A CNN anchor asked the brother of a detained American about his anti-CNN social media posts in an interview Wednesday morning.
Forty-eight-year-old Michigan businessman and ex-Marine, Paul Whelan, was detained in Russia this week on charges of espionage. CNN’s Alisyn Camerota interviewed David Whelan, who is the brother of Paul. Camerota used the opportunity to grill Whelan about his brother’s anti-CNN social media posts.
Camerota asked Whelan about posts his brother made on a Russian social media platform, where he called CNN “fake news.” (RELATED: CNN’s Randi Kaye Does Champagne Bong On New Year’s Eve Broadcast)
“There are some strange elements of your brother’s story,” Camerota said, describing a social media post where Paul Whelan was drinking coffee and watching CNN with the caption, “Just drinking coffee and watching fake news.”
Camerota continued, “Now, I’m not taking this personally that he’s pictured with CNN, but I just am wondering is this a statement on his part somehow?”
A bewildered David Whelan responded that he does not care about his brother’s social media and he just wants his brother home safe. “I don’t know what’s on his page,” Whelan said, “I don’t follow him on social media other than Twitter, which is where I am. I don’t know what he was intending by those photos.” (RELATED: White House Moves To Permanently Ban Jim Acosta)
The CNN anchor pressed again, wondering why the detained American had a Russian social media presence. Whelan guessed his brother used it to stay in touch with people he met in the Marines and his travels.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Wednesday, “We’ve made clear to the Russians our expectation that we will learn more about the charges, come to understand what it is he’s been accused of and if the detention is not appropriate we will demand his immediate return.”
Whelan could face up to 20 years in prison in Russia if convicted.