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Story highlights

Preibus' involvement sends a signal that the RNC is taking this effort to dump Trump seriously

One source said Priebus' ultimate goal is unclear

CNN —  

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has been quietly having conversations with state party leaders to discuss the latest push by convention delegates to nominate anyone other than Donald Trump.

Priebus has spoken with GOP party chairmen in multiple states in recent days in part to get a better sense of how large the anti-Trump faction is among their convention delegations, according to two people familiar with the conversations.

While Priebus has made clear in these conversations that he is not spearheading the latest push for a coup, his involvement sends a signal that the RNC is taking this effort to dump Trump seriously even as other movements have fizzled.

One source said Priebus’ ultimate goal is unclear. But some anti-Trump forces are hoping to garner enough support to press the convention’s rules committee to alter the rules governing the convention and open a path for a different candidate.

Sean Spicer, the RNC’s chief strategist and communications director, disputed the notion that Priebus was actively reaching out to party chairmen.

“This is not an accurate understanding of what’s happening,” Spicer said. “Lots of people have conversations and ask questions of the chairman.”

The conversations between Priebus and state leaders come as frustration and mistrust continues to linger between the RNC and the Trump campaign, according to people familiar with the situation.

On Thursday, Priebus, who traveled with Trump to Texas, fired off a tweet aiming to calm the chatter, saying, “Reports of discord are pure fiction.”

Priebus and the Trump campaign have previously been at odds over the money being raised for their joint fundraising committee, with Priebus phoning RNC associates to express frustration with how Trump wants to spend the cash.

CNN’s Theodore Schleifer contributed to this report.