- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 19, 2019

CNN’s political director urged the news team to get “in their faces” of all Republican senators on a daily basis, both at work and at home, about President Trump’s Ukraine phone call, according to undercover audio.

Project Veritas posted an audio snippet last week as part of its #ExposeCNN investigation on the network’s morning “rundown call” featuring CNN Worldwide CEO Jeffrey Zucker and political director David Chalian discussing how to “brand” Republicans.

“I think we have to be in their faces of all 53 Republican senators on as much of a daily basis as possible, whether they’re at home or on the hill, asking each one of them, is it okay for the President of the United States to apply pressure to a foreign country in hopes of getting a domestic political opponent investigated?” said Mr. Chalian on the audio.

He referred to Mr. Trump’s phone call asking the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s son Hunter Biden, who received a high-paying position on a Ukrainian energy company’s board while his father oversaw the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.

The hidden-camera investigation showed Mr. Zucker pushing the network to be “fully committed” to the House Democrats’ impeachment push, which has received extensive coverage from virtually all national media outlets.



Mr. Chalian said that “as big of a story as what President Trump has done here is the Republicans sort of either delusional or defiant or silent responses.”

“Like, is that okay?” asked Mr. Chalian. “And if they say no today, we should have a camera in front of them again and ask them tomorrow because it is not okay.”

 

 

A number of Republicans have said they disagreed with Mr. Trump bringing up Hunter Biden on the July 25 phone call, but that the conversation, the basis of the House Democrats’ impeachment push, falls well short of an impeachable offense.

Republicans have also said that the transcript released by the White House that shows no quid pro quo, while Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, said that the president’s focus was on possible Ukrainian election meddling.

“There is potential interference in the 2016 election. That’s what Trump wants to get to the bottom of, but the press doesn’t want to,” said Mr. Johnson last week on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the White House should release the transcripts of Mr. Biden’s conversations with Ukraine from the Obama administration.

The Project Veritas audio drew a range of responses on social media, from those saying the discussion showed CNN officials engaged in legitimate journalism to others arguing that it provided more evidence of the network’s anti-Trump bias.

Mr. Trump informed CNN Friday through his personal attorney that he plans to sue the network for its “vendetta” against his administration, citing the Project Veritas recordings, which CNN spokesman Matt Dornic called a “desperate PR stunt” that “doesn’t merit a response.”

 

 

Mr. Johnson, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, was mentioned on the CNN call by Mr. Zucker, who said he wanted to figure out “how to brand this on our shows.”

“I would like to figure out how we get at this,” Mr. Zucker said. “I think we can start with Ron Johnson.”

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