Trump administration officials wanted the FBI to disavow the reports and say that there was no contact between people associated with Trump and Russia, the network said, citing multiple US officials familiar with the discussions.
According to one unnamed law-enforcement official, the conversations began with White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe one day after the stories were published. FBI director James Comey reportedly barred the agency from weighing in on media reports, CNN said, citing its sources.
White House officials denied suggestions that it tried to goad the FBI into debunking news reports, CNN said. Additionally, the Trump administration has forcefully rejected allegations of contact with the Kremlin — and leveled harsh rebukes against US news organizations for using anonymous sources in their reporting.