I have to give CNN’s Jake Tapper some credit. Sure, he sent some barbs Barack Obama’s way, but since then he’s mostly focused his invective on one Donald J. Trump.
However, as it turns out, Tapper isn’t just an anti-Trump drone (although he does plenty of that, don’t get me wrong). In fact, he’s pretty much a crotchety old man in middle-aged reporter’s body who doesn’t take any guff from Washingtonian swine.
This includes former FBI Director James Comey.
Comey, as you might have heard a few hundred times or so, is currently on a book tour promoting his new memoir, “A Higher Loyalty.”
As part of the tour, Comey decided to sit down with Tapper to discuss the most awaited book since “What Happened.” However, Comey quickly noticed that the atmosphere was a bit different than with George Stephanopoulos.
For my money, the funniest quote was when Tapper asked Comey about the impression inside the White House that the president has “weathered” the scandal.
“I have no idea. The book tour’s not about the president, the book’s about … starting a conversation about our values. Trump figures into it,” Comey said.
To quote the great political theorist Jeannie Bueller, dry that one out and you could fertilize the lawn. And, to his credit, Tapper was having none of it, either.
“The book’s about President Trump to a great deal — I mean, there’s a lot — I read the book,” Tapper responded. “There’s a lot in there about your time as a U.S. attorney, about your childhood, but there’s a lot in there about President Trump, especially in terms of leadership. He’s an example of how not to be a leader, in your view. He is the example of somebody who is a bully. And you talk throughout the book about how you hate bullies.”
“I think he is a counterpoint, that’s why he’s in there,” Comey said. “I couldn’t write about ethical leadership and illustrate it with stories without telling stories of someone I think fails to reflect the values of an ethical leader. So sure, he’s 3 of the 14 chapters, it’s an important part of the book. But all I meant is, it’s not a book about Donald Trump and I hope very much it’ll be useful long into the future beyond a Trump presidency.”
As for Comey’s impartiality, Tapper repeatedly tried to get Comey to admit that he preferred Hillary Clinton, noting that one could take away from the book that “the nation would be better off if Hillary were president.
“Because you have called for the nation to respond to the challenge of Trump, in your view, by voting; presumably by voting against what he represents. Is that not a fair interpretation?”
“I actually think of it — maybe it’s the same thing but I think of it in terms of voting for something else, which is the core values of this country, which are more important than any policy disputes,” Comey responded.
Tapper then questioned Comey’s credibility in this matter: “So you have spent decades building a reputation for being evidence-based, for being nonpartisan. The FBI is an organization that is supposed to be evidence-based and nonpartisan,” Tapper said. “Do you worry that by painting this stark portrait of President Trump and suggesting that the American people should vote for something other than the lack of values that he represents in your construct, that you are sullying both the brand of Comey and the brand of the FBI?”
Not to Comey.
“Yeah, I don’t think so,” he said. “And I certainly hope not because I’m not criticizing President Trump because he’s a Republican or because he has a certain view on taxes or immigration or anything else. I’m criticizing him on the grounds of values which is at the center of the FBI and something that should be at the center of all of our evaluations of our leaders. So I get that it’s relevant to politics but I see it as something actually more important than partisan politics.”
There were several other lines of questioning; Tapper pressed Comey for dangling the potential of Russian collusion during earlier interviews without actual evidence and on the infamous text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Tapper went on to discuss whether or not Comey’s book tour was hurting his credibility.
Twitter users especially noticed this question, as Twitchy discovered:
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) April 19, 2018
No, that happened a long time ago. https://t.co/zQOJp2eFQW
— Awnree (@Awnree1) April 19, 2018
What credibility? https://t.co/evRpqxGNeU
— Michael McNally (@notoserfdom) April 19, 2018
— twenty one royal street (@21royalstreet) April 19, 2018
Implying appearing on CNN destroys one's credibility? Ok, it is a good point. https://t.co/IfmYt3neUh
— Gary Frank (@swizze_gfrank) April 20, 2018
He may not have the credibility he desires, but at least he has the money from his book deal.
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