CNN anchor Brian Stelter on Friday refused to walk back inaccurate claims he promoted on his program when he claimed Hunter Biden’s “laptop from hell” emails were “Russian disinformation.”
“Hey, just curious, when did I claim ‘Hunter Biden’s laptop emails were likely Russian propaganda’? Can you send me the quote?” he sent in a direct message on Twitter to this reporter, a reference to a Thursday Breitbart News article in which he was listed along with 14 others in establishment media for falsely suggesting the laptop was Russian propaganda and disinformation.
In response, Stelter was asked if he stood by the inaccurate claims he made on his show where he suggested the Hunter Biden emails may have been “made up” and could have been “Russian disinformation,” or if he was planning to retract the inaccurate comments.
Stelter was also provided with this video which clearly shows him using the phrase “Russian disinformation” to refer to the emails and suggesting they may have been “made up.”
FLASHBACK: Media pundits lied to you, falsely claiming that the Hunter Biden laptop story was "Russian disinformation." pic.twitter.com/fSmQgfIq0N
— MediaResearchCenter (@theMRC) March 18, 2022
The full clip from Stelter’s show, published on CNN’s website on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, right before the election, shows Stelter going through a rant for three full minutes on live television about this matter. In it, after making the case that the whole storyline was “created” in order to help then-President Donald Trump engage in what he called “whataboutism” with the media and left and Democrats, Stelter then cites his own outlet to say, “U.S. authorities are seeing if those emails we just talked about are connected to an ongoing Russian disinformation effort.”
“Huh?” Stelter continued, emphasizing that the domestic connections for the origins of the Hunter Biden laptop story are apparent — thereby implying it also had foreign influences behind it. “Now, we already know some of the American producers of this drama because the New York Post says it was tipped off to the existence of the emails by Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon. Then, Rudy Giuliani gave the Post a copy of a hard drive containing the emails. Now, here’s where it gets even weirder. The Post claimed that the emails were found on a laptop computer that was brought to a repair shop in Delaware in the spring of 2019.”
As Stelter rolled his eyes expressing skepticism on live television about the Post’s stated origins of the story, he continued, “A shop employee saw the emails and then was worried about getting in trouble or getting in danger and he made copies of them?”
Then, Stelter continued opining raising doubts about the story. “There’s a lot about this story that does not add up,” the CNN anchor said. “The employee has not helped matters — he has contradicted himself in interviews with reporters.”
Stelter then outright suggests the whole thing was a complete hoax. “For all we know, these emails are made up or maybe some are real and others are fakes — we don’t know,” Stelter said. “But we do know this is a classic example of the right-wing media machine. A tip from Bannon and a hard drive dump from Rudy led a former producer for Sean Hannity’s show to write a story for the New York Post that gets splashed on the front page, that Rudy then used to trash the Bidens all over Fox, doing it almost every hour of the day, and Trump has been hyping the drama for days on end, and this is how it goes on and on.”
When pressed on these claims he made on his program by Breitbart News, Stelter refused to retract his false statements and insinuations — and instead falsely accused Breitbart News of not standing by its reporting.
“So… you clearly can’t back up your assertion that I claimed ‘Hunter Biden’s laptop emails were likely Russian propaganda’ — thanks for confirming that what you wrote is false,” he responded in minutes.
In response to that, Breitbart News sent a series of further detailed questions to Stelter, including asking him if he is cooperating with the ongoing internal investigation at CNN in the wake of now-former network president Jeff Zucker’s resignation. Zucker recently resigned his position as president of CNN after he was questioned about his relationship with longtime CNN executive Allison Gollust as part of the broader Cuomo investigation, which showed that former Chris Cuomo had aided his brother, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as he navigated a sexual harassment scandal.
Attorneys at law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore were reportedly hired by CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia, to look into the scandal. Cravath is “a Wall Street law firm that has long championed the legal causes of WarnerMedia,” according to Bloomberg Law.
That investigation, being conducted by former federal Judge Katherine Forrest from the law firm Cravath, has zoned in on Zucker’s affair with Gollust — and their closeness with the Cuomo family. Chris Cuomo, the former CNN anchor who was pushed out of the network as well, has come under fire for providing political advice to his brother, the then-Gov. of New York Andrew Cuomo. Gollust is a former Cuomo aide.
A former CNN employee confirmed to Breitbart News that the reason Stelter is “freaking out” about what he did or did not say on air at CNN regarding “disinformation” is because Stelter is concerned he “will be swept up in the internal investigation given his closeness to Jeff Zucker.”
Stelter has not replied any further when asked about these comments from the former CNN employee, to whom Breitbart News granted anonymity to protect this person’s ability to speak freely.
Stelter has also not answered a series of detailed questions from Breitbart News about his role and position when it comes to the internal investigation at CNN. Stelter did not answer when asked if he has already sat for an interview or deposition as part of Judge Forrest’s investigation or, if he has not yet been interviewed, does he expect to be requested to, and if asked, will he cooperate. Stelter has also not said whether if interviewed he will be honest about his communications with Zucker, Gollust, and Cuomo.
Stelter also would not agree to a broader interview about the problems at CNN and refused to answer if he had any thoughts on Cuomo’s lawsuit just filed against CNN and if he thinks Cuomo’s allegations against other CNN anchors like Jake Tapper and Don Lemon were credible.
Breitbart News’s Matthew Boyle contributed reporting for this story.