Rep. Doug Collins is calling for an investigation of CNN following a report on President Trump and a spy in Russia.
The ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee wondered “whose side CNN is on” following the controversial report, speaking on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” Tuesday about the left-leaning network’s claim that the CIA had pulled a high-level spy out of Russia because President Trump had “mishandled” classified material.
(Video: Fox News)
CNN’s report on Monday that Trump’s actions may have jeopardized the position of a covert spy was slammed by the Central Intelligence Agency as “misguided” reporting and “simply false.”
“To put this out at this time and to put this in such a way that the CIA actually had to come out and respond to this is really a disturbing part,” Collins said.
“I mean I really question, whose side is CNN on?” the Georgia Republican added. “This is a problem that we’re seeing. I think it needs to be investigated. But with the CIA coming out like it has then I think this will be something we need to look at, but I think it’s also concerning.”
CNN hit by CIA over ‘spy removal’ story: ‘Simply false’ https://t.co/I3JtE2FKoJ
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 10, 2019
“Unfortunately, some may misunderstand what is commonsense,” Jessica Andrews, a spokesperson for Collins said in a statement to BPR.
“The CIA is in a position to know what the facts are in this case. When the CIA takes the step of coming out to contradict a story, it’s worth asking how we got to that point,” Andrews said. “The Congressman was specifically calling for personal reflection on how a story with national security implications was published when our national intelligence experts say it’s inaccurate.”
CNN continued to stand by its story even though later the same evening, The New York Times published an article that basically contradicted CNN’s report, saying the CIA “made the arduous decision in late 2016 to offer to extract the source from Russia.” This happened weeks before Trump even took office and, according to the Times, was due to “media scrutiny of the agency’s sources,” not anything the president had done.
“CNN’s reporting is not only incorrect, it has the potential to put lives in danger,” press secretary Stephanie Grisham fired off a statement following the network’s report.
While Collins rebuked CNN over the report, he indicated that it wasn’t surprising.
“First let’s talk about who actually brought the story — CNN,” he told Fox News anchors Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith.
“This is the same group that hired Andy McCabe,” he said, referring to the former FBI deputy director who has been hired as a CNN commentator.
Hemmer questioned what information the U.S. government was able to have about the 2016 election in light of the spy reportedly cooperating with officials for a decade.
“What does it tell us about what the American government knew about what Putin was trying to do in the election of 2016?” he asked, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“If we were fully aware of what — of what level of cooperation we were getting from this agent in Moscow, it appears to be in the Kremlin and had been given the U.S. government information for about 10 years?” Hemmer added.
“Nobody, especially who’s been watching this for years, thinks the Russian involvement started in wanting to interfere in elections all across the world, especially the U.S. in 2016, you’re badly mistaken. They’ve been doing it for years,” Collins responded.
He slammed Congress for not acting on information that has been available but instead focusing on impeaching Trump.
“Why don’t our committee actually get to deal with the bills that we put forward to actually protect our elections to deal with the foreign interference in our elections?” the congressman asked.
“We just ignore that. And I think that’s the concerning part that I see here as you look at the information that we had. We have an ability to actually address these issues in our committee but instead we would rather go off on a farcical trip because we hate the president,” Collins said.
“This is important reporting because we do have knowledge of what they did. Let’s actually fix it instead of talking about a problem, let’s fix the problem,” he urged. “Isn’t that a novel concept in D.C.?”
** Editor’s note: This post has been updated to include a statement from a spokesperson for Rep. Collins. **
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