- REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday shut down a CNN reporter who attempted to ask a question at Trump’s first press conference in months.
Speaking in Manhattan, the president-elect first blasted BuzzFeed for its decision Tuesday to publish a memo containing unverified claims that Trump both was compromised by and collaborated with Russian intelligence agents who the memo said passed information to his campaign, claims that Trump denied at Wednesday’s news conference.
Trump also blasted CNN, which on Tuesday was the first of numerous news outlets to report that top US intelligence officials presented Trump with a summary of the memo as part of a briefing last week, though CNN did not publish the full memo as BuzzFeed did.
“As far as BuzzFeed, which is a failing pile of garbage, writing it, they’re going to suffer the consequences, they already are,” Trump said, before going off on a tangent defending his lawyer, Michael Cohen, who was also named in the memo. “As far as CNN going after their way to build it up – and by the way, we just found out, Michael Cohen, who is a very talented lawyer, a good lawyer at my firm. It was just reported that it wasn’t this Michael Cohen that we’re talking about.”
Moments later, when CNN reporter Jim Acosta attempted to ask a question, Trump refused.
“Not you. Not you,” Trump said. “Your organization is terrible. Your organization is terrible. Quiet, quiet. She’s asking a question, don’t be rude.”
“Since you’re attacking our news organization, can you give us a question?” Acosta asked repeatedly
“I’m not going to give you a question. You’re fake news,” Trump replied, only later taking a question from a different CNN reporter.
CNN stood by its reporting.
Shortly after the news conference, CNN anchor Jake Tapper read a statement from the network defending its story and distancing its reporting from BuzzFeed’s decision to publish the 35-page memo.
“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 statement said. “The Trump team knows this. They are using BuzzFeed’s decision to deflect from CNN’s reporting, which has been matched by other major news organizations.
“CNN made it clear that we are not publishing any 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.”