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The McLaughlin Group

Issues: Refugee Crisis / Putin and Syria / McKinley vs. Denali / Prosecuting Business Executives

Participants:
John McLaughlin, Host
Pat Buchanan, Author & Columnist
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast
Tom Rogan, National Review/Daily Telegraph
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune

Taped: Friday, September 11, 2015
Broadcast: Weekend of September 11-13, 2015


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ANNOUNCER: From Washington, THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP, the American original. For over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, HOST: Issue One: September 11th, 2001.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE W. BUSH, THEN-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This ideal of America is the hope of all mankind. That hope drew millions to this harbor. That hope still lights our way, and the light shines in the darkness. And the darkness will not overcome it.


MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): On the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, President George W. Bush spoke in front of the Statue of Liberty in New York, America’s traditional gateway to human freedom.

That ideal of freedom is commemorated on site by Emma Lazarus’s sonnet, quote, "Give your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door," end quote.

But today, 2015, some say that those words are faded because today, facing the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Syrian and other civilians from war-torn nations, America’s lamp beside the golden door has dimmed. The U.S. has spent $4.1 billion supporting Syrian refugees, but has granted asylum to only about 1,500.

In contrast, far less wealthy nations, notably Turkey and Lebanon, have taken in 2 million and 1.1 million Syrian refugees respectively. Jordan has taken in hundreds of thousands, and the European Union is now indicating it will also accept hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Regardless, the massive migration has three main causes. First, many refugees believe Syria will remain at war for many years. Second, winter is coming, and refugees are desperate to avoid great suffering in overcrowded, under-supported refugee camps. Third, word has spread on social media that Europe is offering an open door to all migrants for economic reasons, as well as for security.

Still, fearing terrorist infiltration of refugee migrations, Commander-in-Chief Obama believes that the United States cannot simply open its doors to the huddled masses.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Does America have a moral responsibility to welcome more Syrian refugees, Pat?

PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: No, not really, John. We have over 40 million people in the United States who were born abroad already. We have 11 million to 12 million illegal aliens. We’ve taken 70,000 asylum seekers every year.

There are 4 million refugees outside of Syria, John. I don’t think it is first and foremost our moral responsibility to bring them to the United States. I do think we can and should help.

But look, they are outside the terror situation, which is Syria. They’re in Jordan. They’re in Lebanon. They’re in Turkey. And the first port to call after these places when they leave is Europe.

But the key point here is, John, you -- all of the world, Africa and North Africa and Syria’s refugees are watching and they see Europe opening its doors, you are going to have an immense flood of refugees from all over the world, from Africa and the Middle East, unless you call a halt to it in Europe.

And the United States can begin that by saying, we will help them where they are, but we are not taking in scores of thousands, or hundreds of thousands.

MCLAUGHLIN: Secretary of State Kerry said this week that the administration will ask Congress to increase the annual quota for asylum visas from its current level of 70,000 annually, to as many as 100,000 annually to accommodate Syrian refugees.

Eleanor, your thoughts on this?

ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: I think we have a moral responsibility and we have a responsibility as a super power. And our hands are also bloodied because the invasion of Iraq basically set off the destabilization of the Middle East and many of these refugees are streaming there from Syria.

Now, I think the U.S. -- we’ve given far more humanitarian aid. They’re now coming to commit to taking 10,000 principally Syrians every fiscal year. So, we’re stepping up.

And Europe has had some stumbles along the way. And the European Union is going to meet next week and they’re going to look at quotas, mandated quotas so that all the countries in the E.U. participate.

I’m very proud of Germany. They have really stood up to this. They have taken 800,000 people so far. They’re committed to 500,000 each year.

But, you know, the Syrians in particular, these are middle class people. These are architects, and doctors. These are people with skills that are fleeing.

And Europe has a very – no, Europe, actually Germany in particular has a very slow birthrate. They see the opportunity in accepting these immigrants. And that’s -- there’s opportunity in immigrants in America, in Europe, this is a country built on immigrants.

MCLAUGHLIN: What about ISIS infiltration of the refugees?

TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW/DAILY TELEGRAPH: Well, they’re attempting to do that into Europe, which is why you see the movement of the European countries to get much more involved.

