Advocacy / AMAC In The Media / Politics / Radio Interviews

Impeachment Issue – Robert Charles on Good Morning Ozarks

Charlie Engram

Morning Bobby welcome to Branson.

Robert Charles

Well good morning.

Engram

Good to have you with us buddy.

Charles

Thank you very much for having me.

Engram

Well we feel that when we get into topics like this, we’re going to talk somebody who was the former Assistant Secretary of State to Colin Powell. We’re going to dive right into two subjects this morning: Number one the whistleblower and Ukraine, all of a sudden, the Russia probe is gone now — now this is the impeachable offense kind of walk us through what is going on. Ukraine, the conversation, Giuliani, help us with what’s going on there. And Pelosi even got on board with this one.

Charles

Yeah, you know, I think that this is really something that Democrats are going to — are going to regret, because, arguably, this could be the biggest strategic error in living memory for a house leadership. They, you know as everybody now understands, it was a phone call that was made by President Trump to the president of Ukraine – new president – we’ve all, or at least I’ve read the transcript and a lot of people have, and there’s nothing on the face of it that’s really very dramatic. The argument by the Democrats and by this so-called whistleblower, which is — which is a legal term, but you know I’m curious about, what is this whistleblower will ultimately end up being worthy of that name.

But the complaint ends up arguing that a rumor was heard that the president was trying to coerce or compel this new leader to reopen an investigation or to get at the heart of an investigation tied to now his potential political opponent Joe Biden. I think that the transcript reveals something much more complicated than that and the interesting part is that a complaint — you know if this were in a court of law, a hearsay complaint, which is to say that he heard a rumor “that,” and he thinks “that” and that you — if you read all the facts against the party that he’s charging, namely the president — you still don’t really come up with any kind of a crime. Typically, that would be, you know, dismissed. That would be a complaint that got dismissed but not in this politically charged environment and so what did they do?

 They first argued that the president wasn’t going to release the transcript and he wasn’t going to release the complaint and so that was a cover up. Well, within hours if — days if not hours — the both of them were released so I’m afraid to cover up went away right away. They, you know, they then said well he put it on a special system to try to protect it, well actually most presidential calls are put on some kind of a system at some kind of a of a classification level whether it’s, you know, confidential or secret and I think that one, if you look at its markings, was secret from the outset. You know, the third thing I’ll just note is that this is the third, at least the third, call with a foreign leader that has been leaked to the press. Now that is an unprecedented turn of events by itself.

The first one was I think with Flynn which involved possibly the unmasking of Americans in order to get at it. The second ones with the leader of Australia and now this is the third one. And so I think if the White House was trying to protect confidentiality of presidential communications, which fall right in the sweet spot of executive privilege, I mean there if there’s an executive privilege for anything it’s for the private conversations between a president and his senior staff and the president and a foreign leader. So, it’s an absurdity here to claim a cover-up, it’s an absurdity, I think, to a rush to judgment without knowing facts. But what did they do? The Democrats decided they would — they would forgo their own house rules and they would not do a full house vote to see if they opened an impeachment inquiry, they just opened it — their caucus opened it and five or six or different committees are now charged with going after the president. And I’ll just tell you, I mean one of the things we do is we represent — I represent, I work with, I really am a spokesperson tied to AMAC and it represents older Americans and I think older Americans who lived through Watergate look at this and they say, “Gosh, what are you really doing here?”

I’ll go back to the most recent Pew poll, which is a national poll that gets done monthly almost on big issues and the most recent one was about who in America people trust and the irony is the least trusted institution in the country is the United States Congress. And down it, there, I think four percent believe that they are held accountable ethically. So you know I just think that the this Congress is drinking its own Kool-Aid, I think that older Americans in particular, those who are conservatives who believe that we really should follow the law in the process, and I include a lot of AMAC members in that, really think you know, you’ve really jumped the gun here, you’ve rush to judgment, and I think the jury is going to come back as the American people and say, “What are you doing?”

Engram

You know Bobby as we unfold this a little bit there’s some things that Keith and I don’t understand and so help us just a little bit. They say that the whistleblower was a CIA, is that correct?

Charles

Well, there’s an interesting controversy, because 60 Minutes – the television program – interviewed, I guess, the attorney – an attorney – for this whistleblower, and now there’s a kind of a spitting match between that attorney in 60 Minutes, because the attorney says that he never told 60 Minutes that, and he adheres that he’s a former CIA agent, or current, I’m not sure. But the version – the gist is that he says that he never said that he was being specially protected, whereas 60 Minutes says, oh yes, you told us he was being specially protected or was in the witness protection program.

Engram

Big deal. A big deal. 

