Trump administration National Security Adviser John Bolton on Sunday defended the cancellation of a CNN interview after President Donald Trump became angry with the news channel for asking a question at a press conference.
Following Bolton’s cancellation of the CNN interview, ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked the national security adviser about freedom of the press in Russia.
“Vladimir Putin and his government have jailed journalists, [there] have been accusations they have carried out murders of journalists,” Karl noted. “And we hear President Trump, doesn’t he kind of contribute to that authoritarian effort to undermine a free press when we hear him brand legitimate news organizations as fake, legitimate news stories as fake?”
“No,” Bolton insisted. “Franklin Roosevelt met with Joseph Stalin at a time when activity in Russia was a lot worse than it is today. I’m not excusing present conduct, but it didn’t seem to bother Franklin Roosevelt and liberal Democrats weren’t bothered at the time when he met with Stalin.”
“Let’s have some historical perspective here and not act like we have the attention span of fruit flies,” the Trump official added.
Karl pointed out that the question had been about freedom of the press in Russia, not about the legitimacy of Trump’s meeting with Putin.
“I think the question is silly,” Bolton snapped. “Don’t say I’m attacking freedom of the press! I just characterized your question.”
The ABC host observed that Bolton was scheduled to appear on CNN on Sunday “and the White House press secretary announced that your appearance would not go forward because a CNN reporter ‘disrespected the president and [British] Prime Minister [Teresa] May.'”
“Is it really appropriate to deny a news organization access to a White House official because a reporter tried to ask a question at a press conference?” Karl asked.
“In reality, I don’t seek out the press,” Bolton replied. “I don’t talk to them. I appear when I’m asked to and if I’m not asked to appear, I don’t do it. And I don’t communicate with them either as you could find out if you consulted your friends in the Washington press corps whom I don’t communicate with with.”
Watch the video below from ABC.