Nothing but crazy martinis today and the last one is a lot of fun! Join Jim and Greg today as they try to understand how bumbling figures like Lev Parnas ended up as Rudy Giuliani’s key operatives in Ukraine. They also shake their heads as Iowa Democrats plan to release three separate results from the caucuses next month, possibly giving multiple candidates the chance to claim victory. And they examine West Virginia’s offer for second amendment friendly counties in Virginia to switch states, leading Jim and Greg to wonder how the map would look if counties could jump to other states they find more ideologically similar.
After one hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is directing committee chairman Jerry Nadler to begin drafting articles of impeachment. What’s behind the timing of that decision and what articles could be coming?
California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock is member of the House Judiciary Committee. He tells Greg Corombos why he sees nothing in President Trump’s conduct that warrants impeachment.
Listen to the full podcast, as McClintock also explains what he thinks of the Trump-Zelensky phone call, Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, Wednesday’s testimony from constitutional law professors, and much more.
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.
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland says there was a quid pro quo pushed by the Trump administration, an assertion that damages the defense put foerward by President Trump and his Republican allies, but former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy says the facts simply don’t warrant impeachment.
McCarthy, who served as Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the author of “Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency.” He is also a contributing editor and columnist at National Review Online and a Fox News Channel contributor.
On Wednesday, Sondland says President Trump directed him to work with presidential attorney Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine policy. Sondland says Giuliani insisted on Ukraine publicly announcing an investigation into the 2016 elections and the energy company Burisma in exchange for an Oval Office meeting for Ukrainian President Vlodomyr Zelensky.
Burisma is the energy company that paid Hunter Biden huge sums of money to sit on its board of directors during the latter years of the Obama administration while Joe Biden was vice president. Sondland says he never considered that the effort to probe Burisma was really an effort to investigate the Bidens.
Sondland also says he never got an answer as to why $400 million in military aid to Ukraine was held up but he “presumes” it was also in an effort to compel the investigations.
McCarthy says the most significant impact of Wednesday’s testimony is that it proved the Republicans mounted the wrong defense by insisting there was no quid pro quo.
“I think it was a real mistake to fight the idea that there was a quid pro quo since there’s virtually always a quid pro quo in foreign relations. If you’re going to do an effective defense in any kind of an adversarial proceeding, you don’t want to be fighting a pitched battle on something you can’t win.
“I’ve thought it was a mistake all along for the Republicans and the president to base their defense on the idea there was no quid pro quo when there’s a lot of evidence that there was,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy says the best defense from the beginning would have been to explain how the allegations simply do not rise to the level of impeachment. He refers to this controversy as the “Seinfeld” impeachment, because it’s a high crime and misdemeanor about nothing.
He also says the founders did not intend impeachment to be used in a scenario like this.
“They were worried that the powerful presidency they had just created could be co-opted by a foreign power, so the might of the United States was being used for the foreign power rather than the American people.
So what they put bribery in there for was to fill this gap to address the possibility that a president essentially gets purchased by a foreign power, that is the foreign power bribes the president so that the president does the foreign power’s bidding rather than the American people’s bidding. We don’t have anything close to that here,” said McCarthy.
Listen to the full podcast to hear more of McCarthy’s assessment of Sondland’s testimony, his response to the assertion Ukraine only got the military aid after the whistleblower’s complaint surfaced, and where he thinks the likelihood impeachment currently stands.
Back to our usual format with three big stories today! Jim and Greg applaud the Senate for passing legislation designed to sanction anyone found targeting the human rights of people in Hong Kong, but they still wish the demonstrators could get some public support from President Trump. They also react to U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland contending that the Trump administration did demand Ukraine open an investigation into Burisma and the 2016 elections in exchange for President Zelensky to receive an invitation to the White House, and that he believes the suspension of military aid was linked to those demands as well. And they marvel at the media deleting a story about the numbers of migrant children in U.S. detention when they learn the figure is actually from the Obama years.
Happy Friday! We’re finally back to our usual format today, so join Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America to wrap up the week in style. First, they nod along as Vice President Mike Pence asks the media why they suddenly don’t care about foreign meddling in the 2016 campaign now that President Trump wants some answers. They also feel ill as Golden State Coach Steve Kerr suggests an absurd moral equivalence between the U.S. and China. And they have fun with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard threatening to boycott the Democratic presidential debate she just qualified for.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome a solid September jobs report, including a lower unemployment rate and a reduction in people leaving the labor force. They also break down the text messages among U.S. diplomats about President Trump’s approach to Ukraine, with one clearly seeing a quid pro quo and one saying it’s definitely not. And they comment on AOC declaring she’s bored with impeachment and just wants to get it done so she can keep her eyes “on the prize of social and economic and racial justice.”
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America look forward to Clint Eastwood’s new film about how the FBI and media convinced America Richard Jewell was the Olympic Park bomber back in 1996, ruined the man’s life, and obviously learned very little from this debacle. They’re hopeful the movie will tell the truth about an ugly chapter in American history. They also unload on House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was caught lying about his office having contact with the whistleblower before the complaint was filed. And they react to President Trump not only doubling down on his urging of Ukraine to investigates Joe and Hunter Biden but for China to start investigating them as well.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America take note of how it took less than 48 hours for Democrats to turn the impeachment process into a farce as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff opened Thursday’s hearing with a stunningly twisted version of the transcript documenting the Trump-Zelensky phone call in July. They also walk through the declassified whistleblower report and point out what is likely to matter most as this process moves along. And they get a kick out of Elizabeth Warren changing her mind on whether it’s OK for the children of vice presidents to sit on the boards of foreign companies.
House Democrats are moving forward on an impeachment inquiry against President Trump. The latest fuel for this effort are allegations that Trump asked the president of Ukraine to re-open an investigation into Hunter Biden, son of Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden.
Trump says he will release the unredacted transcript of his call with President Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump says he never threatened to cut or stop aid to Ukraine if his request was denied. Zelensky says he did not feel undue pressure to investigate Biden. Democrats say impeachment is warranted even if there was no quid pro quo involved.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy tells us why the exact details of the call don’t really matter when it comes to impeachment and why it doesn’t matter whether Trump broke the law. He also explains why Democrats may pay a heavy political price for going down this road when there’s virtually no chance the U.S. Senate would ever remove Trump from office.