White House press secretary Sean Spicer took the unusual step of connecting intelligence officials to reporters in an effort to rebut a story, Axios reported.
Spicer arranged a call between CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr and reporters from The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal in an effort to refute a New York Times report that President Trump's campaign aides had repeated contact with Russian officials in the year leading up to the election, Axios reported.
Spicer took action after an FBI official told the White House the New York Times story wasn't true but wouldn't publicly shoot down the story, according to Axios.
However, Pompeo and Burr provided scant details during the calls with reporters, only asserting the story wasn't true, Axios reported.
The New York Times report just adds to the burden of the White House to distance itself from reports of ill-timed conversations with Russia while toeing a line of an open relationship with it.
The pressure is building from Democrats for an investigation into the entire matter.
"It's doubtful that Congress can conduct an objective and independent investigation into ties between this White House and the Russian government if it is collaborating so closely on media pushback with the White House press secretary," George Little, a CIA and Pentagon spokesman under President Barack Obama, told Axios.
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