WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump wants the Justice Department to lift a gag order on an undercover FBI informant who played a role in an FBI investigation into Russian attempts to influence the uranium industry, the White House said Friday.
Trump "believes, as many others do, frankly, that the FBI informant should be free to say what he knows," White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told CNN. She was responding to reports that Trump pressed his staff to have the gag order lifted, raising questions about whether the White House had interfered in Justice Department matters that should remain independent of political influence.
Conway said it's "not unusual for a president to weigh in." She noted that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa had called for the Justice Department to allow the FBI informant to speak to Congress.
"That's the proper channel here," she said.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she was "not aware of any specific involvement" by Trump in the investigation.
"The president has pushed for transparency ... when dealing with Congress," she added. "That's the purpose of what he was trying to do in that process."
Republicans have been pressing for details surrounding the purchase of American uranium mines by a Russian-backed company in 2010 during President Barack Obama's administration.
Trump has called the uranium deal the "real Russia story" as opposed to the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.