The McLaughlin Group
Issues: Supreme Court Nominee / Russia and Syria / Violence at Trump Rallies / Freezing Human Eggs
John McLaughlin, Host
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast
Clarence Page, The Chicago Tribune
Tom Rogan, National Review/Opportunity Lives
Taped: Friday, March 18, 2016
Broadcast: Weekend of March 18-20, 2016
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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: Justice Merrick Garland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To suggest that someone who has served his country with honor and dignity, with a distinguished track record of delivering justice for the American people might be treated, as one Republican leader stated as a political pinata -- that can’t be right.
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): President Obama nominating Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Judge of the U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. court, Harvard Law educated, Justice Garland is 63 years old and is regarded as centrist liberal.
That has both liberal and conservative lobbyists concerned. Liberals fear Judge Garland may not advance a bold, progressive judicial agenda. Conservatives fear Merrick Garland supports legal restraints, notably on gun ownership.
The controversy may be irrelevant. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will not vote on Justice Garland, a move President Obama says is, quote/unquote, "unprecedented".
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: Is President Obama right, or is the Senate following precedent regarding Supreme Court nominations by lame duck presidents?
PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: Back, John, in 1968, when I was with Richard Nixon, we blocked Abe Fortas from being named chief justice of the United States when Chief Justice Warren resigned, contingent upon Fortas being approved. So, we blocked Fortas.
But let me say this, look, Judge Garland is an outstanding jurist. He’s a good man. He ought to be treated with decency and respect. I think the senators ought to give him a hearing their offices.
But the reason this is a major issue, John, is because the Supreme Court has become political, as well as a court issue and a judicial issue.
And whether you agree on same sex marriage or abortion, they’re not in the Constitution. Liberal justices imposed these on the country through their power on the courts, and what the Republicans are saying, given that it’s a political institution, we have a political debate on which way the country is going to go, and the next president of the United States, who’s being picked right now, should be the president to fill these vacancies on the court.
I think they’re going to prevail. I think Judge Garland has reached the highest level on the federal courts that he is going to reach.
MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor Clift, "The Daily Beast" says this, "Merrick Garland for Supreme Court: A good man about to go through GOP hell". How does that impress you? Did you think it’s accurate?
ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: I think it’s an appropriate headline.
CLIFT: Yes. Merrick Garland is imminently qualified as a jurist and as a human being. He gets rave reviews from not only Democrats but from Republicans. His respect for the rule of law is impeccable, and he goes back to -- he was the prosecutor for Timothy McVeigh after the Oklahoma bombing. He’s got a sterling record.
And the president resisted the temptation to play partisan identity politics. This is a white guy who’s older. This is the best a Republican Congress is going to get out of a Democratic president, and it’s a lot better than they’re going to get if Hillary Clinton is in the Oval Office next year. And I don’t know what they’re going to get from Donald Trump.
If you take what Pat says, the Republicans are – want to protect their positions on these issues, they’re never going to fill that seat. And that’s not how democracy works.
I think that the Republicans running in blue states are eventually going to capitulate. I think he could get a hearing and a vote. He might even get that hearing and a vote after the election in the lame duck, when they’re staring at Hillary Clinton, president-elect.
MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama rejected Garland twice before for court vacancies. Why does he pick him now?
TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW/OPPORTUNITY LIVES: I think for the reason, to be able to articulate the line of argument that Eleanor articulates, in the sense that he can sell this to the country, as he sees it, as a candidate who is eminently qualified, is a very successful jurist, has a very strong legal mind, is a person of character. But ultimately, those things may well be true.
But the problem is, as Pat says, we are entering into the final stages now of a long election cycle and a long politicization of the court in the recent terms. And the only way really to resolve that in the eyes of the people is to do what the United States does best, and resolve it in a democratic fashion.
Democrats are now complaining about Republican situation in terms of blocking this, but they’ve done exactly the same, whether it be Biden or President Obama. They say they didn’t
CLARENCE PAGE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Not true.
ROGAN: That is true. So, I knew that was going to come up.
