”. Communications are authorised only between the White House counsel and the attorney-general or deputy attorney-general, according to a 2009 memo from then attorney-general Eric Holder.
Within US politics, what is the legal weight of the 2009 memo from Eric Holder and what potential action could Priebus face if the statement is confirmed and investigated?