CNN’s Jim Sciutto was openly stunned after Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy said it was fine with him if President Donald Trump blocked the merger of AT&T-Time Warner because he didn’t like the way he’s covered by CNN, saying the president, like everyone else, has the right to an opinion.
“The New Yorker is reporting this morning that the president ordered the Department of Justice to attempt to block the merger between AT&T and Time Warner,” said Sciutto, noting that the move had raised objections from Trump’s advisors. “In your view is that an acceptable use of presidential power, a president trying to block a merger because he doesn’t like the coverage by a news station, this one, owned by one of the companies involved?
“Well, number one, I don’t know if it’s true,” said Kennedy, saying the source was anonymous. “Number two, I think it’s perfectly acceptable for the president of the United States to have an opinion.”
“To block a merger — to block a merger, to punish what he considers a critic?” asked Sciutto.
“I don’t think that it’s been established. I know it’s been alleged that that was what his mental perspective was at the time,” said Kennedy. “I don’t know what the president thought, and neither do you, frankly. It’s an anonymous source once again talking to ‘The New York Times.”
“Well, it’s ‘The New Yorker,'” said Sciutto, raising the question of whether Kennedy had even read the article he was dismissing. “If the president were to do that, would you consider that an acceptable use of presidential power?”
“Well, I don’t think that’s a fair question,” said Kennedy with a stammer. “Because they haven’t proven that he did it."