Spicer arranged calls between officials, reporters to push back on Russia stories: report

White House press secretary Sean Spicer reportedly arranged calls between outside officials and reporters to dispute media reports that officials with Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE's presidential campaign had contacts with Russia intelligence officials before the election.

Axios reported Monday that Spicer connected the outside officials with reporters and then stayed on the line for the conversations.

The officials included CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrDemocratic incumbents bolster fundraising advantage in key Senate races McConnell gets GOP wake-up call Senate approves short-term debt ceiling increase MORE (R-N.C.), Axios reported, citing a senior administration official.


The phone calls were in reference to a New York Times report that said Trump campaign aides and associates were in touch with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign.

Spicer reportedly connected the officials to reporters from The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. During the calls, journalists were told the story wasn't true but weren't given details. 

"Both of them said: All I can tell you is the story is not accurate," an official told Axios.

The Post reported last week that the Trump administration used senior members of the intelligence community and Congress to attempt to discredit the Russia stories.

The report came after CNN reported that the FBI rejected a recent request by the White House to dispute the media reports that Trump campaign officials had contact with Russian intelligence officials before the election.