Reince Priebus on Friday called the idea that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the election a “joke” during an interview leaving his post as White House chief of staff.
“The collusion story is a joke. I honestly don’t believe there’s a lot of people out there that actually believe that campaign people were sitting on telephones and having meetings and passing secret messages trying to figure out how to mess around with the election,” Priebus told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“It’s ridiculous, but yet you look at headlines over the last six months, you would think that’s the only thing happening in the world,” he continued.
The comments from Priebus, who previously served as head of the Republican National Committee during the campaign, come as the White House grapples with a slew of revelations surrounding the ongoing federal probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
President Donald Trump announced hours earlier on Friday that he would replace Priebus as chief of staff with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. The shakeup comes amid reported feuding between Priebus and newly White House minted communications director Anthony Scaramucci.
Priebus on Friday refused to address his fraught with relationship with Scaramucci, saying fascination with palace intrigue surrounding the White House is “annoying”.
“I’m not going to get into that subject. It’s just getting in the mud, and I think the palace intrigue stuff is annoying and I think it’s a distraction and it takes away from the President’s agenda,” he said.