Charles

Yeah, it’s a big deal, but it seems an absurdity to me. I mean – look – anybody that’s in the US government holds a clearance, you know, has access to certain information. That does not entitle you to make things up and it does not entitle you to use whatever access you have in some partisan way. So, the facts are not out yet, and I think we’ll find out, but I personally, just as a matter of opinion, I look at this and I say, it looks awfully partisan. It looks awfully like a jump to try to get something out there to, sort of, punch around for purposes of a political campaign. It looks a lot like they’re trying to get to an impeachment vote as soon as they can. And it just, you know, the other thing to remember is impeachment is a tearing, ripping, shredding process. It throws one institution at another institution. It was viewed as an extreme remedy. The founders imagined it would it would almost never be used, and to get there you had to have the equivalent of a high crime, and I just don’t see a high crime here.

I think I understand that they’re worried about whatever they may find related to Biden and his son having activities over there, but this was a much broader conversation. This, to me, was an effort to try to unravel some of the – Ukraine is right at the center, of not just that but a number of other elements here. Ukrainian oligarchs were the largest contributors to the Clinton Foundation. There’s some controversy about where some of the hacks occurred, where they originated from, and Ukraine may have access to some of that information. You know, so, I think the president, in many ways, was it seems to me was appealing for some assistance in the broader scope of an investigation that we know is ongoing. We know that there continues to be a Justice Department investigation into the origins of this whole Russian collusion business.

Engram

You know I read the comment, Keith, that Bobby just alluded to and we’ll take a break. When we come back on the other side, we’re going to dive into the impeachment process for just a moment. But Bobby brought up a great point. If there’s going to be something that’s privileged, that doesn’t have to be about you and I are saying, Keith. Between us and our staff and a foreign leader?

Keith O’Neil

Yeah, you would think.

Engram

If I couldn’t talk to some other foreign leader about what we’re trying to hedge on and protect, and every time we’re going to put it somewhere, to our political hacks and tweets and repeats and Instagram and all that – we would put us in a terrible situation.

O’Neil

It certainly would, and we have to maintain that confidential ability for our president to talk to foreign leaders. We’ll be back in just a moment.

[Paused for break]

Engram

Mr. O’Neill, Bobby Charles has become our official voice coming right out of Washington DC. Bobby Charles, a spokesman for AMAC, great organization. You and I are a part of that organization.

O’Neil

A-M-A-C.

Engram

That’s what I meant.

O’Neil

Yeah, he’s not the spokesman for the movie theater, but the A-M-A-C, AMAC.

Engram

Sometimes I believe our topics make us look like we’re at the movies.

O’Neil

Sometimes it does. 

Engram

And so, let’s move into the impeachment process. What Nadler has tried to start and, let’s get some history first of all, Bobby, please. Am I correct, only three other times in the history of the United States is this impeachment process taking place?

Charles

That’s right, and you made an earlier comment that I also want to get back to, but you’re absolutely right. Andrew Johnson, who did not end up getting ultimately convicted. The Watergate situation, which actually was a committee vote, and Nixon, of course, you know, in more than a hundred years that it had not happened and Nixon, sort of – Nixon had a lot of dirty laundry that he knew was going to come out and eventually just resigned, which is before it even got to a house vote – an impeachment vote on the House floor. And then Bill Clinton, who was impeached on the House floor, effectively, for perjury and a couple of other articles, but was not convicted in the Senate. So, it’s a very rare process, and I want to point to something you all just raised, which I think is extremely – which is completely accurate – and people overlook it, and that is impeachment is an extreme remedy and the idea that this President is closing off or not disclosing something that ought to be disclosed is really rubbish.

This president, in fact, disclosed the entire transcript of that call. The complaint itself. And by the way, he did the same thing in the Russia collusion case. They held nothing back on executive privilege. They discouraged thousands of documents. Nobody realizes that, but this President, in many ways, is the most transparent of any that’s ever had an issue of this kind raised. He’s literally opened the barn doors and let them walk through the barn for whatever they wanted. This particular situation is troubling because, as you noted, foreign leaders expect to be able to have a confidential conversation with the President of the United States. What do you think would have happened if Jimmy Carter’s conversations with Anwar Sadat and Menachem Bagan been revealed to each other or put out in the public? Do you think there would ever have been an accord? Do you think that the conversations between Bill Clinton and Yitzhak Rabin and the Arab leaders would ever have led to a peace agreement if their private conversations had been revealed?

