On his Sunday show State of the Union, CNN anchor Jake Tapper tapdanced on the Biden line again, that harrumph, of course, there’s “no evidence anybody did anything illegal regarding the Bidens and Ukraine.” The obvious retort is “including President Trump. But they impeached him anyway.”
Tapper repetitively harped on Sen. Joni Ernst about impeachment, insisting that Trump’s actions were purely political, and pressing her repeatedly to agree it was “inappropriate and wrong.” Ernst began by pointing out “it was quite evident the House managers brought up Vice President Biden and his son Hunter and Burisma over 400 times in their opening arguments….the Democrats did that.”
JONI ERNST: There is a corruption issue in Ukraine. We have pointed this out for years. I know…
JAKE TAPPER: Not necessarily about the Bidens, you’re saying. Just in general, there is a corruption issue.
ERNST: Not necessarily. In general, in general, there is a corruption issue there. And, of course, the president honed in on that and — and took that issue on. But, again, you know, we want to see how this influences our caucus-goers tomorrow evening as they head out to their polling places.
TAPPER: But that does seem to undermine the argument that this wasn’t about electoral politics, given that you’re saying you want to see how the mention of Joe and Hunter Biden — and we should point out, there is no evidence that anybody did anything illegal regarding the Bidens and Ukraine. And Joe Biden was carrying out U.S. policy.
But it does — it does seem to suggest that you think that this could have an effect.
ERNST: I think this does. Whether that was the intention or not, now everything is tied together. So, the information about the Bidens is out there. And so now it is up to the American people to decide, you know, was that a good choice for Hunter Biden to be on that board, especially at a time when his father was trying to ferret out corruption in Ukraine, having his son working for the most corrupt oligarch in Ukraine.
Tapper also attempted to come at Ernst from the right, on the government offering farmers assistance during trade negotiations:
TAPPER: You wrote a new — you wrote a new op-ed that criticizes Democrats for what you call socialist policies, the Green New Deal, the Medicare For All. I just — I’m curious, because I have heard a lot of conservatives talk about the multibillion-dollar, they have described it as payoffs to farmers, including up to almost a — I think almost $800 million here in Iowa, that that is socialism, in the same way that Medicare For All would be socialism. How come you don’t consider payoffs from the government to farmers who are struggling because of the president’s trade war, how come that’s not socialist?
Then he followed up: “But you know that new numbers show farm bankruptcies jumped 20 percent last year. Crop prices, even after these trade deals, are still falling. Hasn’t the president made things tougher for farmers?”
Tapper also interviewed Biden-endorsing Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) as part of a panel, and she didn’t get anything like this. This softball came closest: “You heard Senator Ernst both at the Senate and again today on stage talk about how she thinks it’s likely that the impeachment fight has hurt Joe Biden who you endorsed for president, Congresswoman. Do you agree?”