President Donald Trump attacked legendary Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein on Wednesday evening over a story about the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting he co-authored for CNN last month.
The July 27 report cited unnamed sources who said Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, asserted that Trump knew about the scheduled meeting before it happened.
That June 2016 meeting included Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer who offered dirt on Trump’s then-Democratic presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s camp has previously denied that Trump knew about the meeting beforehand. Cohen also did not mention whether or not Trump had prior knowledge of the 2016 meeting when he sat for interviews with US lawmakers as part of the Russia investigation.
Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, revealed this week that he was one of CNN’s sources for the July 27 story. He recanted his claim that Cohen said Trump had foreknowledge of the meeting between his campaign advisers and the Russian lawyer.
CNN says it stands by its reporting. Two employees told Business Insider senior politics reporter Allan Smith the network’s level of commitment to its story is “100%.”
Trump sought to capitalize on the fallout by attacking Bernstein on Thursday evening, calling him “sloppy” and a “degenerate fool.”
Bernstein hit back at Trump, saying “I have spent my life as a journalist bringing the truth to light, through administrations of both parties.”
“No taunt will diminish my commitment to that mission, which is the essential role of a free press.”
Bernstein, along with fellow former Washington Post journalist Bob Woodard, led much of the investigative reporting on the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, resulting in numerous government investigations and the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Bernstein now regularly contributes to CNN as a political commentator.