The McLaughlin Group

Host: John McLaughlin

Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast;
Guy Taylor, Washington Times;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report

Taped: Friday, March 14, 2014

Broadcast: Weekend of March 15-16, 2014

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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Arseniy Comes Calling.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) We completely reject a referendum patched together in a few weeks with Russian military personnel basically taking over Crimea. We reject its legitimacy. It is contrary to international law. It is contrary to the Ukrainian constitution.

ARSENIY YATSENYUK (acting Ukrainian prime minister): (From videotape.) My country has faced a number of challenges. The military one is a key challenge today. And we urge Russia to stick to its international obligation to pull back its military (into barracks ?) and to start the dialogue, with no guns, with no military, with no tanks, but with the diplomacy and political tools. On behalf of my government, I would like to reiterate that we are absolutely ready and open for talks with the Russian Federation.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk met with President Obama at the White House this week in a bid to thwart Russia's Sunday referendum on the annexation of Crimea. Prime Minister Yatsenyuk is a lawyer and economist with impressive political connections for a 39-year-old who abruptly came to power in a nation in crisis.

Prime Minister Yatsenyuk was a key member of the pro-western movement that led to the flight of former President Viktor Yanukovych three weeks ago. Yatsenyuk was named by the parliament after Yanukovych was deposed. Yatsenyuk is a member of the same party as the famed former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, recently released from prison. But the political relationship between the two is strained now due to a clash of political vision. Interestingly, U.S. State Department diplomat Victoria Nuland backs Yatsenyuk to lead Ukraine.

Besides his law degree, Yatsenyuk has a degree in accounting. And in 2010, he unsuccessfully stood for president on the ticket of his party, Front for Change.

question: What did Prime Minister Yatsenyuk want from President Obama? And did he get what he wanted? Pat Buchanan.

PAT BUCHANAN: First, Yatsenyuk is -- represents a government which Russia correctly sees as legitimate. It came to power as a consequence of a popular populist coup in the streets involving violence.

But what he came to get, John, basically, is full United States political, diplomatic, economic and, if necessary, military support, should Russia move on eastern Ukraine, and all that American backing to prevent the annexation of Crimea by the Russians, which could take place basically after this Sunday's vote.

I think the ideal solution -- but he does want to talk to Russia. I think the ideal solution, John, if it happens, is the Russians win the election in Crimea but Putin does not exercise the right to annex it and they wait for the elections in Ukraine in May and then work something out. And I think that's the best hope of what's going on here. But Crimea, for all intents and purposes, is lost to Ukraine.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yanukovych left.

MR. BUCHANAN: He was thrown out, basically.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was thrown out.

MR. BUCHANAN: He fled.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He fled. He's now in Russian territory.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's in Russian territory.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why do you say that this president is not the president?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's not the prime minister, in my judgment, for the reason that Yanukovych was overthrown by mob action -- excuse me -- yeah, Yanukovych. But this fellow was not elected by anybody. It's when Yanukovych's party was thrown out of parliament that his party, which had lost the election, came to power.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he's improperly doing what he's doing?

GUY TAYLOR: I think he wanted to use the White House as a platform, a soapbox, that would give him tremendous international exposure and up his legitimacy in the eyes of the rest of the world, because there's deep concern in Kiev right now and there's deep concern in Washington, and in the defense and intelligence communities, that Russia and Putin and Moscow will take eastern Ukraine; they're going to send the Russian military in. And if that happens --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MR. TAYLOR: Let me finish. If that happens and there is not a legitimate leader in Kiev that can rally control of western Ukraine in how it responds, we will have --


MR. TAYLOR: -- the outbreak of total chaos in the Ukraine.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If Yatsenyuk is an interloper -- the one we just saw -- why would President Obama --

MR. TAYLOR: (He's not ?) an interloper.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- (inaudible) -- seeing him?

MR. TAYLOR: I don't think he's an interloper.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why would he see him?

MR. TAYLOR: Because the Ukrainian parliament did vote on pushing this guy forward. He is a legitimate interim --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he said --

ELEANOR CLIFT: He was democratically --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You described him as improper.

