During an interview on "New Day" Thursday, CNN host Chris Cuomo once again let his bias against Trump steer his reporting hard left — and it was overt enough that even a Democrat-aligned senator felt compelled to call him out on it.
Cuomo, who has just been promoted to take over Anderson Cooper's 9 p.m. hour and whose brother just had a terrific time with the student gun control rally photo op, spoke with Sen. Angus King (I-ME) about the Trump administration's handling of Russia amid new evidence of sinister actions. Predictably, Cuomo didn't think Trump was tough enough, despite the administration's strong rebukes of Russia this week, which were followed Thursday by strong actions, including sanctions and publicly accusing Russia of cyber-attacks on the U.S. power grid.
Though King caucuses with the Democrats and voted for Hillary Clinton, he twice came to Trump's defense when the highly "suspicious" Cuomo attempted to take the conversation in a conspiratorial direction.
"So, the White House backing British Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats after the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in the UK," Cuomo began. "President Trump, however, leaving it to his aides to condemn Russia."
After introducing King, Cuomo asked, "Am I wrong to be suspicious of why once again, the President, who seems always to be spoiling for a fight, brags about lying to the Canadian Prime Minister, will not mention Vladimir Putin or Russia even after an alleged murder on the soil of one of our greatest allies?"
While King suggested U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in her rebuke of Russia should have mentioned the election meddling (for which the administration would slap Russia with sanctions just hours later), the senator told Cuomo that he's being "too hard" on Trump over the Russia situation.
"Well I think maybe you’re being a little hard because he said we don’t know all the facts," King said in response to Cuomo suggesting Trump was trying to soft-peddle Russia's involvement in the attack on the spy. "They got the facts, the White House just issued a statement. It’s true he didn’t issue the statement but the, the statement that I saw yesterday from, and it was on the White House stationery speaking for the President was pretty strong."
"So you don’t think it has to come from the President directly?" Cuomo said again.
"Well, I think it’s, that’s preferable but, you know, I think maybe we’re cutting the lines fairly fine here," King responded.
Video and partial transcript below via NewsBusters:
KING: Well, I think you take what you can get in this situation. Nikki Haley made a strong statement at the U.N. The White House, as an institution, released a very strong statement yesterday backing up the British. The President, I guess, hasn’t been asked about it or hasn’t made a statement about it but I wish he would. I listened to Nikki Haley’s speech yesterday. My only problem, she listed all the things that Russia was doing wrong in the world, talking bout chemical weapons and what happened in Britain. Never mentioned what happened here in our election and what’s going on right at this very moment.
CUOMO: That wasn’t a mistake either, right Senator?
KING: Well, it was, let’s say it was a very loud omission. And I think that’s unfortunate because we’re never going to get to the bottom of this. We’re never going to be able to prevent the Russians from doing again what they did in 2016 until we acknowledge that they did it.
CUOMO: Right. I mean, look, the President has been asked about this and he has spoken on it but he has a light touch on it and that’s the point because that’s not what he’s known for. Here’s a little bit of sound of one of his recent responses.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It sounds to me like it would be Russia based on all of the evidence they have. I don’t know if they have come to a conclusion. It sounds to me like they believe it was Russia and I would certainly take that finding as fact. As soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them, we will condemn Russia or whoever it may be.
CUOMO: Now, that has happened. He just hasn’t done it, Senator and there’s a point of fact here. That would be a fine prescription for how to proceed if we didn’t know anything. But the President at the time that he said that had to know that Theresa May had already addressed Parliament and said we know that it was Russia. So it wasn’t that he was waiting for facts, he just didn’t want to act on the facts.
KING: Well I think maybe you’re being a little hard because he said we don’t know all the facts. They got the facts, the White House just issued a statement. It’s true he didn’t issue the statement but the, the statement that I saw yesterday from, and it was on the White House stationery speaking for the President was pretty strong.
CUOMO: So you don’t think it has to come from the President directly?
KING: Well, I think it’s, that’s preferable but, you know, I think maybe we’re cutting the lines fairly fine here.