On Erin Burnett OutFront Monday night, the CNN host was down a panelist, as Michael Anton, President Trump's former top national security spokesman, bowed out following Trump's much-derided press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Michael Anton was going to be here ... he canceled, and he knows I'm going to tell you this, because he said he could not defend the president on his actions today." - Erin Burnett explains the absence of Trump's fmr. National Security Council spokesman https://t.co/VYnxxVD4Je pic.twitter.com/nveQk3mvTy
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) July 16, 2018
Burnett was joined by journalist Julia Ioffe and CNN's senior political analyst John Avlon, but noted there was a person missing. "Michael Anton was going to be here," she said, but "he canceled, and he knows I'm going to tell you this, because he said he could not defend the president on his actions today." Anton, using a pseudonym, was behind the essay "The Flight 93 Election," which tried to convince conservatives wary of Trump to vote for him anyway because "2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die."
During his joint press conference with Putin in Helsinki, Trump questioned American intelligence agencies and their findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, sharing that Putin "said it's not Russia ... I don't see any reason why it would be."
UPDATE 10:50 p.m. ET: In a statement to The Hill, Anton said he canceled his appearance because CNN's coverage of Trump's press conference with Putin was "atrocious." Anton said he "knew whatever I said, CNN would try to use me as a cudgel with which to bash the president." He also claimed CNN "threatened to cite that withdrawal on air to bash the president, and that's exactly what they did. It's clear I made the right decision." Catherine Garcia