Responding to a report from Breitbart News on how Jake Tapper attempted to convince rising GOP star candidate Sean Parnell to run in a district other than the 17th, the NRCC raised questions about Tapper’s actions in this case and wondered if he has engaged in activity like this in other districts with other candidates as well.
The NRCC’s tweet, which includes a link to the Breitbart News story on the matter, accuses CNN and Tapper of “meddling in House swing races.”
The original Breitbart News report quoted sources familiar with Tapper’s actions, in which he — through text messages, direct messages on Twitter to Parnell’s account, and phone calls — tried to steer Parnell towards running in less of a swing district and more a Republican-leaning district. The original cites a number of sources familiar with the matter. Since the publication of the original article, Breitbart News has additionally confirmed Tapper’s activities with at least eight more individuals aware of his behavior in Pennsylvania politics.
The reason why what Tapper did is significant: If Parnell ran somewhere other than the 17th district, it is unlikely that Democrat Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) would face a serious challenge in November’s congressional election. But since Parnell rebuked Tapper’s political advice, and instead chose to run against Lamb, the vulnerable Democrat is facing potential defeat in November.
What’s more, this district is one of 30 such House districts that President Donald Trump won in 2016 that are currently represented by Democrats. If the GOP flips just a net 17 seats from Democrat control back into Republican hands, they win back the majority and retire House Speaker Nancy Pelosi once and for all. In addition to these 30 Trump-won Democrat-controlled districts, Republicans say they are confident in another dozen or so seats where they have better chances than the conditions in southern California where now-Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) won a special election this year to replace the disgraced former Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA), who resigned amid a sex scandal with staffers in her office.
This district could also make the difference between whether Trump or Democrat presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden wins the all-important state of Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes. Now that it has a competitive congressional race, it could help drive support to Trump by turning out the GOP vote in the hard-fought down-ticket race.
Tapper has not responded to a Breitbart News request for comment on this matter, nor has CNN official Matt Dornic — the person who handles corporate communications for the network. But Tapper has, according to former acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell, denied the substance of the story.
Parnell’s campaign also declined to comment on the original story. But many others on the right, top conservatives and supporters of President Trump, raised concerns about Tapper’s conduct on this matter before and after Tapper’s denial through Grenell.
And, again, while Jake Tapper and CNN have not publicly commented, but denied it in a message to Grenell, Breitbart News stands by its story.
The Federalist’s Sean Davis also confirmed Breitbart News’s original report late Sunday night, suggesting more will come out about this on Monday:
What’s more, several sources familiar with Tapper’s activities on Sunday after the story broke confirm that Tapper spent much of the evening calling and texting people frantically trying to rally anyone he could to his side — and asking anyone he could for advice on what to do.
“For someone who likes telling people that he doesn’t take Breitbart seriously, it was enjoyable to see him spend his entire evening taking Breitbart pretty seriously,” a Trump ally who speaks with Tapper on a regular basis told Breitbart News.