CNN president Jeff Zucker hit the roof when he saw evidence showing that Chris Cuomo used his journalistic connections to try to help his brother beat the sexual harassment scandal that forced him to resign as governor, The Post has learned.
“It was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” one CNN insider said Wednesday.
“Zucker loved Chris, but the e-mails and texts did it.”
Another CNN source said of Cuomo, “His biggest crime was he lied to Zucker.”
“He didn’t own up to it,” the source said.
“There’s nothing worse than an e-mail or text. It’s in writing.”
Sources said Zucker’s shock and anger over the revelations in documentsmean that the “Cuomo Prime Time” star is unlikely to keep his job, which pays him a reported $6 million a year.
CNN announced Tuesday evening thatCuomo, 51, “pending further evaluation” of thousands of pages of records from James’ probe of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo
“I don’t see how he survives this,” a third source said of Chris Cuomo.
“The buzz inside CNN is it’s over.”
On Wednesday morning, Zucker briefly brought up Chris Cuomo’s suspension during a daily news meeting with CNN staffers, The Washington Post reported.
“I felt it was the appropriate course of action,”.
“We will keep you posted on how we deal with programming going forward.”
If Cuomo’s suspension becomes permanent, CNN’s Jake Tapper, who hosts “The Lead” from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, appears to be the front-runner to replace him, sources said.
One source said Tapper — who publicly blasted Chris Cuomo’s ethics in May, after The Washington Post revealed he took part in strategy sessions with his brother’s aides and advisers — appeared to be gunning for the gig.
CNN’s Don Lemon, who hosts the 10 p.m. show that follows “Cuomo Prime Time” is also considered a top contender, sources said, with one adding that chief media correspondent Brian Stelter “wants the job.”
Meanwhile,morning show, Stelter publicly predicted that Cuomo could return as early as next month.
Stelter said it was a “complicated situation” because despite widespread outrage, “a lot of viewers . . . love Chris Cuomo and they want to see him back on the air.”
“I think the bottom line is, Cuomo is on the bench for now,” he said.
“We’re heading into a holiday season. I think it’s possible he will be on the bench for several weeks. I think it’s possible he’ll be back in January.”
Cuomo’s suspension was reported on CNN by fellow host Anderson Cooper while sitting next to the network’s scandal-scarred chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.
In October 2020, Toobin took a leave of absence from CNN after getting caught masturbating during an online meeting with staffers from The New Yorker magazine and the WNYC radio station.
Although The New Yorker suspended and later fired Toobin after 27 years as one of its marquee writers, CNN welcomed him back eight months later.
The documents released Monday by James — whose explosive, Aug. 3 sexual harassment report against Andrew Cuomo led him to resign a week later — showed that Chris Cuomo pressed his news industry “sources” for advance information about upcoming reports about his older brother, including by Pulitzer Prize-winner Ronan Farrow.
The younger Cuomo also tried to dig up dirt on at least one accuser, Anna Ruch, after she told The New York Times that Andrew Cuomo made inappropriate advances during a wedding reception at which she was photographed cringing as he held both sides of her face while looming over her.
“I have a lead on the wedding girl,” Chris Cuomo texted his brother’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, on March 4, two days after the Times report.
He later testified during questioning by James’ investigators that, “My friend had heard that maybe she had been put up to it.”
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