In a heated interview Wednesday night, CNN host Chris Cuomo tried to back White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders into a corner to address the changing story around the infamous Trump Tower meeting, resulting in 20 minutes of verbal sparring.
Cuomo committed much of the interview to pressing Sanders to address why she said in August 2017 that President Donald Trump only gave advice to Donald Trump Jr. about the letter saying his infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was solely about Russian adoption, and that he did not dictate it, only to be directly contradicted in recent days by a leaked copy of a letter written by Trump lawyers.
As Cuomo repeatedly tried to contort his question into a more palatable form, Sanders, with increasing frustration, continued to dodge.
“I’ve answered this question multiple times and no matter how many times I answer it for you, it’s not going to change. It’s the same one,” she said, continuing to refer Cuomo to outside counsel. “I’m starting to regret sitting here because I’ve answered the same question I’ve answered a million times.”
Cuomo finally conceded, saying that he thinks it damages her reputation as press secretary that she won’t address her own statement that has been proven false. “I wanted to give you a lot of chances at it, because I think it matters,” he said. “I think it hurts your credibility. I think it hurts the dynamic. But I gave you the opportunities, you made of them what you wanted, all right?”
Sanders quickly retorted. “I’m very comfortable with my credibility and the fact that I think by sitting here right now and taking questions from you shows the type of person I am, shows my effort to provide information,” she said. “And frankly, to be in an environment that’s not exactly friendly, that’s not exactly one that I think a lot of people in my position would come and sit in. And I think that speaks a lot to my credibility.”
Cuomo continued the interview, trying unsuccessfully to nudge Sanders off of her talking points on subjects like the economy and the FBI informant.
The interview ended on a chilly note, with Sanders saying that she had been called “useless” and other insults on CNN, that reporters had stopped reporting actual news, and that she understands that it would be difficult for Cuomo to talk about the President’s successes “of which there are many.”
Cuomo responded that she had taken cheap shots, implying that CNN did not like veterans, and that the President has said “horrible” things about the American press.
“I brought you on here because you said you wanted to talk about 500 days and we would handle the news of the day. Did I keep my word?” Cuomo asked.
“For the most part,” Sanders replied.
Watch part of the interview below:
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) June 7, 2018