Watch: CNN’s Tapper Battles Manafort Over CNN Coverage of the ‘Clinton Narrative’

Sunday on CNN’s  “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper got into a heated exchange with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort over CNN’s coverage last week of what Manafort called “the Clinton narrative.”

Partial transcript as follows:

MANAFORT: You could have covered what he was saying, or you could try and take an aside and take the Clinton narrative and play it out, and you chose to do that instead. There’s plenty of news to cover this week that I haven’t seen covered. You had information coming out about pay for play out of e-mails of Hillary Clinton’s that weren’t turned over, by the way, to the Justice Department for her investigation. That’s a major news story. You had — you had the NATO base in Turkey under attack by terrorists. You had a number of things that were appropriate to this campaign, were part of what Mr. Trump has been talking about. You had economic numbers coming out this week showing that productivity is down, housing ownership is down, unemployment, you know, is at the — at over 102 million. These are all things that could have been covered this week. Instead you took an aside that the Clinton narrative told you was something Mr. Trump told you he didn’t mean and played it out for two days. That’s what we’re talking about.

TAPPER: As a factual matter, on Monday my show covered Mr. Trump’s speech, okay. We did. We covered Mr. Trump’s speech. And we did cover the Hillary Clinton e-mails. So these things, just because you say they’re not — they’re not true. We have been covering the substance.

MANAFORT: Jake, we’ve been talking about these messages all week. You covered it one day, and you covered this aside about the Second Amendment for three days. Come on! There’s not a comparison here. You had a chance to have a serious discussion about the two economic programs that were presented this past week — this very week by the two candidates, there was no discussion. There was no comparison.

TAPPER: Mr. Trump bears no responsibility for his campaign being off-message? he is not — his comments about the Second Amendment had nothing to do with why we weren’t covering the economic message.

MANAFORT: His point about the Second Amendment was that people who cared about the Second Amendment should be concerned about Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. And that those who are concerned probably would take up the cause. Now you can interpret it, which I certainly didn’t, as a threat. but if you want to go back and look at threats, go back to 2008 when Hillary Clinton was running against Obama and in may of that year when she was clearly the loser and asked why are you still in the race she said, well, remember, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. I mean, that’s a much more direct reference laid at the feet of Hillary Clinton.

TAPPER: I did that in 2008. I did cover it in 2008. And Hillary Clinton, you know what she did? She issued an apology. She said I’m sorry my comments were misconstrued.

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