Speed Reads

morning tussles

CNN's Chris Cuomo grills GOP Rep. Jim Jordan over flailing efforts to discredit FBI

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) had a rather unromantic beginning to his Valentine's Day. During an interview with Chris Cuomo on CNN's New Day, Jordan tried to spin the ongoing scandal regarding Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary who resigned last week after two of his ex-wives leveled allegations of abuse, into a story about one of his pet topics: alleged abuses of power in the FBI's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

As Cuomo mused that letting an alleged domestic abuser like Porter have access to classified documents in the White House was perhaps a bad idea, Jordan pivoted to the tale of Carter Page. Republicans have claimed that Page, a former campaign aide to President Trump, was improperly surveilled because the FBI used a dossier partly paid for by Hillary Clinton's campaign to justify his surveillance.

"Chris," Jordan began, "to compare [Porter having access to classified information] to the FBI ... taking a campaign document, dressing it all up as legitimate intelligence, and presenting it to a FISA court … is not an apt comparison," Jordan said. Cuomo shot back, "You don't know that's what happened."

When Cuomo challenged Jordan's description of the FISA court, which oversees surveillance requests, as a "secret court," Jordan said: "Have you ever read a transcript from the FISA court? ... I haven't." Cuomo pointed out the contradiction in Jordan's logic: "That's why I don't have an opinion about them. I don't judge them when I haven't seen them."

After Jordan continued to insist that the FBI's surveillance of Page was motivated by a desire to taint Trump, Cuomo asked, "What kind of caper is this, that this is what [the FBI] came up with to hurt President Trump? ... To put a surveillance on Carter Page, a guy who had almost no real connection to Trump?" He concluded, "It's preposterous." Watch below. Kelly O'Meara Morales