CNN anchor Chris Cuomo sparred with President Donald Trump’s top counselor, Kellyanne Conway, on Monday over a June 2016 meeting between a Russian lawyer and top Trump campaign officials.
During a contentious interview that went more than 30 minutes, Cuomo repeatedly asked Conway about the meeting between the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son-in-law and top adviser, Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who reportedly promised them damaging information on soon-to-be Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Cuomo grilled Conway on the differing statements Trump Jr. released over the weekend explaining the meeting, which was exposed by The New York Times, questioned the campaign’s credibility, and argued there are “huge legal and ethical implications” of the meeting.
Conway shot back that CNN has its own credibility issues, accused Cuomo of “more punditry than reporting,” and denied that there is anything concerning about the meeting.
At one point, the two sparred over whether the word ‘Russia’ was relevant to the conversation.
“Chris, you keep on saying, ‘Russia,'” Conway said. “What did this woman say? Why was she there?”
Cuomo shot back that “this is the word that Trump Jr. used: ‘Russia.'”
“Excuse me? In what context?” Conway replied.
Cuomo said, “He used the word ‘Russia’ — she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton. These were his words. This is why he took the meeting.”
Conway responded, “Here’s the unfair premise: that we are talking about this yet again, that you talk about Russia more than you talk about the United States.”
At another point in the exchange, Conway and Cuomo started arguing about CNN’s coverage of Trump.
“Tell whatever six vs. one anti-Trump panel we’re sorry that we cut into their time,” Conway said.
Cuomo then demanded that she “tell the American people something else” while she’s on the air.
“That they shouldn’t believe all of the White House and the surrogates and all your alt-right friends that want to destroy the responsible media,” Cuomo continued. “Tell them that they shouldn’t listen to that stuff, that the media matters and they should judge stories on their face and that they shouldn’t think that there’s some type of agenda out to get the president on behalf of the fake press.”
Conway then said that Cuomo was just trying to “go viral” with his statements.
Cuomo also noted that “all you guys do is bash CNN,” but said “thank you for the ratings.”
Watch part of the exchange below: