In what was certainly one of the stranger exchanges on cable news Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Tom Carper (DE) claimed on CNN that White House economic adviser Gary Cohn followed his advice and faked a bad connection to get off the phone with President Trump earlier this month.
The discussion, Carper claimed, was over tax reform.
According to Carper, 30 minutes into the meeting, Cohn got a call from Trump in Asia, which Carper said was "nice," but he said, "15 minutes later, the president's still talking."
"I said, ‘Gary, why don't you do this? Take your cell phone back and just say, Mr. President, you're brilliant, but we're losing contact and I think we're going to lose you now, so good-bye,'" Carper said. "And that's what he did and he hung up, and then we went back to having the kind of conversation that we needed to, where they asked good questions looking for consensus … I think we identified a little bit."
A surprised Poppy Harlow and John Berman asked Carper to confirm his story.
"I don't want to throw him under the bus, but yes," Carper said of Cohn.
Asked to respond to Carper's claim, the White House vehemently denied it.
White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon that the story was not true, however, stating Cohn spoke with Trump privately for several minutes before ending the call.
"Senator Carper’s claim is completely false," Shah said. "Gary Cohn took the phone off speaker and continued to speak with the President privately for several minutes before they concluded the call."