CNN’s Chris Cuomo got in a heated exchange Friday morning with Donald Trump aide Kellyanne Conway over Trump’s refusal to acknowledge what the U.S. intelligence community says was Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
Conway accused the “New Day” anchor, and others who’ve criticized Trump for not accepting the intelligence community’s attribution of the hacks of Democratic organizations and operatives to the Russian actors, of attempting to delegitimize his Election Day victory.
“You are in this bad situation where the President-elect is an outlier not accepting the proof that Russia is behind the hacks of the election. Why does he continue to fight what is to obvious to so many?” Cuomo began early in the interview.
“Chris, how is it obvious? Have you seen a briefing?” Conway replied, noting that Trump would get a briefing from the intelligence community later in the day on Russian interference in the election.
“We just were very concerned about all the leaks that happened, people running to the media rather than running to the House Intelligence Committee meetings—closed door meetings—where they were invited to produce the information,” she said.
Cuomo accused the Trump camp of providing “shelter” for Russia in not acknowledging its role in election interference, but Conway countered that “team Clinton”–including CNN, she said–was attempting to delegitimize Trump’s win by focusing on Russia.
Conway, who will be special counselor to the president when Trump takes office, emphasized repeatedly during the interview that Trump was against “any foreign government hacking or interfering” in the electoral process.
“By who?” Cuomo replied. “You won’t even say it!”
“I really believe there are those out there who are trying to delegitimize his presidency, review the election results, and you know it,” Conway said.
“The moment you mention Russian hacking and the election in the same sentence, you know what the impression is for a lot of the viewers out there,” she added.
“I do not think a political calculation should be fueling your recognition of a cyber threat of this magnitude,” Cuomo responded.