CNN anchor Dana Bash got into a tense exchange with former President Donald Trump’s attorney Alina Habba on Tuesday over a verdict finding her client liable for sexual battery.
A nine-person New York jury found Trump liable for sexual battery and defamation in the civil case brought forward by former Elle Magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, who accused the former president of raping her in the dressing room of Manhattan’s Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1995 or 1996. The jury did not find Trump liable for rape, but awarded Carroll $5 million in damages on the other charges.
Bash pointed to a letter written to the judge by Trump’s legal team about LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, who helped fund Carroll’s lawsuit. The CNN anchor suggested there was a double standard by alleging that Trump used political funds to pay off his defense lawyers.
“Let me ask you this question,” Habba replied. “I’m glad you brought him up, Reid Hoffman, that’s who you’re talking about. How come you didn’t cover that he was at Epstein’s island? Or was it because he covered it and said he was trying to raise money for children in a school? Let’s talk about it! You raised it, not me.”
“No, no, I didn’t raise it. You raised it, you raised his name when you wrote the letter to the judge,” Bash said. “I’m not going down a rabbit hole here on this issue. I am not. I am focused on the trial, so let’s stay focused on this trial.”
“Let’s stay focused on the trial. The thing I am most proud of is that we revealed who funded this case,” she said. (RELATED: ‘F*cking Neanderthal’: Trump Lawyer Joe Tacopina Heckled Outside Courtroom After Sexual Battery Verdict)
Bash then asked about the witnesses during the trial, who all supported Carroll’s accusation. Habba said the people are bringing forth false accusations against Trump in the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election.
“You’re talking to me as if he was convicted of rape, which he wasn’t, he was actually cleared of it,” Habba hit back.
“Me? I’m not—okay, I’m not talking about it as if he was—he wasn’t convicted of anything, this was a civil trial and this was specifically about sexual assault today and defamation,” Bash said.
“That’s right, it was about money,” Habba said.
The exchange grew particularly intense as Bash pointed to a total of 15 women have accused Trump of sexual harassment or assault. She accused Bash of asking about accusations made several years ago because of Trump’s strong polling numbers.
“Are you talking about 2016? Is that the desperation that we’re at right now?” the attorney hit back.
“Are you concerned that the case that we saw today, that is is maybe just the beginning? That all other criminal action could be in the future?” the CNN anchor continued.
“No,” Habba said. “No, I think you’re concerned that he’s gonna win which is why you’re bringing up 2016 things, because you have nothing to bring up. That’s what I think your concern, and you should be concerned. He’s leading in the polls.”
“Okay, I’m a journalist. I’m not concerned about anything, I’m asking you as one of his attorneys about things that are out there—” Bash said.
“Since 2016, is that what we’re talking about?” Habba interjected. “Great, are you talking about 2016? Give me a year. These 15 women. Are we talking about 2016 when he was running and almost won and then did win?”
“It is not relevant what you’re talking about,” Bash responded.
“It is relevant, you just asked me about 15 women. I don’t have 15 women that have come forth with a claim. Where are they? I don’t have them,” Habba said.