CNN Runs 'Close to the Bone' Joke on Obama Trading Taliban for a 'Grande Soy Latte' at Starbucks

  On Wednesday's New Day on CNN, co-anchor Chris Cuomo mocked President Obama at the end of the show's regular "Inside Politics" segment after a clip of NBC comedian Seth Meyers making a joke about Obama trading Taliban prisoners for coffee at Starbucks.

Alluding to an upcoming interview with California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff that calls into question whether the released Taliban prisoners really will be watched closely as they reside in Qatar, the CNN co-host took a surprising jab at President Obama. Cuomo:

I got to tell you something: Your boy Seth Meyers is cutting close to the bone because the more we learn about this deal with the trade, the more suspect it becomes in terms of what he traded those five guys for. Maybe a Starbucks isn't so far-fetched after all.

A bit later, during the interview with Rep. Schiff, Cuomo repeatedly questioned the prisoner release deal. He introduced the segment:

New information this morning about the deal that dropped five Taliban prisoners off in Qatar. The deal was, we thought, the Qataris would keep an eye on them and monitor them so we could avoid the obvious, which is them returning to the battlefield against the United States. But California Democrat Adam Schiff tells CNN he's read the memorandum of understanding between Qatar and the United States, and he doesn't understand it because it contains no guarantees that the Taliban leaders will be tracked.

After bringing aboard Schiff, the CNN host posed:

This is very important for several reasons, and you have even more legitimacy on the issue because you are a Democrat, and you're saying you have reservations about this deal. Why? What did you see in there or not see, Representative?

Sensing that Rep. Schiff was trying to find a silver lining and still defend the Obama administration, Cuomo followed up:

All right, but hold on because I hear a little bit of the administration bleeding through that answer. You can't have 535 commanders-in-chief, for sure, but there was a law in place here to consult with all 535 members, to get Congress behind this, and it was avoided by the administration. So there is more burden on them to make the case, don't you think? And when you look at the deal, can you stand there, Representative, and say, "I stand by this deal, this is a good deal, there are good assurances in it"?

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Wednesday, June 11, New Day on CNN:

JOHN KING: Let's close with a little bit of humor here. Some might not find this so funny, but listen to Seth Meyers here talking about the President's trip to Starbucks and how he paid.

SETH MEYERS, FROM NBC'S LATE NIGHT: President Obama surprised tourists by walking to a Starbucks near the White House. Even more surprising, he traded five Taliban members for a grande soy latte.

KING: Some may not find that funny, but it tells you a lot, Brooke and Chris, when the late night funnies break through on political stories.

CHRIS CUOMO: Well, look, I think that there's humor in all of it, John, but I got to tell you something: Your boy Seth Meyers is cutting close to the bone because the more we learn about this deal with the trade, the more suspect it becomes in terms of what he traded those five guys for. Maybe a Starbucks isn't so far-fetched after all. We're going to take that on later in the show.

John, thank you very much as always, my brother. Coming up here on New Day, are we really keeping an eye on those Taliban prisoners? They've been dropped in Qatar; now what? It's up to the Qataris, right? Are they up to the task? Any reason to believe that? We'll ask Congressman Adam Schiff. He got a look at the agreement.

(...)

CUOMO: New information this morning about the deal that dropped five Taliban prisoners off in Qatar. The deal was, we thought, the Qataris would keep an eye on them and monitor them so we could avoid the obvious, which is them returning to the battlefield against the United States. But California Democrat Adam Schiff tells CNN he's read the memorandum of understanding between Qatar and the United States, and he doesn't understand it because it contains no guarantees that the Taliban leaders will be tracked.

We have Congressman Schiff joining us from Washington right now. This is very important for several reasons, and you have even more legitimacy on the issue because you are a Democrat, and you're saying you have reservations about this deal. Why? What did you see in there or not see, Representative?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): It's not that the Qataris aren't going to try. There's just no guarantee of success. I think the Qataris actually are going to make every effort to keep track of these guys for, among other reasons, it would be deeply embarrassing to the Qataris if they lose sight of these five. Even the Taliban leadership probably has an incentive not to violate the deal because they have relationship with the Qatari government.

But, notwithstanding those best efforts, there's no guarantee that they will succeed. And, beyond that, when the year is up, then I think really all bets are off, and we have to prudently expect that some of them are going to return to the fight. That's what made this, I think, a very tough call by the President. I do respect that call. We have one commander-in-chief. We can't have 535 people trying to make this decision for him or collectively, but I think this was a very tough decision, and I think we have to be mindful of the risks involved.

CUOMO: All right, but hold on because I hear a little bit of the administration bleeding through that answer. You can't have 535 commanders-in-chief, for sure, but there was a law in place here to consult with all 535 members, to get Congress behind this, and it was avoided by the administration. So there is more burden on them to make the case, don't you think? And when you look at the deal, can you stand there, Representative, and say, "I stand by this deal, this is a good deal, there are good assurances in it"?

[SCHIFF]

Erin Burnett has gone there. She's been in Doha, she's been in Qatar. She says there is pretty broad-based support of the Taliban there which does not suggest they're going to have hardline monitoring of these individuals, right? If it's unpopular at home, why should be have any level of confidence that the Qatar authorities will do what we cannot?

[SCHIFF]

Look, I'm with you in terms of what the ultimate goal is, and I actually think that the administration's better argument was that Gitmo is going to close, these guys are going to go back anyway, President Bush sent back hundreds of them, we don't know where any of them are, at least we have some strings on these guys. That's what I think is the more compelling argument, but that's not the one you're making.

You're saying that the Qataris are going to try their best and their best efforts. Where does that confidence come from? What record do we have of watching this foreign government or any foreign government other than Israel looking out for bad guys for the United States?

[SCHIFF]

Brad Wilmouth
Brad Wilmouth is a contributing blogger to NewsBusters