The morning after The Atlantic reported Donald Trump Jr. corresponded directly with WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski went to bat for his old boss’s eldest son on CNN. Instead of discussing Don Jr.’s latest “uh oh” moment with New Day anchor Chris Cuomo, however, the famously beligerent Lewandowski opened with an admission of Russia’s influence on the election that quickly turned into a verbal assault against former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her campaign team. Needless to say, the guest’s bait-and-switch didn’t sit well with Cuomo.
“Do you accept the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia tried to interfere, and did so, during the election?” Cuomo began with a possible allusion to President Trump’s recent comments abroad. “It seems to be that there is uniformity here that Russia, through a series of companies, did try to impact the election by buying ads through Facebook,” Lewandowski said innocently enough. “What we now know, unequivocally, is that the head of the Clinton campaign’s legal team took a pot of money and paid a former MI6 special agent to get information from Russia to create a false dossier. That money also came from the DNC. So it does look like, unequivocally, the Russians did try to impact the election through the Clinton campaign.”
Recognizing Lewandowski’s opening remarks for what they were, Cuomo quipped, “I get the spin.” Cue the roughly 20 minutes of rhetorical fireworks that followed, including the New Day host’s “suspicions” regarding his guest’s apparent inability to avoid mentioning the Clinton campaign:
“The way you run around from these questions and try to distract to Clinton, or try to distract to Barack Obama, doesn’t help. And I’ll tell you what, it makes me suspicious. The only people who bring up Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the context of the campaign are you and your people. Nobody else does it. You’ve just been spending a lot of airtime talking about opposition research by the Clinton campaign as a connection to Russian interference, which is preposterous!”
Meanwhile, after several failed attempts to yell over Cuomo with his own counter-talking points, Lewandowski accused his host of not talking about matters he thought were worth mentioning. “You’re not talking about the economy, you’re not talking about tax cuts, you’re not talking about president’s great trip overseas,” he said with a machine gun pace. “You’re still talking about something that took place a year ago with no evidence!” Laughing, Cuomo responded: “On this show, we talk about all of it. With you, what am I going to talk to you about tax cuts? I’m talking to you about this because you were there.”
Watch the full heated exchange between the two men below.