White House trade adviser Peter Navarro battled CNN anchor Jim Sciutto Friday morning about President Trump calling on China to investigate Joe Biden's son's business dealings in China and CNN reporting that Trump promised not to support pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong while U.S.-China trade negotiations were ongoing.
Sciutto asked about CNN's report Friday morning that during a phone call with China's leader Xi Jinping on June 18, President Trump promised not to comment about protests in Hong Kong while trade negotiations were going on. "That' a remarkable position for a U.S. president to take considering out history of support for human rights and democracy," Sciutto said.
"You assert that as a fact, though. And I read that story carefully, and Jim, from a journalistic point of view," Navarro said. "Hang on. I wasn’t privy to that phone call. But here’s what I do know. That story had, what, sources, what, 'familiar with the thing,' who are these people? This is the issue."
"It’s a frequent point to go to the sources," Sciutto responded. "By the way, the president’s public comments, after that call, he gave China a pass. He gave China a pass on this, he said it was an internal issue."
"You asser that, but that is not a fact in evidence. That's based on anonymous sources who want to hurt this president," he went on. "That was bad journalism. I read that story, it was one assertion after another without sourcing."
"Here is the thing, the media can’t just write these news stories based on anonymous sources and then expect the White House to confirm or deny. That’s a game we won’t play," Navarro said. "The only thing the president has said... publicly, repeatedly, on Hong Kong is that he hopes there will be a peaceful resolution. I've spoken about this, that it is capitalism and freedom battling communism in the streets of Hong Kong."
"Is this like an interrogation here? It is like I feel like I’ have Adam Schiff sitting in front of me," Navarro quipped.
Sciutto said he is a journalist and "asks questions of Democrats and Republicans every day."
"I understand," Navarro said, repeating his claim that "this is like an interrogation."
"It's an interview," Sciutto stated.
"This is witch hunt part two," Navarro said.
Scuitto fired back: "The president stood on the White House lawn yesterday and said authoritarian China should investigate an American. You have told me many times that China breaks international law. Is it acceptable for a U.S. president to ask them to investigate an American?"
Navarro stated that "this is a witch hunt" and Scuitto repeated the question three or four more times before there was some resolution: "I don't want to go into this, we've got a great economy, the president is doing a great job, and all you guys want to do is drag him down into the mud with anonymous sources."