- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 29, 2018

CNN took the unusual step Wednesday of directly responding to President Trump on Twitter, defending its reporting on an infamous Trump Tower meeting and reporter Carl Bernstein.

Mr. Trump had tweeted that “CNN is being torn apart from within based on their being caught in a major lie and refusing to admit the mistake.” He went on to call Mr. Bernstein, one of the reporters on the story “sloppy” and “a degenerate fool, making up story after story.”

The CNN Communications team didn’t merely put out a statement, instead replying directly on Twitter and standing by its claim that Mr. Trump knew in advance of the meeting, despite some of their anonymous sources repudiating it.

“Make no mistake, Mr. President, CNN does not lie. We report the news. And we report when people in power tell lies. CNN stands by our reporting and our reporters. There may be many fools in this story but @carlbernstein is not one of them,” CNN tweeted.

Last month, CNN reported that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was willing to testify that Mr. Trump knew in advance that Donald Trump Jr. was going to meet with Russians to get dirt on Hillary Clinton — a claim that the president and his son both vehemently deny.

However in the past week, one of the sources — Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis — admitted that he didn’t know that this was true, and his client told federal prosecutors under oath as part of a plea deal that he didn’t know that either.

In addition, Mr. Davis was identified by name in CNN’s story as having no comment on the report — a lie given what he now says about being one of the sources.

One the principals in that Russia meeting chortled at CNN’s doggedness, calling it “ballsy” but still stupid.

“This is @CNN. Quadrupling down when even the likes of buzzfeed and the Amazon WaPo have acknowledged the story was #fakenews,” Donald Trump Jr. replied.

“Ballsy… Stupid, but ballsy. You do you CNN,” he concluded.

Mr. Bernstein also took to Twitter to respond, tagging Mr. Trump in a tweet later Wednesday evening saying he wouldn’t be affected by the president’s taunts.

“I have spent my life as a journalist bringing the truth to light, through administrations of both parties. No taunt will diminish my commitment to that mission, which is the essential role of a free press. @CNN stands by its story, and I stand by my reporting,” he wrote.

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