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CNN’s Banfield Accuses Trump Adviser of ‘Libel’ for Anti-Hillary Tweet


Tuesday on CNN’s “Legal View,” host Ashleigh Banfield took aim at Michael Cohen, an adviser to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, for a tweet criticizing presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state and that also linked her to the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including then-U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

According to Banfield, the tweet constituted “libel” and said it was “offensive to Americans who want the truth.”

Partial transcript as follows:

BANFIELD: Let me – let me do a complete about-face here. Nia-Malika, I want you to take a look at a tweet that just came out from Michael Cohen, who’s one of the chief advisors for Donald Trump. He’s worked within the Trump organization. He said this, the NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll has @realdonaldtrump beating crooked Hillary on honesty and national security. This picture says it all. And if you read what the meme says, and I’ll quote the meme here, “I presided over $6 billion lost at the State Department sold uranium to the Russians through my faux charity, illegally deleted public records and murdered an ambassador.” This show is called “Legal View” because we know a thing or two about the law. And Michael Cohen is a lawyer. That there is libel, to suggest that a woman murdered an ambassador. Look, it’s not as though Hillary Clinton’s team is about to go and launch some litigation on this, but that’s pretty strident stuff.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: It is strident. And I think it again goes to what has been Donald Trump’s problem. This very sort of undisciplined, shoot from the hip campaign and Michael Cohen, again, isn’t affiliated officially with that campaign, but he’s been a longtime aide to Donald Trump. I remember covering Donald Trump in 2012 when he was sort of pretending that he was going to run for president back then in New Hampshire and Michael Cohen was there and Donald Trump was often on the phone with him as well. So, you know, I mean, again, this is the kind of strident language that has sort of been surrounding the Donald Trump campaign, often coming from Donald Trump himself.

BANFIELD: Can I just – can I – can I show you a tweet that Michael Cohen, the author of this one from moments ago, put out two years ago. There it is, folks. Have a look at what Michael Cohen thought of secretary Clinton.

HENDERSON: Yes.

BANFIELD: “Being received by two great Americans.” Hillary Clinton presumably being one of the great Americans, and Patrick Kennedy presumably being the other great American at the Kennedy compound. So I’m not exactly sure what happened because, you know what, Benghazi had happened two years prior to that tweet. And apparently Michael Cohen thought she was a great American two years after Benghazi and now he does not.

Also, Nia-Malika, just quickly, is it Michael Caputo (ph) who resigned after the ding-dong the witch is dead, once Corey Lewandowski was fired –

HENDERSON: That’s right. Yes.

BANFIELD: For that kind of language in a tweet. I mean ding-dong the witch is dead is not Hillary Clinton murdered an ambassador.

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean, again, Cohen isn’t officially affiliated with this campaign. And Caputo decided to step down because he thought he was going to be a distraction to the campaign after he tweeted out that reference to “The Wizard of Oz” in relation to Corey Lewandowski. So we’ll see what happens. I mean we have heard things like this emanating from the Donald Trump sort of orbit and so it’s not really a surprise. And we’ll see if there is any sort of pushback from the campaign to Cohen.

ERROLL LOUIS: I mean – let – let – let’s be clear –

BANFIELD: Quick.

LOUIS: This is a distraction. I mean that same NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll that he’s referring to that has Trump ahead on honesty or trustworthiness has Clinton ahead and actually winning the election by something like eight points.

BANFIELD: Yes, and there’s an ABC News poll as well out today that’s showing Hillary Clinton ahead in fighting terror as well. I mean I’m sure that he’ll want to tweet something about that.

But you know what, let’s just be really frank here, people. Don’t call someone a murderer of an ambassador. For God’s sake, it’s offensive to Americans who really want the truth in what’s going on in politics. Please, give us a break. Campaigning.

Errol Louis, Nia-Malika Henderson, Cristina Alesci, thank you.

(h/t Mediaite)

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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