After BuzzFeed published the unverified Trump dossier in January 2017, effectively igniting the political world just days before Donald Trump's presidential inauguration, CNN anchor Jake Tapper castigated the publication's top editor, newly released emails show.
The emails were unsealed in pursuant to a federal judge's order to release documents related to a lawsuit against BuzzFeed, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation. Russian businessman Aleksej Gubarev sued the outlet in February 2017 for publishing the salacious dossier, which implicated him as being a Russian agent.
Guvarev's lawyers reportedly highlighted Tapper's emails in hopes they would demonstrate BuzzFeed's alleged haphazard editorial process.
What did Tapper say?
"I think your move makes the story less serious and credible[.] I think you damaged its impact," Tapper wrote in an email to BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith on Jan. 10, 2017, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Tapper characterized BuzzFeed's decision to publish the dossier "uncollegial" and "irresponsible" because "no one has verified this stuff." Tapper was reportedly upset over the timing of BuzzFeed's decision to publish the document, which came after CNN had reported that top intelligence officials briefed then-President-elect Trump on the document and some of its contents at Trump Tower.
Smith defended his decision to publish the dossier in full — although BuzzFeed noted in its original story that much of the dossier's contents were unverified — telling Tapper that giving publication the green light "was not an easy call."
"Collegiality wise it was you stepping on my d*ck," Tapper reportedly told Smith. "Professionally this is unverified info[.] Your guys unlike us don't even seem to know who the former agent i[s]."
In reply, Smith told Tapper that "of course" he knew who authored the dossier, referring to former MI6 agent Christopher Steele.
In December, U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro dismissed Gubarev's libel claims against BuzzFeed.