CNN's Jake Tapper corners felon running to regain seat in Congress: 'Obviously, you are unrepentant'
CNN host Jake Tapper (left) and ex-congressman Michael Grimm (right). Image via screengrab.

Despite going to prison for felony tax evasion during his second term, former congressman Michael Grimm not only wants his old job back — he won't back down from his claims that he was the victim of a "witch hunt" enacted by the Obama Justice Department.


Grimm appeared on CNN with host Jake Tapper to discuss his attempts to distance himself from former White House aide and embattled Breitbart executive Steve Bannon, but the conversation soon turned to the ex-congressman's own past.

"Bannon stuck his neck out for you after you were released from prison and you wanted to get back into public life," Tapper said to Grimm. "For a guy who went to jail, don't you think you're being a little unforgiving?"

"It's very important, you know, and no reporter ever prefaces this, it was a civil matter," the candidate responded. "Three delivery boys off the books. I'm literally the first restaurant owner in the history of New York City not to be given a fine. That's a political witch hunt."

Being a victim of said "witch hunt," Grimm continued, is why he gets "so upset when I hear people fueling the fire of the political witch hunt of this 'Russiagate."

Tapper noted that despite his protestations, Grimm did plead guilty to tax fraud for having off-the-books employees — to which the ex-congressman responded that he did so because he "didn't have $500,000 to go to trial."

"When the entire weight of the Obama Justice Department is against you and they're singling you out for delivery boys off the books, literally four people off the books at a restaurant that I sold five years before, that, my friend, is the definition of a political witch-hunt," he said, upping the number of untaxed employees from three to four. 

"Munderstanding is one of the reasons you were sentenced to prison is because the judge thought you we unrepentant and you needed to go to jail to realign your moral compass," the host retorted.

Grimm, however, wouldn't let up, mentioning that his judge was appointed by former President Barack Obama.

"Maybe they were trying to make an example of you because you were a member of Congress," Tapper responded. "Higher standards for you."

"With all due respect, it happened well before I was a member of Congress," Grimm said. "So single someone out for something that everyone else gets a civil fine for, I'm sorry, that's a political witch hunt to me."

"You're obviously still not repentant," the host concluded.

Watch below, via CNN: