CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Kellyanne Conway, one of President-elect Donald Trump’s top advisers, sparred over whether Trump was briefed on allegations that Russia acquired damaging information about him.
During the heated exchange Wednesday night, Conway denied that Trump had knowledge of a two-page report attached to a briefing on Russian cyberattcks that was prepared for President Barack Obama and Trump.
“A lot of print and electronic outlets were so reluctant and hesitant to go forward with anything close to what CNN or BuzzFeed did,” Conway said.
Conway specifically took issue with a CNN headline that read “Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian effort to compromise him.”
Cooper argued that Conway conflated CNN’s reporting with unsubstantiated memos contained within a dossier that was published by BuzzFeed on Tuesday. The memos in the dossier alleged that Trump cooperated with Russian officials in operations meant to target his political opponents, among other allegations.
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“I know you want to distance yourself from BuzzFeed, but you went first,” Conway said.
Cooper shot back saying, “CNN is not BuzzFeed, I just wish you guys would acknowledge and just be straightforward.”
“I think it’s politics for you to try to link all the reporters together, but it seems just unfair and frankly disingenuous,” Cooper added.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Trump refused to take a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta over the report and labeled the news network as “fake news,” only to take a question from a different CNN reporter instead.
CNN defended the veracity of its reporting in a statement stating it did not publish the unverified claims BuzzFeed included in its report and accused the Trump’s administration of using the network to deflect controversy.
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MEET THE PRESS — Pictured: (l-r) Kellyanne Conway, Republican Strategist Pollster, left, and Robert Costa, National Political Reporter, The Washington Post, right, appear on ‘Meet the Press’ in Washington, D.C., Sunday May 29, 2016. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
Watch the interview video below:
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