On Episode 93 of War Room: Impeachment Stephen K. Bannon and Raheem Kassam broke down the recent article in the New York Times that gives the backstory to impeachment.
The New York Times, as Bannon explains, is the “head of the opposition party media against President Trump, and one of the leading voices in this impeachment process. “
“Maggie Haberman’s story about the backstory,” he continued, “the behind the scenes what happened that led to this impeachment inquiry, and eventually to the impeachment vote, and eventually to the impeachment of Donald J. Trump.”
“I come to believe that it actually reinforces why people wanted Donald J. Trump to be President of the United States,” Bannon said of the article.
“Firstly I think everybody should read this,” Kassam said. He noted the strategy behind the article, saying “This is released at a specific time, but also it’s a very good piece of work.”
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“Maggie Haberman has done a good job,” he credited. “Haberman is in the business of journalism, she is actually in the business of reporting. And if you’re in the business of reporting like this, this takes a long time. This takes a lot of sourcing, it takes hard work, it takes long nights… There are really interesting things in here, and credit to Maggie and the New York Times for digging them up.”
“People who are interested in the exoneration of President Trump in all of this need to look at this and need to read this. What it does is actually lays out a much more involved process by the staff; by the people involved in the budget planning and spending in various departments; people who are actually concerned about what was happening with this money, why it was on hold, the debates that went back and forth as a result of it.”
Kassam explained that the holding of the aid “wasn’t just a guy clicking his fingers and saying, ‘nah, don’t feel like it,’ like we had heard throughout the whole process. We had heard Trump wanted to put Zelensky in a public box, and that was it. That was all there was to it. “
Bannon added: “And it was all about Biden, Biden, Biden, and 2020.”
Kassam continued: “When you look through this story, and especially some of the new news coming out of this story, one of the areas is where the national security team ‘intervenes.’”
He goes on to quote Haberman:
“On a sunny, late-August day, Mr. Bolton, Mr. Esper and Mr. Pompeo arrayed themselves around the Resolute desk in the Oval Office to present a united front, the leaders of the president’s national security team seeking to convince him face to face that freeing up the money for Ukraine was the right thing to do. One by one they made their case.
“This is in America’s interest,” Mr. Bolton argued, according to one official briefed on the gathering.
“This defense relationship, we have gotten some really good benefits from it,” Mr. Esper added, noting that most of the money was being spent on military equipment made in the United States.
“Ukraine is a corrupt country,” the president said. “We are pissing away our money.””
Kassam emphasized that “there is nothing there to do with Zelensky needs to investigate Biden; there’s nothing there to do with any of that.”
Later in the hour, he elaborate on how the article “not only does a great job at the timeline and getting into the detail – and what I think is exculpatory detail for the President – but what it also does is it tees up lots of little mini investigations about the conversations that were taking place between departments. And I expect to see now Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, alongside others pulling things out of this story and saying: okay, we need fifty thousand pages of information on that.”
“They want to create the foundations – and this article helps to create the foundations – that Trump violated the Impound Control Act and that the lawyers were scrambling, trying to figure out how they could get Trump off the hook.”
“Actually,” he continued, “what this is is once again a battle. As you would expect in any functioning government, a battle between the executive and legislative branch. And that’s fine, that’s normal. That’s the way the government is supposed to function. But what these guys are saying is no, that’s obstruction of Congress or that’s breaking the law.”
Kassam gave background to the Impound Control Act, explaining its importance in this whole process: “The Impound Control act basically means that Congress gets the power of the purse: it gets to decide what’s spent and the President has no authority surrounding that. But it’s actually very new. It’s from 1974 and it hasn’t actually been tested in this way before. And this is a test. This is a test that says if the President says this is our foreign policy and these are our national security concerns, can he be hamstrung by the Impound Control Act, by Congress’s power of the purse. And there’s a big question mark over that.”
“One of the things that we’ve been saying all this time is the concern about the substance on this. And there’s a lot of substance in this New York Times article… lots of unreported information before.”
“There’s signaling in here as well. The signaling that we’ve seen on MSNBC before, and signaling we’ve seen in Newsweek before.” He explained how “the media acts like baseball and their farm teams. You’ve got the big teams and they’ll only take the stories once the farm teams have actually trained those stories up, honed them down, and made them proper and good. MSNBC is like a farm team for CNN; Newsweek is like a farm team for the New York Times.”
Kassam predicted we are “going to hear a lot about this Impoundment Control Act now; you’re going to hear a lot about how President Trump ‘broke the law’… You will see them now go back and say the reason we’re not passing these articles to the Senate is that actually there is a lot more to be investigated around what President Trump did. And actually things that might not be impeachable offenses even, but other things that need investigations.”
“Here’s the tell,” he explained. “How do you have an article that went up on the House Budget website on October 23rd, 2019 with the fundamental last paragraph being all about President Trump and the Ukraine aid before a lot of this was even popularized to the point where it is today? And how is that article the number one search result on Google? Above the Wikipedia entry for it, above the historical entry for it. This is a new thing that went up and it’s the top of the [search results].”
“Somebody’s put a lot of effort into this and creating the narratives around the Impound Control Act. We’ve also seen articles in Newsweek and on MSNBC talking about this already… Now it’s the front page of the New York Times.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Pelosi calls a press conference at some point in the next couple of days and says ‘this is what we’re investigating now. Forget about the articles of impeachment. We have a much more serious issue on our hands: the President has violated the law.’”