CLIFT: That’s not true.
PAGE: Well, yes, truth will come out, right.
ROGAN: No, but there was a support for obstructionism. And the problem here I think --
PAGE: They never blocked anybody from a hearing.
ROGAN: Republicans, even if it was going to come to a vote, President Obama knows that Garland was never going to actually receive Republican support anyway, specifically because of his position on Heller-Washington, which is the case of gun rights, owning a handgun in Washington, in which he on paper seems to be opposed to. And that was a pretty -- I think based on American jurisprudence, a pretty interesting opinion on his part.
MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, the president picked Sotomayor, excuse me, Justice Sotomayor and Justice Kagan over Garland. He wants to make the court an issue in this year’s Senate races. Is that a true -- is that a true presentation of what President Obama’s strategy is?
PAGE: That was not a negative review of Garland. Garland is not only well-liked among Democrats but well-liked among Republicans. He was fine until he’s suddenly in line for the Supreme Court, at a time when Mitch McConnell has decided that suddenly, there’s a time limit now.
You’re in the -- for the fourth year of your second term, you don’t longer get to have your appointments approved. There’s no limit in the Constitution, but Mitch McConnell has come up with this excuse.
ROGAN: What about Biden Rule or the Schumer Rule?
PAGE: There was no Biden Rule. It was a Biden statement. It was not a rule. There’s no rule.
ROGAN: A statement on one side and a rule on the other.
PAGE: So what? It’s not binding on this Congress. And that is a silly excuse, but it’s the kind of silliness that Mitch McConnell has been reduced to now, by politicizing the court in this fashion. Yes, Pat?
BUCHANAN: There’s nothing in the Constitution that requires the Senate to vote on this fellow.
Look, when you consider what the Democrats did to Clement Haynsworth, Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas --
PAGE: What does advise and consent mean, Pat? Please explain to our audience what that mean.
BUCHANAN: Well, they decided not to advise and consent this year. Are they told in the Constitution they can’t?
PAGE: Well, then blocks the appointment, right?
BUCHANAN: I know it does. That’s the name of the game.
PAGE: Well, see, I don’t think the Founders had this mind, because if you can block a president in the fourth year, why not the third year, the second year, the first year?
BUCHANAN: George Washington made recess appointments to the Supreme Court --
PAGE: Republicans hate recess appointments, don’t they?
CLIFT: The Democratic --
BUCHANAN: Question --
CLIFT: The Democratic-controlled Senate, when Joseph Biden was the chairman of the Judiciary Committee gave hearings and votes to Judge Bork, who was voted down with six Republicans joining the Democrats. They gave Clarence Thomas a vote. He is sitting on the court.
Joe Biden gets criticism today that he didn’t filibuster. Democrats have not blocked any Republican appointee. They’ve treated every one of them fairly. It’s a brutal process but you got a hearing and you get a vote.
MCLAUGHLIN: "The New York Times" says that if Garland is confirmed, it will be the most liberal court in decades. Is that the way to woo the GOP?
BUCHANAN: No, it won’t be the most liberal court.
PAGE: Who’s wooing the GOP? Yes.
BUCHANAN: The Warren court is far more liberal.
CLIFT: Yes, but that was decades ago. That was decades ago.
The chief justice has been a Republican for decades. Virtually, my entire adult life.
BUCHANAN: Earl Warren was a Republican. Was he a good conservative?
CLIFT: I would take him. But all the others, Rehnquist, Berger, they were all been Republicans.
MCLAUGHLIN: The Senate won’t --
CLIFT: Republicans don’t have a lock on that. There’s a vacancy --
MCLAUGHLIN: The Senate won’t confirm Garland.
BUCHANAN: Garland will not be confirmed.
CLIFT: I think, I think there’s a chance.
MCLAUGHLIN: And Obama knows that.
CLIFT: No, no. Obama is fighting as though there is a chance, and they may well be. When the people speak either now or in November.
MCLAUGHLIN: He’s using this to energize his Democratic base. That’s why.
PAGE: Wouldn’t you?
