White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Friday that a New York Times story alleging communications between members of the Trump campaign and members of the Russian government, including Russian intelligence officials, was “grossly overstated and inaccurate.”
The New York Times reported Tuesday that several Trump campaign aides and associates had “repeated contacts” with Russians during the presidential campaign. Everyone named in the report denied improper behavior.
Appearing on “Fox and Friends” Friday morning, Priebus also referenced denials from unnamed senior intelligence officials to the Wall Street Journal that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had had extensive contact with Russian nationals during the presidential campaign; and comments from House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) to the Journal, that he hadn’t seen evidence to support the Times’ story.
“There may be some bad actors within the intelligence community or some holdovers” who are giving stories to reporters, Priebus said. “Nobody knows.”
“But I will tell you this, and I have talked to top levels of the intelligence community; every department, by the way, not just people that are only folks that we’ve put in place. And they have green lighted me to say that I have talked to the highest levels of intelligence officials, and they have assured me that the New York Times Story about constant contacts is grossly overstated and inaccurate.”
“So I wouldn’t come on your show and say something like that if I didn’t have a green light and approval to say it,” he said. “It’s not true. Unless the highest levels of the intelligence community don’t know what they’re talking about, which I highly doubt.”