CNN alerted law enforcement after Project Veritas revealed that it had listened in on the network’s morning news call for two months, releasing clips of top executives taking aim at President Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Fox News.
CNN spokesperson Matt Dornic confirmed Wednesday that the network has contacted authorities, although he declined to say which ones, and cited a statement saying that Project Veritas may have committed a crime.
“Legal experts say this may be a felony,” said CNN Communications. “We’ve referred it to law enforcement.”
Meanwhile, Project Veritas president James O’Keefe said the surreptitious recordings, which he said came from a “brave insider,” show political bias at the network, which bills itself as “the most trusted name in news.”
“This is yet another investigation Project Veritas has conducted into CNN, and once again they’ve demonstrated their partisan political agenda and total disconnect with journalistic ethics,” said Mr. O’Keefe in a statement.
The audio clips released late Tuesday were reportedly recorded in September, October and November during the network’s daily 9 a.m. call led by CNN president Jeff Zucker.
He also discussed framing Trump “scandals” as being the last straw for voters in an audio reportedly recorded Sept. 8, two months before the Nov. 3 election.
“Each of these so-called scandals for Trump, each of these things, we should just once again be careful to say that this is the one that is going to undo him with his voters,” said Mr. Zucker in the clip.
In a Nov. 17 recording, Mr. Zucker said that the network should target the Republican Graham, telling executives, “Frankly, if we’ve made any mistake, it’s been that our banners have been too polite, and we need to go well after Lindsey Graham.”
“There’s a ton going on,” Mr. Zucker said. “Let’s stay strong, let’s stay newsy, let’s stay urgent, let’s be smart. There is a lot of news out there, and Lindsey Graham really deserves it.”
Legal experts say this may be a felony. We’ve referred it to law enforcement.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) December 1, 2020
A man identified as CNN general counsel David Vigilante said Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson was guilty of “naked racism.”
“Yeah, I was just going to say, if you’re going to talk about the story, I think it’s unavoidable that you have to talk about the naked racism of Tucker Carlson,” he said. “Because that’s really what drove this anti-diversity push, you know—Trump watches Tucker Carlson’s show and then reacts.”
He called the show “sort of the white supremacy hour they have on Fox News every night.”
CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel said in a Nov. 9 recording that both Republicans and Democrats have told her that “news organizations have to be very careful and very responsible about not giving Trump too much of a platform on his not conceding, because they feel the transition should go forward.”
Mr. Zucker replied: “Yep. Agreed.”
A speaker identified as CNN field producer Stephanie Becker suggested on Nov. 10 that a difficult presidential transition—the Trump campaign has challenged the election results in a half-dozen states— could result in another terrorist attack.
“On the issue of why it’s important to get the transition going right, the 9/11 report talks about one of the problems was that the trouble that was brewing that lost during the transition,” she said. “So, if you want a good, concrete example of what happens when you don’t have a good transition, well, look at the Twin Towers.”
The al-Qaeda attack occurred 10 months after the 2000 presidential election, which saw Democrat Al Gore demanded a recount in Florida before conceding on Dec. 13 to Republican George W. Bush. He was sworn in as scheduled on Jan. 20, 2001.
Mr. O’Keefe also posted a video showing him interrupting the Tuesday call by telling Mr. Zucker he had been listening in, after which the CNN president said, “So everybody, in light of that, we’ll set up a new system and we’ll be back with you.
“We’ll do the rest of the call a little bit later,” Mr. Zucker said before hanging up.
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