CLIFT: The Republicans are using this to energize their Republican base.
PAGE: It’s a legitimate issue.
MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Bye-Bye Syria?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): With mission accomplished, President Vladimir Putin withdrew the majority of his forces from Syria this week. While some Russian military units and advanced equipment will remain in western Syria, President Putin says his ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is now safe from rebel threats.
President Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry, welcomed Russia’s withdrawal.
But it remains unclear what will happen next. Analysts say the key factor will be whether Russia now pressures Assad to step down. While peace talks to end Syria’s five-year civil war is still under way in Geneva, many rebel groups say they will keep fighting as long as Assad remains in Damascus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What is Russia doing?
I ask you -- let’s start with you, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Well, what Russia did, Putin came in to Syria. He saved Assad’s regime basically. Not only that, he attacked the rebels we and Turkey have been supporting, and he’s got the position now in Syria, where Assad is winning the war, but has not won the war.
And I think Putin has taken a look at this and he realizes, look, this thing is not going to be finally resolved for a long period of time. He’s done a good job. He’s got prestige from this. He’s back in the Mid. He’s got an air base there.
So, he pulls out, works with the Americans and negotiates. And I think he wants to get sanctions lifted on Russia by the Europeans. And I think it means from the standpoint of great power --
CLIFT: Well --
BUCHANAN: -- intervention, this is a success.
CLIFT: But he loves surprise moves. So, this was as much of a surprise as he’s getting in there in the first place. He doesn’t want to get involved in a quagmire. And he’s gotten as much of the territory back for Assad, as he possibly can, and he’s not writing a blank check for Assad. He’s putting -- this is putting a lot of pressure on Assad now going into these peace talks to try to make a deal.
So, I think this is a good thing that Putin is doing. He can’t fight a two-front war. He’s got Ukraine. He’s got Syria and he’s got a tanking economy. So, he’s got his hands full.
ROGAN: I think -- I don’t see this as a real withdrawal, in the sense that they’re retaining some forces there. They retain the S-400 air defense system, which essentially rules out the idea of a no-fly zone in the north, which is gone now.
But I think really what Putin is doing here is throwing a rotten olive branch to the White House but also the Europeans, to try and say to them, look, I’m giving you a pretense here that I’m putting pressure on Assad, maybe, on a long term schedule that he might be withdrawn.
But what I really think his impetus here is, as Eleanor says, he’s got that western carved out area, and he knows that frankly, ISIS is going to be off in the east. What will happen is that I think because he has assumed the initiative on this, you see now the Saudis engaging with him. He’s going to move the Sunni Arabs into the Russian orbit, and specifically -- and I was writing about this, this week, in mercantilism, right? That the Saudis will say --
BUCHANAN: American --
ROGAN: He’s saying to the Saudis, if you want influence with us in the Middle East, because America doesn’t have it, buy stuff from us, that’s good for the Russian economy. So, he’s a real -- you know, he’s KGB. It’s old school politics.
PAGE: We call it mercantilism.
ROGAN: What did I call it.
ROGAN: You’re using that English pronunciation.
But no, I basically agree with you that I think Putin decide on his own, what’s going to expand his sphere of influence. While Obama was ruminating about what to do about Syria, he decided just to move in.
The real downside of it is all the humanitarian violations that occurred. It was a brutal way to do it, but he got the job done for the time being. But like you say, about half of his air force is still there. He got a number of troops.
PAGE: They can pull back in.
MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Pat.
BUCHANAN: He’s also moving against ISIS. The key thing in Syria now, John, has come up this past week is that the Kurds, as in Iraq, have carved out a federal provincial area for the new federalism in Syria, where they rule, have autonomy there. This has upset the Kurds. It’s upset Assad.
CLIFT: Except the Turks.
BUCHANAN: Excuse me. Upset Turkey, upset Assad. And even the Americans are a little reluctant to support it. But this is the breakdown that’s coming all through the area on ethno-nationalism.
MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Putin claimed Russian intervention was to fight terrorism and ISIS. Does his withdrawal now confirm it? Yes, or no?
