Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson offered viewers his latest in a series of leaked audio conversations between CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
In this edition, Cuomo is heard offering advice to Cohen for his future interview with Cuomo.
Transcript as follows:
CARLSON: Over the past week, we played you recordings of a couple of well- known figures at CNN, Chris Cuomo who is the 9:00 p.m. anchor there and then Jeff Zucker who is the President of the network speaking to their friend Michael Cohen in very unguarded ways.
If you’ve heard the tapes, you know that Cuomo and Zucker are not at all what they seem to be. In public, both of them are sanctimonious moralizers. They’ve given lectures about propriety and racism and white privilege, but in private let’s just say, they are definitely not that way.
Zucker and Cuomo in other words are frauds, just like the channel they work for. Despite its name, CNN is not a cable news network. It is a slickly produced propaganda loop.
Every topic CNN covers has been chosen for its political effect. Every word its anchor speak has been curated to manipulate you. Nothing winds up on CNN by accident. The whole thing is a scripted drama written for the benefit of the Democratic Party. That’s not overstatement. Tonight, we have proof.
This is a conversation that took place in 2018 between CNN anchor, Chris Cuomo and his friend, the disgraced felon lawyer Michael Cohen. The two spoke in person. Cohen wanted Cuomo to prepare him for an interview he been asked to do on CNN.
As Michael Cohen put it, he wanted quote, “guidance as a friend” more than anything. Chris Cuomo was happy to oblige. But before we play you the exchange between the two of them, listen first to how Michael Cohen describes his interaction with another CNN anchor.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER DONALD TRUMP PERSONAL ATTORNEY: We’re going to ask you for your advice on how to handle the interview that I am doing first with you. Erin Burnett wants me to do hers first. She goes, yes, but it’s better if I do it with a woman, as opposed to with you.
I said, “But Chris is a woman.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So there you have a news anchor telling potential guest that he better talk to her first, because she is a woman.
At CNN, everything is about identity politics, but regardless of the sex of the anchor, Michael Cohen was worried about doing the interview because he knew he would get questions about the payments he made to Stormy Daniels. He wanted Chris Cuomo to tell him what to say.
Now on TV, Cuomo might have launched into a lecture about how it’s wrong to send money to strippers. But in private, he skipped that lecture. You will be asked that, Chris Cuomo told Michael Cohen and you can say I did it for him, for Donald Trump.
My relationship has always been for him. I’ve always said I don’t speak for the campaign. I speak for him as his attorney. Cuomo went on to elaborate quote, “And to the question of motive.” He told Cohen, “The response would have to be — you can speculate as to why you think I did it all day long, but the only answer is my answer and I just told you why I did it. You don’t get to speculate because if you can’t prove that I got paid back by Trump or the campaign, it is slander and defamation for you to say that I did.”
Now, there’s no record of whether Michael Cohen was taking notes as Chris Cuomo was talking — he should have been taking notes — because the script that Cuomo provided him is time tested. It’s the classic last chance defense of the obviously guilty.
When you don’t have a good answer, threaten the person who is asking the question, in this case with a defamation suit. Cuomo seems certain that would work on CNN.
Then he gamed out what would happen next when Cohen went on his own channel, quote, “I think the way this conversation goes is almost exactly the way we’re having it right now. Which is, where I say, ‘This looks shady,’ and you say, ‘It looks shady to you because you’re coming in with a specific intention.'”
Again, Cuomo advised Cohen to attack the anchor. It’s effective.
But it’s not clear that Cohen understood what he was saying. On the tape, some of Michael Cohen’s responses to Chris Cuomo seemed disjointed. Others sound like he is grunting.
Perhaps to make it easier for Michael Cohen to follow, Chris Cuomo began acting out both sides of the exchange. He acted out the news anchor’s question and then he acted out Cohen’s scripted response to that question.
