Jake Tapper of CNN failed Sunday to ask Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) about his role last week in tanking the nomination of Ryan Bounds to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Tapper hosted Rubio on CNN’s State of the Union and focused on asking Rubio about Russia — including President Donald Trump’s recent summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and newly-released documents about the surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Rubio backed up the government’s decision to place Page — who has never been charged with a crime — under surveillance: “”I don’t believe them looking at Carter Page means they were spying on the campaign … I don’t think it’s part of any broader plot.”
Tapper also asked Rubio about political developments in Nicaragua, and about news that Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, had recorded their conversations.
Not one question focused on the major news story in which Rubio had been a significant player, and for which he has come under intense criticism.
As Breitbart News noted Friday, Rubio and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) combined to force Bounds to withdraw his nomination over a set of controversial writings from his college days at Stanford. The writings, which occurred in the midst of heated campus debate over political correctness, multiculturalism, and sexual assault, had already been discussed during Bounds’ confirmation hearing.
Both Rubio and Scott had voted for cloture, moving the nomination to a floor vote, when Scott suddenly had second thoughts, and Rubio backed him.
Critics noted that not only had Rubio and Scott hurt one nomination, but they had potentially placed the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh in jeopardy by giving Democrats a reason to demand closer scrutiny of his own earlier writings.
The Wall Street Journal attacked Rubio in an editorial on Friday, titled “A Senate Judicial Miss“:
The defeat overshadowed what should have been the news this week: a record number of appellate-court confirmations since President Trump took office.
Democrats are crowing about the defeat. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) even suggested that if Mr. Bounds can be denied confirmation because of college writings, “it’s going to be hard to argue that [Supreme Court nominee Brett] Kavanaugh’s writings in the White House are not relevant.”
Breitbart News’ Katherine Rodriguez noted: “[T]he fallout for Rubio and Scott from major conservative groups whose efforts have now suffered as a result of this setback for the White House is not yet clear.”
With Capitol Hill in an uproar, and a Supreme Court nomination at stake, Tapper chose to ask Rubio almost exclusively about Russia, setting him up to criticize Trump.
Rubio seemed happy to comply, and did not bring up the Bounds nomination, either.
Update: On CBS News’ Face the Nation, host Margaret Brennan likewise failed to ask Rubio about Bounds, and asked exclusively about Russia.
Rubio said of the FBI: “They did not spy on the campaign from anything and everything that I have seen.” He did add that the “Trump administration’s policies on Russia have been tougher than anything anyone could have imagined.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.