CNN Tip-Toes Around Biden Controversy in Interview With Campaign Press Secretary

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Over the past three years CNN has branded itself as the network that is fearless in its drive to speak truth to power and that is unafraid to call an apple and apple and a banana a banana. Unless that power be a Democrat, then it as if they are walking on eggshells, as CNN Newsroom co-host Poppy Harlow illustrated on Wednesday as she interviewed Symone Sanders, press secretary for the Biden campaign.

At the debate on Tuesday, Anderson Cooper asked Joe Biden about the controversy surrounding him, his son Hunter, and the company Burisma in such a way that one would think Cooper was auditioning for Sanders' job. Despite the softball from Cooper, Biden still got himself in some trouble. In talking about the situation, Biden told Cooper, "I never discussed a single thing with my son about anything having to do with Ukraine. No one has indicated I have."

 

 

Harlow was tasked with confronting Sanders about this, but first tried to soften the blow of any hard question. In introducing the clip of Biden and Cooper from Tuesday, Harlow declared the entire controversy was a result of, "the President's unfounded smears against the vice president."

After performing that preventive damage control, Harlow told Sanders that," according to the New Yorker article, you know the Adam Entous piece, Hunter Biden indicated they had had discussions about it where Hunter recalled his father discussing Burisma with it and said to Hunter, quote, 'I hope you know what you're doing,' and I said 'I do' and then in the ABC News interview, Hunter Biden acknowledged the New Yorker's characterization was accurate."

She continued, asking, "Is the former vice president going to clarify more what he meant on stage last night by saying they never talked at all ever about it?" From a network that has no qualms about calling other people liars, "clarify" is certainly a charitable interpretation.

Sanders defended Biden, "I don't think he has anything to clarify," later adding that, '"I hope you know what you're doing.' That's not a conversation."

Here is a transcript for the October 16 show:

CNN

CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto

9:45

POPPY HARLOW: Okay, so to the issue you brought up which is Ukraine and the president's unfounded smears against the vice president and his son Hunter Biden, here's a moment from that question that Anderson asked him on the debate stage last night. Let's play it. 

BEGIN CLIP

JOE BIDEN: I never discussed a single thing with my son about anything having to do with Ukraine. No one has indicated I have. 

END CLIP

HARLOW: But, according to the New Yorker article, you know the Adam Entous piece, Hunter Biden indicated they had had discussions about it where Hunter recalled his father discussing Burisma with it and said to Hunter, quote, “I hope you know what you're doing,” and I said “I do” and then in the ABC News interview, Hunter Biden acknowledged the New Yorker's characterization was accurate. Is the former vice president going to clarify more what he meant on stage last night by saying they never talked at all ever about it? 

SYMONE SANDERS: I don't think he has anything to clarify, Poppy. I think this has been asked and answered. Asked and answered. It was asked and answered last night. And you just asked it today so I'll answer it again. Hunter Biden did nothing wrong. Vice President Biden did nothing wrong, and every single media outlet has said that there is no there, there to these allegations, lies and smears that the Trump campaign, Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani have injected into this atmosphere. What Hunter Biden said in that interview around this was that after looking at media reports, seeing that he was on this board—

HARLOW: Right

SANDERS:-- the next time that he saw his father, his father said, “I hope you know what you're doing.” That's not a conversation. We're not going to play Donald Trump's game here. Donald Trump is saying this, Poppy, because he is worried about facing Vice President Biden—

HARLOW: So, Symone--

SANDERS:-- in a general election. That's the only reason this came up. That's the only reason we're having this conversation now. 

 

 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential CNN CNN Newsroom Video Symone Sanders Poppy Harlow Joe Biden
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