The conversation devolved into a kind of one-man play with Chris Cuomo as the performer and Michael Cohen as the audience. Here’s one act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And why didn’t you just let it all come out and let the people decide? Because it’s not a fair process. They wouldn’t have had any of the counter facts and they would have had her — you know, if she was somehow convinced to do it, and people decided to believe that her denials were somehow less true than her admissions.
I didn’t want to play that game. Everything was tilted against Mr. Trump.
That’s what it is, and then either they believe it or they’ll be like [bleep] that. There’s no way he didn’t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Pretty tricky. Chris Cuomo sounds he has got some experience making excuses. But the bigger point is this, sometimes when you watch a political show on television and where the dialogue seems unnatural, almost like parts of it have been scripted.
Well, at CNN, that is literally what you are seeing — scripted conversation. What you just heard there was the writers’ meeting before the show.
But Chris Cuomo was just starting. He then told Cohen how to dodge questions about a shell corporation Cohen had used to make payments to Stormy Daniels. Quote, “I’m not being shady,” Cuomo instructed Michael Cohen to say on television, “I was being legal and I did it my right way. You’re wrong about the LLC. I’ve used it for other things. I have tons of LLCs. I did not form it just to do this. And even if I had, my whole point would have been to keep it quiet. But that happens to just not be true.” End quote.
That’s slick. But in case that excuse didn’t work, Chris Cuomo advised Michael Cohen once again, to attack the person asking the question. Quote, “Unlike the media who is reporting on this, I don’t like to say things just because they’re convenient when they’re untrue.”
Again, there is no record of how much of this Michael Cohen was absorbing or was capable of absorbing giving his natural limitations. But Chris Cuomo kept writing the script for him anyway.
The CNN anchor is going to ask you quote, “Why didn’t you just let it all out and let the people decide?” Good question. And at this point, there’s a long pause in the tape. Michael Cohen clearly doesn’t have any idea what the answer should be. But Chris Cuomo knows exactly what to say. So he jumps back in and takes Michael Cohen’s part of the colloquy once again, quote, “Because it’s not a fair process,” Chris Cuomo barks, “They wouldn’t have had any of the counter facts. If people had decided to believe her denials were less true than her admissions. I didn’t want to play that game. Everything was tilted against Mr. Trump,” said Chris Cuomo.
Well, at this point, Michael Cohen starts to get it, so Chris Cuomo decides to take the training wheels off and act out the scene together. Here it is.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CUOMO: They’ll say, it looks shady. Well, OK, fine. Look, you know, it’s a shady business.
COHEN: Politics is a shady business.
CUOMO: I didn’t like that I had to pay her to keep her quiet just in case she decided to [bleep] lie again because somebody was paying here.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CARLSON: It goes on like this and on and on and on. Chris Cuomo writing the script for a live interview on his own network that hasn’t yet taken place. He gives it his all. He tries his hardest. He plums the depth of his legal well.
But in the end, Chris Cuomo clearly still senses that his friend, Michael Cohen, could be in serious legal trouble anyway. So he offers to get the big guns involved. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: How do you get in trouble? You don’t get in trouble legally. I’ll ask — I am going to make some phone calls on that and make sure you can’t get [bleep].
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: You heard that. I’m going to make some phone calls and make sure you don’t get blank. Presumably, you don’t get indicted. Chris Cuomo offers that help to Michael Cohen, unsolicited. And honestly, it’s a lot more than most news anchors would do for a guest. We can tell you firsthand.
Did Chris Cuomo call his brother, the governor of New York on behalf of Michael Cohen? We don’t know the answer to that. We do know that whatever Chris Cuomo did, it didn’t work. In the end, Michael Cohen went to prison anyway, but Chris Cuomo did try.
Even back then, Cuomo understood that Michael Cohen could be useful someday. And indeed Michael Cohen definitely has been useful.
Tonight, two months before the presidential election, Michael Cohen is appearing on CNN in primetime to make the case against Donald Trump. In other words, in the end, it all paid off.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor