Jake Tapper And Chris Wallace Demonstrate How To Cross-Examine A Trump Surrogate

Jake Tapper and Chris Wallace both put Administration surrogates through the ringer on their respective Sunday morning shows.

Yesterday on State of the Union, Jake Tapper interviewed Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, who was on to defend the President amid all of last week’s revelations. In the process, providing an object lesson in how to truly subject a Trump supporter to examination:

CNN’s Jake Tapper fact-checked Rep. Jim Jordan in real time during an interview Sunday on “State of the Union” as the Ohio Republican defended President Trump amid an impeachment inquiry sparked in part by Trump’s dealings with his Ukrainian counterpart. 

Tapper pushed back on several fronts, including when Jordan repeated Trump’s unfounded allegations about former Vice President Joe Biden’s alleged wrongdoing in dealing with Ukraine while Biden’s son Hunter Biden sat on a Ukrainian company’s board.

“He’s getting paid $50,000. And then when the company that’s paying him that money is under investigation, guess what. Daddy comes running to the rescue, the vice president of United States come running,” Jordan said. 

“That’s not what happened,” Tapper responded, speaking over Jordan. 

“Says fire — fire that prosecutor,” Jordan continued. 

“Sir, sir, that’s not what happened. The European Union, the Obama administration, the International Monetary Fund, pro-clean government activists in Ukraine thought that the prosecutor was not prosecuting corruption,” Tapper responded. 

“Did Joe Biden tell him to fire the prosecutor?” Jordan asked. 

“Because he wasn’t going after corruption,” Tapper responded. “He wasn’t going after corruption. Do you understand what I’m saying? He wasn’t going after corruption?”

Jordan also called the whistleblower who filed a complaint centered on a call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens a “bureaucrat who didn’t like the president.”

“We know he didn’t like the president,” Jordan, who sits on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, added. 

“No, we don’t know,” Tapper replied. 

The CNN host also pushed back on Jordan’s claims regarding the whistleblower and his qualifications for determining the person’s credibility. 

“He had no firsthand knowledge. He heard something from someone who may have heard something from someone,” Jordan said. 

“No, no, his — his sources were firsthand sources,” Tapper said. 

“You know as well as I do that you do not need to have firsthand knowledge to be a whistleblower,” Tapper added. 

“Well, you don’t now because they changed the form. You used to,” Jordan said 

Here’s the video:


Elsewhere on television, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace took on Presidential adviser Stephen Miller:

Fox News‘ Chris Wallace tore into senior White House adviser Stephen Miller for refusing to directly answer his questions about President Donald Trump‘s dealings with Ukraine during a heated interview Sunday.

Miller appeared on “Fox News Sunday” to defend the president against a whistleblower complaint filed last month by a U.S. intelligence official that alleges the White House tried to cover up a July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

During the exchange, Trump repeatedly pressured Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, a potential opponent against Trump in the 2020 election, according to the complaint.

“I’ve worked in the … federal government now for nearly three years ― I know what the Deep State looks like,” Miller said, referencing a far-right conspiracy theory that bureaucrats are working within the government to undermine Tump.

“I know the difference between a whistleblower and a deep state operative,” he continued. “This is a deep state operative, pure and simple. … This is about, do you want a democracy in this country or do you want a deep state?”

Wallace pushed back, noting that Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday that the whistleblower, who has not been publicly identified, had “acted in good faith” and “followed the law.”

Here’s the video:

Congressional Democrats would do well to watch this because Tapper and Wallace did a better job than most Members of Congress are able to do in a committee hearing.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. sam says:

    And then there’s Scott Pelley’s grilling of Kevin McCarthy last night on 60 Minutes. It’s as if these guys are in some kind of contest for who can appear the most stupid on national television.

  2. An Interested Party says:

    These toadies are used to getting softball questions from various personalities on Fox “News” rather than being challenged on their bull$hit by real journalists…in conservative fantasy land people believe them and their lies but not so much in the real world…

  3. mattbernius says:

    Honestly, that article skips over perhaps the best moment of the Tapper/Jordan interview:

    “I think that you came here and leveled a bunch of accusations and allegations about Hunter Biden,” Tapper later said. “And would think that someone who’s been accused of things in the last year or two would be more sensitive about throwing out wild allegations against people.”

    source: https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a29291388/jim-jordan-jake-tapper-trump-biden-ukraine-cnn/

    That’s some world class shade.

