White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Monday responded to Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a lawyer linked to the Russian government by getting into a heated argument over CNN’s coverage of the Trump administration.
Conway backed up Trump Jr.’s latest account of the meeting, which he said occurred because he was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton during last year’s presidential campaign. Like Trump Jr., she said that the June 2016 meeting, held at Trump Tower in New York, ended up disclosing “no information provided that was meaningful.” Also reportedly attending were President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.
After repeatedly failing to explain why she previously denied the existence of get-togethers between the Trump campaign’s inner circle and Russians and why Trump Jr. initially concealed the true reason for his meeting, Conway criticized CNN for not focusing on policy issues and providing only negative coverage of Trump’s administration.
“You want to talk about Russia. I want to talk about America,” she told host Chris Cuomo.
“I know, but there are also reasons why you don’t want to talk about Russia, and I do,” Cuomo responded. “It is my responsibility to cover things that matter to the American people, not just the things that are positive to the president. My job is not to curry favor.”
Conway and Cuomo argued extensively over the network’s coverage, which Trump and administration officials regularly label as “fake news.” Trump’s attacks against the free press are popular with his base of supporters, polls have shown.
Conway also chided the network for not having “more balanced” panels, despite the fact the CNN has been criticized by others for regularly featuring ardent Trump surrogates like Jeffrey Lord as panelists.