On Sunday's Reliable Sources, CNN host Brian Stelter mocked Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel for condemning the Jim Comey book on Friday without reading it. "You have go to read the book first," Stelter cracked. But who in America already has the Comey book, when it comes out on Tuesday? It's being discussed ad infinitum by non-readers. He set up a snippet from The Lead on Friday and called it "pretty funny."
BRIAN STELTER: Jennifer Palmieri, back to you one on one other element of this, the attempt to discredit James Comey and make him out to be anything but an ethical American who is worried about what's going on. This is what Ronna McDaniel said to Jake Tapper in an interview the other day:
RONNA McDANIEL: I think this book is salacious. I think, when you read it, he discredits himself. I think the very fact...
JAKE TAPPER: Have you read it?
McDANIEL: No, I haven't read it.
STELTER: You know, that's pretty funny, I have to admit. Rule number one is, you GOTTA read the book first, or you are going to get caught. But that aside, that embarrassment aside, will these attacks be effective?
This is an odd rule when almost everyone commenting on the Comey book hasn't read it yet. Has Stelter read the book yet? Certainly, the publisher didn't send book-reviewer copies to the Republican Party headquarters. Is she supposed to say "I'll get back to you next Thursday" while everyone else has an opinion on Comey?
It turns out that Stelter did a bit of a hatchet job on the Tapper interview, where McDaniel made the obvious point that we can judge the book by the excerpts the publisher thought were most fascinating/sales-boosting:
McDANIEL: He [Trump] had three meetings, that is it, with James Comey, three in-person meetings. He and spent time with him, he heard of this reputation, and as he got to know James Comey and as he worked with him he concluded this was not somebody fit for office, and he fired him. I mean, obviously, the President came to a different conclusion once he worked with James Comey. I think this book is salacious. I think when you read it he discredits himself. I think the very fact --
TAPPER: Have you read it?
MCDANIEL: No. I haven't read it, but the excerpts I'm hearing, the very fact that he's saying that he used polling to determine whether he went to the public and disclosed opening an investigation, something that is unprecedented in FBI history. I think that discredits him completely. It's partisan, that he made a determination that Hillary Clinton was going to win so that he had to take it upon himself to take away any taint from her office as presidency. Some of the descriptions he used are salacious. I think it's worth pointing out that he has a credibility issue and that's what we're trying to do at the RNC with our website.
Tapper threw hardballs at McDaniel over how the RNC can position itself as a moral authority: "Minutes ago, you accepted the resignation of Elliott Broidy, the deputy finance chair of the RNC after The Wall Street Journal broke the news that a different deputy finance director of the RNC, Michael Cohen, also President Trump's personal lawyer, negotiated a $1.6 million payout to a Playboy model that Broidy impregnated while married."