  4. Tyrell says:

    I miss “The Capitol Gang” and “Crossfire”. They debated, argued, laughed, and were respectful.

  5. Gustopher says:

    @An Interested Party: The toadies are used to just lying with impunity on the mainstream media as well, but suddenly they are facing pushback. Rumor has it that last week Chuck Todd performed an act of journalism too.

    Something has changed along with the impeachment.

  6. inhumans99 says:


    How was Tapper disrespectful to Jim Jordan? Is simply not agreeing with Jim Jordan and getting him to acknowledge facts mean that according to the GOP (and you, apparently) liberals/Democrats are rude?

    Wow, if so I guess the GOP is about to consider Liberals/Democrats the rudest motherflippers on the planet as the impeachment process chugs along.

    The GOP really has gotten too used to softball treatment if Tappers discussion with Jim Jordan has their knickers in a twist. Whatever happened to the GOPs awareness that politics isn’t beanbag?

    This is something that James Joyner was always quick to point out when he was pushing back against a story about us snowflake liberals feeling hurt in our political dealings with the GOP.

    The GOP needs to man up, and right quick.

  7. Paul L. says:

    Tapper is a hack.

    Can you imagine any CNN interviewer treating a Democrat this way. I simply can’t.

    Case in point, the town hall after Parkland. Jake just sat there as debunked talking point after debunked talking point was offered.

    Tapper would never call Adam Schiff out over this claim.

    Mr. President, the Committee reached no such conclusion — only Republicans. In fact, we did find evidence of collusion, despite GOP members being more interested in protecting you than learning the truth

  8. michael reynolds says:

    @An Interested Party: @Paul L.:

    in conservative fantasy land people believe them and their lies but not so much in the real world…

    You see it every day right here. The Cult45 worshippers come toddling in with their idiot theories and are blown up at a rate approaching 100%. They never, ever have anything, anything at all that survives even cursory scrutiny.

    It’s in the essential nature of cults that they require a belief system that is divorced from reality. The sheer imbecility of the beliefs separates the cultie from the population at large, ensuring loyalty.

  9. inhumans99 says:

    @Paul L.:

    Uhh…you are proving my point, because Tapper did not simply agree with Jim Jordan he is a hack in your eyes…alrighty then.

    Also, Mueller pushed back against the claim that his report exonerated President Trump, because…well, it dd not.

    You are losing it dude, if a journalist calmly pushing back against a politicians claims is what it takes to set your side off then you have a ridiculously low bar for things that will annoy you. You know what your side calls people who are easily agitated into clutching their pearls…that is right, snowflakes.

    The fact that you are doubling down that Tapper was uber rude to Jim Jordan tells me you are fairly clueless to the fact that you have become that which you deride, a snowflake.

    This is why you need to take the advice I gave you this past Friday (I believe, maybe it was on Thursday) and step away from the internet. As the public slowly but surely backs impeachment so many news items are going to hit the airwaves (airwaves being tv/print/the internet) that will drive you bonkers, especially with the low bar you have set as to what you consider rude and demeaning treatment of the GOP by Democrats.

    Your party has gone soft if Tappers conversation with Jim Jordan is enough to cause smoke to come out of your ears.

  10. Paul L. says:

    Tapper debunked his lies by proving that Hunter Biden’s expertise and experience was worth 50K a month?

    Kind of like Michelle Obama position at the hospital that was sooooooooo important that they got rid of it when she left.

  11. An Interested Party says:

    So if we’re going to talk about Hunter Biden and Michelle Obama and what looks unseemly, let’s look at Trump’s offspring and all the pies they have their fingers in…Trump criticizing Biden’s son is like if Trump called George Conway fat…apparently there are no mirrors in the White House…

  12. inhumans99 says:

    @Paul L.:

    Dude…no one cares, all this jibber jabber about Hunter Biden, and whatever other folks you want to bring up is just you trying to distract from the fact that your guy admitted to being a crook. The needle is not being moved towards agreement that President Trump should be impeached because society wants to punish President Trump for Hunter Biden using his last name and connections to get a cushy job, that would make no sense at all.

