Tapper asks RNC chief: What gives you 'moral ground' to question Comey's integrity?

CNN anchor Jake Tapper on Friday pressed Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel over whether the party believes it has the "moral ground" to question former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHillicon Valley: Trump's exclusive interview with Hill.TV | Trump, intel officials clash over Russia docs | EU investigating Amazon | Military gets new cyber authority | Flynn sentencing sparks new questions about Mueller probe Comey: Mueller may be in 'fourth quarter' of Russia probe READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV MORE's integrity.

During an interview on CNN's "The Lead," Tapper noted that several top RNC finance officials have become snared in sex scandals and a criminal investigation in recent months as the party moves to blast Comey ahead of the release of his new book.

"The RNC is questioning the integrity of James Comey?" Tapper asked.

"Whatever issues there are with James Comey, what is the deal with [Elliott] Broidy and [Micheal] Cohen and [Steve] Wynn, and how does that give you any moral ground to question anyone's integrity?" Tapper asked, referring to various GOP officials caught up in scandals.


McDaniel, whose committee has launched a campaign to undermine Comey ahead of the release of his book that criticizes President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE, responded by arguing that Comey "discredited himself" with "his own testimony before Congress." 

"He said he didn't leak and then he did reveal that he gave his memos to a friend to give to a reporter," she said.

"With the way he handled the Clinton investigation and now revealing in his book that he used polls to determine his decision to reveal to the public he was reopening the Clinton investigation, our job at the RNC is to make sure we are highlighting for the American people this person who will get 24 hour news coverage. We need to present the real James Comey," she said.

On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that RNC deputy finance chairman Elliott Broidy had paid a former Playboy model after an affair that ended in her saying she terminated a pregnancy. Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, helped negotiate that payment, according to the Journal. Cohen, who also serves as a deputy finance chairman for the RNC, is now under criminal investigation and the FBI raided his properties this week.

Earlier this year, RNC finance chairman Steve Wynn also resigned after accusations of sexual assault and harassment emerged going back decades.

On Friday, Tapper pushed the RNC chairwoman about the "double standard" of labeling Comey as a liar, ticking through unverified claims made by the president including that vaccines contribute to autism and that Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSinger Leon Bridges to join Willie Nelson in performing at O’Rourke rally Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls Poll: Beto O'Rourke leads Cruz by 2 points in Texas Senate race MORE's (R-Texas) father was involved in the assassination of former President Kennedy.

"I know you're head of the RNC and not inclined to criticize the president. But this is a man who has said falsely thousands of Muslims were on TV and cheering in New Jersey on 9/11, and that Ted Cruz's father was involved in the Kennedy assassination and President Obama was not born in this country," he said.

"They are all patently false claims so why the double standard, why do you care about James Comey telling the truth but not President Trump?" he asked.

McDaniel pushed back and accused the media of having "an obsession with covering President Trump."

"They have covered him nonstop in the most negative way that we've seen for any president," she said. "They're going to bring James Comey on, and we don't think he'll get the proper vetting. That is something we want to make sure that the facts get out."