During an interview with former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo Tuesday morning, CNN New Day co-host Chris Cuomo defended the leaks coming out of the Mueller investigation, saying "leaks are part of the currency of journalism."
Caputo had expressed his doubts about the Los Angeles Times story indicating that Rick Gates, who briefly served as Deputy Campaign Manager to the Trump Campaign, intends to cooperate with the Special Counsel and testify against Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort. Caputo said that it was “really within the character of the Mueller investigation” to leak this information and “really within the character of journalists to carry it like stenographers.” Cuomo defended the leaks as “part of the currency of journalism” and argued that “the only people who don’t like them are the people that the leaks work against.” Throughout the interview, Caputo repeatedly stressed the illegality of leaks, which Cuomo himself acknowledged when he previously told the American people it was illegal for anyone but the media to access Hillary Clinton’s leaked e-mails.
Cuomo then attacked Caputo for echoing the “false narrative” that the Democrats and the media have done more to “bred dissension during the election” than Russia. When Caputo pointed out that the Democrats have latched onto the “bogus Russian collusion narrative”, Cuomo responded by saying, “Every one of the investigations is run by Republicans including the Special Counsel, who’s for life a Republican, way more of a Republican than President Trump has ever dreamed of being.”
Caputo concluded his interview by warning that “we’re going to have our own version of 9/11 truthers out there who...never will ever believe that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia.” Cuomo seemed to dismiss Caputo’s statement as a conspiracy theory, saying “Well, last I checked, it’s not the media that’s big into conspiracies these days.”
The media have actually seen nothing but conspiracy when it comes to the Russia investigation, despite a lack of evidence. Hopefully the American people have learned to take everything that comes out of the press with a hefty grain of salt.
CNN New Day
CHRIS CUOMO: But how do you know what the truth is? How do you know that Gates hasn’t made a deal with him? Have you been in contact with him?
MICHAEL CAPUTO: Well, I’ve, I’ve spoken to Rick. I’ve spoken to Paul. I’ve known them for thirty years.
CUOMO: So does Gates say this isn’t true? I didn’t cut any deal.
CAPUTO: No, I did not, I did not ask Rick about this. I saw him last week. I just find this completely out of character but really within the character of the Mueller investigation, to leak it. And really within the character of journalists to carry it like stenographers.
CUOMO: Well, look. First of all, leaks are part of the currency of journalism. And the only people who don’t like them are the people that the leaks work against.
CAPUTO: And also, those who are worried about the rule of law because they’re illegal.
CUOMO: Right, but look. Mueller being a leak machine, or however you characterized it, is almost without basis, Michael.
CAPUTO: I don’t characterize it that way.
CUOMO: We have learned so little about what is going on in that investigation. Uncharacteristically so, I would argue. If anything, this investigation has been an example of integrity in terms of leaks, not a sieve.
CAPUTO: Well, I don’t characterize Director Mueller or those around him as leakers. I know Director Mueller...
CUOMO: You just kind of said that, Michael.
CAPUTO: But there are leaks coming out. CNN has been the beneficiary of some of them. They’re still illegal. And even though it might be a tactical move to try to push, you know, a target into cooperation, it’s still illegal. And it did come from the Mueller investigation. The stories directly say that. I think the L.A. Times story that came out of this and the others that came out of this regarding Gates and Manafort, none of those reporters are going to turn around and say they’re sorry in the end. This is just another leak from an investigation that really must, in my mind, upset Director Mueller.
CUOMO: I’m just saying, all leaks are not equal. So we have to see where it comes out and then you can judge, you know, the process at that point. Let me ask you something about the Russia investigation in general. You know Russian culture, Russian political culture well. You worked there. You know people. You are not surprised by Russian interference. You say that this is something that needed to be pinpointed for decades. So you believe that Russia interfered in this election? Yes?
CAPUTO: No doubt. I believe that Russia interferes in all the elections of, let’s say, for example, the Security Council from the United Nations. We also do things to, to manipulate elections overseas. I was sent to Russia by the Clinton Administration to get involved in their elections. However, this whole thing, from the internet to research agency that’s run by this oligarch named Prigozhin, they call him the Chef. This stuff has been going on since 2013. It’s been in the news in Russia for a while.
CUOMO: So it’s real?
CAPUTO: This needs to be shut down.
CUOMO: So it’s real? It’s nefarious?
CAPUTO: It’s absolutely real. No question.
CUOMO: You believe in that?
CAPUTO: No doubt.
CUOMO: What I don’t understand is why would you echo this false narrative that “you want to know who really bred dissension during the election, it was the Democrats and the media, they’re the real problem, not Russia. Why would you endorse such a silly statement as that?
CAPUTO: I don’t find that silly. I think that a lot of the dissension that’s been sewn since the election was entirely the responsibility of the Democrats, the responsibility of the Democrats. I think the Democrats have fed this bogus Russian collusion narrative, the media have gleefully swallowed it because it’s really good for ratings...
CUOMO: Every one of the investigations is run by Republicans including the Special Counsel, who’s for life a Republican, way more of a Republican than President Trump has ever dreamed of being.
CAPUTO: I get that. And because of the Republican involvement and Republican leadership of these committees, the Democrats have been really successful in this gambit. I, you know, I, I, I salute them as a cynical political operative, but as an American, I, I weep for my country. But at the same time, you know, when we look at this Russia investigation and what’s gone on since. And as this thing winds down, as it peters out and we’re seeing that happening right now, unfortunately, the media and the Democrats have painted this as, with such certainty that we’re going to have our own version of 9/11 truthers out there who never will, never will ever believe that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia.
CUOMO: Well, last I checked, it’s not the media that’s big into conspiracies these days. So let’s see where the investigation winds up and we’ll see how people play it. Michael Caputo, thank you for coming on and giving us your take, as always.