Interior Dept. officials call CNN correspondent 'a f---ing idiot'

Interior Dept. officials call CNN correspondent 'a f---ing idiot'
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Two Interior Department officials traded emails in October 2017 disparaging CNN correspondent René Marsh, with one official calling her "a f---ing idiot" and another writing "she sounds like one."

The remarks have emerged in a public records request related to Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeInterior fast tracks study of drilling's Arctic impact: report Zinke left some details off public calendar: report House completes first half of 2019 spending bills MORE's travel.

The emails in question regarding Marsh, first obtained by HuffPost, were sent from Russell Newell, deputy director of communications for the Department of the Interior, to Heather Swift, the Interior Department press secretary. 

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"I was about to send this to Rene [Marsh] but I'll send it to you instead and maybe it will make me feel better," wrote Russell Newell on Oct. 6, 2017. "Just had to get it off my chest. The double standard is nauseating." 

Newell proceeds to question if Marsh had ever pressed former Obama Interior secretaries, such as Ken Salazar or Sally JewellSarah (Sally) Margaret JewellInterior Dept. officials call CNN correspondent 'a f---ing idiot' Zinke and his wife took security detail on vacation to Turkey, Greece: report Zinke: I never took a private jet anywhere MORE, while they were in office. 

"Have you ever bothered to learn about their travel to try to provide some context or do you care?" he wrote. 

Swift responded by the following morning on Oct. 7

"Rene is a f---ing idiot," she wrote. 

"She sounds like one," Newell replied later that day. 
 
Marsh had written she had "repeatedly asked the press office for answers" from the Interior Department's press office for four days regarding questions around Zinke's travel for several days but hadn't received a response. 
 
"We are asking questions that the public has every right to know as these are their tax dollars and for interior not answer any of the below questions is really hard to understand," Marsh wrote on Oct. 6
 
The Hill has reached out to the Interior Department for comment. 
 
Marsh joined CNN as its government regulation and transportation correspondent in 2012. 

Zinke has taken several flights on chartered, private aircraft at taxpayer expense. But he has pushed back against criticisms of those flights, saying each flight was justified appropriately.

"Everything I do is looked at through a whole legal team and office of ethics," he told a Senate committee in March.

Several of Zinke's chartered flights are currently under investigation by the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General.