In the wake of the incredibly damaging new reports about Donald Trump, Jr. meeting with a Russian national who promised to give him negative information about Hillary Clinton, they sent out Baghdad Kellyanne Conway to CNN to put on a master class in how to divert attention from that issue.
What was originally supposed to be an 18-minute interview—about the revelation that Donald Trump Jr. was offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton in advance of meeting a Kremlin-tied lawyer during the 2016 campaign—became a 36-minute amalgam of deflections, half-truths, and a courtroom-like spinning of the topic at hand.
Right out of the box, Conway began the interview by twisting questions about President Trump’s self-contradictions on the issue of Russia (his team boasted of a “cybersecurity partnership” with Putin, only for the president to tweet that it will never happen) into a relitigation of the Trumpkin trope that CNN ignores the real news—in this case, that Trump’s tweet also boasted of his ceasefire deal for southern Syria.
When the subject immediately turned to Trump Jr.’s supposedly unfruitful meeting with a Russian operative, Conway refused to discuss it. At times, her diversions consisted of snarking at CNN host Chris Cuomo (“I admire your moxie, sitting there with the CNN chyron right near you talking about credibility issues”), acting out her own version of A Few Good Men (“If we were in court, your side would not even survive a motion to dismiss because you’ve got nothing”), or attempting to change the subject (“Let’s focus on what did not happen in that meeting”)…
Conway later tried to act as assignment editor for CNN, telling Cuomo his network should spend more time covering Trump‘s positive deeds—from the ceasefire, to his plan to have a plan on infrastructure, to his extension of a bill allowing veterans the choice to seek private medical care.
“We had the VA secretary [on CNN],” Cuomo noted, before declaring, “My conscience is clean. My mission is clear. What I do, I cover what I think matters to people. I test power and I take the consequences every damn day. And that’s not going to change.”
Another effort to bring the chat back to the president’s son resulted in a frustrating five-minute exchange that involved Conway’s thoughts on Hillary Clinton, her belief that the Trump Jr.-Russia meeting “doesn’t matter,” and—once again—that CNN’s Trump coverage ignores his health care and infrastructure plans.
“Where is infrastructure?” she asked Cuomo.
“You tell me,” he answered. “Where is it? Where is your infrastructure plan, your tax policy plan? As soon as they come out, we’ll discuss them.”
Good job by Cuomo of not letting her get away with these dishonest tactics.