But the real problem here with Syria is the failure of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, in a secondary point, the primary point is Bashar al-Assad’s continuing murder of his own people. We need to address that at the political level. Otherwise, this will simply continue. You know, the failure again, going back to 2013, chemical weapons. But the real failure to take on this issue, and instead devolve it to the Iranians and the Russians feds this and you see that overflow, that human misery coming into Europe, coming across the world.

I think United States should do more, where America leads, we can get the Sunni Arab monarchies to do more.

MCLAUGHLIN: Do you agree with Tom Rogan?

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Only in so far as saying that we have a responsibility. I’m not going to hold (ph) the Obama administration --

CLIFT: Right.

PAGE: -- because we do know who got us into Iraq in the first place.

ROGAN: But this is not about Iraq.

CLIFT: If the Obama administration were that powerful --

(CROSSTALK)

PAGE: It is about Iraq, Tom.

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: No, because it isn’t . But hundreds of thousands of people would have been killed under Saddam, had he still been in power.

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: This is Syria. This is the ecosystem in Syria.

PAGE: We still don’t know what to do with Syria at this point, and we do have a bad habit -- well, we got a bad habit in this country over several presidents of making things worse. And that’s what we’ve got to watch out for because --

ROGAN: But now we know what nothing does.

PAGE: -- that has happened already in that region.

ROGAN: And nothing is not working.

PAGE: So, I think we do need to, just as we absorbed much larger groups of refugees than this after Vietnam War, we’ve got a responsibility to take some leadership.

BUCHANAN: Let me say, this argument for intervention in Syria --

MCLAUGHLIN: I give you 30 seconds.

BUCHANAN: It’s an absurdity. People that are fighting are ISIS and al Qaeda on one side, the two terrorists. On the other side is Assad, the Russians and the Iranians. I’m for Assad, the Russians and the Iranians, because the great threat to the United States is the terrorists. The idea that we should send an army into Syria and then make Syria --

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: The Turks haven’t done a thing but aid --

ROGAN: But they’re waiting on the pivot point there.

BUCHANAN: They’re now waiting -- look, they’ve got an army that can walk in and kill ISIS in three weeks and they’ve done nothing.

ROGAN: But now, you’re going to see. You’re seeing it with Iran. You’re seeing it with kidnapping the Turkish construction -- the region is going to go to war.

BUCHANAN: The Turks are killing --

ROGAN: This idea that we’re standing on --

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: The Turks are fighting the Kurds now.

ROGAN: No, but they’re --

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: OK.

CLIFT: It’s their fight. It’s not our fight.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK. TBD, to be determined.

Issue Two, OK, Putin’s Syria gamble.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Russian President Vladimir Putin is reinforcing his embattled ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In the past two weeks, Mr. Putin has sent an array of military personnel, and advanced equipment to Syria, for security purposes, President Putin says.

But the Obama administration fears otherwise. It believes this deployments will fuel the Syrian civil war, and are meant to insure President Assad stays in power, and Russia retains its access to Syrian ports on the Mediterranean Sea.

And there’s this: Commander-in-Chief Obama has asked Greece to refuse air passage rights to Russian flights between Russia and Syria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What is Putin up to this time?

BUCHANAN: What Putin’s up to --

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: And it made -- you know, President Putin makes a lot more sense than what we’re up to. He’s got ports in Syria. Assad is an old ally. His enemies are al Qaeda and ISIS, who are our enemies.

So, he’s coming in to help Assad, as is Iran, as is Hezbollah, and that -- those are the participants in the war. And in that war, we want, first and foremost, ISIS and al Qaeda that did 9/11 killed and destroyed and anybody that’s up for doing that, I’m with them.

The guy I don’t understand is the president of the United States. Why are we -- we can’t even make up our mind who our enemy is.

CLIFT: I don’t know about that.

BUCHANAN: Who is it? Assad or is it ISIS?

CLIFT: Right. It is so factionalized over there. And I don’t see that sending in troops are going to be the answer. They are conducting airstrikes and that I think, you know, the more the merrier, if these other countries are going to come in and battle against ISIS. You know, let them go ahead.

But I do think there’s a diplomatic solution here, and I don’t think it’s at odds with what Putin is doing.

