In a weekly scheduled interview on The Tennessee Star Report Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast live Tuesday morning on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Leahy welcomed One America News Networks own investigative reporter, Neil McCabe to the show to talk about the “shampeachment” debacle.
During the segment, Leahy and McCabe talked about how great it could be if President Trump showed up at the impeachment hearings to regain the narrative. However, McCabe was concerned about giving the impeachment any more oxygen than necessary so that it could end quickly. The two men agreed that a House vote to impeach could come sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Leahy: We are joined now by our very good friend Neil McCabe, Washington correspondent for One America News Network. Neil, the “shampeachment” process continues today. (McCabe laughs) Can you tell us what’s going to happen here? Will the President testify? What’s going on with all this stuff?
McCabe: The president did tweet yesterday that he very well may tweet “I like the idea and will in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it.” And of course today Mike, we have Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman who basically was the whistleblower to the whistleblower. You have Jennifer Williams who is the state department career diplomat expert who is working on Pence’s staff.
McCabe: And it’s like these people were not Pence staffers in the same way that Pence would have hired them and wanted them in the office. Basically they said, OK, here’s this state department stooge who’s going to be your expert on the Ukraine and Russia.
And as soon as she has the opportunity, she will stab you in the back and the president and everybody else. Tim Morrison, who was Vindman’s boss at the National Security Council Staff he testifies today. He is not necessarily a good witness for the Democrats.
He is the one who said that he suggested that the transcript be locked up as a close hold because he felt that there were people who were on the call who might try to leak it to the press or try to exploit it. He also said that he was proud of everything he did working in the Trump White House. So that didn’t really play well.
We’ll see how that comes. And of course, Kurt Volker was the special envoy to Ukraine. Republicans had requested Volker testify but they wanted him to testify on the same panel as state department official George Kent and the acting ambassador Bill Taylor.
And the idea was, let’s get these three guys who are all in the same text thread together. Let’s get them together in the same panel and sort of hash it out. Now, remember that the whistleblower complaint came on what? August 12. Before that compliant came in, Schiff was tipped off that it was coming right?
On July 25, 28 whatever and in late August Schiff sent one of his staffers, Tom Eager to meet with Taylor in Ukraine to talk about it. And then of course after that meeting, Bill Taylor then started initiating conversations with all of these different people saying, “Hey man, remember that time you said we were going to rob the bank? Hey, remember that time you told me you wished your wife was dead?” Like he was wearing a wire. (Leahy chuckles) So every communication that Taylor had after the meeting with Schiff’s staffer is basically suspect. But here we are Michael.
Leahy: But isn’t this just really the deep state trying to sabotage the president’s foreign policy agenda?
McCabe: Funny you should say that Mike. Because last night Ron Jonson, the Wisconsin senator released an 11-page letter that he addressed to Nunez and Jordan basically making this point. He said that there were people working on the White House staff and in the State Department who never accepted Trump as a legitimate president.
They resent his unorthodox style. He in fact, in the letter, said that he traveled in May for the swearing-in ceremony for Zelensky, and on the plane was Colonel Vindman and he thought that Vindman had some disturbing ideas. In fact, Vindman would talk about NSC policy as if it was different and distinct from the president’s policies.
And so Johnson in this letter said, you know he was uncomfortable with this guy colonel Vindman going back to May and so he’s coming out with this letter released of course the day before Vindman testifies to sort of color the water.
The other thing that’s interesting about Johnson is that there are very few senate Republicans who are defending the president and who are rebuking and rebutting what the Democrats and their stooge witnesses are saying. Johnson is practically the only one.
Lindsey Graham made noise about investigating the investigators six months ago. That didn’t happen. Where Johnson is talking about issuing his own subpoenas and of course releasing this letter attacking Vindman.
You’re going to see today Mike, House Republicans are going to go after Vindman because they are absolutely convinced he was the one who tipped off Ciaramella. And then, of course, Ciaramella perhaps calls, allegedly calls Mark Zaid, the whistleblower lawyer who then wrote the complaint and then got this thing going.
Leahy: Mark Zaid the attorney who in January of 2017 said the coup has begun and CNN will lead it. He tweeted that right?
McCabe: The attorneys will lead it.
Leahy: Yeah. Yeah Yeah. So, the president now has got this little back and forth with Nancy Pelosi. She says, well the president can testify anytime he wants for anything to make his case. The president, what’s he doing when he responds and says, “Well I just might do that.” A, is he considering it? And b, What would be the ground rules might Trump do that?
McCabe: Well if he shows up he would absolutely blow these guys away. You could argue, OK, it makes Trump look smaller but you also have when the president of the United States shows up in the capital it is a tremendous event. It’s like the monarch visiting the Parliament. He’s got the motorcade. You’ve got the security.
You got the apache helicopters flying over the capital. And then you have the president who’s able to be front and center. It’s like he has control of the narrative and he can reset the narrative. And he can say this is my policy. I don’t even know what these guys are upset about. I did nothing wrong. And if he handles it properly it would be amazing. If he has some kind of crazy meltdown…
Leahy: Which is possible. (Laughs)
McCabe: Listen, who doesn’t have a crazy meltdown now and again?
Leahy: Yeah. (Laughs)
McCabe: It would be very interesting if Trump was to testify. Because he could just start lashing out at these guys.
Leahy: So here’s my thought on how he might do it. Knowing Donald Trump, and he always looks for the angle. Here’s my thought, and you just kind of react to it. Here are the ground rules that make sense. He would agree to testify to the entire Congress, meaning as a committee on the whole.
And essentially go and give an address to Congress which would essentially be with no questions. It would be essentially a Trump Rally. An hour and a half of his defending the President’s authority to establish foreign policy. That’s what I think would make sense. What do you think?
McCabe: It’s like I like the idea of Trump engaging and sort of taking over the stage. (Leahy chuckles) The other thought is, you do not want to give this impeachment any more oxygen than it already has. Why put logs in the fire. Basically you want this thing over as quickly as possible. Why acknowledge it, why take it seriously?
McCabe: I think it is interesting though that the Democrats maybe don’t have the votes for impeachment that they thought they had.
Leahy: Well, it hasn’t happened yet. We’ve got 30 seconds. When will the House hold an impeachment vote, up or down? When do you think that will happen? Or will it happen?
McCabe: After Thanksgiving, before Christmas. Maybe, Pelosi doesn’t have the votes.
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