United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused journalist Carl Bernstein, one of the reporters who exposed the Watergate scandal that ended Richard Nixon’s presidency, of “making up stories”. “Sloppy Carl Bernstein, a man who lives in the past and thinks like a degenerate fool, making up story after story, is being laughed at all over the country! Fake News,” Trump tweeted.
The president also targeted CNN. “CNN is being torn apart from within based on their being caught in a major lie and refusing to admit the mistake,” he tweeted. Trump was perhaps referring to the network’s story that his former attorney Michael Cohen claimed the US president knew in advance about a June 2016 meeting with Russians, who were to provide information on Hillary Clinton.
Bernstein is a regular political commentator on CNN and co-wrote the story. Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis, one of CNN’s sources for the story, has recanted his previous admissions, reducing the reliability of the network’s story.
However, CNN responded to Trump firmly. “Make no mistake, Mr President, CNN does not lie,” the network tweeted. “We report the news. And we report when people in power tell lies. CNN stands by our reporting and our reporters. There may be many fools in this story but Carl Bernstein is not one of them.”
Bernstein also defended his story. “I have spent my life as a journalist bringing the truth to light, through administrations of both parties,” he tweeted. “No taunt will diminish my commitment to that mission, which is the essential role of a free press. CNN stands by its story, and I stand by my reporting.”
Earlier too Trump has repeatedly attacked the media, dubbing reports as fake news. On August 2, he said journalists were his true political opponents and called them “horrendous people”, despite the United Nations warning that just rhetoric could lead to violence against journalists.