CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta called President Donald Trump's news conference a "fake news conference" on Thursday after Trump publicly criticized his network and said only "three or four" intelligence agencies agreed there was Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The public feud between Trump and CNN reached another low on Sunday after Trump tweeted out a GIF of him wrestling someone with the network's logo superimposed on his face. CNN later reported it had found the identity of the Reddit user originally behind the GIF, and it received criticism for appearing to threaten to publicly identify him if he posted racist or anti-Semitic things, as he had in the past.
David Martosko, a reporter for the Daily Mail with pro-Trump leanings, asked the president on Thursday for his response after CNN's reporting, and Trump said the network was "fake news" and had hurt itself "very badly."
"Unfortunately, this was not a surprise at all that the president would take the first question from an American reporter during his foreign trip here and that it would be from the friendly news media, friendly reporter who teed up a question about CNN," Acosta said in a clip flagged by Mediaite. "For the president to then go off on CNN as fake news, to me, just made this entire spectacle feel like a fake news conference. This was not an attempt by the president to seek out a question from somebody who was going to challenge him on the issues."
Isn't it a "fake news conference" to take a question from a reporter who is essentially an ally of the White House? https://t.co/vD7DgAZXIv
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) July 6, 2017
Acosta said this was an example of conservative news media being "used" by the Trump administration. Acosta has had a share of spats with the administration in recent weeks, including fuming at White House spokesman Sean Spicer for conducting off-camera briefings.
Acosta also said it was "simply fake news" for Trump to say former President Barack Obama did nothing about Russian interference in the 2016 election, pointing to the fact that Obama confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin about the matter in September.
"Barack Obama went further, by the way, in that meeting with Vladimir Putin, than President Trump is promising to do himself. He's not even promising to bring up election meddling in his bilateral [meeting] with Vladimir Putin," Acosta said. "So for the president to say, ‘Well, Barack Obama did nothing,' he is, at this point, promising to do less than nothing on that front."
Acosta then said it was also "fake news" for Trump to say "three or four intelligence agencies" rather than "17" agreed on the assessment of Russian meddling in the election. However, the New York Times and Associated Press have recently corrected stories that made that claim. In fact, not all 17 were part of that assessment.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on May 8 that the intelligence community assessment "was a coordinated product from three agencies: CIA, NSA and the FBI, not all 17 components of the intelligence community. Those three, under the aegis of my former office."