Trump spokesperson: CNN debate made campaign feel it had 'something in common' with Sanders

A spokesperson for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE’s 2020 campaign argued Wednesday that CNN didn’t treat Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden alleges Sanders campaign 'doctored video' to attack him on Social Security record Sanders campaign responds to Biden doctored video claims: Biden should 'stop trying to doctor' public record The Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary MORE (I-Vt.) fairly during Tuesday night’s debate.

Tim Murtaugh, the communications director of Trump's reelection team, specifically criticized the network's framing of a recent spat between Sanders and progressive rival Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary Environmental activists interrupt Buttigieg in New Hampshire Pence to visit Iowa days before caucuses MORE (D-Mass.) over whether the Vermont senator said during a 2018 meeting that a woman could not win the presidency. 

“This is probably one of the first times we felt we had something in common with Bernie Sanders,” Murtaugh told Hill.TV. “The folks on the stage were out to get Bernie or at least align against him.”

Murtaugh pointed to a CNN moderator who has recently come under fire for asking Warren about what she thought when Sanders told her she could not win the presidential election right after Sanders emphatically denied the claim.

“She very clearly chose to believe Elizabeth Warren’s version of that conversation that they had,” he told Hill.TV. “If we learned anything from he debate last night, it’s that if you go into a private conversation with Elizabeth Warren, you should bring a witness.”

Warren and Sanders’s feud over a conversation at their December 2018 meeting was put on full display during the Democratic debate in Iowa.

During the debate, CNN moderator Abby Phillip addressed the dust-up, asking Sanders about the network’s report of the conversation.

“Senator Sanders, CNN reported yesterday, and Senator Warren confirmed in a statement, that in 2018, you told her that you did not believe that a woman could win the election. Why did you say that?” Phillips asked Sanders.

Sanders responded with, “Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it.”

When pressed on the issue, Sanders maintained that he did not tell Warren that a woman could not win the presidential election.

Phillips then turned to Warren and asked, “Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?”

Warren did not back down on her charge against Sanders, but used the issue to make a robust defense of female electability.

“The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women: [Sen.] Amy [Klobuchar (D-Minn.)] and me,” she quipped. “And the only person who has beaten an incumbent Republican any time in the past 30 years is me.”

A day after issue spilled onto the debate stage, the hashtag “#NeverWarren” starting trending on Twitter as supporters came to Sanders’s defense. Warren supporters, meanwhile, took to the platform to urge for Democratic unity.

—Tess Bonn