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Shep Smith pummels Trump for ‘belittling and delegitimizing’ CNN’s Jim Acosta

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Fox News host Shep Smith defended CNN’s Jim Acosta against Donald Trump, arguing no “journalist should be subjected to belittling an delegitimizing by the president-elect of the United States.”

At a news conference Wednesday, Trump tore into Acosta over an explosive report CNN published Tuesday alleging ties between the former Trump campaign and intermediaries in the Russian government, charging him with reporting “fake news” and refusing to answer Acosta’s question. According to Acosta White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer threatened to expel him from the press conference for his line of questioning.

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“President-elect Trump today told CNN’s Jim Acosta that his organization amounts to fake news,” Smith said. “CNN’s exclusive reporting on the Russian matter was separate, and distinctly different from the document dump executed by an online news property,” he added, referring to the salacious and uncorroborated report published Tuesday by BuzzFeed.

“Though we at Fox News cannot confirm CNN’s report, it is our observation that its correspondents followed journalistic standards, and that neither they nor any other journalist should be subjected to belittling and delegitimizing by the president-elect of the United States,” Smith continued.

Despite the distinction between CNN’s reporting that Russian operatives claim to possess information about the president-elect and BuzzFeed’s publishing of an unsubstantiated dossier on the incoming administration, Trump seemed to conflate the two at Wednesday’s press conference, denouncing any alleged connections between himself and Russia as “fake news.”

“It’s all fake news, it’s phony stuff,” Trump said. “It didn’t happen. And it was gotten by opponents of ours, as you know.”

“It was a group of opponents that got together—sick people—and they put that crap together,” he added later saying, “I think it’s an absolute disgrace.” The president-elect also took to Twitter to rail against BuzzFeed, “fake news” and U.S. intelligence agencies, while citing Russia’s insistence that the reports are a “total fabrication”:

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Smith scolded Trump for “essentially [escalating] his own war with our intelligence services, likening their actions to those of the Nazis.”

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Watch the clip below, via Fox News:

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Ex-GOP senator hammers lawmakers quaking in their boots out of fear of Trump: ‘Why are you there?’

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Appearing on CNN on Wednesday morning, retired Sen. William Cohen (R-ME) hammered members of his own party still sitting in the Senate who refuse to take on Donald Trump, saying they are failing the country and themselves by standing by in fear.

Speaking with CNN hosts Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto, Cohen said kowtowing to the president is nothing new, but has grown worse over the past ten years.

"Some of it has to do with external pressures, that of social media, talk radio, specific channels that have a particular view and then hammer that view home to the constituents who then pressure the members of Congress," he explained. "But you have to ask yourself: Why are you a senator? Why are you there? Are you acting out of sheer fear that if you speak up and take a position that's controversial you'll be punished?"

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Trump still has no set plan to combat coronavirus just hours before hastily called press conference set to begin: report

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President Donald Trump still has no set plan to combat the spread of coronavirus, just hours before he is set to hold a hastily-called 6 PM Wednesday press conference. According to Politico, Trump haas yet to decide whether or not to install a coronavirus czar to coordinate efforts, similar to how the Obama administration successfully staved off the spread of Ebola in 2014.

"Officials are still debating whether such a role is necessary, but the global spread has increased the urgency to elevate its response, and the Trump White House is eager to appear like it’s in control of containing the virus within the United States," Politico adds.

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Legal experts speculate Bill Barr was merely ‘nonsense posturing’ when he claimed Trump’s tweets made his job ‘impossible’

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Attorney General William Barr recently complained that President Donald Trump makes it “impossible” for him to do his job when he tweets about cases that are still making their way through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the federal courts — for example, the criminal case of long-time Trump ally and veteran GOP operative Roger Stone. But Barr remains a Trump loyalist, and Law & Crime reporter Jerry Lambe notes in an article published on February 25 that Trump continues to tweet about Stone’s case.

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