Fox News host Tucker Carlson discussed a reportedly recorded 2016 conversation between CNN president Jeff Zucker and then-Trump attorney Michael Cohen in a Tuesday night “Tucker Carlson Tonight” exclusive.
The conversation, reportedly recorded in March 2016 as then-candidate Donald Trump was vying for the Republican presidential nomination, featured the two friends discussing Trump’s candidacy and even the possibility of a regular CNN show.
“On March 10, 2016, that was the day of the final Republican primary debate, Cohen called Jeff Zucker on his cell phone,” Carlson said. “CNN was hosting the debate that night in Miami, and Cohen, who was working for Donald Trump at the time, wanted to check in about it. Zucker almost immediately started bragging about himself, as he is wont to do.”
“After a few pro forma words about their families, Zucker launched into an extended lecture about about his own importance,” he continued. “‘Here’s the thing,’ Zucker announced to Cohen, ‘you cannot be elected president of the United States without CNN. Fox and MSNBC are irrelevant — irrelevant — in electing a general election candidate.'”
Carlson said Zucker told Cohen that the campaign has “had great instincts, great guts and great understanding of everything, but you’re missing the boat on how it works going forward.” When Cohen asked if he would email the advice to Trump, Zucker balked at the prospect of Trump using his words at “his next rally.”
“Yeah, we know what you’re saying, Jeff Zucker,” Carlson said. “You’re saying that secretly, when you think no one is watching, you’re more than happy to play all sides.”
“It’s not that I don’t want to talk to [Trump] every day,” Zucker told Cohen, according to Carlson. “I’ve just got to be careful, because, I’ve just got to be careful. I just don’t want him talking about it on the campaign trail. But you know what? I’m going to give him a call right now and I’m going wish him luck in the debate tonight … I have all these proposals for him. Like, I want to do a weekly show with him, and all this stuff.”
Carlson continued to describe the call’s contents, which reportedly included some advice on how to deal with then-candidate Marco Rubio labeling Trump as a “conman.”
“You know what you should do?” Zucker said. “Whoever’s around him today should just be calling him a conman all day, so he’s used to it, so that when he hears it from Rubio, it doesn’t matter. ‘Hey, conman. Hey, conman. Hey conman.’ He thinks that’s his name, right?” (RELATED: Michael Cohen Blasts Dossier Author Christopher Steele In New Book)
“There it is. That’s how it really works: inside tips on how to navigate the CNN debate, from the head of CNN,” Carlson said. “Jeff Zucker, a man who is supposedly a journalist, secretly working as a political consultant. The guy who runs the Democratic Party’s most faithful news network, giving political advice to the Republican frontrunner. Donald Trump’s chief tormenter colluding secretly with Donald Trump’s lawyer. It’s all bewildering. But that’s what it’s really like. That’s the real Jeff Zucker: A man who believes in nothing, a man who’s only goal is proximity to power no matter who wields it. No wonder he’s friends with Michael Cohen.”