On CNN's New Day Thursday, host Chris Cuomo attacked Republican Ohio Representative Jim Jordan over his party's handling of leaked allegations of communications between former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Russian officials, which led to Flynn's resignation on Monday.
In an interview with the leader of the House Freedom Caucus, Cuomo said that Jordan and his party only want to focus on the source of the leaks instead of the substance of the calls between Flynn and the Russians. "We do not know that Michael Flynn was wiretapped, but it keeps being said by people that want these investigations into the leaks and it deserves to be called out," Cuomo said.
"Also what deserves to be called out and I'm interesting to see if you agree with this. You want to look at the leaks but you do not look at the under lying substance that lead to the leaks," Cuomo added.
Contrary to Cuomo's accusation, Flynn's conversation with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, was wiretapped. Reportedly, Obama officials stayed on and formed a communication apparatus alongside former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes to undermine Flynn from leaking information about the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Rhodes falsely reported about to the media. Flynn is an outspoken opponent of the deal.
A congressional adviser who was involved in the fight over the nuclear deal told The Washington Free Beacon, "After Trump was inaugurated some of those people stayed in and some began working from the outside, and they cooperated to keep undermining Trump."
Also in the interview, Cuomo chided Jordan over the GOP acting obliviously. "You know that the White House is saying you have the President that's blaming the media. You have discrepancies of fact here and you have broad or broader implications of national security when you don't seem as urgent about it," he said.
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Cuomo also exemplified hypocrisy and mentioned the dozens of congressional investigations over the 2012 Benghazi attack, which then-Secretary of State Clinton was accused of not properly responding to requests for help from the US consulate there in addition to covering up what happened in the incident where US ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered.
The mainstream media lacked coverage over the Benghazi attack and the Obama White House lying about other scandals, such as the IRS allegedly targeting conservative groups and administration cash payments to Iran.
Cuomo said to Jordan, "You encompass half a dozen probes by five different committees. The formation of a select House committee, 33 hearings."
Cuomo added and accused Jordan of a partisan double-standard, investigating Clinton but not Flynn. "The idea that it would be done divorced from partisanship is hard to see given the lack of curiosity from Republicans about the Flynn situation thus far."
The Ohio congressman mostly answered Cuomo's questions about investigating Flynn by stressing for the need to do so thoroughly.
Nonethless, Cuomo did not seem satisfied with Jordan's answers. "I’m just saying we just haven't seen the political capital being expended here that would give confidence that you want to do it. And saying they have Valentine's day breakfast with their spouses. And he was joking but it's because the whole thing is a joke," he said.
Here is the February 16 exchange:
7:05:21 AM – 7:12:14 AM
CHRIS CUOMO: Joining us now is Jim Jordan from Ohio. Important stuff to talk about, about the potential future for health care and then we have the news of the moment. The president putting out word that he believes that Michael Flynn is a wonderful man and that it was the media treating him unfairly. He just fired this man. Compelled his resignation. Does this tape by the President concern you about what you still don't know about that situation.
REP. JIM JORDAN: Staff can't mislead the people they work for. So I understand that and why Mr. Flynn is no wonder working at the White House. I get that. Second, let's let the intelligence committee do their work. If further investigation is warranted, I'm open of that. Supportive of that if that's what the facts point to. Let's do that but let's also as they said yesterday let's also look at this leak issue. Let's get all the information for the American people. Let's start first with the intelligence committee and let's get the facts from them and then we can proceed.
CUOMO: Now part of the facts here already need to be highlighted because there is political speculation going on the side of let's look at the leaks. Why was Michael Flynn wiretapped. We do not know that Michael Flynn was wiretapped but it keeps being said by people that want these investigations into the leaks and it deserves to be called out. Also what deserves to be called out and I'm interesting to see if you agree with this. You want to look at the leaks but you do not look at the under lying substance that lead to the leaks.
JORDAN: I'm open to all of that but let's proceed in a deliberate way here. Let's let the committees get the fact. If the committee wants to do more I'm willing to do that. We did that in the last administration and I've never been one accused of not being tough in our own party. You can ask former speaker Boehner about disagreements we had. I'm willing to do that but let's proceed to get the facts from the American people including how this leak happened. How classified information was given to the press. How that is out there and as you point out the wiretap and everything, what was behind all of that as well.
CUOMO: I don't know if there was a wiretap. We've always had leaks and that's not something that's new and certainly this president --
JORDAN: Just because we always had it doesn't make it right. Let's get to the bottom of it.
CUOMO: Look I'm not. Mentioned him as much as he could and that's politics. You encompass half a dozen probes by five different committees. The formation of a select House committee, 33 hearings.
JORDAN: The Foreign Affairs Committee. The Oversight Committee had hearings for a long, long time. It was years after and when you get to the point where he is misleading the American people and we know Secretary Clinton mislead the American people that's what warranted it.
CUOMO: You know that the White House is saying you have the President that's blaming the media. You have discrepancies of fact here and you have broad or broader implications of national security when you don't seem as urgent about it.
JORDAN: And Chris, no. I'm going to take the same approach we took with the example you brought up in Benghazi affair. We'll take the same approach. Let's get the facts. If the oversight committee needs more work we'll do that. If there's a requirement I'm open to that as well and let's proceed in the same manner we did.
CUOMO: Which was when you started to sniff out political resistance to getting to what you saw as the truth you went to a bigger situation. And an independent spirit. And can't waste time having Republicans investigate Republicans. You guys are in control of all of these committees. The idea that it would be done divorced from partisanship is hard to see given the lack of curiosity from Republicans about the Flynn situation thus far.
JORDAN: There's not a lack of curiosity on my part. As I’ve said many times, let’s look at the facts and if it means going against your party, I’ll do that. But let's do this in the right way the American people deserve.
CUOMO: I’m just saying we just haven't seen the political capital being expended here that would give confidence that you want to do it. And saying they have Valentine's day breakfast with their spouses. And he was joking but it's because the whole thing is a joke.
JORDAN: I’m not doing it as a joke. It's a very serious issue both what happened with the communication and the leak itself and I think we should get to the bottom of it and proceed in a straightforward fashion and if further investigation is warranted and a select committee is warranted, I'm open to that as well but let's proceed like we should and get the truth.
CUOMO: Should the transcript be put out?
JORDAN: I'm open to that, too. Let's see, but we want to make sure that it's put out in the right way and redacted if there's serious classified information there. So I'm open to that as well, but let's proceed through this in a deliberative fashion and let's get to the truth on all accounts.
CUOMO: I'll take you at your word about how we proceed on Michael Flynn. We'll see what you do and don't do and we'll take the scrutiny from there. The president may say the media developed this. We both know that's not true on the face of the facts. This is about what Michael Flynn did, how it was dealt with within the white house and how it became exposed but we're not talking about getting people jobs, about a tax agenda and all the things supposed to be done that waved in the Trump Presidency. How much of a distraction it coming from the White House.