NEW YORK — The Latest on CNN’s retracted Russia story (all times local):
President Trump’s press aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders urged all Americans to watch an online video posted by a conservative provocateur with a CNN producer commenting on his network’s coverage of Trump’s connections to Russia.
Sanders, in the White House briefing, called producer John Bonifield’s statements a disgrace to journalism. In the hidden camera video posted by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, Bonifield is heard to say that the story was getting extensive coverage because it is good for the ratings.
Sanders said, “if the media can’t be truthful and report the news, then that’s a dangerous place for America.”
During her briefing, she did not take any question from CNN correspondent Jeff Zeleny.
The video of Bonifield was released after three CNN journalists resigned Monday following the network’s retraction of a story Friday about a supposed investigation into a pre-inaugural meeting between a Trump associate and the head of a Russian investment fund.
CNN says President Donald Trump is wrong to suggest the network is failing.
The president, in a morning tweetstorm related to CNN’s retraction of a story about a Trump associate’s meeting with a Russian financial leader, suggested that the network is looking at management changes. “Ratings way down,” the president tweeted.
But CNN’s public relations team tweeted back at him Tuesday morning that the network just recorded its most-watched second quarter in history.
Said CNN: “Those are the facts.”
A conservative provocateur posted a video Tuesday of a man identified as a CNN producer commenting on his network’s coverage of President Donald Trump and connections to Russia.
The producer, identified as John Bonifield, said it appeared CNN had no “smoking gun” evidence of wrongdoing by the president and was giving the story extensive coverage because it was good for the ratings. A CNN biography lists Bonifield as a producer for the network’s medical unit, with no indication that he’s involved in political coverage.
The video, posted by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, had Bonifield talking with an unidentified person while sitting at a table behind a drink and later in an elevator.
CNN has not commented on the video. O’Keefe and his website have a long history of aiding Republican causes, often with the use of hidden cameras. The law firm of one victim recently sued O’Keefe, alleging violation of a federal wiretap law.
The video was released after three CNN journalists resigned Monday following the network’s retraction of a story Friday about a supposed investigation into a pre-inaugural meeting between a Trump associate and the head of a Russian investment fund.
President Donald Trump is using the resignations of three CNN journalists involved in a retracted Russia-related story to rail against media credibility.
On Tuesday morning he tweeted, “Wow, CNN had to retract big story on ‘Russia,’ with 3 employees forced to resign. What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!”
He also wrote, “So they caught Fake News CNN cold, but what about NBC, CBS & ABC? What about the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost? They are all Fake News!”
The CNN story was about a supposed investigation into a pre-inaugural meeting between a Trump associate and the head of a Russian investment fund. The story was posted on the network’s website Thursday and was removed, with all links disabled, Friday night. CNN accepted the journalists’ resignations Monday.