CNN is defending a producer who was caught on video by a conservative operative criticizing the network's coverage of President Trump.
John Bonifield, listed as a supervising producer at CNN Health, is seen in a video shared by conservative operative James O'Keefe's Project Veritas website describing the network's coverage of Trump and Russia as "mostly bulls-" and driven mostly by ratings.
"CNN stands by our medical producer John Bonifield," the network said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. "Diversity of personal opinion is what makes CNN strong, we welcome it and embrace it."
O'Keefe's undercover videos have been widely criticized for their deceptive editing and taking comments out of context in an attempt to promote a conservative agenda. The Trump Foundation paid Project Veritas $10,000 in May 2015, one month before Trump announced his candidacy, according to a list of donations given to the Washington Post.
On Election Day, O'Keefe followed "a pastor bus" that he claimed was taking voters to the polls in Philadelphia. The initial footage turned out to be from Indiana.
In O'Keefe's latest video, first posted Monday night, Bonifield tells an undercover agent: "I haven't seen any good enough evidence to show that the president committed a crime." O'Keefe says the operative gained access to CNN's headquarters in Atlanta.
"I just feel like they really don't have it [proof of collusion] but they want to keep digging," Bonifield said. "And so I think the president is probably right to say, 'Look, you are witch-hunting me.' "
A source told Philly.com that CNN, like most networks, has an internal process that allows employees to voice their concern over stories. Bonifield did not respond to a request for comment.
The video was released by Project Veritas just hours after three journalists at the network resigned following the deletion and retraction of a story about a Russian investment fund.
O'Keefe paid $100,000 to settle a lawsuit from Juan Carlos Vera, a former employee of ACORN who claimed he was filmed illegally. Vera was fired after the deceptively-edited sting video appeared to show him advising O'Keefe how to set up a child prostitution ring, but Vera actually contacted authorities following the encounter and reported the incident. O'Keefe was also sentenced to three years of probation and forced to pay a $1,500 fine for a separate incident involving an attempt to enter the offices of former Sen. Mary Landreiu (D., La.) under false pretenses.
This post has been updated to clarify the charges against O'Keefe.