Kushner: CNN Staff Should Be Fired Over Trump Election Coverage

Jared Kushner and President Trump
At least one Democrat is counting on Jared Kushner to convince his father-in-law to support prison reform. Reuters

Senior White House adviser and President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner reportedly told executives at Time Warner that 20 percent of CNN's staff should be fired in the wake of the 2016 election over their coverage.

Kushner made the comments to executive Gary Ginsberg earlier this year, telling the Time Warner manager that he should fire the journalists at CNN because their analysis of last year's election was so poor.

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A White House official told the Wall Street Journal Kushner had been joking when he made the comment. However, sources at Time Warner said the remark "wasn't taken lightly." Ginsberg went on to say there was no situation in which Time Warner would consider following through.

The Trump Administration's relationship with the media and particularly with CNN has come under close scrutiny as the government reviews Time Warner's pending sale to AT&T.

Reports claimed the White House wanted CNN sold as a condition of the merger. However, the Justice Department said the sale of the news outlet from the combined company was offered by AT&T to get the government's approval.

Wall Street insiders are reportedly speculating tht the conflict between President Trump and CNN could be influencing the decision, while sources in the government reject this characterization of events, according to Trump administration insiders. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson Thursday denied reports the Justice Department wanted CNN sold as a condition for the merger.

Over the course of the last year, since Trump's election, and beyond into his campaign to the White House, the administration has openly confronted CNN, criticizing what it has referred to as CNN's unfair treatment of the president.

According to the Wall Street Journal the two sides have attempted to quell the ongoing friction between both camps but meetings over the issue have only resulted in brief lulls and hostilities have inevitably flared once again.

At the start of his presidential campaign, Trump was on good terms with CNN. However, following his June 2016 sacking of Corey Lewandowski the relationship became increasingly frayed. Kushner in particular was angry with CNN's reporting, calling CNN's president Jeff Zucker to accuse the channel of bias in relation to a New York speech Trump gave. Kushner said CNN's fact-checking had been poor but Zucker defended the reporting.

In July 2016, Trump called Ginsberg to personally decry the coverage. By the end of the month his campaign's boycott of CNN had begun. When the AT&T-Time Warner merger was announced towards the end of the campaign, Trump said he would not approve it. "AT&T is buying Time Warner, and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few," he said.