Did CNN just accuse President Trump of "murder?" On this morning's New Day, co-host John Berman called the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani "murder," before adding, "assassination." Given that the strike on Soleimani was reportedly ordered by President Trump, Berman's choice of language would seem tantamount to accusing President Trump of a capital crime.
Here’s the exact quote. Talking about the last impeachment and Bill Clinton’s 1998 air strikes against Iraq, Berman said of last night’s attack: “Not to diminish the importance of the air strikes in Iraq at the time, but that’s nothing compared to the murder, the assassination of General Soleimani. And this comes during the Senate impeachment trial.”
And both Berman and substitute co-host Poppy Barlow not-too-subtly suggested that President Trump's ordering of the strike was a "wag the dog" move intended to divert attention from the impeachment proceedings.
Here's the transcript.
6:35 am ET
JOHN BERMAN: The dramatic attack that killed Iran’s most powerful security and intelligence official comes as President Trump is facing both a Senate impeachment trial, and a re-election campaign . . . I delved into time machine and we found a New York Times headline, and this comes from December 17, 1998. This was during Bill Clinton’s impeachment. This was during the House vote. We'll put that up: hopefully we have it there. There we go. "Impeachment vote in House delayed as Clinton launches Iraq air strike citing military need to move swiftly." Now, Margaret, actually, not to diminish the importance of the air strikes in Iraq at the time, but that’s nothing compared to the murder, the assassination of General Soleimani. And this comes during the Senate impeachment trial.
. . .
POPPY HARLOW: Kaitlan, the fact that this was carried out is carrying out something that both former President George W. Bush and President Obama decided and opted not to do. We know that General Stanley McChrystal, who led JSOC from 2003 to 2008 revealed last year he had the opportunity to assassinate Soleimani in 2007 and decided not to; talked about the importance of restraint. So just speak to the impact of President Trump deciding to do this now—we find out, hours before Mitch McConnell is going to go speak today about a pending Senate impeachment trial.