CNN anchor Jim Sciutto locked horns with Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh in a contentious interview that came out of the gate on fire.
Sciutto followed up on the train wreck segment from the previous day’s “CNN Newsroom” when co-host Poppy Harlow had a meltdown as a White House spokesperson criticized The New York Times over the story on President Trump’s tax returns. Sciutto clashed with Murtaugh on Tuesday’s show as the topic was brought up again at the beginning of the interview.
The CNN host kicked off what was nothing short of a hostile segment by bringing up how Harlow “yesterday didn’t get an answer on this” from Deputy White House Press Secretary Brian Morgenstern. Harlow repeatedly interrupted and peppered her guest with biased questions, scolding him like a child when he dared to accuse the New York Times of coordinating with Democrats to score a “political hit” against the president.
On Tuesday, Sciutto began at the same place, contending that the question had never been answered about whether the president paid only $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017.
As soon as Murtaugh began to respond, Sciutto rudely interjected.
“Hold on a second. If you are going to ask me a question, you might as well let me answer it,” Murtaugh said.
But every attempt he made to explain, referring to the IRS audits that have prevented the president from releasing the long-sought-after documents, Murtaugh was interrupted by the hostile CNN host.
“We’ll get to the audit in a moment,” Sciutto said, dismissing the point his guest was trying to make.
As the president’s campaign communications director tried to move on with his response, Sciutto cut in, declaring, “I’ll take that as a non-answer.”
His showboating escalated when Murtaugh made mention of “your former boss, Barack Obama,” referring to the fact that the CNN co-host previously worked in the State Department in the administration of former President Obama.
“That refund that you’re referring to was made possible under a law signed by your former boss, Barack Obama, that allows people to claim losses in previous years and carry them forward,” Murtaugh said.
“Don’t go personal here, Tim Murtaugh,” Sciutto interjected. “Don’t go personal here. I worked as chief of staff for the U.S. ambassador to China.”
“It’s not personal, it’s a fact,” Murtaugh said, dismissing his ridiculous outrage. “President Obama signed that law.”
“You will not answer what the president paid in federal income taxes in 2016 or ‘17,” Sciutto asked again, and once again, interrupted before Murtaugh had formed a complete sentence.
“Non-answer, moving on,” he declared, then asked: “Have you ever received a tax refund in a year you paid no taxes?”
“No, I have not. And I am also not a multibillionaire real estate mogul,” Murtaugh shot back.
The rudeness continued from a smug Sciutto who continued to talk over Murtaugh, and accused him repeatedly of evading the question. The Trump campaign spokesman pushed back over and over, attempting to answer the questions completely and finally confronting the anchor on why the same level of questioning is not used to get answers about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
“Well, Jim, you had a misstatement in your question right there. The loan amounts are far, far below the actual value of the property and in fact he’s very leveraged –,” Murtaugh said of Trump’s taxes before being interrupted again.
“So he does have $400 million in debt?” an unprofessional Sciutto asked again.
“I told you it’s probably in the public disclosures and the president remains under audit and for the last ten years he’s been under audit,” Murtaugh fired back. “I have answered this question seven times so if you want to keep spending our time here on CNN on the one singular question, keep doing it over and over again.”
After a few more minutes of Sciutto’s disrespect, he outrageously informed Murtaugh: “By the way, Tim, we have a Biden spokesperson where we’ll be asking these questions.”
“I’m sure it will have the same tone then. I’m sure,” Murtaugh replied sarcastically.
“Please come back. When you’re willing to answer questions on federal income tax paid, et cetera, please come back on the program,” the CNN host concluded.
“I told you over and over, Jim,” Murtaugh replied.
“Actually you didn’t,” the petulant anchor said.
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