CNN Hypes Fani Willis Refusing to Step Away from Trump Case Amid Probe

News & Politics

During CNN This Morning’s first hour on Thursday, CNN national security reporter Zachary Cohen hyped Fulton Country District Attorney Fani Willis for refusing to step away from her election subversion case against former President Trump. He also downplayed the seriousness of the case regarding her alleged use of taxpayer dollars to fund her adultery with Special Counsel Nathan Wade, who was overseeing the prosecution. He acted skeptical of the allegations and called them “low risk.”

Co-host Poppy Harlow lead into the segment by announcing that “Willis does not plan to step down” and was “standing her ground” despite the “scrutiny and calls to resign or pull herself off.”

Such phrasing portrays Willis as a courageous protester rather than what she is: the subject of an alleged sex and corruption scandal.

According to Cohen, Willis is “digging in” and refusing to leave her position, while those who might be looking to oust her would find themselves facing “an uphill battle”:

That’s exactly right. Multiple sources are telling me that Fani Willis is digging in. She’s going to take her chances arguing this in court. She—It’s now going to be up to the judge to decide whether or not to disqualify her, and as you mentioned, these are not just allegations about an improper romantic relationship. Um, Trump and several of his codefendants are claiming that Fani Willis improperly used taxpayer dollars to um, you know, fund vacations through her, um, lover, alleged lover, Nathan Wade.

Such rhetoric is indicative of CNN’s routine double standards for stories involving these types of political scandals.

The severity of the subject was also questioned by co-host Phil Mattingly who teed up Cohen by wondering is Willis and a good shot at beating the accusations. “Are the chances high that everything will go the way she wants it, is this a 50/50, where does this stand right now?” he wondered.

Cohen’s final commentary reveals that CNN is willing to readily dismiss these allegations against Willis as mere Republican attempts to discredit her case against Trump.

“[T]hat doesn’t mean they can’t hurt her politically, they can’t try to undermine the credibility of this case by attacking her personally, by attacking her romantic life allegedly, by, you know, raising these questions even if the evidence doesn’t necessarily prove what the allegations are,” Cohen said.

The transcript is below. Click “expand” to read:

CNN This Morning

2/1/2024

6:29:56 a.m. Eastern

POPPY HARLOW: Well, new reporting this morning, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis does not plan to step down from the Georgia election subversion case after allegations emerge that she has had an inappropriate relationship with the lead prosecutor she hired on the case, Nathan Wade. She’s faced intense scrutiny and calls to resign or pull herself off.

Our Zach Cohen has some really interesting reporting on this. He joins us this morning. It isn’t just about a relationship. What it’s about is payments, so how he was paid with taxpayer money. But she’s standing her ground. She’s not going anywhere?

ZACHARY COHEN: That’s exactly right. Multiple sources are telling me that Fani Willis is digging in. She’s going to take her chances arguing this in court. It’s now going to be up to the judge to decide whether or not to disqualify her, and as you mentioned, these are not just allegations about an improper romantic relationship. Um, Trump and several of his codefendants are claiming that Fani Willis improperly used taxpayer dollars to, you know, fund vacations through her lover, alleged lover, Nathan Wade.

Now she’s going to have to potentially address all these questions in open court. She weighed and several others were subpoenaed to testify publicly on February 15th when there’s a hearing about this entire issue. So, you know, it remains to be seen. But as of right now, Fani Willis not voluntarily taking herself out of the game.

PHIL MATTINGLY: Zach, when you say she’s going to take her chances, what kind of risk is that? Are the chances high that everything will go the way she wants it, is this a 50/50, where does this stand right now?

COHEN: Yeah, Phil, I’ve talked to sources on both sides of the case, and they all say, look, it’s an uphill battle to try to get Fani Willis disqualified from this case. But, you know, that doesn’t mean they can’t hurt her politically, they can’t try to undermine the credibility of this case by attacking her personally, by attacking her romantic life allegedly, by, you know, raising these questions even if the evidence doesn’t necessarily prove what the allegations are.

So, really, at the end of the day, the legal ramifications here, you know, it’s a low risk but the political ramifications could be very high for Willis specifically.

 HARLOW: Thank you, Zach, great reporting.

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