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Impeachment, Ukraine, Turkish offensive in Syria – Robert Charles talks with Bill Meyer – KMED

Bill Meyer

Happy that Bobby Charles, Robert “Bobby” Charles, who is serving as spokesman for the 2-million-member Association of Mature American Citizens – amac.us – by the way. AMAC, the conservative alternative to AARP, is here in the house this morning. Bobby, welcome back to the program. Good morning, sir.

Robert Charles

it is a pleasure to be with you.

Meyer

Yeah, I’m glad you had some time to reschedule us here. By the way, and certainly I want to tell you that my family just joined AMAC again this morning. Okay? We just did there, we just went up and I did that. It’s like we just realized we’re old enough, now, we kind of qualify. How old you have to be to join AMAC, huh?

Charles

Well, realistically, it’s at 50, but you know, I’ll be honest, the Reagan values they represent go all the way down to the level of my kids that, ultimately, I think it serves everyone.

Meyer

Okay, well, I went there and signed up for three years and I put my wife, Linda, in there, too. So, I’m hoping that AARP leaves me alone because I am never, ever, ever going to give them a penny of my money. I am sworn because I have looked at that group as – I’m not saying that they haven’t done some decent things for senior citizens, like any advocacy group – but I don’t think they’ve been great for the country. And, what is the difference between them and then what you do at AMAC?

Charles

Well, you know AMAC is an organization that’s about eight or nine years old and I think it probably – it really hit the accelerator pedal when Obamacare came around because that took away from people a lot of prerogatives that they thought they had and it made life more expensive and reduced the quality of what people are getting. So, it’s sort of Deja vu here when they talk about Medicare for all, but AMAC represents, in many ways, the constitutional values that we all believe in and, at least, the people of that age bracket grew up with and, I think, largely honor. The First Amendment, free speech, freedom of religion, the Second Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, the Sixth Amendment, the Ninth Amendment, and they also represent things like trying to get America back to being solvent. You know, we’re 23 trillion dollars in debt right now.

They also represent very basic things. The President just was meeting with members of AMAC down in Florida this last week. It was an extraordinary meeting. He signed an executive order that they had long supported, trying to give older Americans, and indeed, ultimately all Americans, greater access to medical investment accounts, and the executive order has a number of things in it that are all beneficial to older Americans. Driving down prescription drug prices is another priority of the President. And so, you know, I think at the end of the day you can think big and you can think small, but what AMAC does is they recognize that conservative values really cross cut both small issues and big issues, and they really stand for, what I like to think of as the Reagan-values – smaller government, lower taxes, strong defense, good on the border. A sense of solvency. And I feel very good working with them. I worked in the Reagan White House and the Bush 41 White House, and I was Assistant Secretary of State with Colin Powell, and I think they do a good job.

Meyer

All right, so, Bobby, I wanted to pick your brain on some issues here, now that we’ve done the AMAC pitch, and, you know, not that this is like a pay-to-play sort of thing, but I just support what you guys are doing, all right. Now, you mentioned what you served as Assistant Secretary of State under W, under George W. Ran a big portion of the US House Oversight Committee for a number of years, too. So, I would imagine that you, looking at the impeachment hysteria, might have a unique point of view, so-to-speak here, on what is going on, and the latest on the impeachment news here is that Gordon Sunland, the U.S. Ambassador from the European Union, has been directed by the State Department to not appear today for a scheduled interview with the House Committee leading that impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, and apparently he was going to-

He was looking forward to coming, he said, hey, I’m going to do this, and the State Department said, no, you’re not going to do this. Is this one of those situations where the President is using that prerogative to not cooperate unless you are actually conducting a real impeachment inquiry, be traditionally done with a vote, is that kind of what this is all about? You know you’re going to go on the record, and you’re going to vote. If you really want to go here, and then we cooperate. Is that what he’s thinking?

Charles

Yeah, I think you put your finger on something very important and that is that the House leadership is trying to, you know, have their cake and eat it too. They want to talk up impeachment because the left wing of their party, which seems to be infectious and taking over the better part of the Democratic Party in the House – actually, also their presidential candidate pool – but that that group wants to get deep into impeachment, but, at the same time, the traditional way of beginning any impeachment inquiry, for a judge or a president, is a chamber vote. And that allows as, you just said, the Republicans to then participate in issuing subpoenas as well as participate in amending or changing any articles that are drafted.

So, they’re really trying to have their cake and eat it too. With respect to this ambassador that – the State Department and the White House, I think, are rightly asserting the prerogatives of their institution. That is, to say, the executive branch. This is a – when you initiate an impeachment inquiry or an impeachment investigation, whether you’re doing it in this haphazard way or you’re doing it in the official and proper way, you are pitting one institution, the legislative branch, against the executive branch, the other institution, and it is very divisive. It will truly – if they keep going with this, it will undermine and sort of sideline a lot of our national security decision-making. It will create dis-junctures in the way that the government functions. They’re even beyond where we are right now-

Meyer

And Bobby, hasn’t the Military Appropriations Bill been held up for a vote, so, nothing like that is going on right now?