This is really, really rotten in a number of ways. The first is, how is it that a transcript gets discussed publicly? I mean, this is now again the third one that has been publicly discussed. The leaks themselves are prosecutable. So, I mean, you know whether you call – you can label it whatever you want, but 18 USC as well as all those elements of the intelligence community’s code of ethics that say that when you’re in tight, when you have access to certain information, that certainly does not entitle you to go discuss it, frankly, with the public. And so, I find this troubling on many levels. To me, this is this is just the latest version of a fishing expedition intended to delegitimize this President. I listen to the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, the other day in a, just a scalding, very unfair attack on the Director of National Intelligence who was in front of him for hours. He insulted the man. They took him down, they tried to indict his integrity, despite the fact that he’d worked for eight presidents with great honor.

And they started that hearing with what they described as a parody, but it was a made-up version of the phone call intended – the way it was delivered – to sound like it was the phone call, and it sounded the way that they made it up that it was some kind of an organized crime figure talking to his subordinates. That is absolutely not what happened here, and I really think the American people are not stupid. The Intelligence Committee, apparently, and these other committees in the caucus chairman, seemed to think like Nadler that the American people are just stupid and they’re going to say, oh my gosh, whatever it is we don’t understand it ,but it must be terrible. We’re going to take him to task.

Again, I come back to the idea that older Americans don’t get spun up quite as easily. They look at the facts. Again, AMAC represents folks who are essentially the conservative version of AARP. They tend to be constitutional in their way of thinking about things. They appreciate the First Amendment, the Second Amendment. They try to, you know, move things like solvency and the end of debt for Social Security. But they look at something like this through the eyes of people who lived through Watergate. And they say, you know, this is just not right. This is a misuse of all of those committee prerogatives that are embedded in Congress and, sadly, impeachment is not actually a legal act. It’s a political act. But our founders always thought this would come only in the case of some high crime, and they certainly, I don’t think, we’re talking about a conversation with a foreign leader that’s been fully released to the public.

Engram

I would agree with you one hundred percent. I want to set us around the table with some people. I want Keith here; I want Bobby on your side. I want your grandpa, my grandpa, and Keith – your grandpa – our grandpas, okay – so, let’s get their age. And I want to throw out one thing to our grandpas, and I want to hear what you think your grandpa would say. You would say, Grandpa, there’s this big thing called health care, and it seems to be a mess, but the speaker of our house said, you know what, we’re gonna vote on it before we read it. Well, what would your grandpa say?

Charles

I think…

Engram

You might not be able to quote him, but I’m saying…

Charles

Yeah, there’d be a wry laugh, and they’d suggest that, I mean, I think suggest that this is really not the way America runs. 

Engram

Right.

Charles

And that is the same speaker, Pelosi, who rammed and jammed the Obamacare piece through with not a single Republican vote. That bill stood as tall as any of us of a stand in terms of numbers of sheets of paper, and they did not allow members of either caucus to read it before they voted on it, and I think that’s an absurdity. I mean, again, it’s a miscarriage of the way in which Americans expect their representatives to act, and I think that’s why this Pew poll that just came out that shows Congress at, if not an all-time low, darn close to an all-time low in terms of public trust, is quite revealing. Because I think, you know, the tricky part about Washington, which I think we all know in the abstract, but I live close enough to see it up front and close up, is that is that they really live in a bubble. They talk only with each other, they like to go – when they go back home for a recess, which they’re on here momentarily – what they tend to do is broadcast. They nominally listen, but then they try to, you know, to broadcast their own points of view.

They’re not very big on the receive side of things. And I think it really it shows. I mean, when you rush to judgment on something as serious as impeachment it throws into question your capacity for judgment, your capacity – and by the way, having started down this track, you can just now be assured that having gotten nothing done in the first session of this Congress they will get nothing done in the second. There’s going to be no legislation that works toward bipartisanship. My sense is there’ll be no agreement on border wall, another issue that matters to older Americans. There’ll be no agreement on the question of finally getting this new trade pact with Mexico and Canada passed by both chambers. They’re just going to lock themselves up and start bashing the President with impeachment. And I just don’t think the average American looks at this and says, that’s what I want my Congress to spend all my time and money on.

O’Neil

Bobby, I’d agree with you about the you know the average American, and that’s certainly the AMAC folks, but the media is so strong in the left camp that after you tell somebody long enough and hard enough then they start to kind of believe it, and say, well I’m not really sure, but I hear that on the 6 o’clock news, so therefore it must be true. 

Charles

You know, I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said, you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time, and I think that the majority of Americans are sharp enough. It really has very little to do with the levels of education, it has to do with the fact that they have very strong instincts and Thomas Jefferson, you know, 200 years ago wrote about the fact that he trusted the instincts and the basic understanding the common sense of average Americans. I don’t think he called them average Americans, he called them citizens. I’d like to think that the average American today is still a citizen, but at the end of the day they look at it and they, I think, that anybody who knows America, including our collective grandfathers, would say look this is not the way the United States Congress should behave. This notion about arrogantly marching to the sound of a drummer that is really opposing due process, opposing legal process, that’s not what we expect of our leaders.