ROGAN: The diplomatic solution is not going to be Iran and Russia --

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: It may keep Assad in power, or there maybe a placeholder in his -- but, you know, this is going to take time and then, in the meantime, you’re going to have a lot of this human misery, and that’s what we have to step up to.

ROGAN: The key is to be aware. And my problem with Pat’s point of view is that two sides of the same coin. Iran is not an ally to our course against ISIS because it’s two sides of political sectarianism. The United States needs to be in the middle there. Where we don’t see that, you see this continuing conflagration.

That said, I do think there is the potential for peace process, number one, if Assad goes. But you carve out that area on the eastern side or the western side that the Alawites control.

CLIFT: Countries operate when they have interests that aligned. Not every interest has to align.

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: All right.

BUCHANAN: The problem is, Tom, you guys are just so fixated on Iran. The key thing is, ISIS is the enemy. Al Qaeda is the enemy. Anybody who in the short run will help us kill them we’re with.

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: I’m fixated on this war in the region that is growing without us stepping on the middle of it.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: Why would you want to get in the middle of it?

ROGAN: I’m not sending American troops there, but engage with the Turks, have a counter protest --

CLIFT: I want to put a plug in for a book that’s written by somebody who actually knows the region, lived there, knows the language. Marvin Kalb, longtime journalist, has a book out called "Imperial Gamble". It really gets into Putin’s head, what he did, Putin, a little -- in Ukraine, a war that he won and trying to figure out what he’s trying to do now in Syria. He identifies with Assad.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: He’s protecting his national interest. It’s as clear as the nose on your face.

CLIFT: He identifies with -- he identifies with leaders when the populations against them, because there for the grace of God goes Putin. And so he’s --

BUCHANAN: Look, Russia has also had a base in Tartus. It’s had alliance with Syria. That’s an ally. They care of their friends.

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: They can retain that in a peace deal.

BUCHANAN: They’re the easiest people to understand in the world, if we would only try to understand the Russians as looking out for their national interests.

CLIFT: Syria is a client state. Before that it was a client -- it was a client of Russia. And before that, it was a client state of the Union Soviet. So, he’s going to do everything he can to bolster Assad.

BUCHANAN: Well, why not?

CLIFT: I’m not -- why not? Fine. As long as they then operate against ISIS. I think that’s not necessarily destructive to our aims.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Europe mounts up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is reason why I’ve asked the minister of defense. Already starting tomorrow to carry out reconnaissance flight over Syria, so as to be able to envisage the possibility of striking Daesh.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): France, Australia, and U.K. are extending their military intervention against ISIS in Syria. This week, as a result of the migrant crisis and the expectation of the Iran, quote/unquote, "done deal", they are prepared to follow President Putin’s request to work together in order to defeat the enemy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we believe that we have to be able to talk with all countries that could facilitate that solution and that transition. I’m thinking here of the Gulf countries. I’m also thinking of Russia, of Iran, and many other countries that are already part and parcel of the coalition.

MCLAUGHLIN: And the so-called, quote/unquote, "Bashar has to go" was put into hibernation. They will not interfere with any objectives of the regime, and they will generally follow U.S. leadership. But bear in mind, they have plenty of autonomy left to define their targets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should we choose, Mr. Speaker, to extend our airstrikes into Syria, we will be doing this in the collective self-defense of Iraq.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Why are the Europeans turning their gun sights on ISIS in Syria? Clarence?

PAGE: ISIS is the center of the troubles right now. They’ve been stirring things up over there since the region became destabilized in the wake of the Iraq War. And the problem with – well, the Europeans have always turned to us for leadership in this area. And now with the kind of crisis of spreading throughout that region and up into Europe, now the refugee crisis, they are feeling more compelled to get involved and try to topple Assad, perhaps.

But the thing is we don’t know what happens after Assad is toppled.

BUCHANAN: If you kill Assad, you have to make sure that – if you kill ISIS, which we’d like to do, you not only got to kill them in Iraq, which we’re not doing very effectively, the Iraqis aren’t.

PAGE: Right.

BUCHANAN: But you also have to kill ISIS in Syria. And this is where, if the French are in on that, and the Brits are in on that and the Russians are in on that, and the Iranians are in on that, and Hezbollah are in on that, and the Turks are in on that, why can’t we get it done?