Charles

Yeah, so you have 12 appropriations bills that have either not been passed or not been conferenced because the house is sitting on their hands. That is a dysfunction of government. They also have treaties left – the Canada-Mexico-US Treaty that the President has put in front of them now, for more than a year – and they haven’t acted on that. There is a bunch of legislation that’ll just sit there until they come back to legislating.

Yeah, the other thing I just want to add on impeachment and, it’s just worth knowing, is that there are laws that people are not looking at that I believe, at least partially if not fully, vindicate and true to actually just end this entire impeachment discussion. One is the treaty from 2000 that we signed with the Ukraine that encourages dialogue between senior leadership in order to get at public corruption. Another is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and it looks to me like Joe Biden stepped real close to that line if not over it. And those things completely validate the cooperation between our senior leadership and Ukraine in order to get at that kind of public corruption.

Meyer

Now, let me just ask another question here. Where is it in the Constitution and/or rule of law that if somebody becomes a presidential candidate opposing the current president that no corruption inquiries can ever be made or even talked about with other world leaders that may that may happen? Is there something in black-letter law about that Bobby? Help me out here.

Charles

Well, of course there isn’t. And you framed that beautifully. That is exactly the point, and I – so it raises two side points. One is, if you can’t go after someone because they’re a presidential candidate, by which I mean you cannot have their actions compared to something like the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and try to see if they violated the law, then that would be a get out of jail free card, literally – a free pass for anybody running for president. So, that isn’t logical. The second – and it isn’t appropriate – the second part of this is, I think that the rest of the Democratic field is holding themselves back, imagining that maybe this whole thing will actually implode on Joe Biden.

But the moment that they don’t – the moment that they start to talk about the bad act by Joe Biden himself, out there, look, you know, literally threatening and promising money in return for benefits to his son and his son’s business – they accidentally or I cannot avoid corroborating the President’s own concern and the concerns of the Justice Department. So, I think they’re in a lose-lose here, and that’s why I think it’s a house of cards. This impeachment inquiry may be the worst strategic decision made by the Democrats in my lifetime, because it does not serve America and most Americans know that.

Meyer

I don’t even know if this was even a strategic decision. It almost appears to have been a chaotic result of the squad’s influence. Would that be a fairer assessment, because it seems clear that Nancy didn’t want to go there, at least for the longest time, she didn’t want to go there.

 

 

Charles

Yeah, you make a good point, and again, I’m not part of their caucus. I’m not even a fly on the wall. But having run an oversight committee for five years for Republicans I will tell you that typically leadership has the rein. And they will tell you, I mean, when we conducted the Waco investigation and other investigations, leadership under, at that point it was Newt Gingrich, would give us the guidance that, yes, we were permitted to go forward and drive out subpoenas.

We were very cautious about subpoenas, by the way. We issued probably, in five years, we issued fewer than they issued in the first two weeks of this Congress. But it is a curious moment, and I think that the left wing and I guess I- What worries me is I’ve never seen socialist, and I spent time behind the Iron Curtain, I have never seen socialists get any play in the media, in America. Because we don’t believe in centralized power, oppression, and giving the government control over our lives.

We actually represent just about the exact reverse, as a people. And so, it’s an oddity to me. This left-wing, the AOC crowd – the squad, as you call them – the four or five that are just real left leaners, they seem to have somehow grabbed the rein and are driving the house, I think over a cliff.

Meyer

And I want to make sure, Bobby – Bobby Charles, once again. He’s representing AMAC, but he’s had all this work in the past with the Bush administration, Reagan administration. So, he is an old hand at kind of knowing how the real world works there within the swamp. I just want to make sure we understand that perfectly the reason they haven’t held an actual House vote is because that means that – A – the Republicans then get a chance to also subpoena, so it’s not just the squad or Nancy and her minions that are able to just say, hey, you come forth and tell us what’s going on, right? And that’s what they’re trying to avoid you think? You think they’re trying to avoid that?

Charles

I think they’re trying to avoid – yes – to avoid empowering the Republicans to participate in anything from shaping articles or de-fixing these articles as their shaped in committee, to the issuing subpoenas. I also think they’re trying to avoid having other members of their caucus, who are not supportive of impeachment, but are kind of mouthing it, it’s preventing them from – it’s causing them to not have to go on records. If you don’t have a chamber wide vote, roll-call votes, then you don’t end up being on records in favor of it, and I would say in probably 40 of those districts, if not more, the President is probably leading the charge back home, you won in 16. And so they’re in a dangerous position. If they vote for impeachment when there really is no cause for impeachment. They will be held to account by the voters.

