CNN’s Van Jones: O’Keefe Russia ‘nothingburger’ video ‘a hoax’


CNN’s Van Jones on Thursday responded to a secretly recorded video released the previous day by conservative provocateur James O’Keefe. Jones wrote that his words in the video were taken out of context “to pull off a hoax.”

In a piece published on, Jones said “the people on team Trump” are “living in a fantasy world” if they think the video vindicates them.

The previous day, the political commentator and host appeared to say in a video that CNN’s heavy coverage of possible collusion between President Trump administration officials and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign was “just a big nothingburger.”

“The Russia thing is just a big nothingburger. There’s nothing there you can do,” Jones said in the video to a person who introduces himself on the street as someone who had met Jones “in Palm Springs” a few years ago.

{mosads}Jones appears to recognize the person he is speaking to, but does not seem to know he is being taped.

“If you take any one line of my argument out of context, you can use it to pull off a hoax. That’s what O’Keefe’s minions did,” Jones wrote in the CNN article.

“The notion that I think Trump is innocent of all wrongdoing in Russiagate is ludicrous. But perhaps the people on team Trump can afford to live in a fantasy world,” he continued.

“Did I mean that there is ‘nothing’ to the allegations that members of team Trump colluded with the Russians and then tried to cover it up by firing FBI Director James Comey? No – and far from it,” he wrote.

“In other words, no evidence is going to emerge (‘THIS WEEK,’ soon, or maybe ever) that is powerful enough to force the craven GOP to oust Trump,” he added.

Jones also wrote that he thinks “there probably was collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

“Putin is the only person (besides Ivanka) whom Trump never disses. Given how Trump lashes out at everyone else, that fact alone is fishy,” Jones wrote.

Not long after the Jones video was released, Trump placed it and others from O’Keefe’s “Project Veritas” on his Instagram account.

The 32-year-old conservative activist O’Keefe founded Project Veritas in 2010 and has produced a number of controversial undercover videos. He has at times been criticized for releasing content that was selectively edited to portray people in a negative light. O’Keefe has also donned costumes in past videos as part of undercover projects to get people to talk on camera.

In 2010, he was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges stemming from entering then-Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) office on false pretenses.

On Monday night, Project Veritas released a video of a producer at CNN saying that while he believes the Trump-Russia narrative is “bullshit,” CEO Jeff Zucker has instructed his employees to focus on it to help boost the network’s ratings.

“CNN stands by our medical producer John Bonifield,” CNN said in a statement about the first video. CNN also noted that the producer is independent of its political news team. “Diversity of personal opinion is what makes CNN strong, we welcome it and embrace it.”

CNN has extensively covered investigations and stories around Trump associates possibly colluding with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign.

Tags Donald Trump James O'Keefe Mary Landrieu Politics of the United States Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections

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