Reince Priebus’s request that the FBI refute a report of Donald Trump associates’ contacts with Russian intelligence appears to have violated the White House’s policy restricting political interference in pending investigations, according to a copy of the policy obtained by POLITICO.
The policy says only the president, vice president and White House counsel can discuss specific investigations or cases with the attorney general, deputy attorney general, associate attorney general or solicitor general. Any other conversations require the approval of the White House counsel, according to the document.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Priebus’s conversation was permissible because it involved responding to a news article.
But former White House lawyers questioned Sanders’ assertion, noting that if officials could contact the Justice Department about any case covered by the news media, there’d be few major cases off limits.