CNN Is Criticized for Hiring Trump Administration Aide as a Political Editor

Leah Millis/Reuters

Sarah Isgur Flores, a Republican spokeswoman who worked most recently for the Justice Department, has been hired by CNN to help with the network’s political coverage, propelling a Trump administration official directly into a news role for a top cable network.

Her hiring as a “political editor,” not a commentator, led to internal and external criticism of CNN for placing a Republican political operative in a position to help guide daily political coverage, including 2020 presidential campaign news.

In an internal memo on Wednesday announcing the hire, CNN’s Washington bureau chief, Sam Feist, said Ms. Isgur would spend the first few months getting to know CNN, and then “play a coordinating role” in covering politics.

“We’re thrilled that Sarah is coming to CNN,” Mr. Feist wrote. “She brings a wealth of government, political, communications and legal experience to our team.”

Ms. Isgur recently worked as a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, including for Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general whom President Trump fired in November, and for Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who has overseen the special counsel’s Russia investigation. She sent a goodbye email from her Justice Department account on Friday.

She previously worked as a deputy campaign manager for Carly Fiorina, a Republican who ran for president during the 2016 election.

Ms. Isgur was critical of Mr. Trump during the 2016 primaries and has also been critical of CNN, including complaining that the network was excluding Ms. Fiorina from a presidential debate. And years ago she retweeted a comment from a conservative news outlet that referred to her new employer as the “Clinton News Network.”

Mr. Feist’s memo on Wednesday came after a flurry of concern — and in some cases, deep frustration — voiced by members of the network’s political staff, according to two people familiar with the complaints. The memo was co-signed by two senior CNN executives, David Chalian and Virginia Moseley.

CNN has previously showed a…

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