The Washington Free Beacon‘s scoops on Hillary Clinton about her critical comments of Monica Lewinsky and successful defense of an accused child rapist were subjects of a contentious panel discussion Monday on CNN.
CNN's Anderson Cooper and Democratic strategist Angela Rye were both embarrassed during the segment when the latter story was brought up and they doubted its veracity, only to be corrected by a fellow CNN contributor, Mary Katharine Ham.
Donald Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany discussed the story broken in 2014 by Free Beacon reporter Alana Goodman about audio recordings of Clinton in the early 1980s discussing her court-appointed defense of an accused child rapist.
In the tapes available for anyone to listen to online, Clinton casually discussed how she used a legal technicality to plead the accused man down, and she laughed as she said her client passed a polygraph and "forever destroyed" her faith in the lie-detecting machines. Goodman's story received widespread media attention, and Clinton herself was forced to address the story.
McEnany was pushing back against former Bill Clinton flack Paul Begala's points about Trump's struggles with women in the polls by noting Clinton's glibness about the rape case, when host Anderson Cooper interrupted.
"We haven't corroborated any of this, so I just think you should be very—" Cooper started.
"It's widely reported," McEnany said. "It's widely reported."
"Widely reported. So's the National Enquirer, widely reported. Widely reported doesn't mean anything," Cooper said. "Not on this network, I would point out."
CNN actually had Goodman on in 2014 to discuss an earlier scoop about Hillary Clinton.
Undeterred, McEnany quoted Clinton's words about the polygraph machine and said she had a "long history" of demonizing victims.
Rye was all of a dither when Cooper threw to her, as she implied the remarks about Clinton's rape defense were false.
"As an attorney, I am really just flabbergasted by some of the allegations that we're just tossing out here," Rye said. "We have to be accountable."
Ham then cut in and ruined Rye's evening.
"Hold on, Kayleigh's right about the audio," Ham said. "The audio was broken by the Free Beacon more than a year ago. It was from the Clinton Library. It was dug up by a reporter there, so there is actual evidence here of her speaking about this."
"The full breadth and depth of what's been said tonight, though, is not," Rye snapped.
She went on to guess that such charges against Clinton wouldn't play well with women in the polls.
Later in the segment, Barry Bennett said Hillary Clinton had previously stated "really nasty" things about women.
Pressed for an example, he mentioned Clinton referring to Lewinsky, the intern with whom Bill Clinton had an affair in the 1990s, as a "narcissistic loony toon" to her friend Diane Blair. That story, also, was broken by Goodman and made national headlines.
"Do you think it's fair game to criticize her for being unhappy that her husband had an affair in a private phone call?" Begala asked angrily.
"I'm surprised though that she didn't say anything about her husband in that conversation," Bennett said.
"Yes, she did," Begala said. "Didn't make the story but she did."