CNN's Zucker defends network's Mueller probe coverage: 'We are not investigators. We are journalists'

CNN President Jeff Zucker is defending the network's coverage of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE's investigation into Russia's election interference following a summary from Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrLawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Barr wrote 2018 memo contradicting Trump's claim that abuse of power is not impeachable MORE that said the probe did not conclude the Trump campaign conspired with Moscow. 

Zucker told The New York Times in an email that he was "entirely comfortable" with how the network covered the sprawling investigation over the last two years. 

“We are not investigators," Zucker said, according to the Times. "We are journalists, and our role is to report the facts as we know them, which is exactly what we did.


“A sitting president’s own Justice Department investigated his campaign for collusion with a hostile nation. That’s not enormous because the media says so. That’s enormous because it’s unprecedented,” he added.

Zucker's comments come as GOP lawmakers and allies of President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE denounce the narrative that the news media presented on alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

Barr on Sunday sent Congress a four-page summary that said Mueller did not find that the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential election. Mueller did not reach a definitive conclusion on if Trump obstructed justice. 

But Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided Mueller did not provide sufficient evidence to conclude Trump obstructed justice. The summary says that the Mueller report did not exonerate the president. 

Still, Trump declared on Sunday that the summary represented a "complete and total exoneration." 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders added that Democrats and the "liberal media" owed the president an apology

Tim Murtaugh, the director of communications for Trump's campaign, also sent a memo to television producers asking them to challenge Democratic lawmakers who made accusations that were, in the campaign's opinion, "outlandish [and] false" on their airwaves. 

Trump has repeatedly criticized the media throughout his presidency, often referring to reporters as the "enemy of the people" and denouncing negative coverage of him and those in his orbit as "fake news." He's directed his ire toward CNN several times since being elected.

He tweeted in August that AT&T should fire Zucker because "his ratings suck."

Zucker and CNN have faced scrutiny over their operation many times since Trump launched his campaign for president. He told Vanity Fair in November that CNN's audience would shrink if shifted away from covering the president. 

"We’ve seen that anytime you break away from the Trump story and cover other events in this era, the audience goes away," he said. "So we know that, right now, Donald Trump dominates."