McCarthy rips CNN for hiring James Clapper, Andrew McCabe: ‘Are you prepared to defend your network?’

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy battled a CNN reporter on Capitol Hill on Monday and accused the network of ‘weaponizing’ the news when he was asked about former President Donald Trump’s indictment. 

When asked whether he supports Trump against Special Counsel Jack Smith’s probe into how the former president handled classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, McCarthy pointed out that the reporter asking was from CNN. McCarthy said CNN employed two former intelligence officials – fired former deputy FBI chief Andrew McCabe and ex-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper – who Republicans have accused of abusing their positions.

When the reporter replied that McCarthy was talking about a ‘different set of facts,’ McCarthy turned the question around and asked how CNN could defend hiring McCabe and Clapper.

‘Are you prepared to defend your network, CNN?’ McCarthy said as they spoke over each other. ‘Even though your network hired Andrew McCabe, who was fired from the FBI for leaking classified documents, did you remove him from your network? No, you continue to put him on to give judgment against President Trump. You also hired Clapper …’

The CNN reporter interjected, ‘What steps is the House going to take in terms of, is there any effort to defund the FBI, any effort to defund the Department of Justice after what we’ve seen over the last couple of days?’

But McCarthy ignored the question and said Clapper had been one of dozens of former intelligence officials who signed onto a letter dismissing the New York Post’s October 2020 expose on Hunter Biden’s laptop as a Russian disinformation effort.

‘So, your network hires Clapper, who literally lied to the American public – one of 51 other individuals that had briefings and used it politically to tell the American public that a laptop was Russia collusion, even though it had all this information about the Biden administration,’ the speaker said.

‘Are you prepared to get rid of those people from your network? Because my concern as a policymaker is that when [you] weaponize government, and now you’re weaponizing networks, that is wrong,’ McCarthy continued. ‘I have a real problem that your network actually pays people who did classified information and then lied to the American public to try to influence a presidential election, and then you put them on your network to give an opinion.’

McCarthy, a Trump ally, said it was ‘a dark day’ for the country when Trump was indicted.

‘It is unconscionable for a president to indict the leading candidate opposing him. Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades,’ the speaker said in a statement last week. ‘I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump against this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.’

The former president was indicted on 37 criminal counts in relation to his handling of classified information and efforts to obstruct officials investigating the matter. He’s due in court in Miami on Tuesday.

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