White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus appeared on Fox News Sunday this morning with host Chris Wallace. Early in the interview, Priebus made some news when he said top intelligence officials had told him a New York Times story which accused the Trump campaign of being in contact with Russian officials was “inaccurate” and “grossly overstated.”
“The New York Times, last week, put out an article with no direct sources that said that the Trump campaign had constant contacts with Russian spies, basically treasonous type accusations,” Priebus said. “I can assure you, and I’ve been approved to say this, that the top levels of the intelligence community have assured me that that story is not only inaccurate, but it’s grossly overstated and it’s wrong and there’s nothing to it,” he continued. “If I can say that to the American people then what does it say about the story,” he said.
Wallace then tried to pin Priebus down saying, “You say that the intelligence community says that there were no contacts between anyone in the Trump campaign, any associated of Mr. Trump and anybody involved as a Russian agent as to the campaign and collusion in the campaign with Russia…is that what you’re saying?”
“Yeah, they told me…absolutely,” Priebus replied. “They have made it very clear that that story in the New York Times is complete garbage. And quite frankly they used different words than that,” he said.
Asked who told him this, Priebus said he hadn’t asked for clearance to use the person’s name. “But I will tell you this,” Priebus said, “when I say top level people, I mean top level people.”
Wallace tried to clarify a second time. “So no collusion whatsoever between anybody involved with Trump and anybody involved in Russia in the the 2016 campaign,” Wallace said. Priebus replied, No.”
Here’s the full interview. The portion related above comes in the first four minutes: