White House counselor Kellyanne Conway asked CNN's Chris Cuomo on Monday if the anchor was embarrassed "to talk more about Russia than America" in a contentious exchange on CNN's "New Day."
The interview primarily focused on President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday and whether Trump pressed Putin on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
"CNN spent a full week plus doing nothing but having these headlines saying President Trump is not expected to bring up Russian interference with President Putin," said Conway, referring to a CNN oft-repeated report that Trump wouldn't broach the election interference topic with Putin.
"He made it top of the agenda. It was first on the list. He pressed him early and often," Conway continued.
“Did he press him or ask him whether he did it?” Cuomo asked.
“But that’s not good enough" Conway retorted. "Did CNN say he wasn’t going to mention it at all or didn’t they? Oh, they did. We have these great montage. People say stuff that isn’t true.”
“I stand by my reporting on it," Cuomo responded. "The day before the meeting, the president was very squishy on Russian interference. He said OK, it was Russia, but it was other people. Nobody knows for sure. That was his last public statement about it before he went into a meeting."
"And then a meeting in which he didn’t allow a notetaker to be in it. We don’t have any readout from it. We hear he confronted them about it. He said we know you did it. Then we know you asked him about it. Which is it? Did he say I know you did it, stop? Or did he say did you do it, Mr. Putin? Which is it?” Cuomo said.
Conway wasn't satisfied with Cuomo's explanation, pressing the issue of the CNN report prior to the meeting.
“Chris, let’s back up. So, you’re saying — you used the word squishy which, itself, is unusual to describe the president’s state of mind," she said. "So, somehow that makes people on CNN insist that the president is never going to raise this with Putin."
“It’s not about CNN," Cuomo said. "It’s about what the president said, Kellyanne.”
“No. It’s about people stating things that they want America to think are facts," Conway shot back. "Aren’t you the least bit reluctant, if not embarrassed, that you now talk about Russia more than you talk about America?”
“No," Cuomo responded.
“Doesn’t this bother anybody there?” Conway asked.
Cuomo then pivoted to Donald Trump Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin that was reported over the weekend.
“Donald Jr. went from saying I never met with anybody from Russia," Cuomo noted.
“I think America matters," Conway said.
“You don’t care if Russia was trying to get inside your campaign to affect the election?” Cuomo asked later in the interview
“You don’t know what I care about,” Conway responded.
“That was a question,” Cuomo said. “There was a question mark at the end of it.”
The heated exchanges lasted more than 30 minutes, an unusually long interview for cable news.
The president has attacked CNN repeatedly, calling the cable news network "fake news." He hasn't appeared on the network since August 2016.