This month, and this week in particular, Republicans have unleashed a frontal attack on James Comey, the former FBI director Trump fired last year because he was investigating Trump’s collusion with Russia. The GOP has been focused mainly on the issue of Comey’s integrity, and has consistently denigrated him.
On Friday’s edition of The Lead, CNN anchor Jake Tapper pressed the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) over whether the party believes it has the “moral ground” to question former FBI Director James Comey’s integrity.
As the party moves to blast Comey ahead of the release of his new memoir, A Higher Loyalty, Tapper noted that several top RNC finance officials have become snared in sex scandals and a criminal investigation in recent months, asking Ronna Romney McDaniel:
The RNC is questioning the integrity of James Comey? Whatever issues there are with James Comey, what is the deal with [Elliott] Broidy and [Michael] Cohen and [Steve] Wynn? And how does that give you any moral ground to question anyone’s integrity?
On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that RNC deputy finance chairman Elliott Broidy had paid a former Playboy model after an affair that ended in her saying she terminated a pregnancy. Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, helped negotiate that payment, according to the Journal. Cohen, who also serves as a deputy finance chairman for the RNC, is now under criminal investigation and the FBI raided his properties this week. Earlier this year, RNC finance chairman Steve Wynn also resigned after accusations of sexual assault and harassment emerged going back decades.
McDaniel responded by arguing that Comey “discredited himself” with “his own testimony before Congress”:
He said he didn’t leak and then he did reveal that he gave his memos to a friend to give to a reporter. With the way he handled the Clinton investigation and now revealing in his book that he used polls to determine his decision to reveal to the public he was reopening the Clinton investigation, our job at the RNC is to make sure we are highlighting for the American people this person who will get 24 hour news coverage. We need to present the real James Comey.
Tapper pushed McDaniel about the “double standard” of labeling Comey as a liar as he checked off a number of false claims made by the president:
I know you’re head of the RNC and not inclined to criticize the president. But this is a man who has said falsely thousands of Muslims were on TV and cheering in New Jersey on 9/11, and that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination, and President Obama was not born in this country
They are all patently false claims, so why the double standard? Why do you care about James Comey telling the truth, but not President Trump?
McDaniel pushed back and accused the media of having “an obsession with covering President Trump”:
They have covered him nonstop in the most negative way that we’ve seen for any president. They’re going to bring James Comey on, and we don’t think he’ll get the proper vetting. That is something we want to make sure that the facts get out.
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