CNN Adds Washington Post Reporter David Fahrenthold as Contributor

Courtesy of CNN/Youtube
David Fahrenthold

Fahrenthold has broken several unflattering stories about President-elect Donald Trump.

CNN has added Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold to its roster of contributors. Fahrenthold has written several investigative pieces about President-elect Donald Trump and first revealed the 2005 Access Hollywood tape back in October. Among his multiple investigative pieces was a deep dive into the Trump Foundation, which revealed that Trump had given virtually nothing to his charity since 2008, despite bragging publicly about all the money he gives away. Fahrenthold has appeared on CNN and other networks to talk about his scoops. But the new deal means he’ll now be exclusive to CNN. 

Fahrenthold’s Post colleagues Wesley Lowery and Abby Phillip also have been added as contributors. And CNN has made several familiar faces official political commentators, including former Michigan Gov.Jennifer Granholm, and former New York Congressman Steve Israel. Meanwhile Charles Ramsey, former Philadelphia police commissioner and Washington, D.C., police chief, has been named law enforcement analyst. Rick Santorum, Salena Zito and J.D. Vance also will stay on at CNN as contributors and analysts. 

CNN has maintained a large roster of contributors. And many who rose to prominence during the 2016 campaigns have continued to appear, notably Trump supporters Jeffrey Lord, whose deal was extended through 2017, and Kayleigh McEnany. But the network has also endured criticism for putting on Trump surrogates, including Katrina Pierson, who make demonstrably false assertions on CNN's broadcasts. (Washington Post correspondent Karen Tumulty characterized them as “nutjob(s)” during a Harvard University-sponsored conference last December with Zucker and political operatives.) 

The addition of experienced D.C.-based journalists comes as the Trump transition team is considering evicting the press corps from its briefing room at the White House. Trump spokesmen Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus have said the move is being considered because the current briefing room, which has 49 seats, is not big enough to accommodate all of the outlets that want to cover Trump. But writer Peter Boyer, who broke the story for Esquire, quoted a senior Trump official saying the press is “the opposition party." “I want I want 'em out of the building. We are taking back the press room,” the official told Boyer. 

And on Jan. 11, at the president-elect's long-awaited first press conference, Trump and Spicer vilified CNN for reporting that intelligence officials had briefed Trump and President Obama on an unsubstantiated dossier from a British spy asserting that Russia had gathered compromising material on Trump. CNN did not go into detail about what was in the report, and then BuzzFeed later put the 35-page dossier on its site, without any context. But Spicer and Trump lumped CNN with BuzzFeed, which Trump called "a failing pile of garbage."  

At his press conference, Trump refused to call on CNN reporter Jim Acosta, shouting, “fake news!” at Acosta. The dust-up elicited a statement from CNN that said in part: “We are fully confident in our reporting. It represents the core of what the First Amendment protects, informing the people of the inner workings of their government.”