John Hinderaker of PowerLine joined the Seth and Chris Show to discuss dishonest attacks on President Trump as well as whether members of the FBI and the Obama Administration should face charges for tampering with the 2016 presidential election. Listen to the audio and read the transcript, below.
Chris Buskirk: Hi, I’m Chris Buskirk. This is the Seth and Chris Show. Welcome back.
As promised, as teased during the rest of the show, I’m join right now by John Hinderaker from the PowerLine Blog. John, how are you?
John Hinderaker: Just great, Chris.
Chris Buskirk: You’re at home, right?
John Hinderaker: Well, I’m at home, I came home—
Chris Buskirk: I hope you have the heat on.
John Hinderaker: … from the office today because we got a foot of snow. So it was a little slow going.
Chris Buskirk: We have two feet of sunshine. I was in D.C. two weeks ago and I managed to get in and out of there in about two-and-a-half days with actually decent weather, but, boy you guys are taking it on the chin this winter.
John Hinderaker: Yeah, although the snow is beautiful as long as you’re inside your house looking out at it. It’s only bad if you’re driving in it.
Chris Buskirk: I can tell you that my father, still to this day, this is 40 years later, will finally recall when we moved to Arizona from New Jersey was in December. Snow was all over and he recalls pulling out of the driveway to start the journey and wishing his snow shovel goodbye.
John Hinderaker: It’s a happy day when—
Chris Buskirk: A happy, happy day.
John, you wrote something I found interesting. Well, more than one thing, but the thing we’re going to focus on is “Fantasy vs. Reality in November.” You say the reality is that the Trump administration’s policies have been remarkably successful. This is most triumphantly illustrated by the GOP tax reform package, which no Democratic president would have signed into law.
We, I think, are right to be concerned and definitely not to be complacent heading into November. It strikes me that Republicans have a good hand to play if they know how to play it.
John Hinderaker: Chris, I couldn’t agree more. You’re right up to date because I just posted the one that you referred to, “Fantasy vs. Reality in November,” about a half hour ago. But if you look at what the Democrats are trying to run on as they gear up for what they hope will be a wave election, sweeping them back into power in Congress in November.
It’s all fantasy. It’s Trump and Russia. It’s Trump the trampler on the First Amendment. It’s Trump the racist. I think he may be a warmonger. Is that right? I don’t know. It’s hard to tell where they’re coming from in terms of foreign policy.
Chris Buskirk: Also, he’s literally Hitler. Literally.
John Hinderaker: Yeah. Right, literally Hitler.
But these are all fantasies. They don’t correspond to anything that’s real or anything that affect voters’ lives.
On the other hand, on the Republicans we’ve got reality. The truth is that Republican Congressmen and Senators who are running for election in November have got a terrific record to run on, particularly now that tax reform has been passed. Next month, the large majority of American workers are going to get a pay raise.
I talked in my post about something I just happened to see on CNBC this morning, which is that Lowe’s stock, Lowe’s of course the home improvement company like Home Depot. Some analyst predicted it to jump 20 percent in the coming year, in large part because of the tax cut. Survey data indicate that millions of Americans are planning on taking that tax cut money and investing it in their homes.
That’s reality. Reality is I’m getting an extra $1,000 or $2,000 a year. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t live in the same world that you and I do, Chris. She lives in the world of rich people and mansions, who own vineyards, right? And private—
Chris Buskirk: And private jets back and for the between San Francisco and D.C.
John Hinderaker: Yeah. So she says, “Oh, $1,000, $2,000 that’s crumbs.”
By the way, Chris, you might think from that, that she’s saying that Democrats want a bigger tax cut if a couple thousand bucks is just a crumb.
Chris Buskirk: No. Not so much.
John Hinderaker: But of course, that’s not what she means at all. But I think that most Americans, when they think about how we’re doing next November are going to be focused on the reality of how Republican policies have affected them and not on the various fantasies that the Democrats are trying to pedal.
Chris Buskirk: John, did you see there’s a news item earlier this morning that there’s two members of the California State Legislature, who have introduced legislation to try and basically claw back half of the corporate tax cut that recently passed, and clawed into the coffers of the state of California?
John Hinderaker: I actually wrote about that on PowerLine. It’s unbelievable.
Chris Buskirk: I missed that.
John Hinderaker: These people would be right at home in the Maduro government in Venezuela where people have been killing and eating their pets because the economy has essentially disappeared due to socialism. California is a hard place to ruin because the natural advantages and resources of California are immense and yet given enough time the liberals can ruin anything.
Chris Buskirk: Well as you know, I was both an undergrad and a graduate student in Southern California in Claremont in the ’80s, very, very early ’90s. California has undergone a transformation in the intervening years and not for the better. And it’s all man-made.
John Hinderaker: California there’s a news item just a week or two ago, California now has not only the largest number of people living in poverty but the largest percentage of people living in poverty of any state. They’ve pretty much driven out the middle class. If you’re rich, Silicon Valley is doing fine. Hollywood is doing fine. But in between, it’s been a nightmare.
