Former top fed prosecutor’s chilling assertion: ‘I would never put it past this administration…[to] release any terrorist if it thought the price was right’Posted June 4, 2014 at 9:30 am by Benjamin Weingarten
In an explosive interview with former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy, author of the new book, “Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment,” we discussed a number of controversial issues, from McCarthy’s case for impeaching President Obama, to whether or not the Bowe Bergdahl terrorist exchange constitutes a “high crime and misdemeanor,” to Benghazi, to the government’s chilling of free speech.
But it was a question about the so-called “blind sheikh,” Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, that elicited perhaps the most chilling response from McCarthy, the prosecutor who was responsible for the terrorist’s conviction.
We asked McCarthy whether the Bergdahl prisoner exchange might serve as a template for the release of the blind sheikh from U.S. custody, a topic on which McCarthy has written in the past. Here’s what McCarthy said [emphasis ours]:
“I think what happened with these Taliban operatives who have been released shows that national security concerns are not going to be a showstopper with this administration in terms of the kinds of terrorists you would release. I would bear in mind that we’re dealing with an administration that, if you even look at the Justice Department, Eric Holder was right smack in the middle during the Clinton days of the release of the FALN terrorists, even though they didn’t even ask for clemency. And in Clinton’s last day in office, the Marc Rich pardon is the one everyone remembers, but he also pardoned a couple of members, or commuted the sentences of a couple of members of the Weather Underground. So I would never put it past this administration that it wouldn’t release any terrorist if it thought the price was right. For them, the price is not about American interests or American national security; it’s often what their base is demanding at any point in time.”
During the interview, McCarthy also echoed comments he had made elsewhere about the Bowe Bergdahl terrorist exchange being an impeachable offense, in violation of the material support to terrorism statute, stating:
Title: Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment
Author: Andrew C McCarthy
“I think it’s an astounding dereliction of duty on the part of the president in wartime, while we still have soldiers in harm’s way and we still have the Taliban conducting terrorist operations against American forces, to under those circumstances, basically replenish the Taliban…[it's] just astonishing. I think that in terms of, “Is it a high crime and misdemeanor?” You bet it is.
McCarthy also slammed Hillary Clinton on the recently leaked section of her soon-to-be-released book, on Benghazi, in which Clinton chastised opponents for seeking to politicize the event, asserting:
“I think it’s remarkably telling that the government official who most politicized this event, and who had the audacity at the solemn ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base, when the bodies of our dead were returned…who had the audacity on that occasion to politicize it, and make it about the video, rather than a broad failure of Obama’s policy, which is what everybody at that time knew that it was…For her of all people to come out at this point and say that this is something that shouldn’t be politicized when she politicized it in the most shameful way I can imagine is very difficult to swallow.”
Lastly, for even more with McCarthy on the Bergdahl swap, below is a clip in which he discussed that very topic on last night’s episode of Wilkow!
An interview with the man who literally wrote the book on impeaching President Obama, former fed prosecutor Andrew McCarthyPosted June 4, 2014 at 9:00 am by Benjamin Weingarten
We conducted an interview with former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy, author of the new book, “Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment,” in which we covered a number of controversial issues, including the case for impeaching President Obama, the Bowe Bergdahl terrorist exchange, Benghazi and Hillary Clinton, and the government’s efforts to chill free speech.
The below reflects a transcript of the interview, conducted via phone, which is slightly modified for clarity and links.
Who is “Faithless Execution” intended for, and why should both President Obama’s critics and proponents pick it up?
McCarthy: The book is intended for the public broadly, because I really thought and continue to think that there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding generally about what the standards are for removal of a president from power, what the wages are of having a lawless president, and what the arsenal is that Congress has to respond to it. It seems that there’s a lot of frustration on the part of people with the fact that the president doesn’t seem to be bound by the law, or certainly doesn’t take himself to be bound by the law, and people seem very frustrated that there doesn’t seem to be much that can be done about it. And point of fact, there’s a lot that can be done about it, but there is a lot of ignorance and misinformation out there about what the remedies are. So, what I hope the book will be is a corrective for people in general about what ways presidential lawlessness threatens the Republic, and what responses the Framers put in place that we could use to combat it.
The central point of your book hinges on the notion that impeachment is both a legal but more importantly political remedy. Thus, despite the merits of the case against President Obama, all is moot without their being broad political support for such proceedings. Can you expand on the thesis, explain why impeachment is primarily a political remedy, and provide a little bit of the history behind impeachment itself?
