Trump's Former Chief of Staff Accuses MSNBC Host of Being Involved in Conspiracy to Hold Back Impeachment Articles for Lev Parnas Interview

During an appearance on Fox News, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus accused MSNBC host Rachel Maddow of being involved in a conspiracy with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Adam Schiff to hold back the impeachment articles for President Donald Trump.

Reince Priebus accuses Rachel Maddow of being involved in a conspiracy to hold back the impeachment articles so she could interview Lev Parnas?

— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) January 17, 2020

The comment that Priebus highlighted was that Maddow said she'd been working on her interview with Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas for months, after fellow MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell complimented her. "When [Maddow] finished her show and then Lawrence O'Donnell took over, he was congratulating her about the interview, and he said, 'You must have been working on this for a long time,'" Priebus said. "She said, 'I've been working on this interview for months.' If you go back, that's what she said. In other words, Schiff knew, Pelosi knew, slow-walking the articles of impeachment, they all knew. They're all in on it."

O'Donnell did ask Maddow how long she'd been working on the interview and how it came out. Maddow did say that she'd been working toward the interview for months, but also that they "didn't expect it and when it came through, it came through very quickly." Maddow also explained that Parnas and his lawyer agreed to the interview, after materials related to Parnas were given to the intelligence committee and would be part of the Senate trial.

In November, Parnas handed over audio, videos, and photos to House Democrats, after Schiff subpoenaed the materials. Parnas told Maddow that when Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, he thought that Biden was acting illegally. Once he reviewed and analyzed evidence, Parnas told Maddow that he doesn't think that Biden did anything wrong.

Priebus said that Maddow's interview was part of a "political weapon" used against Trump. "My point has been-as you and I have been talking a lot lately-is to stop treating as if this is a real trial and not a political operation," he said. "This is a new political weapon in our modern political world, and Donald Trump is the first victim." The former Chief of Staff said that Trump's impeachment will just lead to future presidents to be impeached if the House majority isn't in the same political party.

The former Chief of Staff also said that Hunter Biden was needed "to test the reasonable-ness of the president bringing up corruption and Biden on the call."

Priebus and MSNBC did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Reince Priebus
Reince Priebus speaks onstage during the 2019 Politicon at Music City Center on October 26, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. Jason Kempin/Getty