Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway accused CNN Friday night of having a pattern of questionable reporting, as controversy grows over the cable outlet’s standing by a “bombshell” story that one of its main sources now claims is wrong.
“They claimed that it was a bombshell when they first reported this story, and, as it’s starting to fall apart, I think part of the reasons they aren’t able to take responsibility for flubbing the story is that they hyped it so much, ” Hemingway, a senior editor of The Federalist, told Fox News host Laura Ingraham of “The Ingraham Angle.”
“But it’s really part of a pattern of behavior by CNN as it related to the Russian collusion conspiracy theory that they have been pushing for a year and a half.” Hemingway was referring to allegations that some of President Donald Trump’s campaign aides colluded with Russian interests during the 2016 election.
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Special counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating the allegations since May 2017, but to date no evidence has been brought forward of such collusion.
CNN’s big story was that attorney Michael Cohen was prepared to tell the special counsel that the president knew in advance of a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 promoted by a Russian lawyer with extensive connections in Russian intelligence, who promised to provide dirt on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Trump has said repeatedly he knew nothing about the meeting.
It turned out to be a bust, though, because the lawyer spent virtually the entire time lobbying Donald Trump Jr., Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to support withdrawing U.S. sanctions against some Russian business oligarchs and associates of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.
CNN found itself at the center of a controversy after it stood by its article even after Cohen’s lawyer, longtime Clinton associate Lanny Davis, admitted he was one of the report’s anonymous sources and said Cohen would not say Trump had advance knowledge of the Trump Tower gathering.
“There have been other stories that they claimed to have multiple anonymous that also fell through, ” Hemingway said. “Remember, they claimed Don Jr. had advanced knowledge of a WikiLeaks dump. Well, they claimed they had multiple sources, it turned out not to be true, and they never explained how their multiple sources got it wrong.”
Davis denied last week that he was one of the sources with knowledge the article cited but eventually admitted that he was and that he made a mistake. He is now representing the president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who is currently in his own legal trouble.
“They also claimed that James Comey’s testimony would contradict about how he told him three times he wasn’t under investigation, ” Hemingway said. “Well, we all saw that testimony, and he admitted that he told President Trump that three times just as President Trump said. They never explained how they got that wrong. And those are just three examples of the many stories they got wrong about the Russian collusion theory.”
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Dinesh D’Souza, conservative political commentator, author and filmmaker, told Ingraham during the discussion that CNN could be setting a standard that will haunt it for a long time.
Fox News reporter Howard Kurtz argued that if the Trump White House stood by an unsubstantiated allegation like this, the media would accused them of stonewalling.