CNN’s Chris Cillizza urges ‘dangerous’ Trump not be ignored, accuses him of conspiring with Putin

They say old habits die hard, and—at least in regard to their reflexive accusations of “Trump-Russia collusion”—the pundits at CNN seem to prove this maxim nearly every day. 

The latest evidence comes from the network’s editor-at-large Chris Cillizza, who informed his readership in an analysis on Wednesday that they “can’t just ignore” Trump’s latest remarks in an interview with the conservative TV show “JustTheNews.”

During the interview, Trump brought up a Senate report from 2020 that disclosed the fact that a Russian oligarch, Yelena Baturina (who was then the wife of Moscow’s mayor,) provided the sizable sum of $3.5 million ten years ago to invest in a company co-founded by Hunter Biden. 

“She gave him $3.5 million, so now I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it,” Trump said in the interview. “I think we should know that answer.”

Which seemed to be a reasonable enough statement, but it’s just these words that have landed Trump in hot water—at least with CNN pundits. All this comes as The Washington Post, without any hint of embarrassment, has suddenly taken a great deal of interest in the infamous Hunter Biden laptop, and found that the president’s son received “at least” $3.79 million in “consulting contracts” from the Chinese energy company CEFC.

The Hunter Biden laptop has proven to be one of the most significant political scandals of recent years—which is saying something, considering there’s been no dearth of them. When it first surfaced in late 2020, just prior to the presidential election, major news outlets including The Washington Post and The New York Times dismissed it as Russian disinformation.

After Joe Biden was safely inaugurated as president, however, and after a seemly lapse of time, the two newspapers have quietly changed their tune and conceded that the information contained on the laptop was, in fact, real.

It’s this sordid backdrop that forms the context of Trump’s remarks to “JustTheNews. With an understandable degree of exasperation—and perhaps making a tongue-in-cheek reference to his famous “Russia, if you’re listening” comments about Hillary Clinton’s missing emails in 2016—Trump is again underscoring the inadequacy of a news media that refuses to investigate corruption at the highest levels of power.

Chris Cillizza, naturally, sees it differently. He writes: “There’s long been a tendency to roll your eyes whenever Donald Trump breaks a rule of politics. After all, he spent four years doing it as president—and democracy is (mostly) still standing. And he’s not in office anymore, so what he says on any given subject is less important than it was two years ago.

“That attitude, I should note, is totally understandable as a mental health coping tactic. It’s also deeply misguided. Trump remains the single most powerful figure in the Republican Party and is widely seen as a heavy favorite for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination if he decides to run,” he added.

He continued:

Trump is openly asking an adversarial world power to help him dig up dirt on the son of the current President of the United States…Such a request by a Democrat about a Republican president would bring cascades of condemnations, with some within the GOP likely suggesting that the request was unpatriotic, right? Right.

But Trump has so moved the goalposts of acceptable conduct as it relates to what he says and does that the chances of his appeal to Russia to find dirt on Hunter Biden barely makes a ripple in the political world.

This is both wrong and dangerous. Trump’s four years in office, culminating with the US Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, reveal that simply rolling your eyes —or as so many Republicans have done (and continue to do), sticking your head in the sand—has real-world consequences.

And those consequences mean that you can’t just say: ‘That’s just Trump being Trump.’ Because ‘Trump being Trump’ has gotten us to where we are right now, which is a very dangerous place.


The White House, in responding to a question about Trump’s statements, has adopted the same messaging.

Now all that’s left is whether Vladimir Putin, amidst his more pressing military concerns, decides to release the information. As Trump so often says, “we’ll see.”


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Todd Jaquith


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