Anderson Cooper clashes with Conway over reporting on Russia

CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday battled Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council MORE’s top aide over the network's coverage of unsubstantiated but potentially damaging claims about the president-elect's connections to Russia.

“I know CNN must be feeling the heat today of having a headline yesterday at around 6:30 p.m. that said, quote, ‘Intel chiefs presented Trump with information that Russia had information to compromise him,’” Kellyanne Conway told Cooper on CNN’s “360." "That is just false.”

Cooper and Conway went back and forth about how CNN and other news outlets handled the claims. Cooper said Conway was confusing CNN's coverage with that of BuzzFeed, which published a 35-page dossier containing allegations about Trump in full.

“I’m conflating nothing,” she retorted. "I just know what CNN did.”


“Anderson, you know, you’re a responsible journalist. You’ve gone all over the world and you’re widely respected. It’s not true.”

Cooper defended CNN's report, first published Tuesday night. 

“I think you guys are feeling the heat,” he told Conway. "[Our report] was actually backed up by not only multiple sources but other news agencies."

Conway then retorted by dismissing the credibility of unsubstantiated accounts linking Trump and Russia.

“What heat do we feel?” asked Conway, who is Trump’s incoming counselor. “That you’ve got this raw information, this complete ridiculous fake news?”

“It has not been backed up by credible news sources. Actually, it’s just fake, it’s not even news, I can’t even use ‘news’ for it.”

CNN reported late Tuesday that top intelligence officials presented Trump with a two-page synopsis of an unverified dossier about him last week. BuzzFeed published the 35-page dossier in full Tuesday, even though many of its claims cannot be verified. The dossier began as opposition research into Trump and was compiled by a former British intelligence official whose past work U.S. intelligence agencies have deemed reliable, according to CNN.

Trump reportedly saw the two-page synopsis of the dossier as part of the larger classified intelligence report on Russian interference in the election.

The document alleges Russia’s government possesses compromising financial and personal information about Trump. 

The report also claims people close to Trump kept in touch with Moscow during the 2016 presidential race. 

U.S. intelligence officials have not verified the dossier’s details, however, and it remains unclear how reliable they are.

Trump and his transition team have fiercely criticized both BuzzFeed and CNN for reporting on the unsubstantiated report.