CNN President Jeff Zucker was caught on tape claiming that President Trump’s actions before the election were due to him being ‘erratic,’ ‘sick,’ and ‘on steroids.’ The leaked CNN internal audio calls were covertly recorded by Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe over the course of two months, and also include various efforts by CNN to cover up President Trump’s contested election claims.
On a leaked audio recording from October 9th 2020, while President Trump was recovering from COVID-19, Zucker stated, “Okay, I just want to re-emphasize that, you know. I think we cannot normalize what has happened here in the last week with Trump and his behavior. And I go back to what David said, David Chalian said, that this is a President who knows he’s losing, who knows he’s in trouble, is sick, maybe is on the after effects of steroids or not, I don’t know, but he is acting erratically and desperately, and we need to, we need to not normalize that.”
Zucker continued on the same call, “You know this is what we’ve come to expect for the last three and a half year, four years, but it clearly is exacerbated by the time that we’re in and the issues that he’s (Trump) dealing with. And I think that we cannot just let it be normalized. He is all over the place and acting erratically. And I think we need to lean into that.”
On a call one week later, Zucker said, “The Trump media, you know, moves immediately from, okay well, never mind the unmasking was you know found to be completely nonsensical to the latest alleged scandal and expects everybody to just follow suit. So I don’t think that we should be repeating unsubstantiated smears just because the right-wing media suggests that we should.”
Two weeks after the election, Zucker told his staff, “Frankly, if we’ve made any mistake, it’s been that our banners (graphics) have been too polite, and we need to go well after (Senator) Lindsey Graham. There’s a ton going on. Let’s stay strong. Let’s stay newsy. Let’s stay urgent. Let’s be smart. There is a lot of news out there and Lindsey Graham really deserves it.”
On a September 8th, 2020 staff call, Zucker said, “Each of these so-called ‘scandals’ for Trump. Each of these things, we should just once again be careful to say that this is the one that is going to undo him with his voters.” A few weeks later, on September 21st, 2020, Zucker added, “To respond to David Chalian’s points about politics, I don’t know why we would expect any of these politicians to have a conscience and/or expect the politics wouldn’t be completely hypocritical. And for us to expect anything else would be naïve.”
O’Keefe released two additional recordings this evening, including one where CNN President Jeff Zucker and other employees were caught on tape comparing President Trump’s lack of concession to the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, which claimed the lives of nearly 3000 innocent Americans.
On that call, Zucker stated, “I think that’s an important point. I think it was just a little bit yesterday in terms of national security. I think it’s really important to raise again. I would, I would encourage folks to think about that 9/11 Commission report and the lack of transition.”
In another call released shortly afterwards, senior executives at CNN were been caught on tape claiming that Fox News has “naked racism” and a “white supremacy hour,” referring to Tucker Carlson’s nightly show.
In a leaked audio call from September 8th, 2020, CNN Digital VP of Global Programming Marcus Mabry states, “Yeah, I was just going to say, if you’re going to talk about the story, I think it’s unavoidable that you have to talk about the naked racism of Tucker Carlson. Because that’s really what drove this anti-diversity push, you know, Trump watches Tucker Carlson’s show and then reacts. And just as sort of the white supremacy hour they have on Fox News every night, I think it’s the — You can’t disconnect the two.”
In a call a few weeks later on September 30th, 2020 CNN President Jeff Zucker claims, “what Donald Trump did last night for anybody who watches Fox News, he (Trump) was just airing all of the grievances he hears on Fox News every night, and that’s all he did.”
O’Keefe stated on Twitter that the calls Project Veritas released today are just the tip of the iceberg, and has promised to release more internal CNN staff calls every day this month “like a December advent calendar.”
Earlier today, O’Keefe called into the morning CNN editorial conference call and confronted Zucker on the recorded phone calls.
“Hey Jeff Zucker, you there?” O’Keefe asked. “Hey, this is James O’Keefe, we’ve been listening to your CNN calls for basically two months and recording everything. Just wanted to ask you some questions if you have a minute. Do you still feel you’re the most trusted name in news, because I have to say, from what I’ve been hearing on these phone calls I don’t know about that. We got a lot of recordings that indicate you’re not really that independent of a journalist.”
Zucker, who sounded surprised by O’Keefe’s presence in CNN’s internal staff call, retorted, “Ok. Um. Thank you for uh, thank you for uh, your comments, um. So everybody in light of that, I think what we’ll do is we’ll, we’ll set up uh, a new system, and we’ll uh, we’ll be back with you. We’ll do the rest of the call uh, a little bit later.”
O’Keefe responded, “We’re going to release those recordings today at 7:00, so stay tuned, it’s gonna be fun.”
Zucker quickly added, “Thank you everybody, have a good day, buh-bye,” before hanging up the call.
In a response to O’Keefe’s livestream, CNN’s PR divison added that legal experts say Project Veritas’ actions may be a felony, and that they referred him to law enforcement for further investigation.