CNN Releases Statement of Full Confidence on Russia Reporting: ‘The Trump Team Knows This’

CNN logoMoments ago, a CNN spokesperson released a statement on behalf of the network in direct contrast with a controversial story published by Buzzfeed Tuesday.

From a CNN spokesperson

CNN’s decision to publish carefully sourced reporting about the operations of our government is vastly different than Buzzfeed’s decision to publish unsubstantiated memos. The Trump team knows this. They are using Buzzfeed’s decision to deflect from CNN’s reporting, which has been matched by the other major news organizations. We are fully confident in our reporting. It represents the core of what the First Amendment protects, informing the people of the inner workings of their government; in this case, briefing materials prepared for President Obama and President-elect Trump last week. We made it clear that we were not publishing any of the details of the 35-page document because we have not corroborated the report’s allegations. Given that members of the Trump transition team have so vocally criticized our reporting, we encourage them to identify, specifically, what they believe to be inaccurate.

In a breaking news report Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. EST, the CNN report noted that both President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama — as well as eight ranking members of Congress — had been briefed regarding potentially “compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.” The report indicated that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers all briefed the POTUS and PEOTUS alike on the allegations; CNN further identified that a two-page synopsis further indicated exchanges between Trump surrogates and Kremlin officials. A subsequent BuzzFeed story released the 35-page document in question (which contains alleged crude sexualized descriptions personally damaging to Trump), joined by a disclaimer of sorts by the media giant: while they may be explosive, the claims are “unverified.”

Earlier today, CNN’s Jake Tapper — who co-authored the original CNN report in question with Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, and Carl Bernstein — distanced their work from that of the BuzzFeed leak. While he noted that the CNN report was appropriate and well within the bounds of journalistic ethics, he slammed the 35-page leak as an, “irresponsible posting of [an] uncorroborated 35-pager.”

UPDATE 2:05 PM ET: Buzzfeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith reacted to CNN’s statement, saying that he wasn’t going to “divide media against each other.”

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