McCarthy: Impeachment has two components. There’s a legal component to it in the sense that the Constitution has a threshold or a standard that applies to presidential malfeasance or maladministration – I guess maladministration is a better term because the Framers weren’t just concerned about corrupt behavior – they were concerned about a president who was in over his head so gross ineptitude even if it was well-meaning was something they were very concerned about simply because the presidency that they created was so powerful, and had so much potential to harm the republic that they were concerned about having someone who was unsuited in that position – whether it was unsuited because of corruption or simply because of reasons of incompetence. They had a straightforward legal test for what would be required to remove a president. Treason and bribery are straightforward enough – they’re actual crimes that have a lot of history and people understand them. The thing that people generally have some confusion about are high crimes and misdemeanors, and maybe it’s because of the phrase itself because it mentions “crimes and misdemeanors,” so people naturally think of penal statutes where Congress has enacted laws that qualify as felony criminal offenses or misdemeanor offenses. And that’s not what high crimes and misdemeanors is really about at all.
What the framers discussed when they adopted this standard — and it was very much on their mind because they were all men of the world, they were all men who followed current events, many of them were steeped in British law — at the time the Constitution was being debated in the Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, the impeachment trial of Warren Hastings was ongoing in England, where Edmund Burke had led the effort in Parliament to have him impeached on the basis of high crimes and misdemeanors, so it was a phrase, and a term that was very well known to the Framers. And what it really means is, as Hamilton put it, political wrongs, or the offenses of public officials in whom high public trust is vested. So, it doesn’t have to be statutory offenses, and in many ways it’s easier to understand it in terms of the military justice system rather than the civilian penal justice system because it embraces concepts like dereliction of duty, conduct unbecoming of an officer, and the like. It really is about a breach of trust and there is no more trust in our system than what’s reposed in the president, who by the way is the only one in the government who constitutionally is required to take an oath of office of the kind that’s spelled out in the constitution, which requires him to swear to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. The failure to do that, more than any statutory offense, was something the Framers were much more concerned about.
Title: Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment
Author: Andrew C McCarthy
So the legal test of high crimes and misdemeanors is pretty straightforward. If you have situations where the president violates the trust of the American people by undermining our system and its checks and balances, those would qualify as high crimes and misdemeanors. A president who is dishonest with the public or dishonest in reporting important matters of foreign affairs to Congress and the like would be guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. A president who is derelict in his duties as commander-in-chief is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors even though there is no penal offense in the federal code that would match up with that. But the Framers were also very concerned that impeachment not be the result of partisan hackery, trivial offenses, or matters of factions (so the president’s part of one faction, Congress is controlled by another, and they can impeach him just for those political and power reasons).
So, what they built into the system was the following: you can impeach the president (that is, allege high crimes and misdemeanors against him) by a simple majority vote of the House of Representatives, but to remove the President requires a supermajority vote of the Senate, and, as the Framers well understood, the only way you can get a Senate supermajority vote of the Senate is if there is a strong public disposition that the president needs to be removed. Absent that kind of political pressure, there is not going to be a two-thirds vote to remove the president. So the bottom line is you can have a thousand impeachable offenses, but if the public will to remove the president is not there, the president will never be convicted in the Senate, and therefore he will not be removed from power. And the only time it’s really worth going down the very painful impeachment route for the country is if there is a public will to remove the president over very serious high crimes and misdemeanors.
In the book, you lay out three key checks on presidential overreach or abuse of power. You say that you can remove a president at the ballot box, which the public failed to do. Congress can use the power of the purse, and not disburse the funds for the President’s agenda, a power one suspects Congress will likely be afraid to use again during President Obama’s tenure. The third is building the political will necessary to force Congress to impeach. My question is, why should the average American care that there is a constitutional crisis regarding the unconstitutional usurpation and abuse of power by the executive branch, and thus take an interest in impeachment?
McCarthy: Well, what the framers recognized, and this is a lesson probably most articulately stated by Madison, and it’s certainly a lesson that’s found in Montesquieu who was very influential on the Framers: If all of the power in government – which is to say the legislative, the executive, and the judicial power – and even the separation of power between the federal government and states — if all the power is accumulated in one place, then you have tyranny, which is the why the framers spent so much time carefully dividing what the different responsibilities of governance were for both the president and the congress, for the judiciary, and derivatively, also between the federal government and the states.
