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 ZinkeWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Biden launches blitz for jobs plan with 'thank you, Georgia' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court sets in motion EPA ban on pesticide linked to developmental issues | Trump Interior Secretary Zinke files to run for Congress, again | Senate passes bipartisan B water infrastructure bill 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. 

"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 JewellBiden leans on Obama-era appointees on climate OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA declines to tighten key air pollution standards | Despite risks to polar bears, Trump pushes ahead with oil exploration in Arctic | Biden to champion climate action in 2021 OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA proposes reapproving uses of pesticide linked to brain damage in children | Hispanic caucus unhappy with transition team treatment of Lujan Grisham | Schwarzenegger backs Nichols to lead EPA 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.