CNN, which last week saw a big story disappear in a puff of smoke when a source came out to say he was wrong to say what the network said he said, is doubling down on the disastrous piece of journalistic sophistry.
Late Wednesday, President Trump hit the liberal outlet for its erroneous report that he knew in advance of a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between several people connected to Trump and a Russian lawyer. The story, written in part by former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame, used anonymous sources, but Lanny Davis, attorney for Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, later came out to refute the CNN piece (for which he was reportedly the main source).
“CNN is being torn apart from within based on their being caught in a major lie and refusing to admit the mistake. Sloppy @carlbernstein, a man who lives in the past and thinks like a degenerate fool, making up story after story, is being laughed at all over the country! Fake News,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
That prompted CNN to fire back, calling Trump a liar.
“Make no mistake, Mr. President, CNN does not lie. We report the news. And we report when people in power tell lies. CNN stands by our reporting and our reporters. There may be many fools in this story but @carlbernstein is not one of them,” CNN tweeted.
Trump hit back early Thursday morning, mocking CNN President “Little Jeff” Zucker and declaring the network’s “extreme bias” has “clouded their thinking and made them unable to function.”
Trump also slammed NBC News and what he called “fake books” — perhaps a reference to the upcoming book by Bernstein’s Watergate-reporting partner Bob Woodward.
It’s not clear what Trump meant by “fudging my Russia tape.” Holt is the NBC anchor who on May 11, 2017, conducted an interview with Trump in which he said he fired James Comey, former director of the FBI, over the Russia investigation.
“In fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won,’” Trump said to Holt in the interview.