Details from the newly-released memos written by former FBI director James Comey suggest that CNN prompted Comey's briefing of Donald Trump on the Democrat-funded Steele dossier that the network then used as a rationale to report on some of the unverified and salacious allegations in the document. According to multiple reports, including a report by a House intelligence committee, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who is now employed by CNN, may have been in contact with his future employer during the time details of the briefing were leaked to the network.
As the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross highlights, evidence suggests that Clapper was central to CNN's initial report on the salacious, Democrat-funded dossier. "The leaker of the Comey briefing to Trump has not been identified, though only a small number of government officials would have been aware of the meeting and of what Comey told Trump," Ross reports. "Joining Comey were James Clapper, John Brennan and Adm. Mike Rogers, the directors of the Office of National Intelligence, the CIA and the National Security Agency, respectively."
A report by the House Permanent Select Committee notes that Clapper "provided inconsistent testimony" to the committee about his contacts with the media, in particular CNN:
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, now a CNN national security analyst, provided inconsistent testimony to the Committee about his contacts with the media, including CNN.
After information about the dossier briefing was leaked to CNN, the network published a bombshell report that triggered BuzzFeed to publish, within minutes, the entirety of the unverified 35-page dossier.
In August 2017, CNN hired Clapper as their national security analyst. Among other eyebrow-raising moments, not longer after being hired, Clapper attempted to defend the still unverified dossier by arguing that it doesn't matter that Democrats funded it.
As described in detail by The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway, evidence from Comey's memos indicate that media pressure, specifically from CNN, was the reason he decided to brief Trump on the unverified dossier, the source of which he has recently admitted he didn't revealed to Trump in the briefing. Comey mentions in multiple memos that CNN wanted a "news hook" to report the salacious allegations. When he was told that they were going to run with the story, he decided to brief Trump.
Comey wrote about his January 6, 2017 briefing on the dossier that he told Trump he "wasn’t saying this was true, only that I wanted him to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands." However, no media outlets had in fact reported on the allegations yet. "I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook," Comey wrote.
In a follow-up meeting on January 28, 2017, Comey again cited CNN as the reason he felt the need to inform him about the allegations. "I explained again why I had thought it important that he know about it," Comey wrote. "I also explained that one of the reasons we told him was that the media, CNN in particular, was telling us they were about to run with it."