The genius of our Constitution is the recognition that if you are going to have a free republic, and they were obviously trying to sculpt a constitution for a free Republic, the only way that you can bring that about is to check this tendency of people who have political power to try to accumulate more of it to themselves. So the framers I think brilliantly balanced the different powers between different branches, so no one could tower over the other. The reason that ‘s not just a law school exam question or a law school exam concern, but really that’s a concern for all Americans (or should be), is because our freedom depends on it. If you have one political actor that exercises all of the different powers, the tendency will be to exercise it capriciously. In that way, it’s then done without the effective checks of the other branches of government.
So the reason people need to be concerned – and this is something that oughtn’t be a partisan issue, or an ideological issue but is a freedom issue – is that if too much power accumulates in one actor – if it’s usurped by one political actor — our freedom is profoundly threatened. And if the way it’s threatened, as President Obama is doing it, is setting precedents that erode the separation of powers, then what you’ve done is you’ve put in place a government really by presidential whim, as opposed to the kind of government that was designed for us by the Framers. So what’s at stake for us in this is our liberty, more than anything else and that’s the reason it’s a concern, and it ought to be a concern that cuts across partisan lines.
What is the one most compelling piece of evidence, in your view, that indicates that President Obama should be impeached? (more…)
The week ahead: three books coming out that are not to be missedPosted May 30, 2014 at 11:10 am by Benjamin Weingarten
This upcoming week there are three books to be released that are well worth your attention, from the likes of Obama scourge Dinesh D’Souza, soon-to-be Obama scourge Andrew C. McCarthy and general big government scourge Jim Geraghty.
1. America: Imagine a World without Her by Dinesh D’Souza
Dinesh D’Souza, tireless thorn in the side of the Obama administration, and now casualty of the increasingly weaponized Obama political apparatus (or mere a violator of the campaign finance laws, depending on your perspective), has penned a book that follows up on his popular film, “2016 Obama’s America“, titled “America: Imagine a World without Her.” In his book, which will form the basis of an upcoming movie by the same name, D’Souza takes the progressive worldview at face value and turns it on its head, asking if under critical examination America truly is an oppressive, colonizing, unjust, unfair, exploitative country founded in “theft, plunder and oppression,” that must be remade under the overarching worldview of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and their fellow travelers. In so doing, D’Souza seeks to prove to American progressives and non-progressives alike:
- Why it is a pernicious myth that English colonists “stole” America from the Indians or that American settlers and soldiers “stole” the southwest from Mexico
- Why the descendants of slaves–and the successive waves of immigrants to the United States–are better off here than in their old countries
- How America, more than any other country, is based on rewarding the enterprise and hard work of the common man
- How traditional American virtues sustain prosperity and freedom, and progressive arguments about “liberation” and “justice” undercut them
- How progressive demagoguery about “inequality” expands the power of government and its grasp on the taxpayer’s wallet
- Why we should fear the progressive agenda of “reform,” which is in fact an agenda of totalitarian control of the state over the individual
- Why national decline is a choice–a choice that it is still not too late to reverse
Andrew McCarthy’s new book had already caused a stir multiple weeks before its release, with the Democratic National Committee sending out fundraising literature around “Faithless Execution” and the threat of the GOP to impeach. For those who actually read McCarthy’s new work, he IS NOT arguing that impeachment proceedings should be brought against President Obama in the House of Representatives tomorrow. Rather, in his erudite, prosecutorial fashion (McCarthy was former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, responsible most famously for the conviction of the “blind sheikh,” Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman), McCarthy explains the theoretical framework and historical precedent for impeachment, makes the legal case for why President Obama has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, but argues that such a case means nothing without the overwhelming political will to impeach. Indeed, as McCarthy lays bare, impeachment is primarily a “political remedy.” While McCarthy provides the actual articles of impeachment that could be brought against the president, it is up to the public to be convinced of the merits of the case and demand commensurate political action, or at least use the threat of impeachment to hold the president accountable and force him to act within the constraints of the Constitution. To actually bring proceedings without the case becoming broadly accepted in McCarthy’s view would be a calamitous error for the Republic.
In “The Weed Agency,” Jim Geraghty implicitly shows us that truth is stranger than fiction — by penning a fictional tale that could just as easily be true. The book’s description alone, which is often a poor indicator of a book’s style and substance, in this case does Geraghty’s work more than a modicum of justice:
“The little-known USDA Agency of Invasive Species — founded by President and humble peanut farmer Jimmy Carter — would like to reassure you that they rank among the most effective and cost-efficient offices within the sprawling federal bureaucracy. For decades, under Administrative Director Adam Humphrey and his “strategic disengagement” approach, the Agency has epitomized vigilance against the clear and present danger of noxious weeds. Humphrey’s record of triumphant inertia faces only two obstacles. The first is reality; the second is the loud critic who dares to question the magic behind the Agency’s success: Nicholas Bader. Formerly known as President Reagan’s “bloody right hand,” Bader is on an obsessive quest to trim the fat from the federal budget.