BUCHANAN: That’s inexact, if he said that. His purpose was to save the Assad regime first and foremost, to go after those trying to overthrow it, who were some of the rebels we support, as well as ISIS, and I think, reestablish Russia’s position as a player in the Middle East and a player to peace table, and an equal of the United States in dealing in the Middle East and he succeeded.
CLIFT: Yes. His purpose was to bolster Assad and to send a message to the White House that they can’t dislodge another leader in his region.
ROGAN: I think Eleanor is absolutely right about that, and I also think it was to destroy the moderate Sunni rebels which Pat would say don’t exist. I would say do. And he’s successfully done that. And he holds the initiative at Geneva now.
PAGE: I fully agree.
BUCHANAN: While ceasefire is holding up, ISIS cannot longer maintain its salaries, ISIS is accepting small ransoms, ISIS is taxing its population in black market dollars, and Russia’s military -- Russia’s mission also helped keep Assad in power.
Do we all agree on that?
PAGE: I agree.
BUCHANAN: Issue Three: Civil Furor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I reject any effort to spread fear or encourage violence or to shut people down when they’re trying to speak, or turn Americans against one another. And I think as a citizen, who will still be leading this office, I will not support somebody who practices that kind of politics.
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): President Obama lamenting incivility in the nation’s political discourse. Not so subtly referencing disorder at Donald Trump’s presidential campaign rallies, where violence has occurred in recent days, Mr. Obama called for a successor to himself, who would unite rather than divide Americans.
Still, others believe Mr. Trump is being treated unfairly and they reject claims that the GOP frontrunner has incited violence at his events.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: Question: who is responsible for the disorder at Trump’s rallies? I ask you, Eleanor.
CLIFT: There is a thuggish quality to the Trump rallies when he, a protester rises, he’ll yell, "Get them out of here", or say, "I wish I could punch him in the face". He’d been doing the political equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater and he’s in effect giving permission to people to act out the anger that they feel, and saying, I’ll take care of your legal bills and that sort of thing. It’s very dangerous stuff.
And he is now the frontrunner for a major political party for the president of the United States. And I think he has an obligation and a responsibility to act as someone who is deserving of that role, and not "wink, wink, nod, nod" encourage the kind of violence that we have begun to see.
BUCHANAN: John, the president of the United States ought to act like a moral leader and he did not. That rally last Friday night or the Friday before last, was a preplanned, orchestrated attack by MoveOn.org, by Black Lives Matter, by Occupy Wall Street, by thugs from various – the university up there, to disrupt his rally in Chicago and come in in great numbers, brown shirt tactics, and that’s what caused the rally to be shut down.
Now, Eleanor has a point that Donald has made statements, you know, punch his lights out, but who is he talking about, he’s talking about people who are not protesters. They are disrupters. They are radicals and they are predetermined going in.
PAGE: Point of clarity here, they did not stop the rally. Trump stopped the rally when he saw all of these people outside, hundreds of people turned out.
BUCHANAN: No, inside.
PAGE: There were hundreds outside, Pat. Look at the aerial shots.
BUCHANAN: Were they inside?
PAGE: It was rather astounding. And I was invited to come. If I’d been in town, I would have come just to see what was going to happen.
I think Donald Trump knew what was going to happen. University of Illinois campus is right in the center of town. It’s an -- and Chicago is a place where people to communicate each other over social media very quickly.
BUCHANAN: Do you condemn the orchestrated attack --
PAGE: I condemn both sides.
BUCHANAN: -- inside the hall?
CLIFT: I don’t think that it was an attack.
PAGE: I condemn both sides, Pat. Do you? I mean, the fact is, it takes two to tango, and Trump has been provocative.
MCLAUGHLIN: Let Tom in.
ROGAN: What you see here is there are elements in the Trump audience who want to have a fight. You’ve seen with the guy who suckerpunched the guy.
