On Wednesday, the cable news network fired back after Trump accused them of lying on a story about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-connected attorney. The report originally claimed that the lawyer for Michael Cohen was willing to tell special counsel Robert Mueller that Donald Trump knew in advance of the meeting, but lawyer Lanny Davis has since walked back that claim, the Washington Post reported.
Trump seized on that report, accusing CNN of lying in its report and taking direct aim at reporter Carl Bernstein, who had a co-byline on the story. Bernstein was famous for uncovering the Watergate scandal that ultimately led President Richard Nixon to resign the presidency.
Trump said that Bernstein “lives in the past and thinks like a degenerate fool, making up story after story.” He concluded by calling the report “Fake News.”
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— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018
But CNN fired back, releasing a statement on Twitter for the CNN Communications account that took aim back at Donald Trump.
“Make no mistake, Mr. President, CNN does not lie,” the statement read. “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 had already said it was standing by its reporting, noting that the report did not say for certain Trump knew about the meeting ahead of time, only that Davis was willing to testify to that claim. CNN also cited separate sources who made the same claim as Davis.
The Trump Tower meeting represents a major part of the Russia investigation. Donald Trump Jr. last year revealed emails about the meeting, in which a lawyer with connections to the Kremlin had offered dirt on Hillary Clinton that had been stolen by Russian hackers. After initially denying that the meeting was about Clinton, President Trump in recent weeks has admitted that his campaign was seeking information on his opponent, something he said anyone would do.
Donald Trump has continually denied knowing anything about the meeting and said he did not take part.
CNN stands by its story about whether President Trump knew ahead of time about meeting where Russians offered dirt on Hillary Clinton. https://t.co/zdLiO0zko7— The Associated Press (@AP) August 30, 2018
The back-and-forth between the president and the cable news network on Wednesday is nothing new. Donald Trump has made CNN one of his favorite targets, frequently calling the network “fake news” and delivering public slights to reporters.