Join Jim and Greg as they once again cheer the impending GOP control of the House and today’s news that Nancy Pelosi will step down as House Democratic leader after 20 years. They also welcome the coming House GOP investigation of the Hunter Biden laptop and several related issues of possible corruption but they believe the first major press conference of the incoming majority should have been to lay out an agenda to lower our food and energy costs. And they wince as California Sen. Dianne Feinstein makes it clear she has no recollection of turning down the role of Senate Pro Tempore in the upcoming Congress.
Byron York is in for Jim Geraghty today. Byron and Greg cheer Mississippi’s attorney general for telling the Supreme Court there is no constitutional right to an abortion. They also react to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejecting certain Republicans from the January 6th commission by pointing out the radical lefties she has named to the panel. And they have some choice words for the Biden administration after learning that Hunter Biden will be meeting prospective buyers of his ridiculously overpriced art when the transactions are supposed to be anonymous.
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On Tuesday, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released their impeachment report, arguing that President Trump deliberately and repeatedly abused the power of his office for his personal political benefit through his demands towards Ukraine.
But while Chairman Adam Schiff and his allies believe the evidence of impeachable offenses is overwhelming, former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy sees things much differently.
Author of “Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig An Election and Destroy a Presidency,” McCarthy explains why he is underwhelmed by the impeachment report.
Democrats argue that the facts everyone agrees on – such as the details of the Trump-Zelensky phone call – ought to be enough to warrant Trump’s removal from office. McCarthy explains why he disagrees with that too.
And as the rhetoric flies about why Ukraine did and did not do during the 2016 campaign, McCarthy separates which allegations about Ukrainian interference are absurd and what actually happened based on the best evidence available.
We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with your family and friends. As shoppers rush the malls and flood the internet, join Jim and Greg as they hand out their political gifts for 2019. Jim has carefully selected items for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, and the Washington Redskins. Greg finds just the right items for President Trump, the failed 2020 presidential candidates, and the Democrats who are still running but often ignored.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and guest host Gregory Knapp discuss growing concerns in the Democratic Party over Joe Biden’s age with the second round of debates incoming. They analyze Rahm Emanuel’s editorial piece warning Democratic presidential candidates to unite the party in the primary or risk losing the general election. And they share a laugh over Adam Schiff’s sudden criticism of Robert Mueller’s recent testimony lacking an adequate ‘narrative.’
The former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence says it would be highly unusual for any raw intelligence transcripts to reach the White House, and he says if any “incidental” surveillance that did go to political operatives, then lawmakers should actively encourage and protect whistleblowers for coming forward.
This week, the current chairman of the committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told President Trump and the media that he has seen evidence suggesting Trump associates and possibly even Trump himself were picked up communicating with foreign targets under U.S. surveillance.
Former Chairman Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., says the idea of transcripts from incidental surveillance ending up at the White House is stunning.
“My sources and what I gleaned from what Chairman Nunes said on Wednesday, it appears there was raw intelligence, actual transcripts of this incidental collection at the White House,” said Hoekstra, who notes that more corroboration needs to come forward to back up the claims from Nunes..
“It’s not that I was generally refused access to raw intelligence . I never saw it. I can’t remember one instance. I checked with my legal counsel this morning just to make sure I hadn’t and said, ‘Is it true I never saw raw intelligence?’ He said, ‘ That’s right. We never did,'” said Hoekstra.
Under normal circumstances, intelligence on American citizens uncovered by the intelligence community must meet very high standards to move anywhere along the government food chain.
“Number one, for it to see the light of day in any other agency, it has to reach a pretty high hurdle that says we’re going to share this information with other agencies but we’re going to mask the American presence,” said Hoekstra, referring to the practice of obscuring the identity of Americans involved with any foreign surveillance.
“The second thing then is to get those names unmasked. That’s another high hurdle, because while it’s not illegally collected intelligence, it’s inappropriately collected intelligence because it’s outside of their charter,” said Hoekstra.
Government agencies like the CIA and NSA are forbidden by law from directly ordering surveillance on American citizens.
But with Nunes discussing evidence he has seen but does not have and the top Democrat on the committee focusing on alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, Hoekstra says getting people with direct knowledge of the issue to come forward and testify is essential.
But there’s a problem.
“The intelligence community has some of the weakest whistleblower protections anywhere in the federal government,” he said.
Nonetheless, Hoekstra says Nunes needs to make it safe for intelligence professionals to tell what they know.
“I would open the doors and get on TV and in the hearings and all of that, saying ‘If there are people in the intelligence community who believe that there were things that were done wrong, please come to the committee, bypass the whistleblower steps in the intelligence committee, and bring materials immediately to this committee. We will protect you,'” said Hoekstra.
Hoekstra also hopes to see the intelligence committee put more heat on the key officials who addressed them this week.
“I would bring (NSA Director) Mike Rogers and I would bring (FBI Director) James Comey back. I’m glad they’re coming back and I would nail them for what I believe is incomplete testimony last week,” said Hoekstra.
“For that (raw intelligence) information to have found its way to the White House. I believe that James Comey and Mike Rogers of the NSA would both have known of that information being at the White House. They should have shared that with the committee. If anything, they led the committee in different directions,” said Hoekstra.
He points specifically to Comey denying evidence exists to support Trump’s tweet that Obama ordered him to be wiretapped. Hoekstra says that allowed Comey to dodge the broader issue.
“In the larger context, it is people working on behalf of the president under the authority of the former president may have directly or indirectly surveilled his transition team . Mr. Comey maybe should have been more open about that,” said Hoekstra.