President Donald Trump held a reelection fund-raiser at his Washington, DC, hotel on Wednesday where he railed against the “horrible human beings” at CNN, according to leaked audio of the event posted by The Intercept.
At the $35,000-a-person event, Trump took aim at some recent troubles at CNN.
“Boy, did CNN get killed over the last few days,” Trump can be heard saying on the recording.
In the past week, three CNN staffers quit over the retraction of a story that claimed that the Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating the head of a large Russian investment fund who met with Anthony Scaramucci, a member of Trump’s transition team, before the inauguration.
CNN removed the story and added an editor’s note, which Scaramucci applauded as “the right thing.”
The event, Trump’s first major reelection fund-raiser, was not open to the press. That broke with tradition, according to The Associated Press, and caused some confusion about whether pool reporters would be allowed to attend.
Trump also riffed on Van Jones, a frequent CNN commentator whom conservative activists recently caught on camera saying “the Russia thing is just a big nothing burger,” apparently in response to a question about what he thought might happen that week with the investigation into whether there was collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Jones’ comment would appear to contradict statements he’s made on the network about the severity of the investigation. He has dismissed the video as “edited, right-wing propaganda.”
“Van Jones – you see this man?” Trump said at the fund-raiser, according to the audio clip. “These are really dishonest people. Should I sue them? I mean, they’re phonies. Jeff Zucker, I hear he’s going to resign at some point pretty soon. I mean these are horrible human beings.
“It’s a shame what they’ve done to the name CNN, that I can tell you,” Trump continued. “But as far as I’m concerned, I love it. If anybody’s a lawyer in the house and thinks I have a good lawsuit – I feel like we do. Wouldn’t that be fun?”
Several prominent Republicans said on Thursday that they were disturbed by Trump’s tweet that claimed that Mika Brzezinski, a host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” had been “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when she visited his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida earlier this year.