CNN president Jeff Zucker once expressed being ‘fond’ of Donald Trump during a March 2016 conversation with the president’s disgraced former lawyer, Michael Cohen.
The exchange between Zucker and Cohen took place just hours before the GOP primary debate on March 10, which CNN was hosting.
In audio obtained by Tucker Carlson Tonight, the CNN head told Cohen that ‘you cannot be elected president of the United States without CNN.’
‘You guys have had great instincts, great guts and great understanding of everything,’ Zucker explained to Cohen. ‘But you’re missing the boat on how it works going forward.’
Leaked audio appears to have Jeff Zucker and Michael Cohen speaking just before the GOP primary debate on March 10, 2016, which CNN hosted
Zucker would later express worry with corresponding with Cohen by email, adding that he couldn’t risk the possible chance that Trump would mention the nature of the conversation at a rally.
‘I’m very conscious of not putting too much in email, as you’re a lawyer, as you understand,’ Zucker asserted.
‘And, you know, as fond as I am of the boss, he also has a tendency, like, you know, if I call him or I email him, he then is capable of going out at his next rally and saying that we just talked and I can’t have that, if you know what I’m saying.’
He later added: ‘It’s not that I don’t want to talk to [Trump] every day. 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.’
In audio obtained by Tucker Carlson Tonight, the CNN head told Cohen that ‘you cannot be elected president of the United States without CNN’
Zucker pictured with Donald and Melania Trump when he was leading NBC
The conversation then changed to post-election plans, with the CNN head offering a ‘weekly’ show with Trump.
‘I have all these proposals for him,’ Zucker told Cohen. ‘I want to do a weekly show with him and all this stuff.’
Turning his attention to the debate, Zucker took the opportunity to praise Trump’s handling of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and others.
Zucker praised Trump’s performance during the debates, saying that he should have an aide call him the names his opponents would use that night
‘I think the other guys are going to gang up on him tremendously … and I think he’s going to hold his own, as he does every time’ Zucker said. He’s never lost a debate. And you know what? He’s good at this … He’s going to do great.’
Zucker then offered his own advice to Cohen and Trump’s team, telling them to have him ready for the attacks others were gearing to use during the debate.
‘You know what you should do? 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 [Marco] Rubio, it doesn’t matter,’ Zucker said. ‘”Hey conman, hey conman, hey conman.” He thinks that’s his name, you know?’
The relationship between Zucker and Trump has since grown increasingly tense, with the President slamming the CNN head and the network for their reporting of his term as president on the regular.