(WASHINGTON) -- The White House communicated with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes and Senate Intelligence Chairman Sen. Richard Burr about rebutting reports that Trump associates had contacts with Russian officials during the campaign.
The Washington Post first reported on Friday that the White House turned to senior members of the intelligence community and Congress to rebut the news reports after the FBI declined to do so publicly.
The White House maintains that there were no improper communications and that the FBI came to them to discredit an earlier New York Times report on contacts between Trump associates and Russian officials. The White House then asked the FBI if they could help shoot down the story publicly but the bureau declined.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that, similarly, a congressman reached out to the White House to refute the New York Times report.
"A congressman who also had the same information also reached or to us not the other way around," Sanders said. "The bigger story here isn't that they called us, but that the New York Times story was false."
The White House acknowledged that in addition to communicating with Nunes, the administration also reached out to Burr.
Burr has yet to respond to an ABC News request for comment, but a spokesman for Nunes maintains that the congressman did nothing wrong in communicating with the White House on refuting the news reports.
"Chairman Nunes did nothing inappropriate," Nunes spokesman Jack Langer said in a statement. "He made inquiries into the allegations published by the New York Times and couldn't find evidence to support them. So he told that to multiple reporters, and then a White House aide asked if he would speak to one more. So he spoke to that reporter as well, telling that person the same thing he told the other reporters."
Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says he has "grave concerns" about what role the White House played in seeking help from members of Congress and the intelligence community to rebut the story.
"I have called [CIA Director Mike Pompeo] and Chairman Burr to express my grave concerns about what this means for the independence of this investigation and a bipartisan commitment to follow the facts, and to reinforce that I will not accept any process that is undermined by political interference," Warner said in a statement.
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