Live from Music Row Wednesday morning 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. – host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil W. McCabe to the newsmakers line.
During the third hour, McCabe discussed Trump defense attorney David Shoen’s focus on the bill of attainder as a saving grace to the opening remarks by Bruce Castor in the ongoing impeachment trial. He later questioned the real motivations to convict the ex-president of insurrection and predicted that Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy would “come to Jesus” and that Trump would be acquitted.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line our ace Washington correspondent. One of the most respected journalists in Washington D.C. Neil McCabe. Good morning, Neil.
McCabe: Hey Michael, Crom really glad to be with you. These are interesting days.
Leahy: They are. So yesterday the Kabuki theater kangaroo court trial in the Senate on impeachment began. In the end, 56 Senators said that it was constitutional to impeach a private citizen didn’t see that in the Constitution myself. Forty four of all Republicans said no. Among the weaselly Republicans who were inventing words in the Constitution. Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Susan Collins of Maine Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and a little bit of a surprise Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. What did you make of the opening day there Neil?
McCabe: Well, I think that the Cassidy vote was more out of frustration with the sort of the slow-rolling sort of walk down Tobacco Road that Castor put us through.
Leahy: You’re talking about Bruce Castor who defended the president.
Leahy: His performance, I didn’t really watch it but his approach and his performance has been widely panned.
McCabe: Yes. If people have had said that his intent was to lower the temperature and that’s maybe a nice way of saying bore us to tears and infuriate Trump supporters. (Leahy chuckles)
Leahy: Yeah. I think that’s a good way to put it I didn’t watch it but I heard one clip that was so boring I decided not to play it on the program today because in my mind I had a compelling argument that I actually made here at 5:15 a.m. on the show and people could listen to that argument as to why the trial was not constitutional. I didn’t hear anybody say that Bruce Castor made that argument for the president.
McCabe: Right, and I think David Shoen really made up some ground. I don’t know if he caught up but if you want to sort of view this as a relay race your leadoff man Castor really put you in a hole and Shoen was sort of racing like crazy to try to catch up. I think that Schoen did very well and I think it’s very important that Shoen mentioned the whole idea of the bill of attainder which is something I mentioned in my column for The Tennessee Star.
And that is when a legislature like the U.S. Congress basically puts a sanction on a U.S. citizen without going through any kind of judicial process. And this is something that is specifically forbidden in the Constitution because it was so abused during the English Civil Wars and it was so on the mind of the framers of the Constitution that they didn’t wait for the Bill of Rights to say you cannot do a bill of attainder.
And a bill of attainder is exactly what they’re doing to Trump. The legislature of the United States is deciding that he is not eligible to have a civil office as to be a federal officeholder. And there’s no judicial process for that. The reason why you have to impeach a president is that the president controls the prosecutors.
And so it makes sense that you have to have an extra judiciary process because you can’t expect the president to allow a prosecutor to indict him. Let alone to do anything else. And so this is the quandary we are in. Crom made an excellent point last week about the fact that impeaching a private citizen is nowhere in the Constitution or impeaching an ex-president. I think that what Crom was really reaching for was that bill of attainder cloth.
Leahy: And let me read for our audience Article 1 Section 9 Clause 3 of The Constitution of the United States. It says the following: ‘no bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.’ There you go.
Carmichael: Bill Cassidy might have changed his vote over trying to position himself if the Republicans were to recapture the House in the midterms, which is a reasonable expectation. And if it were to happen, then the question is because the House, doesn’t the Constitution give the house the sole power?
Leahy: The sole power. I read it early this morning the sole power of impeachment resides with the House of Representatives.
Carmichael: Okay. Now if you want to take that to its logical or illogical conclusion, the House can decide if it wants to expand to impeach anyone for anything.
Leahy: It could impeach former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Carmichael: It could impeach Nancy Pelosi.
Carmichael: I mean in other words it says it has the sole power to impeach. Now, who cares that the Constitution lists the offices of those people who might be impeached. That is a nuance. (Leahy laughs) So if for example, the Republicans wanted to impeach Nancy Pelosi to keep her from getting any benefits and if they think she’s done a terrible job and they can impeach her for doing a terrible job and say she’s not worthy of getting benefits.
McCabe: I think that we should look to the example of Charles I when he returned to the throne of his executed father. Charles I had promised that he would have amnesty for those who are responsible for his father’s execution. And as soon as he became king of England, he hunted down everyone who was involved in the execution of his father. And some people had escaped his justice because they died before Charles II could get them and so he dug them up and hanged their corpses. Notably, he dug up the corpse of Oliver Cromwell and beheaded the corpse.
Leahy: And posted the head at the entrance to the gates of the city of London for like 20 years.
McCabe: Yeah, and it reminded me of Irish Alzheimer’s Michael where you forget everything except revenge. (Leahy laughs)
Leahy: I love that line, Neil McCabe.
Carmichael: And then the question in all of this is because what we were talking about Neil earlier in the show was were living in an upside-down world. You have a Congress that is acting completely irresponsibly from a financial standpoint. They’re just heaving money out the door. Yet these very same people walk solemnly from the House over to the Senate to begin this solemn trial about a private citizen instead of doing their job. And then you have all of these grifters in Washington and then you have the media that is applauding all of these grifters and saying how great they are. Then you have Jen Psaki who appeared earlier on this show by the way.
Leahy: The counter alter-ego known as Crom Psaki.
Carmichael: Yes, because I circled back on everything.
McCabe: Was he wearing his red wig? (Laughter)
Carmichael: These are crazy times. Just crazy.
McCabe: If they really cared about inciting Insurrection or violence, they would go after all the Democrats just like they did with Congresswoman Greene. If they really cared about somebody’s behavior and whether or not they should be on a committee they probably wouldn’t have an asset of Chinese intelligence named Swalwell sitting on the House intel committee, so obviously it’s a farce. Obviously, it’s Kabuki theater as Mike said.
Carmichael: Yes, but it’s serious. What you are saying is that Swalwell could very well be somebody who provides information to the Chinese.
Leahy: Neil, last question. We’ve got 30 Seconds here. What’s the final vote to convict or not convicted in the Senate?
McCabe: I think Cassidy comes to Jesus and Trump is acquitted 45-55.
Leahy: Okay, I will not disagree with that prediction. We’ll see if by next week or the week after when you join us if it comes true.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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