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CNN’s Van Jones Fires Back at James O’Keefe

Variety logo Variety 6/30/2017 Variety Staff
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CNN’s Van Jones fired back at James O’Keefe Thursday, calling the right-wing provocateur “the kind of person from whom decent people run like the plague” in a column published on CNN.com.

O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, known for stings in which he secretly records members of media organizations and non-profits that he views as left-leaning, on Thursday released a video in which Jones can be heard calling investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election “a big nothing-burger.” The new video came two days after O’Keefe released one in which CNN producer John Bonifield criticized the cabler’s coverage of Trump’s ties to Russia.

“Did I mean that there is ‘nothing’ to the allegations that members of team Trump colluded with the Russians and then tried to cover it up by firing FBI Director James Comey? No — and far from it,” Jones, a former Obama administration official and host of CNN’s “The Ugly Truth” wrote. “But that’s not what I was talking about. I have been consistently pushing my fellow Democrats to deal with bread and butter issues — and not just hope and believe Trump will be impeached and gone tomorrow. I have been beating this drum for weeks now.”

O’Keefe is known for his undercover video operations designed to discredit and embarrass Democratic politicians and liberal advocacy groups. He made his mark in 2009 with a video targeting the community organizing group ACORN that purportedly featured staffers discussing various illegal activities. ACORN lost its federal funding as a result of the video. O’Keefe has regularly been accused of stagecraft and of twisting the words of his targets through heavy editing of his sting videos.

CNN has not offered any comment on the Jones video.

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