Meyer

I don’t know if this is within your wheelhouse or not, Bobby, but there’s a lot of noise made yesterday about that changes in Syria. Do you see potential problems there? I saw it as the president, more or less, saying, hey, I promised we were going to be trying to pull some people out of Middle East and we’re not just going to be in the endless wars, and then instantly the bipartisan swamp war party, which is very powerful, it always has been this way, immediately goes into a hissy fit and it struck me that we were talking about a handful of soldiers, but maybe I’m wrong. How do you see that? Is that something you kept an eye on?

Charles

Well, as former Assistant Secretary of State, my places in the world were the vacation spots – Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, and of course Syria falls into that category. You know, I’m really of two minds. The reason we put people on the ground anywhere in the world, traditionally, unless we’re in a war fighting mode, which we are not, is to keep the peace. The goal is, we can create but keep a tripwire there so that it deters someone who would come in. They don’t want to go to war with the United States. And we have people all over the world, in dozens of countries, that are – I mean, since World War II we’ve recognized that the United States has the capacity to deliver peace by just being present. Syria is an unusual case, and I would say I have absolutely no love lost for President Erdogan of Turkey.

He’s really someone who still, I think, in his heart of hearts, believes the Ottoman Empire ought to be in charge of everything in that part of the world. But at the same time, you know, Syria is a unique case, in that, it’s dangerous to have people there who can’t defend themselves. It’s certainly dangerous to have them there – it creates the potential for drawing us into a conflict. If Turkey does come in and try to attack the Kurds. On the other hand, as Jack Keen and others have pointed out, we really have fought, and the Kurds have fought, hand in glove with us against ISIS, and what I would not want to see happen is this Turkish incursion somehow put the Kurds in a position where that becomes their overall – just defending themselves becomes their overall mission, and they let go, you know, thousands of ISIS detainees that are over there right now and we get a resurgence of ISIS.

So, I trust that the National Security team around the President has honestly evaluated these things at a far greater level of detail than I have, and I truly think that if they are making this decision they understand that the pros and the cons have been weighed and that pros outweigh the cons.

Meyer

I think the one downside of tweeting out press-release, if you want to call it that, is that I don’t think it necessarily has – even people who would be the President’s supporters – on board or fully informed. I noticed that Lindsey Graham yesterday – Senator Lindsey Graham yesterday – was just going off and having a hissy fit about this, but, essentially, I don’t think anybody really knew what it meant yesterday when that tweet came out, fair enough?

Charles

Yeah. You know, I really support Lindsey Graham. I think he’s a good thinker. I think he’s thinking more on his own these days and he has ever in his past, and he’s being forced to make hard decisions. I think his statements in the Cavanaugh hearing is particularly – really a monologue – when he was putting people in their place and putting it right, really did America an enormous positive service, because he clarified things and talked about rule of law in a way that other people didn’t accept. Maybe Susan Collins.

But, you know, Lindsey Graham also is what, you know, he and John McCain saw the world very closely and John McCain was the one that argued strongly for the surge in Iraq because Obama had pulled back and we were seeing a growth in ISIS. So, I think there’s a shadow of that over Graham. He looked at this and certainly does not want to see any kind of a resurgence of ISIS. On the other hand, you’re absolutely right. We have less than a thousand people, I think, in there. It’s probably down in a couple of hundred level at this point, and we could probably do just as much good with those people going over and talking to Turkey and trying to get Turkey to pull back and maintaining, helping the Kurds maintain some degree of control over the ISIS – the folks that are in detention. I think that’s the biggest concern people have is. They just don’t want to see a return of ISIS.

Meyer

Yeah, fair enough. Bobby Charles, once again, spokesperson for the 2-million-member Association of Mature American Citizens amac.us – great group. I joined you this morning. I hope you will too. And it’s the conservative alternative to AARP. And of course, we appreciate your take on it, having been Assistant Secretary of State under W and running House oversight committees for a number of years. We really appreciate that take on it, and thanks for breaking down some of this impeachment news this morning. Thanks so much, Bobby.

Charles

Yes, sir.

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Steve

We are learning, I hope, that the middle east is saying to the US “welcome to the fight. This never ends. If you come, plan to stay forever “.
The good thing is that Turkey has now identified itself as an enemy. This is a good thing. Erdogan is a muslin terrorist in a suit. We have been led around the rosebush by Turkey ( and many others) by the pretense that they want to be “friends” with the US. Its now time to put the screws to Turkey. Big time. Screw them up.

J Kenneth Brandon

You go from a very clear article to this article full of jibberish. The only thing clear is that Meyer is very prejudice against Trump. Why interview with such a loser? I find it hard to believe that there are enough stupid people that watch him to support such a show. Like many others I too got disgusted with AARP when they came out in support of Obama care. They stay in business by giving out freebee’s and are just another political facet of the liberals.