ROGAN: The problem is, this is -- you are not going to be able to defeat the Islamic State unless you marginalize the Iranian influence, because the Iranians are not interested in stability.

BUCHANAN: The Iranians --

ROGAN: Look at what they are doing in Baghdad, right at the moment, against Prime Minister Abadi, who is trying to retain his country. They’re attacking Iraqi soldiers through their proxies --

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: -- particularly Hezbollah. And they are kidnapping --

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: If it weren’t for Iran -- if it weren’t for Iran, ISIS and al Qaeda will be in Damascus today. If it weren’t for Iran and Hezbollah, they’ve been the bulwark behind Assad.

ROGAN: But to some degree, if it weren’t for Iran, then we wouldn’t have the Islamic State because that marginalization of the Sunni community, hundreds of thousands of Syrians dead.

(LAUGHTER)

ROGAN: You can see why Syrians --

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: You know, your geopolitics are like an etch-a-sketch, and, you know, you connect all kinds of dots that don’t exist in reality.

ROGAN: So, let’s do nothing and let hundreds of thousands of people die --

CLIFT: No, no.

ROGAN: -- and the region go into conflagration but leads to regional nuclear war --

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: It’s a conflagration and it’s already in it.

MCLAUGHLIN: Let’s move on. It’s getting a little boring.

What’s the likelihood that Russia will join in the fight against ISIS, Clarence?

PAGE: Well, I think it is growing in likelihood because Russia has a very strong interest in that area, and there’s -- it’s not clear for the European Union what else to do right now except to -- since he’s been supporting Assad so much.

CLIFT: Yes, the Russians support Assad. They see as Assad as under attack from a radical Sunni group, i.e. ISIS. So, I mean, naturally, they’re going to be on the side of Assad. So, I mean, if you’re looking for a silver lining, maybe it’s there in the fact that, you know, everybody’s waking up to the fact that the real threat is ISIS.

BUCHANAN: Why doesn’t the president – why don’t the Americans step in, realize we’ve got some unsavory friends here dealing with some very unsavory enemies. We did that in World War II, when we get -- when we got along with J.V. Stalin.

ROGAN: Starvation, barrel bombs, chemical weapons.

BUCHANAN: Well, what do you want Assad to do, quit, and say, give it to ISIS, because --

ROGAN: No, I’m saying the diplomatic process that could have him --

PAGE: That is our policy right now, in fact, to get Assad to quit.

CLIFT: Actually, Assad is losing on the battlefield.

BUCHANAN: He is losing. But if he goes down, who do you think rises?

PAGE: He’s going to take some people -- yes, that’s the question we don’t know who rises --

BUCHANAN: ISIS.

PAGE: Except ISIS.

CLIFT: Actually, another Alawite figure and I’m sure they can find a general --

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Let’s see if we can -- let’s see if we can invigorate the show.

Issue Three: Goodbye McKinley, Hello Denali.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We’ve also made a couple of these announcements today. Obviously, the big one was returning the most magnificent peak in our nation to its original name, Mt. Denali, something that the people of Alaska had been working on and petitioning consistently since 1970.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Rising up 18,000 feet, Mt. McKinley is the highest mountain in North America.

President Obama has changed Mt. McKinley’s name to Mt. Denali.

Denali means, quote, "the high one", unquote, in the language of the native Athabascan people of Alaska.

But not everyone is happy, especially citizens from Ohio. After all, Mt. McKinley was named after Ohioan William McKinley. Mr. McKinley served Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the governor’s office before becoming the 25th president of the United States on March 4, 1987 (sic). An office he held until September 14, 1901, when, having been shot by anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, President McKinley died.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is this name change justifiable? Have you thought about this?

PAGE: I thought about it a lot. I’ve been to Alaska -- it was about 10 years ago – and people already called it Denali in Alaska. And we have McKinley, although I’m a fellow Ohioan, proud Buckeye -- although I went to Ohio U, which is the Bobcats.

But nevertheless, I think that -- well, McKinley never went to Alaska. He was never in the state, and every Alaskan knows it. And this is -- it was always called Denali before non-natives arrived, and I think it’s only proper that should it be called that now.

