Report: RNC redirecting funds away from Trump
© Greg Nash

The Republican National Committee (RNC) will redirect funds intended to help Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE's presidential campaign to prioritize down-ballot candidates, The Wall Street Journal reported late Saturday.

The RNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. But Sean Spicer, the RNC's chief strategist, took to Twitter to say the story is "not true" and called Reid Epstein's reporting "false." 

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Citing an unidentified official, the Journal said that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus made the call to focus on House and Senate races on Saturday after the GOP was thrust into chaos over newly revealed sexually explicit remarks that Trump made in 2005.

The GOP nominee has not made the large-scale ground-game investments that are typical of a major-party nominee. So the RNC has picked up the lion's share of that slack. Before this move, the RNC's field staff prioritized Trump, meaning that they would focus first on turning out voters for Trump, even if that meant those voters may not support GOP candidates down the ballot.

The shift in priorities reported by the Journal would mean that the RNC would instead target voters who would vote for Republicans down the ballot, even if they planned to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Dem pollster: GOP women have a more difficult time winning primary races than Dems Mellman: (Mis)interpreting elections MORE.

The report comes as top Republicans stage a historic mass exodus from their nominee one day after the release of a lewd video involving Trump's comments. Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE The real reason Scott Pruitt is gone: Putting a key voting bloc at risk MORE (S.D.), the Senate's third-highest-ranking Republican, took to Twitter to call on Trump to step down.

More than two dozen lawmakers are calling on Trump to step down or have withdrawn their endorsements.

Trump, however, emphatically declared he would not drop out in a message on Twitter on Saturday.

Legal experts are skeptical that the party could remove Trump without his consent. But if Trump were to step down, the RNC would vote on a new nominee after a meeting with its 168-member committee.

The decade-old video shows Trump talking about trying to have sex with a married woman and brushing aside consent.

"You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait," he said, according to the audio released by The Washington Post.

"When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything ... grab them by the p---y."

Earlier Saturday, Politico reported that the RNC directed a mailing vendor to hold off on all projects related to the RNC-Trump joint fund.

— This report was update at 9:13 p.m.