Huge kudos to Chris Cuomo of CNN for keeping his cool and staying firm on the issue when dealing with Kellyanne Conway at 5:30 a.m. this morning.
Interestingly, this is not the first time Cuomo and Conway have clashed. Back in November, they bickered about some of Donald Trump’s tweets:
Just tried watching Saturday Night Live – unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can’t get any worse. Sad
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2016
Cuomo started out today with a very simple goal: getting Conway to discuss why the president-elect refused to acknowledge the reports from intelligence communities regarding the DNC hack. He began with, “Did Clapper come out in early October and say we know it was Russia?”
Interrupting him, Kellyanne Conway jumped on the defensive with a smirk on her face, redirecting attention away from Trump’s response to Clapper’s announcement by calling Obama’s into question.
He tried again, but Kellyanne weakly pretended that the question was not clear enough as phrased.
‘Finish the question, what do we know? Do we know that Russia is..’
Then, in a tense but hilarious development, they both began speaking completely on top of each other. Cuomo, clearly frustrated at this point, sharply cuts back in:
‘I’ll ask you a third time then…’
By 0:45, she finally acknowledged that Clapper did say that Russia was involved back in November. Cuomo tried to build on the topic further:
‘Why won’t the president-elect acknowledge what is so clear to the intelligence community — that Russia was involved in the hacks?’
But Kellyanne again side-stepped, claiming, “He gets his intelligence briefing today.” Cuomo responded then with what all of us are thinking at this point:
‘He had so much opportunity to know the answers to this. The people around him have been able to get the intelligence whenever they want it.’
Conway struggled to avoid the question. It takes Cuomo a minute to re-raise the question again, and he urged her to consider why President-elect Trump can’t “divorce” this idea that Russian hacks are delegitimizing his Presidency. He wanted viewers to understand why Trump is delegitimizing American intelligence agencies.
Donald Trump’s lack of respect for the intelligence community goes back essentially to the first presidential debate. At that time, he claimed, “It could also be China; it could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds. You don’t know who broke into the DNC.” Except he had been briefed before making that statement and since then, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and four separate cybersecurity firms have confirmed Russian involvement.
The tension between the Conway and Cuomo then erupted, ending horribly for Conway:
Conway: ‘I see you’re very passionate about this.’
Cuomo: ‘Sure I am! Russia trying to hack during our election being ignored by the president-elect, that’s troubling.’
Conway: ‘Right… no it’s not.’
Did a senior advisor to the president-elect of the United States really just say that?!
Here’s the full video:
— New Day (@NewDay) January 6, 2017
Feature image via Getty Images/Drew Angerer. All rights reserved. Image has been modified from its original form.