Speed Reads


CNN's Jake Tapper politely shreds GOP Rep. Jim Jordan's Trump-Ukraine talking points

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney "is on shaky ground in the wake of a bad week for President Trump," CNN reports, largely because he didn't immediately "have a strategy for defending and explaining the contents" of a reconstructed transcript of Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) tried his hand Sunday with the White House's subsequent talking points. CNN's Jake Tapper wasn't having it.

Jordan alleged that former Vice President Joe Biden had pressured Ukraine to fire top prosecutor Viktor Shokin to help out his lawyer son, Hunter Biden, who had recently gotten a seat on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma. "That's not what happened," Tapper said, noting repeatedly that Shokin was ousted because he wasn't prosecuting people and the Ukrainian investigations related to Burisma's owner were dormant when Hunter Biden was hired. Shokin "wasn't going after corruption — do you understand what I'm saying?" Tapper asked.

Jordan kept hitting on the younger Biden's reported salary, and Tapper eventually stopped him. "If you want to push a law saying that the children of presidents and vice presidents should not be doing international business deals, I'm all for it," Tapper said. "But you're setting a standard that is not being met right now." He gave examples from Trump's children.

"I'm just telling you what happened," Jordan said. "No, you're not," Tapper said. "It's amazing the gymnastics you'll go through to defend what —" Jordan began, and Tapper brought up accusations from Ohio State wresters that Jordan turned a blind eye to sexual abuse by the team doctor: "Sir, it's not gymnastics — it's facts! And I would think somebody who's been accused of things in the last year and two would be more sensitive about throwing out wild allegations against people."

"I understand you want to change the subject," Tapper said, after Jordan began jumping down 2016 rabbit holes, "but the president was pushing the president of Ukraine to investigate a political rival. I cannot believe that that is okay with you."

If you are interested in the Hunter Biden story, a former New York Times reporter runs down at The Intercept how Trump, Giuliani, and "the right-wing spin machine" inverted his 2015 reporting on the Bidens, and The Washington Post has a longer look at the Bidens in Ukraine and this helpful explainer. Peter Weber