Politics - News Analysis
CNN’s Poppy Harlow Refuses to Take Trump Spokesman’s BS Over Trump’s Taxes: ‘Stop Attacking the Press!’
There is the old cliche: the only tool – hammer, every problem – nail, you know the one. For the last five years everything Trump ever heard that he didn’t like was blamed entirely on a media landscape that was built – as Trump would have us believe – to stop him, and only him, because we’re so unfairly nice to everyone else.
Yesterday, the New York Times produced one of those reports that may go down in history as a paradigm shift, one that overnight changes the topic of the nation’s discussion, possibly changing the nation itself. One thing that the Times story is not about, is the media. The fact is, the White House hasn’t challenged the underlying truth of the reporting. It has whined about things out of context, it’s complained about taxes paid elsewhere, but only Trump has stood at the podium and called it “fake news.” No one else in the White House, nor Junior, has said that the New York Times has the basic facts wrong.
Indeed, they’ve complained that laws were broken in how the Times obtained the taxes. You cannot complain that it’s all fake while also claiming that they were illegally obtained.
Today, CNN’s Poppy Harlowe had White House Deputy Press Secretary Brian Morgenstern on to address the burgeoning scandal. It got tense, fast.
Harlowe played it straight up, giving the floor to Morgenstern, to let him address what Trump called “fake” and asked him to explain what exactly was “fake.” Transcript from Mediaite:
“The president said last night, the New York Times reporting is completely false,” Harlow said. “So, what is true, Brian? How much did the president pay in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017?”
Morgenstern diverted, saying that Trump paid “millions” in taxes, completely avoiding the real question – because for all we know, Morgenstern might have been including taxes on jet fuel, and Harlowe redirected him to “income taxes.” Morgenstern then complained that the New York Times didn’t “share” the income tax forms with the White House, and Poppy hit that onto Waveland Ave:
“Trump and his attorneys have copies of his taxes.”
OUCH. But Harlowe was just getting warmed up:
“Federal income taxes pay for things like the military, that the president has said he so strongly supports,” Harlow pointed out. “It pays the salary of secret service members that secure him every single day. It pays for roads, bridges, I could go on. And the average American in 2017 paid $12,199 in federal income taxes. Why does the president believe that he owes 16 times less?”
Morgenstern wanted no part of talking about all the things Trump wasn’t paying for and instead tried to tie the New York Times to the DNC as if there was some coordination. (The Trumpers should ask real progressives what THEY think of the New York Times sometime, “But her emailzzz!” was birthed at the New York Times.”
And off Harlowe went:
“I’m just going to stop you there,” Harlow said. “These are remarkable reporters from the New York Times that went through 20 years of documents. It’s not okay to accuse them with no facts of coordinating with the Democratic Party. Please stop doing that or this interview will end.
“Brain, stop attacking the press. I have not seen you do that largely before,” she added. “Stop doing that. I am asking you direct questions. You can put the entire thing to bed if the president would release the records and show the American people what he says is true. Why will he not do that?”
Meekly, Morgenstern said that the documents showed no ties to Russia …
Oh well bravo! Nice work. What a relief. The United States president is only in debt for $421 million to someone else! No problems there.
And by the way, Morgenstern is more then a bit ahead of himself here. If he thinks that the tax returns are going to show a debt to “Moscow Lending LLC” on the face of the forms, then he fell off a bigger turnip truck that we did. There are more reports coming, and dozens of LLCs to go through. There may be links, there may not be links. But one thing we know, the documents do not prove that Trump is not in debt to some Russians.
Nice job, Poppy.
CNN's Poppy Harlow to WH Spox Brian Morgenstern: "These are remarkable reporters from the NYTimes… It is not OK for you to accuse them with no facts of coordinating with the Democratic Party. Please stop doing that or this interview will end. Brian, stop attacking the press." pic.twitter.com/XrXx8Gz8IL
— The Hill (@thehill) September 28, 2020
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