But I think the predominant factor is unfortunately that you do see these people coming in, trying to instigate tension and violence, and then people getting annoyed. And I have to say, as much as I strongly disagree with his politics and really desperately hope he doesn’t become the nominee, I don’t buy the line of argument that Trump is to blame for this, because I think quite frankly, it’s campaign banter.
And the American people have a line. It’s not -- you know, jump off a cliff. OK, I’m going to jump off a cliff. It’s banter.
CLIFT: I think --
PAGE: A point of clarity, I agree that Trump had a right to speak and should not be interrupted.
ROGAN: Right. You had a good column on that actually.
PAGE: All sides have a right to speak. However, Trump asked for it. And he was being provocative, he’s still being provocative. He doesn’t know where to draw the line, he was inspired by WrestleMania that he used to participate in and was a partner in. And he wants his campaign that way, and he doesn’t know when to quit.
CLIFT: They cordoned off the protesters. The protesters were in the hall, but I think they were cordoned off. I don’t know who threw the first punch. The rioting started after it was – the event was called off, and the anti-Trump people cheered. And the other people got angry.
MCLAUGHLIN: Question --
BUCHANAN: Eleanor, you gave a moral sanction to something. Do you know what they did to Hubert Humphrey in ’68? I saw it. For a month, they didn’t let him talk. They shouted him down, "Dump the Hump," and the rest of it. They’re hard left wingers and they used brown shirt tactics.
CLIFT: Those are brown --
MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question.
CLIFT: -- shirt tactics. And you cannot say they’re all hard left. These are people who were protesting and feel strongly engaged in the political process.
MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --
PAGE: How about the hard rights who sucker punch people? What do you think about that?
BUCHANAN: If the Klan --
MCLAUGHLIN: All right.
BUCHANAN: If the Klan walked in to some, or Trumpsters walk in to some --
BUCHANAN: -- rally for Bernie and raised holy hell, I’d be with you.
PAGE: That would be wrong, too.
CLIFT: That’s right.
PAGE: Let’s condemn both sides.
PAGE: If Bernie’s people don’t go out picking fights, and that would be condemned as well. Let’s do both sides --
MCLAUGHLIN: All right. I glad to see we all had our Wheaties here today.
CLIFT: I’m glad Pat came around to support Hubert Humphrey decades -- better later than never.
MCLAUGHLIN: About a dozen boxes, but let’s get back to the show.
Exit: Did Ronald Reagan ever use bellicose rhetoric about protesters?
BUCHANAN: At the time of Kent State, Ronald Reagan, said, look, if they want to have a bloodbath, let it begin here.
CLIFT: Ronald Reagan used some dog whistle tactics to get across a message to give people permission to do things that they shouldn’t.
ROGAN: Yes, I think it’s political banter and people know that. And I think there is a problem whether from with some very unpleasant people. The majority of the problem is, there’s an element of the far left today that believes in the purity of speech involves shutting people down.
PAGE: There’s an element of the far right that belieces the same, you know? The fact is, I believe in free speech. We all ought to believe in it and we should not believe in violence at events like this or provoking violence.
ROGAN: We need more MCLAUGHLIN GROUP type of --
PAGE: That’s right.
MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: Unfrozen 1843 Egg.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): As we grow older, our ability to reproduce is reduced and the risks increase. The older a woman conceives, the more likely her child is to suffer Down syndrome. The older a man conceives, the more likely a child is to suffer autism, or schizophrenia.
But the science business is offering solutions. That explains why the freezing of human eggs is becoming increasingly popular. Although it costs some $10,000, the process allows young women to freeze their eggs for future fertilization.
And with science making it easier to keep eggs healthy, the freezing business allows young women to focus on their careers with fewer worries about having children while still young.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: Is the egg saving business an ally or enemy of family values? Eleanor Clift?
CLIFT: I think in today’s world, it offers a choice to some women who might otherwise be denied or deny themselves the option of having a family.
I don’t think it’s for everyone. It’s a costly procedure. It’s a risky procedure. It’s -- you have to maintain these eggs from year to year in a laboratory, in a tank.