Chris Buskirk: I call it the plantation state. You’ve got the very rich and the very poor. There’s only a tiny middle class left in California.
John Hinderaker: Yeah. One of the things that modern economics is demonstrating over and over again is that free enterprise is good for a widespread income growth and income distribution. If you look at the blue states, the blue states are all the ones that have got the bizarre income distribution with a few rich people and a lot of poor people and not a lot in between.
If you look at the red states, they’ve got a much more thriving middle class. I think economists more and more are coming to recognize that big government and big taxes are antithetical to a healthy middle class.
Chris Buskirk: John, so you take, for instance, these two legislators out in California who want and try and rewrite or undo that Trump tax cut. You look forward to November. We know this is going to be a contentious election season. They all are, but what do Democrats run on? What’s the agenda that they put forward? What do you think they’re going to do?
John Hinderaker: Like I said in my post tonight, Chris, I think they’re really running on fantasy that I think, honestly they’re running on fumes. The stupid Trump Russia collusion thing, which is totally blown up like a cigar in their faces.
Chris Buskirk: It just keeps getting worse—
John Hinderaker: [Inaudible] opposite of what they were trying to peddle.
Chris Buskirk: Right. This is what I think, John. My take is that the longer this goes on, it doesn’t just fizzle, it actually blows back on Democrats.
John Hinderaker: Well, it certainly should. What we’re learning now about the corruption of the Obama administration. I wrote years ago, Chris, I don’t claim any [Inaudible] and in current affairs. I’ve been wrong like most people. I’ve been wrong plenty of times. But I was right about this one.
I wrote years ago that of all of the full effects of the Obama presidency, possibly number one on the list, historians would eventually record, was his corruption of the Department of Justice. We’ve never seen anything like it before.
What we’re now learning about the corruption of the Department of Justice, including the FBI in the Obama administration, I think is shaping up . . . We don’t know all the facts yet, but based on what we think we know, I think it’s shaping up as the biggest scandal in American history.
Chris Buskirk: It should be. Based on the little slivers that we’re seeing. The corruption of a major law enforcement agency is bad enough. That’s terrible but the corruption in the way it has been corrupted now meaning in the service of one political party versus another that’s something that you just cannot allow to stand.
John Hinderaker: We know now, I think it’s inescapable, that the deputy director of the FBI hosted a meeting in his office, a subject of which was how the FBI could prevent Donald Trump from becoming president. Now, that’s a scandal.
Chris Buskirk: Yeah. It is. This is a big subject so we’ve got about a minute left, but maybe we can think about it. Can you stay another segment?
John Hinderaker: Sure.
Chris Buskirk: Good. So, we’ll think about it during the break. But a lot of people don’t know this. It is a complicated story. You’re a lawyer. You know this, when you’re dealing with for instance with a jury you need to make it very simple. What are the big themes that Republicans should be striking and how do we tell this story in a way that people can kind of cut through all these names that are hard to keep straight. The timelines that are hard to keep straight and get to that core theme of corruption within the FBI and the Department of Justice?
We’ll go to a break. We can maybe dive into that a little bit, John, when we come back.
If we have time, I also want to ask you what you think is the best way to do the same thing. What are the themes that Republicans should be striking as we get ready for the 2018 election.
John Hinderaker is my guest. He’s from the PowerLine blog. We’ll be right back with more of the Seth and Chris Show.
I’m Chris Buskirk. Welcome back to the Seth and Chris Show. John Hinderaker from the PowerLine blog is my guest.
John, when we left off we were talking about what is now the evident corruption of the FBI and the DOJ under Barack Obama. People forget Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress. And it turns out that may have been one of the better moments in the Obama DOJ.
John Hinderaker: Yeah, that’s right. There’s a memo floating around the House Intelligence Committee, which the House of Representatives is trying to declassify and release to the public because it’s so extraordinarily important. It’s only four pages long as it’s been described.
We don’t know exactly what it says but reports indicate that it summarizes the story of the extraordinary corruption of the Department of Justice and the FBI by Barack Obama. What we believe that the memo lays out is this sequence of events where the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign hired Fusion GPF to concoct this fake news dossier about Donald Trump with these ridiculous allegations about him and the Russians.
Fusion GPF then concocted this fake news dossier, a guy named Christopher Steele, a British guy. They then took it to the FBI, gave it to the FBI. We believe what the memo says is that the FBI then fooled around with it a little bit. Tweaked the fake news dossier about Trump and used it as the basis for an application to get a FISA warrant, a FISA surveillance warrant from that court.
And then, used that warrant to spy on the Donald Trump presidential campaign. Then Susan Rice and other Obama administration officials, we believe went in with so-called unmasking requests. Hundreds of them day after day after day to obtain the rare surveillance data that the National Security Agency was generating. Then pass it on to the Hillary Clinton campaign to try to help her get elected president.
