CNN’s leftwing media correspondent Brian Stelter offered a subtle but rather stunning admission regarding the bombshell revelations about his colleague Chris Cuomo that have emerged from the New York attorney general’s investigation into his brother, now-ex Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Newly-released testimony shows the “Cuomo Prime Time” host heavily worked with his brother’s inner circle to combat the sexual misconduct allegations against him, even relying on sources in the media on the reporting that was being done on the governor’s accusers.
In a report covering CNN’s own scandal, Stelter highlighted on-air comments Cuomo made in August following his brother’s announced resignation, telling viewers “I never attacked nor encouraged anyone to attack any woman who came forward. I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation.”
“Monday’s revelations cast some doubt on his statement about his interactions with the press,” Stelter co-wrote with CNN colleagues Oliver Darcy and Sonia Moghe.
Stelter previously defended his colleague when he was grilled by “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert, who called out the CNN anchor’s “odd conflict” of interest.
“It is an odd conflict,” Stelter acknowledged, “but I don’t think- if we open up the journalism ethics book, there’s no page for this. The craziest set of circumstances that you can imagine, right? A governor and a brother, both in these high-profile jobs. This is definitely awkward for CNN, though.”
Cuomo previously addressed the controversies that plagued his brother but significantly downplayed his role in aiding the embattled New York governor.
“I was there to listen and offer my take and my advice to my brother was simple and consistent. Own what you did, tell people what you’ll do to be better, be contrite and finally, accept that it doesn’t matter what you intended, what matters is how your actions and words were perceived,” Cuomo told viewers in August following the governor’s announced resignation. “There are critics saying things about me, many unsupported but know this, my position has never changed. I never misled anyone about the information I was delivering or not delivering on this program. I never attacked nor encouraged anyone to attack any woman who came forward. I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation. I never influenced or attempted to control CNN’s coverage of my family.”
The host of the poorly-watched “Reliable Sources” media show also insisted Cuomo abides by journalistic boundaries after Colbert suggested the CNN anchor does not.
Transcripts from his interview with investigators show the “Cuomo Prime Time” host admitting he would reach out to find out about new accusers who have yet to come forward publicly.
“When asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” Cuomo told investigators.
Three days after the New York Times broke the story about Anna Ruch, who alleged the governor sexually harassed her at a 2019 wedding reception, the CNN anchor texted top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa, “I have a lead on the wedding girl.”
In another exchange, DeRosa texted to Cuomo, “Rumor going around from politico 1-2 more ppl coming out tomorrow,” then asking him “Can u check your sources?”
Cuomo replied “on it,” later writing back “No one has heard that yet.”
Cuomo snooped into the progress of Ronan Farrow’s reporting about his brother and relayed it to the governor’s inner circle.
The host admitted to contacting colleagues of Farrow for updates but claimed it was simply “business-as-usual” to employ such methods. Text messages released by state investigators showed DeRosa asking about “intel the CNN anchor had about Farrow’s report on March 15, to which he replied it wasn’t ready for publication. Farrow’s story was eventually published on March 18.
Cuomo’s admission contradicts what he told CNN viewers in August when he claimed, “I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation.”
Additionally, the transcript from investigators’ interview with Democratic strategist and Andrew Cuomo ally Lis Smith showed Chris Cuomo had forwarded her documents regarding the governor’s second accuser Charlotte Bennett and her “time in college.”
This comes as the CNN anchor alleged to investigators he’s not in the “oppo research business.”
“I would never do oppo research on anybody alleging anything like this. I’m not in the oppo research business. I don’t tolerate a lot of oppo research on any level,” Cuomo claimed. “And I was never aware of anything like what you’re suggesting, nor did I ever participate in, nor did I ever suggest, nor would I ever tolerate anything like what you’re suggesting.”
CNN offered a tepid response to the growing scandal hours after the damning revelations from the NY AG probe went viral.
“The thousands of pages of additional transcripts and exhibits that were released today by the NY Attorney General deserves a thorough review and consideration,” CNN stated. “We will be having conversations and seeking additional clarity about their significance as they relate to CNN over the next several days.”
Many critics are calling for CNN to fire Cuomo while others remain stunned that the liberal network has yet to take any action against its problematic star.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.