So, I think it’s something that young women should think long and hard about doing, but I think it’s another arsenal in the sort of the war against infertility, you know, and some women who put off child bearing suddenly find themselves it’s difficult to conceive. So, I think it’s another option. It’s not a panacea.
MCLAUGHLIN: What about this? An older man said to me, freezing eggs gives the illusion that we can have it all, a busy career, an exciting life of travel and a family much later?
PAGE: What party pooper said that?
PAGE: I mean it’s like -- it reminds me of --
MCLAUGHLIN: Is it true?
PAGE: H.L. Mencken’s definition of a puritan -- somebody suspects that somebody is having a good time somewhere. I mean, the fact is, that this has been wonderful for families that had conflicts over having children. Only objections I’ve heard have been people concerned about fertilized eggs being discarded and the disrespect for life issue, which is --
CLIFT: This is freezing your eggs. These are not -- these are not fertilized. So, that’s the fertilized embryos is a whole other --
PAGE: Right. These are unfertilized egg.
CLIFT: -- a whole other topic of discussion.
MCLAUGHLIN: What about costs? It costs $10,000 to harvest eggs, $500 a year to store them, and $5,000 to implant them. Fertility treatments can cost $30,000 plus for a single successful pregnancy.
Does that alter your view on any of the subject under discussion? I’m going back to you.
CLIFT: Now, you’re going in -- OK. Yes, that’s moving away from just freezing eggs. These are people who are having difficulty conceiving and they pay a lot of money.
People -- it’s a natural urge to want your own biological child, and I think again, science has given us various options. They’re not for everyone. There’s debates, insurance companies now cover some in vitro fertilization. They may cover one or two cycles. So, I think it’s out there.
But none of this is a panacea, and I think a lot of young women struggle with it.
ROGAN: Another important beneficial element of this, of course, is that young women who face medical difficulties have the opportunity to freeze eggs, so that they can pursue that treatment.
And I also -- you know, I think -- I think in many ways, it’s very good. I think one of the key things certainly in my perspective is we go through this sort of conservative introspection period. One of the great points that I think conservatives have to be able to unify around is the importance of the family.
And so, if we can promote abilities for people to have families at a timeline that suits them, and to create that social equilibrium that is so important because of poverty and crime and the health of the nation, economics, we should pursue that. And so, it’s good news. It’s medical science, advancing the frontiers of human capacity to live in the pursuit of happiness. It’s good.
MCLAUGHLIN: You have thoughts on this, Buchanan?
BUCHANAN: Not a great many, John.
BUCHANAN: No, the -- the motivation of young women to have families or families later, nothing wrong with the motivation at all. And if you just -- but if you’re talking about a fertilized egg, you’re talking about a basically an unborn child. You’re talking about real life. And in many cases, some of these are discarded.
So, what truly the science of 1984, is what I recall -- it was the magazine, the book, but thats 1984, now 36 years into that or whatever it is.
PAGE: The world is more relevant --
BUCHANAN: Brave new world, sure, sure.
MCLAUGHLIN: Quick exit question: Will conception via frozen egg become as commonplace as implanting frozen embryos? Yes, or no, Pat Buchanan?
CLIFT: No, too risky, too expensive.
MCLAUGHLIN: I think yes. About 5,000 babies have been born using frozen eggs, using frozen embryos -- some 300,000 babies have been born worldwide. Statistics seem to flow in favor of frozen eggs -- and frozen eggs and pregnancy as a fertility treatment, and it has the potentially to become more widespread.
Forced prediction: U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will authorize the Justice Department to bring criminal indictments against scientists who deny the administration’s climate change claims. Yes or no?
BUCHANAN: I would love for her to try it, John, but no.
ROGAN: No, patently unconstitutional -- First Amendment.
PAGE: It’s not going to happen and it wouldn’t workable, practical or desirable.
MCLAUGHLIN: Are there any exceptions that any of you see?
MCLAUGLIN: That could occur between now and -- any contingency?
BUCHANAN: You can’t be prosecuted for an opinion.
MCLAUGHLIN: My answer is yes.