Washington Journalist Neil McCabe Gives His Take on Bill Barr and President Trump’s Public Spat and DOJ’s ‘Snake’ Culture


On Wednesday’s 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. – Michael Patrick Leahy and all star panelist Crom Carmichael spoke with special guest former Breitbart colleague and Washington journalist Neil McCabe.

During the third hour, McCabe discussed several issues taking place in the capital of our nation by reviewing the ongoing Barr-Trump spat and whether Trump will apologize. He debunked any resignation by Barr from the DOJ stating that it is not happening. Towards the end of the segment, McCabe gave an update on the John Durham investigations and the “snakey” culture of the DOJ.

Leahy: On the line, my good friend, and longtime veteran and Washington journalist and fellow college at Breitbart Neil McCabe. Welcome, Neil.

McCabe: Good morning Michael.

Leahy: It’s Washington again and craziness again. What are the big stories you’re tracking in Washington, D.C. this morning, Neil?

McCabe: I think we have to resolve whether Attorney General William Barr is going to settle whatever awkwardness there is between him and the president. I think that you would find that amongst Capital Hill conservatives, Barr is considered as close to a living legend as any member of the Trump cabinet. Just the way that he has handled himself from his confirmation hearings forward.

I don’t know if he’s made a mistake. And the president sort of runs a foot at him and that’s got to be resolved. There were reports that Barr said he was going to resign. The DOJ, of course, knocked that down. Trump kind of apologized in a tweet where he said I know I make things difficult for Barr. But if President Donald Trump loses Bill Barr obviously his administration goes forward. Obviously Trump is re-elected. But it’s just not going to be as good as it could be Michael.

Leahy: I think you’re right about that. Bill Barr from what I’ve seen is a pretty strong guy. So he decided at some point to tweet about Roger Stone. We can get into that case in a bit. But Barr then jumps in and says, well the president’s tweets make my job almost impossible. Now Barr is a very intelligent guy. Why do you think he chose to do that in a very public setting?

McCabe: Well, I think that a lot of times it’s hard to get in to see the president and when you get in to see the president it’s very structured. It’s hard to really speak your mind in the Oval Office or even on the phone because I think we learned from the impeachment saga, you may think that you’re the only one on the phone with the president, but actually there are about 40 people on the phone with you and the president.

All of them taking notes and ready to leak that call. And so maybe, in the end, Barr decided the best way to talk to this guy is just put it in a news article and reach him. That may be the best way to reach him directly. And anybody who follows sports certainly knows that how many times have we had a football coach needing to get a message to his star running back or quarterback, and he just puts it in the newspaper.

You know the coach’s office is next to the locker room and I’ll just tell the newspaper and that will have an impact. A lot of people are hoping this thing gets resolved. There are very few cabinet officers in this administration who are willing to step forward and take hours themselves. I would say Barr and I would say Pompeo. And everyone else is hiding under their desk as soon as things get hot.

Leahy: (Chuckles) Crom Carmichael has a question for you  Neil.

McCabe: Sure. Hey man.

Carmichael: Neil, I recently read the District of Columbia voted 91 to 4 for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election of 2016.  Which means that the so-called swamp is very very far left. I would assume that the Justice Department itself, the rank and file attorneys in the Justice Department, at least the ones in Washington are left-leaning.

How does Barr do his job when he’s got people in the department itself that are like a bunch of Major Colonel Vindmans’ in his own department? How does somebody do their job when they’re surrounded by career people that disagree with him?

McCabe: Well one way of thinking about it is that Barr worked in the Justice Department for a time before he was the attorney general or the acting attorney general. But because he did that job himself say 15 years ago. Imagine you had the chance to be a senior in high school again and you just knew what was important and you knew what wasn’t important.

And you could sort of talk to the teachers in a different way, so he has that advantage of having been through it before. Left and now he’s coming back. But that is not to say that he doesn’t have a huge challenge. And you’re absolutely spot on in this analysis because we had Jeff Sessions who by all accounts a strong determined, back boned kind of senator. Conservative.

How many of these votes with Sessions were on the wrong end with 80 to 20 votes in the Senate. The guy is about as hard a conservative as you can find.  And when he got to the DOJ he was completely buffaloed, snowed, snickered and overwhelmed. I know someone who served in the Bush administration in the White House Counsel Office who was a friend of Sessions.

He told me that when Sessions got there, there are so many snakes here. I tell the president I can’t work on his agenda until I get rid of these snakes. And Sessions was so obsessed by all of the snakes that he never moved forward. And of course, he fell for that rouse on the Russia collusion hoax.

And they had him completely set up. I mean think about that confirmation hearing where you had Al Franken the former Senator from Minnesota, who was basically using surveillance reports that he was referencing asking Sessions, did you ever meet with the Russians? Sessions is like, I’m not sure.

And then Franken is like well on this date, and this date, and this date. How did Senator Franken get all of these reports? Because obviously the Obama administration was surveilling Sessions and feeding it to Franken. The guy was completely targeted. Barr walked in and Barr was completely able to dismiss this. Almost like he came in swinging his mighty limbs and saying get out of my way! But he’s got to resolve things with the President.

Leahy: How do you think he will be able to resolve that? What do you think?

McCabe: I think Trump comes around. Michael, you’re old enough to remember when Mitch McConnell was one of the enemies of conservative America. I mean, who would have guessed? Who would have guessed that (chuckles) that Mitch McConnell would embrace the nickname Cocaine Mitch and that he would be the hero to conservatives all over this country?

Trump figured out away. I think he’ll come around on Barr. The thing is with Trump, he doesn’t give an inch. You know? We’re just not used to a guy who doesn’t give an inch. President Mitt Romney (Leahy laughs) if they had protected President Mitt Romney with the Russian collusion hoax knowing he was innocent, Mitt Romney would have resigned.

Leahy: Absolutely.

McCabe: It’s like we’re just so used to Republican leaders rolling over. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe that’s where Trump and McConnell bonded. McConnell is not very good at pushing an agenda. He’s not very good on offense. But on defense, oh golly he’s fantastic.

Leahy: He’s very good. I share your optimism that perhaps Donald Trump will back off a little bit. Because you’ve got to look at this with a clear-eyed view of who his allies are in the cabinet and who’s most effective. I agree with you. Bill Barr is the guy so far.

Carmichael: What is going on with the Durham investigations? I guess there are one or two other investigations going on?

McCabe: They had to force Horowitz the DOJ inspector general to close out his report. Horowitz was keeping his investigation open so that he could give cover to people who were in trouble. And basically, they forced Horowitz to close out his investigation because he was basically interfering and almost like surveilling what Durham was doing.

Leahy: Will that happen with Durham? Yes or no?

McCabe: Durham is going after all these guys and that’s why they had to close out on the case because there’s more to come.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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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.






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