‘We are fully confident in our reporting’
Wednesday morning, president-elect Donald Trump held his first press conference in six months and it was overshadowed by allegations he was “compromised’ by Russian operatives. Tuesday, CNN reported that Trump and President Obama were briefed by intel chiefs on memos from a former British intelligence operative. The memos claim that Russian operatives have compromising personal and financial information about Trump.
After CNN’s report, Buzzfeed released a 35-page dossier believed to be compiled by the British intelligence officer. The dossier contains unverified details of Trump’s unique sexual proclivities, and claims his campaign was in contract with the Kremlin during the recent hacking scandal. It also alleges the Russian government has been cultivating, supporting, and assisting Trump for years.
During the press conference, Trump tried to discredit both news organizations for what his press secretary called “highly salacious and flat-out false information.” “BuzzFeed is failing pile of garbage,” Trump proclaimed before offering a warning. “I think they’re going to suffer the consequences... they already are.” Then when CNN reporter Jim Acosta tried to ask a question, Trump refused to answer.
“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 multiple times.
“I’m not going to give you a question. You’re fake news,” Trump replied.
Trump’s aggressive treatment of Acosta prompted CNN to back up its reporting and challenge the Trump transition team to refute its reports.
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.