Full of oddball characters who shed light on the daily operations of Beltway minions, THE WEED AGENCY showcases a world in which federal budgets balloon every year, where a career can be built upon the skill of rationalizing astronomical expenses, and where the word ‘accountability’ sends roars of laughter through DC office buildings. That’s life inside the federal Agency of Invasive Species… and it may sound suspiciously similar to your reality.”
Jazz Shaw over at Hot Air describes the book as:
“an engaging and enlightening romp through the halls of the nation’s capitol which will deliver a fun read for everyone from policy wonks to those who have little to no interest in government affairs…
Geraghty’s writing is full of more quotable moments than could be put in one review, but there is a particular one I’ll share just to convey the flavor of the work. The cynical head of the agency [fictional U.S. Agency of Invasive Species], speaking to his protege in a moment of brutal honesty, describes the level of effort required to work in such a government body.
‘You notice no one ever says, ‘close enough for private sector work.’“
Impeach President Obama? Book from former top fed prosecutor will make ‘serious,’ ‘mainstream case’Posted May 4, 2014 at 7:47 pm by Benjamin Weingarten
In “Faithless Execution,” McCarthy turns away from recent books focusing on the Arab world, Islamic supremacism and its relation with the political left, and according to the book’s media kit, makes the “first serious effort to build a principled political indictment of the nation’s 45th president…the mainstream case for the “I-word”— Impeachment.”
The former prosecutor writes under the premise that impeachment is primarily a “political remedy,” and Congress will not move unless the American people demand it.
McCarthy therefore seeks to take the “first step in building a real popular consensus for impeachment…[by demonstrating] that the President’s rampant lawlessness represents a systemic threat to our constitutional order–a threat so egregious it requires action.”
In the book, McCarthy asserts that President Obama has subverted the Constitution under the following seven articles of impeachment, again per the book’s media kit:
REFUSAL TO EXECUTE LAWS FAITHFULLY
Willful disregard for congressionally enacted, constitutionally valid law, while dictating policy by executive fiat. Including multiple unilaterally decreed amendments to the Affordable Care Act in direct contravention of the law passed by Congress.
USURPING CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY
Unilaterally instigating an undeclared, unauthorized, and unprovoked war in Libya, resulting in thousands of deaths, the killing of a head of state, and the empowerment of anti-America jihadists.
DERELICTION OF DUTY AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF
The grossly inadequate security for government personnel in Benghazi, leading to the murder of four American citizens, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
FRAUD ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
Deliberately misled the American people in the enactment and implementation of Obamacare, and on scandals from Fast & Furious and the IRS harassment of conservative groups to the Benghazi massacre.
FAILURE TO EXECUTE LAWS FAITHFULLY: IMMIGRATION
Granting amnesty through executive edict and refusing to enforce existing immigration laws.
FAILURE TO EXECUTE LAWS FAITHFULLY: DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
The systematic politicization of a Department of Justice that has covered up the Fast & Furious scandal, denied Americans equal protection of the laws, encouraged violations of law, and stonewalled Congress.
UNDERMINING THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
The selective targeting of political opponents for harassment and abuse by the Internal Revenue Service, while restricting freedom of speech and conscience.
McCarthy, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is best known for leading the prosecution against the so-called “blind sheikh,” Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, along with 11 others in the 1995 terrorism case stemming from the first World Trade Center bombing and additional planned attacks.
Some important background info on Egypt’s new Islamist leaderPosted June 18, 2013 at 2:22 pm by Meredith Jessup
Over on the front page, Sharona reports on the appointment of Egyptian Adel al-Khayyat as governor of Luxor, chosen by President Mohammed Morsi on Sunday. As she notes, al-Khayyat is a member of Gama Islamiya, a recognized terrorist organization responsible for an attack that killed 62 people, including 58 tourists, in 1997. Here’s a bit more background info important to note…
The 1997 terror attack took place at the ancient Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, a popular tourist attraction and important relic of Egyptian history dating back thousands of years:
Now, personally, I think the term “terrorism” is thrown around a lot nowadays — too much. Tea Partiers have been derided by political opponents as “terrorists.” The IRS has even been labeled a “terrorist organization.” But when the news reports that Adel al-Khayyat is a member of a “terrorist” organization, there should be no such confusion.
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