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Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that he’d like to see journalists investigated for possibly colluding against Donald Trump in 2020. Vance’s appearance on Tapper’s Sunday talk show followed a letter Vance sent last week to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding to know if the Department of Justice would investigate a Washington Post columnist for talking about “open rebellion” by blue states if Trump is elected in 2024.

In his comments to CNN, Vance echoed comments made by former Trump aide Kash Patel, who last week pledged that a future Trump adminstration would pursue and prosecute critics in the government and media.

“We will go out and find the conspirators not just in government but in the media,” Kash said on the podcast of former Trump aide Steve Bannon. “Yes, we’re going to come after the people in the media who lied about American citizens, who helped Joe Biden rig presidential elections.”

Both Patel and Vance are considered strong candidates for senior roles in a second Trump administration, with Vance even discussed as a potential running mate. On CNN, when Vance was asked about Patel’s comments, he didn’t shy away from supporting them. Vance said there was evidence that the media colluded with Biden to suppress stories about Hunter Biden’s stolen laptop before the 2020 election. Notably, the laptop was widely reported on, and no evidence has emerged that it contained anything implicating Joe Biden in wrongdoing. Still, conservatives point to reports that Twitter buried links to a New York Post story on the laptop. 

“[We] need to look seriously at how there was collusion between members of the press and big technology companies and members of national security state,” Vance told Tapper on Sunday. “It is not journalism to take your security clearance, lie to the American people, and then persuade the big technology companies to censor anti-Joe Biden stories. That’s not journalism. That is cooperation between the government and journalism.”

Meanwhile, in his letter to Garland, Vance said that federal prosecutors are trying to prosecute Trump for intimidating voters with his complaints about the 2020 election’s legitimacy. If that’s true, Vance argued, then why shouldn’t Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan be prosecuted for his recent column in which he mused about the ways that blue state governors could legally resist a new Trump administration?

During his CNN appearance, Vance also said it was “preposterous” that Trump would abuse his power, even though the former president recently told crowds at a political rally that he wouldn’t be a dictator, “other than Day One.”

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