Three White House officials told The Daily Beast that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has privately expressed worry about a possible Comey memo specifically involving one of their reported chats, and how it might play in the press and to investigators.
“Nervous laughter,” one official succinctly characterized Priebus’ demeanor in the midst of recent revelations.
In late February—long before Trump fired Comey over the “this Russia thing”—Priebus had reportedly already acted on the president’s behalf in trying to use the FBI to quash the Trump-Russia news.
According to CNN, Priebus asked Comey and his then-top deputy, Andrew McCabe, on Feb. 15 to refute news reports about conversations between Trump campaign staff and Russian government officials. Comey and McCabe reportedly refused. The White House denied the story at the time.
That conversation happened the day after President Trump reportedly asked Comey to dial back the bureau’s investigation of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s ousted, and preferred, national security adviser. As first reported by The New York Times, the former FBI director subsequently documented that conversation in a memo that leaked last week.
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