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Second-hand news
October 11, 2018

New York's Olivia Nuzzi had a pretty crazy Tuesday, unexpectedly invited into the Oval Office where she interviewed President Trump — then White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and sundry other Trump administration officials. In her entertaining writeup, "you call this meeting a 'private Oval Office press conference,'" CNN's Don Lemon reminded Nuzzi on Wednesday night. "And it's a wild read. Tell us about it." Watching one top Trump official after another parade in, purportedly serendipitously, to insist that the White House was a sea of tranquility "felt, frankly, ridiculous after a while," she said. "You know, I was on no sleep at all, and I hadn't had coffee, and I just kept thinking, like, what is happening?"

Alice Stewart, a GOP strategist and Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) former communications director, jumped in to congratulate Nuzzi on the story, on her own behalf and, more surprisingly, on behalf of the White House. Stewart said she was eating at a restaurant on Wednesday evening, saw one of the officials in Nuzzi's article, mentioned she was going on CNN with Nuzzi, and asked him what he thought of the article. "He said, 'Make sure to tell Olivia that this was a very fair piece.' They were pleased with how it came out, because it was virtually — the piece was like you were live-blogging," Stewart said. "They say this is a classic case of what 'fake news' is not. And so they wanted to say that the appreciated the opportunity that you gave them to tell the story, and I think you did a great job."

"Wait, Alice, who said that?" Nuzzi said. "I've gotta know." "I cannot reveal my sources," Stewart said, laughing. Watch below. Peter Weber

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