American Greatness Publisher Chris Buskirk joined Rachel Martin on NPR Monday morning to discuss President Trump’s trip to Cincinnati to promote tax reform, as well as what Trump supporters thought of the release of the Nunes memo. Listen to the audio.
Rachel Martin: President Trump hits the road today. He’s going to Cincinnati, Ohio where he’ll tour a small manufacturing business and promote the Republican tax plan that passed late last year. That is a decidedly more comfortable conversation for many Republicans to have instead of the contentious debate last week over the FBI and the allegations made by a Republican memo.
We’re joined now by Chris Buskirk, he’s a conservative talk show host and publisher of the website American Greatness. Chris, thanks for being back on the show.
Chris Buskirk: No, it’s my pleasure.
Rachel Martin: Midterm elections are coming up. I don’t have to tell you that. But, the president and the tax plan remain unpopular with the American public on the whole. Is it a good idea for the president to be out campaigning and campaigning on this issue?
Chris Buskirk: Yeah, boy, I guess that means we’re not talking Super Bowl this morning, but I guess what—
Rachel Martin: Sorry.
Chris Buskirk: I guess … Yeah, I know. I guess more important things must occupy our attention. No, I think it’s a great idea. I mean, this is it. This is what Donald Trump campaigned on throughout ‘15 and ‘16, which is jobs, the economy, wages. I mean those sort of hearth-and-home kitchen table type of issues. And the centerpiece of the Republican legislative agenda last year was in terms of accomplishments anyway, was the tax plan. And so yeah—
Rachel Martin: Even though a majority of people still think this is about a tax cut for the wealthy.
Chris Buskirk: Yeah, look, I mean you passed it. You own it. You better go out and sell it to people. And I think that those poll numbers you’re talking about, I think those are going to shift over time and I think that is the calculation that Republicans and the president absolutely have to make.
Rachel Martin: Alright, I want to shift gears and ask you about the memo. This is the memo, the Nunes memo that came out last week alleging that the FBI, that there’s some bias in how it handled early stages of the Russian investigation. How do your listeners feel about this increasing rift. Rift isn’t even the right word. This crevasse that divides the FBI from a Republican White House and a Republican Congress?
Chris Buskirk: Right, we started at rift; we went to crevasse. I think we’re approaching canyon now.
Rachel Martin: Yeah.
Chris Buskirk: Yeah, I think … When you think about how rank and file voters, kind of outside the beltway type of people, off the coast type of people, the people who listen to my show, what are they thinking? You know, you and I talked about this before for the longest time people have thought this investigation is a beltway story, period. And honestly didn’t give it a lot of thought.
Now they look at the FISA abuse memo that came out of the House Intelligence Committee and they say, “Hold on a second. This is actually worse than we thought. You know, we basically see fraud being used as the basis for the FISA application. We see information being withheld by the FBI in the FISA applications and that was a breach of trust.” And people—
Rachel Martin: Although—
Chris Buskirk: Well, people say, “Well, why? This is the FBI that we’ve trusted for a century, now what?”
Rachel Martin: Although the memo itself goes on to say that the investigation into Carter Page, this is the man who’s at the center of the whole debacle, actually began before the dossier even came on to the scene. And this is the center of the Republicans’ argument. So, a lot of folks looked at this memo and said it doesn’t even do what Devin Nunes and Republicans said it was going to do in terms of undermining.
Chris Buskirk: Well, what it does is it asks a big question about how trustworthy the FBI and the Department of Justice were, under the Obama administration, even into the Trump era. Even during the Trump Administration, when you see James Comey three times signing off on a FISA application to the FISA court and withholding key information. Not saying that the basis of that application was paid for by a partisan … Or, sorry, was created by a partisan political operative. Why was that information withheld?
Rachel Martin: Though it started out being paid for by a Republican organization. What do you think should change as a result of this, I mean the president when asked if he was considering firing Deputy Director of the FBI Rod Rosenstein, he said, “You figure that one out.” Do you think it’d be a bad idea if he were to dismiss Rosenstein?
Chris Buskirk: Yeah, I don’t know. I mean I don’t think we know enough about Rosenstein and his role in this yet. He did sign off on one of these FISA applications that withheld critical information. I think we’re getting to a point, and we saw it starting yesterday, where people are saying maybe a second special counsel is appropriate here to find out the depth of any potential corruption at the FBI and DOJ.
Rachel Martin: Chris Buskirk, he is a conservative talk show host, publisher of the website American Greatness. Chris, thanks for your time this morning.
Chris Buskirk: My pleasure. Thanks.