The calls were orchestrated by the White House

This doesn’t look good. Trump’s cronies have been getting intelligence officials and Republicans in Congress to tell the press to stop reporting on Trump’s ties to Russia.

The Trump administration has enlisted senior members of the intelligence community and Congress in efforts to counter news stories about Trump associates’ ties to Russia, a politically charged issue that has been under investigation by the FBI as well as lawmakers now defending the White House.

Acting at the behest of the White House, the officials made calls to news organizations last week in attempts to challenge stories about alleged contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, U.S. officials said.

The people who are supposed to be investigating the subject have been doing this.

It’s been an ongoing story that Congressional Democrats say there should be an independent investigation, and I haven’t been following it very closely because it seemed too insidery. But sometimes insider stuff just shouts for attention. This story makes it very clear why the Dems wanted an independent investigation as opposed to ones led by Republicans. It’s because “led by Republicans” might turn out to mean “held captive by Republicans.”

The calls were orchestrated by the White House after unsuccessful attempts by the administration to get senior FBI officials to speak with news organizations and dispute the accuracy of stories on the alleged contacts with Russia.

The White House on Friday acknowledged those interactions with the FBI but did not disclose that it then turned to other officials who agreed to do what the FBI would not — participate in White House-arranged calls with news organizations, including The Washington Post.

Two of those officials talked to the Post anonymously, which will make Trump squawk even more.

The decision to involve those officials could be perceived as threatening the independence of U.S. spy agencies that are supposed to remain insulated from partisan issues, as well as undercutting the credibility of ongoing congressional probes. Those officials saw their involvement as an attempt to correct coverage they believed to be erroneous.

During the investigation. Not cool.

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