Perhaps no other story has haunted President Donald Trump more than the rumors and allegations that he colluded with the Russian government to sway the US election and undermine Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Now new tapes and audio recordings released by American political activist and self-described "guerilla journalist" James O'Keefe regarding the private opinion of some major CNN figureheads are threatening the media conglomerate's already shaken credibility.
After being asked by an undercover reporter about why CNN keeps pushing the Russia story unrelentingly, CNN's Supervising Producer, John Bonifield, who was not aware he was being recorded, answered with "Because it's ratings. Our ratings are incredible right now." The whole Russia story is "mostly bullsh*t right now; like, we don't have any big giant proof. […] I just feel like they don't really have it but they want to keep digging."
"And so I think the President is probably right to say, like, look, you are witch-hunting me; like, you have no smoking gun, you have no real proof."
CNN's Bonifeld also went on to say that "even if Russia was trying to swing an election, we try to swing their elections, our CIA is doing sh*t all the time, we're out there trying to manipulate governments."
He also said that CNN's CEO, Jeff Zucker, directed his team to get back to covering the Russia story just a couple of days after Trump announced he was withdrawing the US from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
CNN's Van Jones, one of the networks most prominent commentators was also taped saying that "The Russia thing is just a big nothing burger." Trump himself had used this term on Twitter to describe the Russia story several months ago.
It's a story that's seemingly following the president wherever he goes and whatever he does, however what Trump himself is being accused of might not be entirely sure at first. Some accuse his campaign members of colluding with the Russians while others say he himself is or was working closely with President Vladimir Putin.
The trigger that made this story take center stage was when WikiLeaks released an abundance of inner Democratic Party e-mails.
WikiLeaks' Julian Assange however has repeatedly said that their source "is not the Russian government and is not a state party". Around the same time a DNC employee, Seth Rich, was murdered in the nightly streets of Washington DC; no private belongings of his however, such as his watch or wallet, were taken, leading to many to assume that the disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporter intentionally gained access to and forwarded to WikiLeaks some 33,000 emails.
A lot of damming material was revealed, including the DNC's intentional undermining of then-candidate Sanders and revelations that Hillary Clinton was not trusted by her closest associates. Amongst many others it was also revealed that she secretly wanted to intervene in Syria. She also had a lot of heat on her for saying that "you need both a public and a private position."
It was also revealed that she was colluding with the Justice Department and was fed a presidential debate question by Donna Brazile, who later resigned from her post.
The White House is encouraging people "across the nation" as well as journalists to watch the videos released by O'Keefe.