In a special interview Thursday on the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Leahy welcomed U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn to the show to talk about the current impeachment process now in the Senate.
During the third hour, Blackburn expressed her disbelief for the way House managers Schiff and Nadler addressed the Senate. Furthermore, Blackburn thinks impeachment is a political attempt at capturing the White House by knocking Trump off the ballot.
Leahy: On the line, Senator Marsha Blackburn joins us. Good morning Senator Blackburn.
Blackburn: Good morning! How are you?
Leahy: I don’t understand how you can be so chipper and cheery after having to sit through of eight hours of Adam Schiff and his moral preening. My goodness. (Chuckles)
Blackburn: Oh my goodness gracious. I’m telling you. I think that he really laid out all you need to know about this entire impeachment and what they are trying to do in this impeachment in his very first opening comments when he said we can’t assure that he won’t cheat in this next election.
And we can’t assure that the ballot box will be protected. So, therefore, we can’t assure that this election is going to be fair. Now, what he was saying is, “Hey, all of you election commissions across the country. All of you people who work at the polls on election day. All of you that are given to participating in the electoral process, we don’t trust you, and we don’t trust him. We have to control this. And the way we can control it is to impeach him, remove him from office, kick him off the ballot and control the election.”
Leahy: It was a rejection of two and a half centuries of a constitutional republic. That’s how I read it.
Blackburn: That’s exactly right. And for him to open with that and basically that is the reason they are doing this. Is that they want to keep him off the 2020 ballot and control the ballot. And it’s about taking control of the senate. And it’s about keeping control of the House and getting control of the White House. And Adam Schiff laid it out about, I mean people can’t say we did not know. He laid it out as to this is why they’re doing this.
Leahy: So all of you 100 senators are sitting there listening to this. Now my reaction, if I was a senator of either party I would be absolutely offended by the condescension coming from the House Democrats and their essentially trying to tell the Senate what to do. How did you react? How did other senators react to that style from the Democrats?
Blackburn: Oh, well you know, people have not reacted well. It’s not been warmly received. When Jerry Nadler steps to the well of the Senate and calls all of the president’s team liars. Calls the president a liar. Calls Republicans a liar. And then informs us that the Senate itself is on trial.
Now that was his opening comment. So you know they are there with a political purpose. This is a political impeachment. And what I am hearing from Tennesseans overwhelmingly is look, we want this to be fair. If somebody did something wrong address it. If they didn’t get this over with. Get back to the business.
We sure would like to see a transportation bill. We would like to do something about the traffic here in Middle Tennessee. East Tennesseans want something done around Chattanooga. Something done around Knoxville. West Tennesseans want to see I-69 more of that finished. And people have been saying “Look, you’ve got to get your act together on this.”
Leahy: Do you have a sense when you’re on the floor how your Democrat Senate colleagues react to this arrogant condescension presented in the arguments by the House Democrats? Basically telling the Senate we’re in charge. The House should be in charge and not the Senate. How do your Democrat colleagues in the Senate respond to that kind of an argument?
Blackburn: You know it depends on which flank of the Democrat party that they fit into. You’ve got those on the Left. You have those that are more moderate who are going, “Hey I think they may be stepping over the line a little bit.” So you’re going to have some of them try to temper what the House Democrats are saying. And some that are cheering them on.
Leahy: So if you had to kind of give us your best guess as to how this will proceed. The Democrat House managers make their case for I guess another couple more days. Do you get Sunday off?
Blackburn: We should have Sunday off. The Democrats will have two more eight-hour days. A total of 24 hours. They’ve used a little over eight hours of their time. And then they will have two more days to present their case. And we will be back on the floor at 1 p.m. today.
We should finish by about 10 p.m. tonight. And they lay out their case. Then, in the next three days, we’ll go to the president’s team. And then we will have our opportunity to question the House Democrat managers and to pose questions to them.
Leahy: Oh, well now that will be something. I’m sure you have a list of questions ready. (Laughs)
Blackburn: Oh my goodness. Do I ever.
Leahy: How long will that questioning period last do you think?
Blackburn: We have a total of 16 hours in which to pose questions. The questions we submit them in writing, and then they are taken to the well by the chief justice. And he actually poses the question.
Leahy: Interesting. So then, do the Democrats then get to ask questions of the president’s defense team?
Blackburn: Yes. They do. It’s a total of 16 hours.
Leahy: So when will all of this case presentations and the questions will all be done?
Blackburn: I think it will finish up by next Wednesday or Thursday.
Leahy: Next Wednesday or Thursday. What happens then?
Blackburn: Then we will take a vote as to whether or not we want to proceed to witnesses or if we want to move to summary judgment. I’m one of those I think that it is a mistake to call witnesses. I think it is something that is a trap for Republicans. It would throw the issue of executive privilege into court, and we would be stuck in this so-called impeachment trial for months. It would be months before we were able to settle this.
Leahy: Do you have a sense right now of how that vote on calling witnesses is likely to go?
Blackburn: If they continue to act as they have acted in the first two days, I don’t think people are going to have much of an appetite for calling witnesses. I think if Adam Schiff stands down there in the well and looks at us and says it’s simple, 2+2=4. If he says that one more time (Chuckles) I think that people may, I don’t know. I think people are losing their patience with some of this.
Leahy: Our listeners tell us that very few are actually watching the proceedings because it’s exciting as watching paint dry they tell us.
Blackburn: Well, that is what we are hearing from people. They are done with this. They want to move on. And it’s things like this issue that they were saying well we never withhold foreign aid. And I put something my Facebook and Twitter yesterday. We routinely hold foreign aid. And the Obama Administration withheld foreign aid from Columbia, Pakistan, Mexico, Egypt, Honduras, Israel, Philippines, Ukraine, and Uganda.
And Nigeria. They routinely hold foreign aid. The Clinton Administration withheld foreign aid. So there are things that they are saying that are just factually incorrect. And I think you will see the president’s team begin to correct that record.
Leahy: Well the polls are showing that the president now, after all of these impeachment efforts with the trial going on in the Senate is at his highest approval level yet.
Leahy: So I think that bodes well for the outcome. Senator Marsha Blackburn. A very busy day. Thank you so much for taking the time out of that busy day. It’s probably been more fun listening to us ask you questions than listening to Adam Schiff.
Blackburn: All of your listeners can follow us on Facebook and Twitter and at www.blackburn.senate.gov because we are posting regularly throughout the day.
Listen to the third hour:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Sen. Marsha Blackburn” by Sen. Marsha Blackburn.