On Wednesday night, Anderson Cooper had a feisty exchange with White House Deputy Assistant Sebastian Gorka over a variety of subjects, including Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer.
When asked about President Donald Trump‘s lack of public appearances in recent days since The New York Times broke the story of his son’s meeting last year, Gorka went on to slam CNN’s “laughable” coverage.
“Your chyron talked about a ‘crisis.'” he began, “Your reporter talked about a ‘bunker mentality.’ I actually work in the West Wing, I work in the White House. It is absolutely nothing of the kind.”
He called the subject “fake news” and accused CNN of wanting “salacious, sensational coverage” in order to nab ratings and money from corporate sponsors.
“I’m just gonna ignore the insults because I really don’t think they get us anywhere,” Cooper responded.
“It’s not about you,” Gorka clarified. “It’s about actually having journalism back on TV. Where are the Walter Cronkites of yesteryear? This is just about ratings and money. It’s actually quite sad.”
Cooper then shifted to Trump’s tweet accusing the media of making up their sources and asked Gorka how the president can make such a claim after the NYT‘s report have been proven by Trump Jr.’s own emails. Gorka then took the opportunity to slam CNN’s for pushing the false report that former FBI Director James Comey was going to reject Trump’s claim that he wasn’t going to be investigated at his testimony.
“That reporting was wrong and we corrected ourselves,” Cooper said, defending the network. “Unlike the White House, which has never corrected itself on anything.”
Gorka stood by both President Trump and Trump Jr.’s remarks, adding that he was impressed with Trump Jr.’s “transparency.”
“But c’mon!” Cooper shot back. “Let’s be honest here though. He only published these emails because The New York Times got the emails and was gonna publish them and he smartly got ahead of it. And the only reason that this story has lasted so long is because he wasn’t transparent from the beginning.”
The two had a fiery back-and-forth about Trump Jr.’s shifting narrative from the meeting being about adoption to being political opposition research.
“I thought we were going to talk about real issues,” Gorka told Cooper. “How many minutes are we-”
“Are you a TV producer now?” Cooper said, interjecting. “You’re concerned about how many minutes- Do you have somewhere else to go? If you gotta go, then you gotta go.”
Cooper then accused Gorka of “shaking shiny objects to try and divert people” but said that he believes viewers “aren’t that easily diverted.”
“Do you know why the president’s description of the witch hunt is accurate?” Gorka asked. “Because there never were witches. And there was never any collusion. It’s bogus.”
Gorka insisted to let the viewers decide, which led him to rip CNN’s ratings for being 13th overall behind Nick at Nite. Then this exchange happened:
Cooper: “You used that line on Monday and you know it was sorta mildly amusing-”
Gorka: “Tucker Carlson get 4 million viewers!
Cooper: “Oh Jesus…”
Gorka: “You barely scratch 800,000!”
Cooper: “But I think it’s funny that you have enough time in the White House, which is apparently you’re so busy, you’re able to sit around and read Nielsen numbers.”
Gorka: “No, I get really good prep from my team because the White House press team is superb. I don’t deal with this stuff because I do have a day job.”
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
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