Engram

I would think that if I was on the closed-door meetings of the Democratic candidates, that Elizabeth Warren would be sitting with Mr. Sanders and, my goodness, Biden’s in the Ukraine thing, they don’t even mention her name anymore. So, Pocahontas, who, with her Indian background, Sanders who wants to buy something for everybody, it will be an interesting time. To our listeners, we find it very important to use a good friend, Bobby Charles, former Assistant Secretary of State to Colin Powell. He is our spokesman for our big group that you and I belong to, Keith. 

O’Neil

A-M-A-C, and Bobby, tell us about that and the website where we can find out about it, because, we are one, what are we, one million two hundred and one and two or some… 

Engram

More than that, now that you and I said we joined, there’s just been a surge. 

Charles

Yeah, there upwards toward to two million, actually, and they’re very thoughtful group. It’s very economical. You get all the benefits that you’d get in other organizations, but it’s a, you know, forty percent off here and there, but it’s for Americans over the age of 50 and, frankly, I think even younger Americans would benefit from it. It is a very thoughtful group that has been around almost a decade, that has really continued to grow markedly here in recent years, and the reason is, they stand up for – they represent, both nationally and in Washington, basic constitutional values. Free speech. Freedom of worship. They are for the free exercise of religion, we’ll say. Free association, you know, the right to petition the government. The Second Amendment’s rights to keep and bear arms. They represent, I mean, frankly, a lot of the legislative issues tied to keeping our federal government accountable and solvent. They’re very strong and outspoken in protecting the border. And, you know, the bottom line is, they’re a membership organization, at AMAC.us

[www.amac.us]

They’re also an organization that you can just Google “AMAC” and you get other benefits that people don’t even think about. They have a quarterly magazine that is, in my view, a better read than Time magazine. It gives you news you’re not going to get anywhere else, which I think is also valuable. And then they have a website and they have a number of other resources for information related to personal, you know, personal health care, personal access to Social Security benefits, things like that, and it’s a it’s an organization that, I think, delivers a lot of punch for very little cost, and they represent this sort of traditional view of America, that we want an accountable government. We want it to be solvent. We want it to be constitutionally faithful. And, frankly, you know, it’s very Reagan-esque, I think, in the way that it looks at the world. And I look at this impeachment thing and, I think to myself, you know, if we don’t have good people standing up and calling out nonsense then we’re going to be subject to more and more nonsense.

Engram

Bobby, you’ve only got about a minute to answer this next question, I know it’s not much time, but there’s been an old saying over time, Keith, be careful what you wish for. I don’t think anybody has said, okay, you win. So, Trump’s gone, you got Pence. You hate Pence because he’s a Christian – strong principled value – a man out of the Senate. I don’t think they realize what could be next. 

Charles

Yeah, you know, I think you’re putting a really good point out there that’s symbolic of something bigger. Democrats, or at least this modern version of left-leaning or even hard-left Democrat leadership, seem to think only in the short term. They don’t think about second-order consequences, third-order consequences. Whereas, generally speaking, conservatives are – you can almost define them by being long-term thinkers. That’s the – they have this Edmund Burk-ean, Ronald Reagan way of thinking about the debt we owe to future generations, the fact that we have an inherited tradition that comes from just centuries of sacrifice and risk-taking. That’s the difference, really, between conservatives and this new hard-left Liberal Democrat. There really is a fundamental difference. They only, this hard-left group, only think short term, they think about power and their advantage. That’s by every indication what motivates them, and the Conservatives tend to think long term. They think about intergenerational problems and how you try to solve them and so they are thinking about second and third order effects, but you’re right. You know, if they were to impeach Donald Trump what did they get? They get Vice President Pence and I think the notion is they – they are just preoccupied right now by political power and it’s sort of transparent. I think it’s see-through, and you look at it and it can only disappoint you.

Engram

Well, and it’s not going to happen in the Senate anyway. Bobby Charles, such a blessing to us. Thank you for joining us. We’ll keep updated over the next weeks. God bless you and have a great day! 

O’Neil

Thanks, Bobby!

Charles

Thank you so much. Very, very much, both of you. 

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Sign Up Today

1
Leave a Reply

1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Steve

Congress, for the first time in 2 1/2 years , finally have something to do. impeachment. They are so proud. Look at us !
But wait. Must go home for another week of recess. Thank God Trump is running this country. Can we impeach Congress ?