Mark Zaid, the attorney representing the whistleblower at the center of the Democrats' ongoing impeachment inquiry, has said CNN “will play a key role” in removing President Trump from office, and the liberal network has repeatedly given him a platform by booking him as a guest.
Zaid has appeared as a guest on CNN at least 11 times since the start of 2017, when he predicted a “coup" just months after Trump was sworn in.
Fox News searched the records of the five CNN programs for which transcripts are publicly available, “CNN Newsroom,” “Erin Burnett OutFront,” “AC 360,” “Early Start” and “Cuomo Prime Time,” and found 11 instances where Zaid appeared.
Zaid appeared on CNN at least twice in April of 2017, at least once in May of 2017 and again in June of 2017 before his July tweet proclaiming CNN would “play a key role” in Trump’s removal. Zaid has appeared on CNN at least another seven times since tweeting about CNN’s perceived “key role” of the impeachment process.
CNN did not immediately respond to a series of questions, including whether or not Zaid will be allowed back on the network and whether or not his political leanings were disclosed when he appeared.
CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin introduced Zaid simply as a “national security attorney” when introducing him during an August 2018 appearance to discuss former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault-Newman’s non-disclosure agreement, which he said was unconstitutional.
“The whistleblower’s lawyer gave away the game," the Trump campaign's communications director, Tim Murtaugh, recently told Fox News. "It was always the Democrats’ plan to stage a coup and impeach President Trump and all they ever needed was the right scheme. They whiffed on Mueller so now they’ve settled on the perfectly fine Ukraine phone call. This proves this was orchestrated from the beginning.”
Added House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy: "We should take [Zaid] at his word that this is a coordinated, premeditated plot to overturn the election."
Conservative strategist Chris Barron told Fox News that CNN will do whatever it takes to harm the reputation of President Trump.
“The same network that trots out [former CIA Director] John Brennan, best known for lying to Congress and illegally spying, certainly doesn’t care about things like journalistic ethics and conflicts of interest,” Barron said. “CNN will give air time to white nationalists like Richard Spencer if they perceive it as damaging to President Trump. It’s literally the only question they ask themselves in making these decisions -- will it hurt the President?”
The Zaid/CNN connection is in the news only a few weeks after conservative activist group Project Veritas released secretly recorded footage of CNN staffers dishing on liberal bias at the network and network president Jeff Zucker ordering producers to ditch an “important story” for negative coverage of President Trump. In one video that has not been independently confirmed by Fox News, Zucker is heard telling producers to focus solely on impeachment even at the expense of other significant news.
Zucker, who began his career at NBC, rose from researcher all the way to president and CEO of NBC Universal. Along the way, he was responsible for increasing Donald Trump’s fame when he greenlighted “The Apprentice.”
The duo has famously feuded since Trump went into politics, with the president attacking the liberal network on a regular basis and accusing CNN of unfair coverage. Zucker has essentially implemented an anti-Trump programming strategy as a result.
“This is the same CNN that was repeatedly hyping the idea of 25th Amendment solutions to remove the president,” Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor told Fox News. “Now the huge question is, was CNN either the tool of ‘coup’ plotters or did it even coordinate with them? Either way, CNN should have nothing to do with Zaid.”
In a statement to Fox News on Wednesday, Zaid defended his posts as common sentiments.
“Those tweets were reflective and repeated the sentiments of millions of people," Zaid said. "I was referring to a completely lawful process of what President Trump would likely face as a result of stepping over the line, and that particularly whatever would happen would come about as a result of lawyers. The coup comment referred to those working inside the Administration who were already, just a week into office, standing up to him to enforce recognized rules of law.“
Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.