President Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner told an executive from CNN’s parent company earlier this year that the news organization should fire 20 percent of its staff over their coverage of the 2016 election, according to a new report.
Kushner told Time Warner executive Gary Ginsberg that CNN should fire the employees because they were so wrong in their analysis of how the election would turn out, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
A White House official said Kushner didn’t intend for the comment to be taken seriously and was only trying to make a point, according to the Journal, which reported that the remark “wasn’t taken lightly” inside Time Warner.
The newspaper had previously reported in February, shortly after Trump took office, that Kushner had met with Ginsberg at the White House and criticized CNN over what he deemed inaccurate analysis of the Trump administration and commentators who had been especially critical of Trump.
CNN and its parent company Time Warner were in the spotlight this week over reports that the Trump administration wanted CNN sold as a condition of a merger between AT&T and Time Warner.
Justice Department sources told The Hill and other outlets earlier this week that AT&T had offered to sell CNN from the combined company to get the merger approved by regulators. Other outlets reported that the Trump administration had demanded the sale.
Speculation among Wall Street insiders and people within the companies has risen over whether the administration’s feelings about CNN could be influencing the decision, the Journal reported.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson on Thursdaydenied reports that the Justice Department wanted CNN sold as a condition for the merger.
Trump and his associates repeatedly bashed CNN during the 2016 campaign and into his time in office, calling the network and certain stories “fake news.”