'If I threaten someone you'll know it': Kellyanne Conway denies saying White House would investigate reporter's personal life

Hunter Walker
White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON — Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway addressed a fiery conversation she had with a Washington Examiner reporter when she spoke to the press on the White House lawn Friday morning.

“I never threatened anyone. Don’t use those words,” said Conway, referring her conversation with the reporter, which took place Tuesday evening.

The Examiner published a transcript on Thursday night showing Conway repeatedly telling reporter Caitlin Yilek that the White House might look into Yilek’s “personal life.”

Conway called Yilek because she was angry about an article the reporter wrote on Tuesday that mentioned her husband, George Conway, a prominent critic of President Trump on Twitter. During the conversation, Conway accused Yilek of “trying to undercut another woman based on who she’s married to.”

Near the end of the phone call, Conway suggested the White House might look into other people’s lives.

“If you’re going to cover my personal life, if you’re going to cover my personal life, then we’re welcome to do the same around here,” Conway said. “If it has nothing to do with my job, which it doesn’t, that’s obvious, then we’re either going to expect you to cover everybody’s personal life or we’re going to start covering them over here.”

On Twitter, Yilek said Conway “threatened to investigate my personal life.”

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway speaks to reporters at the White House on Friday. (Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Asked what was meant by suggesting the White House would also starting “covering” people’s personal lives, Conway on Friday said it was not a threat.

“It’s not a threat. I never threatened her. ... Don’t use that word if it’s not true. ... Do not,” Conway said. “If I threaten somebody, you’ll know it. If I threaten someone you’ll know it ... OK? And so don’t do that.”

Conway’s remarks came after Trump administration allies set up an operation dedicated to researching and compiling dossiers on reporters deemed hostile to the White House.

Speaking Friday, Conway did not answer questions by multiple reporters about what she meant by bringing up the reporter’s personal life.

“Don’t use the word ‘threaten,’” Conway said. “Don’t use the word ‘investigate,’ and stop being so silly.”

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