CNN anchor Poppy Harlow finally hit her limit against White House spokesperson Brian Morgenstern during a Monday interview over the bombshell New York Times story on President Donald Trump’s taxes, scolding the Trump flack for attacking and accusing reporters of coordinating with the Democratic Party.
According to tax records obtained by the Times, the president only paid $750 in federal income taxes during his first year in the White House. Prior to that, Trump largely avoided paying any taxes over the previous 15 years, citing huge business losses. The report also reveals that the president is strapped by hundreds of millions of dollars in debt that will need to be paid off soon, as well as a tax dispute that could result in $100 million due to the IRS.
Morgenstern began the interview by immediately repeating the president’s claim that the Times’ report is “completely false” before implying that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign was in cahoots with the paper over the story.
“So the New York Times reported basically the same thing four years ago on the eve of the debate,” the spokesman said. “The Democrats had ads up and running within minutes of this coming out, which means that it’s probably a coordinated political smear.”
Harlow, meanwhile, noted that the Times’ reporting is “very different” than what they reported on four years ago before adding that the president could release his tax returns—as all other modern presidents have—and put the matter to rest.
Morgenstern then employed the Trumpian deflection tactic of bringing up Biden’s son Hunter, wondering aloud why the CNN host hadn’t asked about the taxes Hunter paid on the money he supposedly received from Russia, prompting Harlow to quickly push back.
“I absolutely should not be asking the president’s spokesman about someone that is not germane to this who is not running for president,” she exclaimed. “Brian, please do our viewers a service of answering my questions about the man you serve. I ask the questions, and I’m glad that you’re here, and I’m going to keep asking them.”
Harlow attempted to ask the flack how Trump was putting “America first” by paying more in taxes to foreign countries than the United States, prompting Morgenstern to again accuse the Times of colluding with Democrats to hurt Trump.
“We know that he donates his salary to the government even when he doesn’t have to,” he stated. “That’s a million and a half dollars in taxes he didn’t even have to pay, but this is a story that is another version of it from four years ago on the eve of the debate. Coordinated with the Democrats as a political hit.”
The CNN host stopped Morgensten in his tracks before he could continue his attacks on the Times journalists.
“I’m just going to stop you there. These are remarkable reporters from The New York Times that went through 20 years of documents,” she loudly declared. “It’s not OK to accuse them, with no facts, of coordinating with the Democratic Party. Please stop doing that or this interview will end.”
“Stop attacking the press,” Harlow continued. “I have not seen you do that largely before. Stop doing that. I am asking you direct questions. You can put the entire thing to bed if the president would release the records and show the American people what he says is true. Why will he not do that?”
Morgenstern complained that the “press can attack” the president but “he cannot defend himself,” leading Harlow to inform the White House spokesman that Trump is welcome to come on CNN anytime to make his case.
“I hope he joins us,” she added. “The easiest defense would be for him to lay out his records as every modern president has done since the 1970s.”