    It is clear that Fox news and other media you consume has made a lot of folks in this country soft and now that the chickens have come home to roost y’all are running around like…well, like chickens with their heads cut-off. Not a good look. Also, linking to Twitter to make your point is not exactly you linking to an unbiased source, lots of folks on Twitter hold views that make them nuttier than a Christmas fruitcake.

    Anyway, I am done trying to get through to you. Feel free to scream, Hunter Biden, Hunter Biden, Hunter Biden all day long if that sends you to your happy place.

  13. Teve says:


    Also, linking to Twitter to make your point is not exactly you linking to an unbiased source, lots of folks on Twitter hold views that make them nuttier than a Christmas fruitcake.

    Yeah only losers post tweets.

  14. mattbernius says:

    @Paul L.:

    Tapper debunked his lies by proving that Hunter Biden’s expertise and experience was worth 50K a month?

    Again, you continue to throw up flack for repeating talking points that have nothing to do with the issue at hand — the President’s verified actions.

    How’s that working for you? Serious, as Steven asked on a different thread (which you’ve yet to respond to), what are you hoping to try to accomplish?

    And if you are so concerned about political freeloading of family members, why support an Administration that continues to so openly practice nepotism? Or do you actually think Ivanka and Jared are the best qualified people for the role’s they are taking on?

    Ditto self enrichment for family members. Or do you think that, you know, the President of Ukraine is staying at Trump hotels (and letting the president know about them) because they’re the best option?

  15. the Q says:

    Paul and An Interested Party, how can you take someone who was molesting wrestlers at Ohio State seriously? Its a well known fact that Jim Jordan likes little boys and was complicit in thousands of molestations while he was a wrestling coach. He even admitted he liked to watch nude men engage in acts so he could go home and tell his wife about it while she spanked him. This has all been talked about and is common knowledge. In fact, Jordan frequently was in the bedroom with Michael Jackson – everyone in Ohio knows about it. Michael even talked about it to Oprah. He said “I thought I was weird, but Jim Jordan makes me look like Gov. Mike Pence. He’s an animal.”

    Come on wingnuts, its all out there in a website. Here’s the link:


  16. Deathcar2000 says:

    @the Q: Gosh if all that is true we should investigate that. I hear a lot of people talking about it so it must have some basis in reality. And when I say some people/ a lot of people I mean you. Good enough for me…. release the hounds!!

  17. Hal_10000 says:

    @Paul L.:

    Both things can be true:

    1) Hunter Biden wasn’t really worth $50k a month due to his amazing expertise.
    2) it’s not a sign of corruption

    Rather it’s a sign of how the scions of the rich and powerful fall into money, corruption or no corruption. Whether it’s Meghan McCain or Hunter Biden, being the child of someone powerful is a gateway to undeserved success. It’s not right, but it is. And as bad as it is, it’s still light years better than Trump and children, who are actively openly milking the office for as much money as they can, looting the taxpayers like we’re a failing casino.

  18. An Interested Party says:

    Paul and An Interested Party, how can you take someone who was molesting wrestlers at Ohio State seriously?

    I don’t take him seriously, and your question would be better directed at those who book him on these types of shows…

  19. rachel says:

    Jake Tapper and Chris Wallace both put Administration surrogates through the ringer…

    It’s wringer. As in “a machine that presses water out of (wrings) wet laundry.”

  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @inhumans99: Remember that Tyrell is the guy who posted YouTube clips of Donald Trump and Schwarzenegger’s body building movie as examples of inspirational speeches yesterday. Try to not be hard on him; I’m not sure that his elevator even has a cable anymore.

  21. Tyrell says:

    @inhumans99: Those are valid points. I can tell you that I would not want to go on a news show or any show and be “put through the ringer”. I know these are public servants, but so are school bus drivers and parking meter officers. Should they be “put through the ringer”?
    I don’t recall David Brinkley, Larry King, or Charles Kuralt interviewing people in this manner, or hollering at people like I see on some news networks, including Fox. I am not pushing “soft” questions, but this yelling has turned me off. The local news is more factual, and more positive.