CNN’s Chris Cuomo reportedly coached former Trump attorney Michael Cohen ahead of a 2018 appearance on the network.
What are the details?
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson debuted a recording during Wednesday’s broadcast of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” allegedly of a portion of a 2018 conversation between Cuomo and Cohen.
As highlighted by the Daily Caller, the recording appeared to feature the CNN host preparing Cohen for a 2018 appearance on the network, providing “guidance” — reportedly at the request of Cohen — “as a friend more than anything.”
At the time, Cohen was reportedly receiving vast criticism over alleged hush money for adult film actress Stormy Daniels, as well as former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Cohen was reportedly concerned over any questions he might be forced to field about such payments, and allegedly asked Cuomo “to tell him what to say.”
Ahead of Cohen’s interview with Cuomo, the CNN anchor directed the ex-Trump attorney to say, “‘I did it for [Donald Trump].'”
“You will be asked that, and you can say, ‘I did it for [Donald Trump],'” Cuomo can be heard telling Cohen on the recording. “And to the question of the motive … the response would have to be, ‘You can speculate as to why you think I did it all day long, but the only answer is my answer, and I just told you why I did it. You don’t get to speculate, because if you can’t prove that I got paid back by Trump or the campaign, it is slander and defamation for you to say that I did.'”
Of the recording, Carlson added, “[I]t’s not clear that Cohen understood what he was saying. On the tape, some of Michael Cohen’s responses to Chris Cuomo seem disjointed. Others sound like he’s grunting. Perhaps to make it easier for Cohen to follow, Chris Cuomo began acting out both sides of the exchange: He acted out the news anchor’s question, and then he acted out Cohen’s scripted response to that question. The conversation devolved into a kind of one-man play, with Chris Cuomo as the performer, and Michael Cohen as the audience.”
On the recording, Cuomo also can be heard telling Cohen, “I think the way this conversation goes is almost exactly the way we’re having it right now. Which is where I say, ‘This looks shady,’ and you say, ‘It looks shady to you because you’re coming in with a specific intention.'”
Cuomo, acting as “interviewer,” asked, “Why didn’t you let it all come out and let the people decide?” He then guided Cohen to respond, “‘Because it’s not a fair process. They wouldn’t have had any of the counter facts and they would have had her, you know, if she was somehow convinced to do it and people decided to believe that her denials were somehow less true than her admissions. I didn’t want to play that game. Everything was tilted against Mr. Trump'”
Carlson concluded, “Chris Cuomo offers that help to Michael Cohen unsolicited. And honestly, it’s a lot more than most news anchors would do for a guest, we can tell you firsthand. Did Chris Cuomo call his brother — the governor of New York — on behalf of Michael Cohen? We don’t know the answer to that. We do know that whatever Chris Cuomo did, it didn’t work. In the end, Michael Cohen went to prison anyway. But Chris Cuomo did try. Even back then, Cuomo understood that Michael Cohen could be useful some day. And indeed, Michael Cohen definitely has been useful. Tonight, two months before the election, Michael Cohen is appearing CNN in primetime, to make the case against Donald Trump. In other words, in the end, it all paid off.”
What did Cohen say?
Cohen issued a statement on such a recording earlier in September, insisting that he did not leak the audio to Fox News.
“I did not give this recording or authorization for its use to @foxnews or anyone,” he wrote. “@POTUS and cronies violated my First amendment rights and now this; all to discredit me and my book. What’s next?”
Fox News reported that it reached out CNN for a statement on the matter but did not receive a response.