In a video (below) that has emerged online, a CNN supervising producer is heard saying the coverage of President Donald Trump's possible ties to Russia is "mostly bulls***."
In the clip, CNN supervising producer John Bonifield says Trump's connection to Russia "could be bulls***. I mean, it's mostly bulls*** right now. Like, we don't have any giant proof," TMZ reports.
According to Bonifield, although the network does not have definitive proof that Trump colluded with Russia during the presidential election, the story is being covered heavily to gain higher ratings.
"I just think they don't really have it but they want to keep digging," Bonifield says in the video. "And so I think the president is probably right to say, like, look, you are witch hunting me. Like you have no smoking gun, you have no real proof."
Bonifield said in the video that CNN CEO Jeff Zucker encouraged reporters to cover the Trump/Russia investigation over other issues.
"Just to give you some context, President Trump pulled out of the climate accords and for a day and a half we covered the climate accords," said Bonifield. "And the CEO of CNN said in our internal meeting, he said good job everybody covering the climate accords, but we’re done with that, let’s get back to Russia."
The video originated from hyper-conservative blog Project Veritas. It was produced by James O'Keefe, who has sparked controversy for his undercover techniques, according to Heavy.
It's unclear from the video why Bonifield, who works for CNN Health, would speak so openly to the other man, or whether the clip was selectively edited to show a particular narrative. The man filming is the clip is identified only as a "PV journalist."
Project Veritas has recently been sued for $1 million, with the lawsuit claiming the blog violated laws on wiretapping.
"Project Veritas infiltrated a Democratic consulting firm under false pretenses, secretly recorded private conversations and published deceptively edited footage -- all to mislead the public and hurt former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the White House," said a lawyer who represented a consulting organization that had worked with Clinton's campaign.
The video comes the same week as three CNN journalists resigned after a story about a Trump transition team official having ties to a Russian investment fund, which was retracted because it "did not meet CNN's editorial standards."
The piece reported that Anthony Scaramucci, who was expected to take a position in Trump's White House but did not, had met with a Russian investment fund days before the inauguration, according to The Washington Post.
The story was retracted, and three employees resigned after the incident.
"There was a significant breakdown in process," said a source from the network. "There were editorial checks and balances within the organization that weren't met."
The president tweeted about the incident, calling CNN "fake news" publishing "phony Russian stories."