CNBC was pressured in 2014 by Donald Trump to place him higher on its list of the nation’s top business leaders after his then attorney Michael Cohen failed to manipulate the rankings in Trump's favor, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal on Monday.
Cohen called CNBC and threatened that Trump would sue, because the news channel was “ignoring the will of the people,” those familiar with the matter said.
After CNBC didn’t respond to the threat, Trump did not follow through with the threat.
As part of his griping over his low ranking, which was outside the top 100, Trump publicly lashed out at the channel on Twitter and called network executives to complain.
The CNBC rankings were decided by a panel of experts. As part of the process, the business channel held an online poll to guide the panel as it narrowed a list of 200 contenders down to 25.
CNBC said those chosen were business leaders who were responsible for “ushering in meaningful change” and whose impact was felt most in the past 25 years. Trump didn’t make the cut, because the judges said he did not meet the criteria and that his companies had filed for bankruptcy protection more than once, sources said.
Cohen, who was special counsel at the Trump Organization, said he hired a small technology company to use computer code to cheat by repeatedly voting for Trump and also tried to manipulate a 2015 Drudge Report poll that asked who should be the Republican presidential nominee, although both attempts failed.
Trump’s current lawyer Rudy Giuliani dismissed those claims.
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