In a weekly 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 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Leahy welcomed One America News Network’s Washington Correspondent Neil McCabe to the program.
During the third hour, McCabe explained the strategy of why Speaker Pelosi may have held the articles impeachment instead of immediately sending them to the Senate as typical in the past. Leahy and McCabe speculated that this was done purposefully in order to “torpedo” Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren giving Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg an advantage.
Leahy: We are going now to our great friend in Washington. The Washington Correspondent for One America News Network, Neil McCabe. Good morning Neil.
McCabe: Michael, how are you, sir?
Leahy: Well, I’m hearing that Speaker Pelosi is finally supposed to be sending those transmitting the articles of impeachment. I don’t know if she’s putting them on the back of a slow-moving turtle or what. To go from the House of Representatives to the Senate. What’s going on with the impeachment process in Washington?
McCabe: I’m actually in the basement of the capital now.
Leahy: Are you seeing the turtle with the articles moving?
McCabe: No. But I will tell you in roughly 40 minutes the House Democrats are going to begin a caucus meeting. They are going to vote on what to do and they may or may not vote to send those articles of impeachment to the Senate.
But it’s interesting that right after Nancy Pelosi had that House vote on December 18tshe met with her six chairmen or her six primary chairmen who were handling the impeachment to decide what to do. And then she came out and told reporters, “Hey we’re going to hold the articles of impeachment and we’re going to hold back the naming of our prosecutors.”
That was all done very unilaterally. Basically on her authority as Speaker. It’s interesting that she’s bringing it to the House Democrat Caucus because there’s been some grumbling among a lot of these moderate House Democrats. 31 of them are in districts won by Trump in 2016.
24 of them won their votes in 2018 by five points or less. And so it’s almost like she’s trying to get buy-in now but really there’s a lot of people who just want it to be done. And just kick it down the road to the Senate side.
Leahy: So what would be your guess of the result of this meeting in 40 minutes that you’re just a few 100 feet away from.
McCabe: I think what they’re going to do is they’re going to vote to send that thing down the line. And they really just want this thing over with. And it will be interesting to see if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shows up. A lot of times AOC and the other progressives don’t even show up for the caucus meetings. There is some controversy with AOC that each Democratic congressman has to pay a tax to the DCCC.
Leahy: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that funds these campaigns.
McCabe: Right. And so she hasn’t paid her quarter of a million-dollar tax. And there is some question about if she doesn’t, then others won’t. And so, I think what’s going to happen in this meeting is people are going to say, “Hey, by the way, Nancy, since we got your attention.”
There are some things we want to mention. Like why are you running us into this iceberg? (Leahy laughs) Remember Michigan Congresswoman Deborah Dingle she said last week that impeachment doesn’t even come up at the meetings anymore.
Leahy: But isn’t it a clear and present danger and utmost urgency for the country is how it was sold right?
McCabe: Well they said we’re not going to subpoena Bolton and fight these subpoenas in court because we don’t have the time. The president’s strategy is to delay. And we’re not going to play his delay games is what they said.
Leahy: Before the vote.
McCabe: Two months ago. (Leahy laughs) Before the delay.
Leahy: (Sighs) So your guess is that that slow-moving turtle, they will have it in the caucus. Do they have to have a vote in the House overall after the caucus meets?
McCabe: Absolutely not. All they need to do is hand it to some guy on a big horse, and he just rides over to the Senate and hands it to them.
Leahy: I think it’s a turtle, I don’t think it’s a horse. It’s very slow-moving.
McCabe: There are senators, Lindsey Graham among them who have said, it’s in the congressional record. Why don’t we just congressional record? They published the roll call vote and we can just take it from there. Josh Hawley, the Missouri freshman, former Yale Law School, and former Missouri Attorney General has a proposed Senate rules change that says if it’s been 25 business days and articles of impeachment have not been delivered then the Senate can just dismiss the whole thing outright.
And his point was if you’re a prosecutor and if you’re not going to bring a charge to court, then you’re supposed to dismiss it. And move on. You can’t just leave people hanging. And so a lot of people saw this sort of as a prank.
It became less of a prank when McConnell became a co-sponsor of this rules change Thursday. So a lot of people saw that as leverage. And that was pushing Nancy Pelosi to bring this to the end. Remember, you also have five Senators now? Cory Booker just got out of the race.
Leahy: We’re so sad. Spartacus has left the building.
McCabe: Four senate Democratic senators who are running for president. And you can’t leave. The Senate is in session six days a week. And so what are you going to do. Obviously they don’t handcuff you to the desk, but if you’re in New Hampshire running in the Democratic primaries, people might say, “Hey, why aren’t you trying to oust the president? What are you doing here?”So now there’s this bubbling speculation that Pelosi delayed this thing deliberately to torpedo specifically Sanders and Warren.
Leahy: That was Kevin McCarthy saying that yesterday the minority there in the House. Speculating.
McCabe: I mean that’s been bubbling up for a while. I didn’t realize McCarthy had actually said it himself. But it’s a very interesting theory. And it basically gives Mayor Pete and Biden a free pass.
Leahy: Put on your Nostradamus cap and when you meet with us next Tuesday here on The Tennessee Star Report, will the articles of impeachment have been transmitted from the House to the Senate?
McCabe: Yeah, I’m looking for that today. Remember that Senate trial is supposed to start immediately. But actually it might start Monday. Because they’ve got to swear in everybody. They’ve got to teach all these Senators the rules. What they can and cannot do. So it will be like freshman orientation at a university. (Leahy laughs)
Leahy: So Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar will have to be there in Washington, D.C. just a couple weeks before the Iowa caucuses, and they won’t be able to get out. I think if they don’t attend the session they might possibly lose the ability to vote when the vote on the conviction issue comes up. Do I have that right or not?
McCabe: I don’t know about that. But it was interesting when McConnell joked in like November, he joked about stretching out the trial over through Iowa and New Hampshire. (Leahy chuckles) And they said evil, evil, evil Mitch McConnell trying to stretch this out.
Leahy: Yeah. Cory Booker by the way on his way out the door blamed the impeachment process as one of the reasons why he had to drop out.
McCabe: Well listen. He’s always been one who puts country first. (Leahy laughs) Cory Booker is quite the romantic. He’s had three or four very serious fiances, so maybe he’ll be able to settle down with this one. And maybe he’s really finally found the right girl.
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