Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus gave new details on Sunday about a conversation that he had last February with then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe at the White House.
In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Priebus said that McCabe walked into his office on Feb. 14, shut the door, and told him point-blank that a New York Times report about alleged contacts between Trump campaign aides and Russian intelligence was “BS.”
That meeting has been the source of allegations that Priebus pressured McCabe to publicly knock down the report of repeated contacts with Russians.
On Feb. 24, CNN published a report citing multiple unnamed sources who said that the FBI rejected the request from McCabe, who left his job as deputy director earlier this week. The article, which has been heavily edited since publication, initially framed the White House and Priebus in a negative light by suggesting that Priebus took a proactive step to ask McCabe to rebut the Times report.
The article reads: “The direct communications between the White House and the FBI were unusual because of decade-old restrictions on such contacts. Such a request from the White House is a violation of procedures that limit communications with the FBI on pending investigations.”
The White House responded to that CNN report at the time by provided additional details about Priebus’ contact with McCabe. White House officials told reporters that McCabe informed Priebus that the initial New York Times piece was “BS.”
Priebus, who was fired as chief of staff in July, added new details on Sunday, saying that McCabe initiated the conversation about the Times article.
Priebus told NBC’s Chuck Todd that McCabe “walked into my office, shut my door and basically told me that The New York Times story that was in the paper, that first came out in February that said there are constant contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians, with the door closed, looked at me and said ‘I want you to know that this story right here is total BS. It’s overstated and it’s not true.’”
“This is the deputy director of the FBI. I didn’t know who he was, it’s the middle of February,” he added.
Priebus also said in the interview that he never saw any evidence of collusion and that he never heard President Trump say that he wanted to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“I never felt that I was involved in something nefarious the whole way through, from the beginning to the end. So you can understand the frustration of the President when he’s told he’s not under investigation,” Priebus said.
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