Washington Free Beacon editor in chief Matthew Continetti said Wednesday it is unclear where CNN would have gotten additional sourcing for its controversial story about a meeting in Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The story indicates President Donald Trump knew of a meeting between campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Appearing on the "Special Report" panel, Continetti said CNN finds itself in a difficult position with its report.
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"CNN now continues to stand by its story, even saying that they had other sourcing for this claim that Trump had knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting before it happened," Continetti said. "It’s hard, though, to see where that other sourcing would come from other than Lanny Davis who admitted being the source and now walks it back."
Davis, who is the attorney for Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, recently revealed he could not back up comments he made to media outlets about his client's claim that Trump knew beforehand about the meeting.
Last month, CNN published a report claiming Cohen was poised to tell special counsel Robert Mueller he was in the room when Trump was told of the meeting. The Washington Post released a similar story soon after, and both cited anonymous sources.
The Post now reports its source was Davis and that Cohen’s lawyer cannot stand by his prior comments.
"I should have been more clear–including with you–that I could not independently confirm what happened," Davis told the Post. "I regret my error."
CNN has not changed its story, and the organization released a statement saying, "We stand by our story, and are confident in our reporting of it."
Trump criticized CNN in a tweet on Wednesday, singling out one of the report’s author, Carl Bernstein.
CNN is being torn apart from within based on their being caught in a major lie and refusing to admit the mistake. Sloppy @carlbernstein, a man who lives in the past and thinks like a degenerate fool, making up story after story, is being laughed at all over the country! Fake News
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018
Continetti pointed out that media bias often helps the president.
"Trump is, I think, continually saved by three things," he said. "One is a news media like CNN which sometimes discredits itself with some of its false reporting and also its bias."
"Another thing is the lack of a credible Democratic alternative, right, because we look at the Democrats: It’s impeachment, it's abolish ICE, it’s Medicare for all," Continetti continued. "And then the third thing which, of course, is always neglected in the midst of all these scandals, is the American economy. The news there continues to be good with the consumer confidence and GDP numbers just today."