On Tuesday night, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham rebuffed CNN for promoting an apparently false report concerning an address from President Donald Trump in the pursuit “to be first to break news.”
CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins, citing CNN Senior Washington Correspondent Jeff Zeleny, posted Tuesday:
“Aides are making urgent preparations at this hour for Trump to address the nation, per [Jeff Zeleny]. The specific timing [to be determined] & could be delayed given we are still learning info but two officials say a speech is being prepared and plans are being made for Oval address.”
Aides are making urgent preparations at this hour for Trump to address the nation, per @jeffzeleny. The specific timing TBD & could be delayed given we are still learning info but two officials say a speech is being prepared and plans are being made for Oval address.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 8, 2020
However, according to Grisham, CNN failed to even attempt to confirm the report.
“This is not true – was never true – & no one even attempted to confirm with the press office before tweeting,” scolded the press secretary.
“In a race to be first to break news, the public once again falls victim to irresponsible ‘reporting’ by [CNN, Jeff Zeleny ,and Kaitlan Collins],” Grisham blasted.
This is not true – was never true – & no one even attempted to confirm with the press office before tweeting. In a race to be first to break news, the public once again falls victim to irresponsible “reporting” by @CNN @jeffzeleny @kaitlancollins https://t.co/7NdGlevoCO
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) January 8, 2020
CNN’s apparently false reporting didn’t just end up on Twitter, but on the network airwaves and news site.”The White House is making plans for President Trump to address the nation tonight,” a report authored by Zeleny was headlined.
“As President Trump confers with his top advisers tonight at the White House, aides are making urgent preparations at this hour for him to address the nation after Iran fired missiles at US forces in Iraq,” the reporter posted.
“The specific timing of the address is still to be determined — and could be delayed, as information is being gathered — but two officials tell CNN that a speech is being prepared and plans are being made for Trump to speak tonight from the Oval Office,” Zeleny added.
CNN responded to Grisham’s post by claiming the press secretary was “completely out of the loop” with her own team and that their reporting was correct:
“The most shocking thing about this statement is that the [press secretary] is completely out of the loop in her own shop. CNN’s reporting that preparations were being made for an address was 100 percent accurate, and was confirmed by multiple [White House] officials,” CNN Communications replied. “Nice try.”
Notably, CNN reportedly settled with Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann on Tuesday in a $275 million lawsuit over the network’s smearing of the teen last year. “CNN agreed Tuesday to settle a lawsuit with Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann,” reported Fox 19, The Daily Wire noted. “The amount of the settlement was not made public during a hearing at the federal courthouse in Covington.”
The Pentagon confirmed Tuesday night that more than a dozen ballistic missiles were launched against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq from inside Iran, hitting at least two Iraqi military bases at Al-Assad and Irbil, which host U.S. military and coalition personnel.
Tuesday night’s hit from Iran comes in response to a Trump-ordered killing of terrorist and Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on Friday via an airstrike near Baghdad International Airport. Soleimani was the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, and responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans.
“Soleimani was the head of the Iranian and Iranian-backed forces carrying out those operations killing American troops” during the Iraq War, Fox News reported. “According to the State Department, 17% of all deaths of U.S. personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 were orchestrated by Soleimani.”
Additionally, Soleimani was in the process of “coordinating” attacks on U.S. personnel, according to a statement from the State Department: “We can confirm that in the past several days, General Soleimani had been traveling in the Middle East coordinating further imminent large-scale attacks against U.S. diplomats and service members. These threats were highly credible and the intelligence is sound.”
In a statement released on Tuesday night, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman confirmed the strikes from Iran and noted that “initial battle damage assessments” are still ongoing.
“In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners. These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region,” the statement from Hoffman continued.
“As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners, and allies in the region,” he added. “Due to the dynamic nature of the situation, we will continue to provide updates as they become available.”