MCLAUGHLIN: What kind of public service did McKinley provide?

PAGE: Public service -- huh.

MCLAUGHLIN: He was practically everything. He was in the House of Representatives.

PAGE: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: He was a United States senator.

BUCHANAN: You’re missing something, John.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: He was 17 years old, he volunteered and fought with the Union against Jackson in the valley. He was at Antietam Creek and he was a good man. He was a protectionist. T.R. said about him, he has the backbone of a chocolate eclair.

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN: He took us to war against Spain and then one day in 1902, and he came down, after a long night, and said, I’ve prayed to God all night long, and God has told me to take the Philippines.

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN: That’s how we got them.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, there’s one thing you haven’t mentioned.

CLIFT: Well --

MCLAUGHLIN: He was assassinated.

PAGE: Yes.

CLIFT: Yes, but the mountain was named for him when he was nominated to be -- for reelection, long before -- not long before, but before he was assassinated. Some gold prospecter was out there and came up with this bright idea. But the state delegations, Republicans from Alaska have wanted to restore the original name for sometime. So, this is entirely appropriate with --

MCLAUGHLIN: Highly appropriate?

CLIFT: Highly appropriate with a lot of bipartisan support and support of the indigenous people in Alaska.

ROGAN: Could the have called it Denali-McKinley, though, or McKinley-Denali?

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: John, my -- the head of my campaign, we won Alaska in 1996, was an Athabascan Indian and they all called it, you’re right, Denali, when I was up there. We flew by it. It was Denali, the great one it was.

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Tell them that, tell them that. Go ahead.

ROGAN: I’m just saying, we could potentially call it Denali-McKinley. But, you know, I understand the Athabascan people.

PAGE: Why bother?

MCLAUGHLIN: What’s the point? What’s the point?

ROGAN: But do you want to remember someone like President McKinley who served his country with distinction and he was assassinated.

PAGE: There are other ways --

ROGAN: Also, the interesting story with President McKinley is that, the real reason he died from what I understand is because the doctors did not do a good --

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: He got an infection.

BUCHANAN: He died nine days after --

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: He was shot in Buffalo at the Exposition.

MCLAUGHLIN: Did it involve an act of Congress to rename the mountain?

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: Congress could name --

MCLAUGHLIN: To name it McKinley?

CLIFT: Congress will not revert back.

ROGAN: The Interior Department.

MCLAUGHLIN: In 1917, an act of Congress was passed formerly naming it Mount McKinley after the assassinated president and civil war hero.

ROGAN: But now, the Interior Department has made it back to Denali.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, by what authority?

BUCHANAN: The president.

ROGAN: Executive authority.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: Obviously, Congress, Republican Congress didn’t do it.

CLIFT: No, and they’re not going to overturn it.

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Does she have unlimited power to revise American placed names? Sally Jewell, is that her name?

BUCHANAN: Interior.

MCLAUGHLIN: Secretary?

PAGE: Alaskan Republicans also like the Denali name, too.

CLIFT: Alaskan Republicans like it. There’s no --

MCLAUGHLIN: Let’s take a look at this again, maybe next week and see whether we can’t bring about the restoration.

CLIFT: No, we don’t want it. No!

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: White Collar Crackdown.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAMA: We can’t put the security of families at risk by returning to the days when big banks or bad actors were allowed to write their own rules.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): President Obama doubled down on his reforms to Wall Street. And this week, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates declared war on white collar criminals. In new directives on white collar crimes released by Yates to all U.S. attorney offices nationwide, the Justice Department is shifting its gaze away from corporations and towards corporate executives.

In recent years, the Justice Department has been criticized for not prosecuting more individuals. On Thursday, Ms. Yates stated that the Justice Department’s new mission is, quote, "Not to recover the largest amount of money from the greatest number of corporations. Our job is to seek accountability from those individuals who break our laws and victimize our citizens. It’s the only way to truly deter corporate wrongdoing," end quote.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Are these positive changes, or is the Justice Department out to vilify?

Eleanor?

CLIFT: Oh, I think these are positive changes and long overdue. And I credit Loretta Lynch, the new attorney general, she doesn’t come out of the revolving door, and I think she really is going to be the sheriff of Wall Street. They’ve collected tens of millions of dollars in fines from these big Wall Street firms. But it means nothing to them.