So, if that’s what happened and we think that’s what this memo summarizes, it is far and away the worst scandal in the history of the United States of America, no comparison.
Chris Buskirk: Okay. Can I hold you there, John?
I agree with you, but could you explain to people why it’s that. What makes this the worst scandal?
John Hinderaker: The Federal Bureau of Investigations to try to elect one presidential candidate over another. Again, I said this, I’ll repeat it. We know that there was a meeting in the office of the deputy director of the FBI where they talked about how the FBI could stop Donald Trump from being elected president. That’s not what the FBI is supposed to be doing.
Chris Buskirk: No. That strikes at the heart of self-government.
John Hinderaker: This is the kind of thing that goes on in third world dictatorships.
Chris Buskirk: So who should be held accountable and how?
John Hinderaker: Barack Obama ultimately should be held accountable. The reports on this four-page memo that the House Intelligence Committee, one way or another is going to release. I can guarantee you that. Reports are that it strongly indicates that there are senior people in the FBI, the Department of Justice under Barack Obama, who should be criminally prosecuted. Will that happen? I don’t know.
But if the chain of events as we believe it to be proves to be true there certainly should be accountability. I think in the form of criminal prosecutions.
Chris Buskirk: John, where is Jeff Sessions on all this? He seems to be the incredible shrinking Attorney General.
John Hinderaker: I think he’s done some really good work in some areas. I’ve written about this, as you may know Chris, I sometimes said, “If we had a real conservative as Attorney General, a guy like Jeff Sessions for example, he could just order these people to turn documents over to the House Intelligence Committee.”
One of the things going on here is that the FBI has stonewalled, dragged its feet, refused to produce documents that have been requested by House and Senate committees.
We learned just yesterday or the day before, the FBI announced that it has lost five months’ worth of texts between these two FBI employees, the illicit lovers who were part of the plot in the FBI to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president. One of them was the chief investigator at the FBI. This of course is Strzok. Peter Strzok, who’s the chief investigator of the FBI into the Hillary Clinton email scandal. He cleared her there and arranged for her not to be criminally prosecuted.
Then he turned around and became the chief investigator into the fantasy Trump Russia allegations. In the meantime, he was texting back and forth about how we, the FBI can prevent Donald Trump from becoming president.
It’s just unbelievable.
Chris Buskirk: But the question is still the same. Where is Jeff Sessions? This is his job.
John Hinderaker: What I don’t understand, Chris … The question’s a good one. What I don’t understand is why Jeff Sessions can’t simply order the FBI to answer the questions. Respond. Turnover the documents. I don’t know why he hasn’t done it.
Chris Buskirk: The why questions, I like to ask them because they’re the hard ones to answer, especially when it’s why is somebody doing something or not doing something. But it sure seems like if you are right and I think you are that this is literally the biggest scandal. Not hyperbole. This is the biggest corruption scandal in the history of the county because it strikes right at the heart of our system of government, of the election process.
This is something an attorney general needs to be on top of.
John Hinderaker: There’s history here. In April of last year, April 26, 2017, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the court that issues these FISA warrants, wrote an opinion that was just scathing, denouncing the Obama administration for lying to the court, for making misrepresentations. Senior officials in the Obama administration lying to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
There’s a published opinion by that court, denouncing the Obama administration for being dishonest in its representations to the court. So, we know this kind of thing has been going on. This is not speculation.
Chris Buskirk: It just seems like incompetence, right? I don’t think that Jeff Sessions is corrupt. I think he just maybe lacks the intestinal fortitude to do what he needs to do.
John Hinderaker: I don’t know, Chris. I got to tell you. I don’t know Sessions well. I dealt with him some. I’m not sure that in his career he’s ever been accused of lacking intestinal fortitude.
Chris Buskirk: Yeah, but on this. He’s got to do something.
John Hinderaker: But I don’t know why he doesn’t just turn that FBI upside down and get rid of the corruption.
Chris Buskirk: It strikes me that there needs to be a wholesale housecleaning for starters, right? Bring in fresh people who are free of the taint of corruption and then pursue and prosecute the people who’ve done something that’s wrong and illegal.
John Hinderaker: If I were in charge of DOJ, the first thing I would do is fire every political appointee of the FBI. I mean, every single one of them. I think they should all go.
Now the problem, of course, is that you get below that level and that’s where you get the Democratic party activists. We’re not talking about your average FBI agent who certainly is not corrupt, who’s trying to do a good job. The FBI has a very proud history and most of those agents are terrific but we’re talking about the people at the management bureaucratic level who are all Democrats and who, apparently there certainly is evidence at this point, tried to enlist the FBI on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Chris Buskirk: My one take away from this, John, is John Hinderaker for attorney
John, we got to run.
Thanks so much for joining us. We got to stay on top of this. I love your work, Keep doing it.
John Hinderaker: Thank you, Chris. Have a great night. B-bye.
Chris Buskirk: You, too. B-bye.
I’m Chris Buskirk. This is the Seth and Chris Show. We’ll be right back after these messages.