And if you now send a message that individual executives are not immune, I think it’s a powerful deterrent. But it’s still hard to build cases because you have to show wrongdoing, and a lot of what Wall Street did was technically legal.

BUCHANAN: I think she’s dead right, John.

Look, the Bank of America was hit for a $16 billion fine, but the Bank of America, per se, did nothing. Some executives that have done wrong, they’re the guys that should be prosecuted and punish.

When you take $16 billion from a bank, you’re not hurting the guys who did the crime. You’re hurting the shareholders, who are innocent. You’re hurting the workers, who are innocent. You drive down the stocks. You do all of these things.

I’m with Ms. Yates 100 percent on this one.

PAGE: So as a lot of voters out there. This has been a real -- a sore point with the Obama administration. They’ve been reluctant to prosecute because it costs so much and it’s so hard to do.

CLIFT: Right.

PAGE: And Yates is saying, no, hang the cost, essentially, that you need justice.

And the only way to really put a scare into these executives, is to go after the executives as opposed to the corporations --

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: Take their money.

PAGE: -- slush fund.

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Have you heard of populism?

PAGE: Certainly, yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: What does it mean?

PAGE: Well, this year, it means Bernie Sanders and everybody, Donald Trump. It’s about everybody running for office, these days. And this is why the non-office holders are more popular among Democrats and Republicans right now, because they want somebody from outside of this Washington angle.

MCLAUGHLIN: Since you have penetrated what populism means, is there a populism mood that is beginning to sweep the country?

CLIFT: Well --

PAGE: At this point, well, it’s always there. It rises and falls. Certainly now is a time when it’s rising very fast.

CLIFT: Right.

PAGE: The Obama administration -- I think it’s a part of Barack Obama’s legacy.

CLIFT: But we can’t let the show go by without mentioning Donald Trump.

PAGE: Yay, at last.

CLIFT: He’s out there as a populist. He’s called for ending carried interest, which is the special tax break that had hedge fund people get.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

CLIFT: And now, Jeb Bush has come out with a tax plan which still favors the rich, but he wants to go after carried interest. So, this is all part of the populist mood about economics.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

ROGAN: This is important.

CLIFT: Anyway --

MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of the praise of the gentleman you just mentioned?

CLIFT: I like some things Donald Trump says. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I think he’d be a good leader of the country.

ROGAN: John, can I --

MCLAUGHLIN: You don’t think he can handle the presidency? Have you seen his ratings?

PAGE: The question isn’t handling it, John – to who’s benefit?

CLIFT: He’s 30 percent, and I feel like his floor and his ceiling are probably about the same. So, I mean --

MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, really?

CLIFT: -- I still think an outsider candidate like that has a hard time to actually get the nomination, although it was possible.

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: Yes, very quickly. I think this is a positive development, brings some consensus to the panel, because as Pat says, the people who suffer when the banks, these billion dollar fines come on to them, who knows where the government spends that money? But at the same time -- I think it’s a patronage thing -- but at the same time, yes, bring some responsibility. You see executive misconduct along side executive success and I think that’s -- Clarence points out, it’s very excessive, because, of course, these people have very good lawyers.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

ROGAN: But at the same time, it’s important. It brings consolidation. People have more faith in the system.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that’s your view, but the fact is that U.S. attorneys have been given the green light by Washington to go out and find reasons to prosecute business leaders.

Brace for years of show trials.

ROGAN: Well, that’s regular --

MCLAUGHLIN: Do you agree with me?

BUCHANAN: No, I don’t.

CLIFT: No.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: I think, look, if $16 billion had been stolen, somebody stole it, it wasn’t, quote, "the Bank of America."

PAGE: That’s right. And nobody --

CLIFT: And it’s only a little over a year left in this administration, and, you know, they may even back off from some of this, because they’re always worrying about what their next gig is going to be.

MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction: the Senate Democrats’ decision to kill a congressional vote on the Iran nuclear agreement will come back to haunt the Democratic Party. Yes or no, Pat?

BUCHANAN: Wrong.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: No.

ROGAN: Yes.

PAGE: No.

MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is yes.

Bye-bye!

END