MR. BUCHANAN: The whole government over there in Kiev now was brought to power by a coup in the streets.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but --

MR. BUCHANAN: Why is that legitimate?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're talking about the eastern part of Ukraine.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I'm talking about Kiev.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, the Russians think the Americans were behind the whole three-months-long episode in the square.


MS. CLIFT: No, you can believe --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- for the sake of this discussion, regard this man as legitimate.

MS. CLIFT: I think it's my turn, John. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, well --

MS. CLIFT: You can defend Yanukovych and you can defend the Russian point of view. But the fact is the democratically elected president fled with billions of dollars. If he came back, he'd be strung up from a lamppost. Even the Russians are not out there really backing him. And you have this caretaker prime minister now who's willing to stand for election.

He came here looking for money and for credibility. He got more credibility than he got money. And the president is fighting to get him some funds, and he'll get some funds through the IMF. But the country is a basket case, and that's the challenge they're facing --

MORT ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

MS. CLIFT: -- Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I agree with that. And I think that's exactly why he came here. And he succeeded in what he had to do --

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- because he wasn't well-known. However, if you saw him in the press conference, he's very intelligent.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: He's very articulate. And therefore, it's not a surprise that he emerged, given the departure of his predecessor, with every bit of money that they had in the country.

MR. BUCHANAN: But let him run for president or prime minister -- president -- in the coming elections in May. What I'm saying is the whole reason there's a crisis here is that Moscow, understandably -- even though Yanukovych, I agree, is corrupt -- understandably says, look, we had a government here that was friendly to us and corrupt, like they all are, and these guys threw him out. And who put them all up to this coup d'etat in the streets but the usual Americans?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, other developments.

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Other developments.

Item: EU drafts punitive measures. British Prime Minister David Cameron met with other European leaders to discuss sanctions, ranging from travel bans to barring Russian oligarchs from access to western banks.

Item: The U.S. Congress passed a resolution condemning Russia's violation of Ukraine's sovereignty. It calls for passage of sanctions against Russia, approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Question: Is there a strategic purpose for the U.S. and the EU sanctions to be put in place, or are they politically punitive? I ask you.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I think we have to do something in order to somehow or other constrain the Russians from moving into Ukraine. They did it in a very subtle way and did it very well, from their point of view. We didn't have the sense of a major invasion, you know. So he handled it very well. He moved very deliberately.

And I -- one of the things we are going to have to do is to prevent him from doing it with Ukraine, because then we're really in a position where we might have to get involved on some other level than we want to get involved.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So the restoration of order.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, not only restoration of order --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And there was not a shot fired.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: You have to provide some level of credibility to the government of Ukraine that we're behind them in a serious way.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get now to the -- to the action being taken on Sunday. What about that?

MS. CLIFT: Well, the action being taken -- we know the outcome. There's no way to vote no on this ballot, so it's going to happen. And the world is not going to view it as legitimate. You can't have a free and fair election when you've got Russian personnel, as the president called them, armed personnel, in the streets. And so the Russians will portray it as a vote for self-determination, and the western world will portray it as a phony vote to ratify what Putin had done.

MR. BUCHANAN: Didn't you just portray --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Didn't you just portray the coup d'etat in Kiev as a legitimate change in government?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, no, no.

MR. BUCHANAN: The point is, we don't understand -- look, the Russian point of view has got to be understood if you're going to solve this.

MR. TAYLOR: The strategy, if you read between the lines, for the Obama administration is very reactive right now. What they are trying to do is to convince Moscow to sit down with this interim government in Kiev, and they're using the threat of sanctions to try and motivate Moscow to do that. And they're trying to prop up this interim 39- year-old leader in Kiev --


MR. TAYLOR: -- as the lead negotiator and ask Russia --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MR. TAYLOR: -- to turn a blind eye --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The emphasis ought to be on Crimea --

MR. TAYLOR: -- (inaudible).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Crimea, as distinct from the rest of the country, which is regarded as Kiev country and east. You got it? Now, what's at issue is Crimea.

MR. BUCHANAN: Crimea's gone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, Crimea's gone?

MR. BUCHANAN: Crimea is not going to be retrieved.

It is gone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're going into -- they're having a --

MR. BUCHANAN: The Russians are going to win the election. And the only question is whether Putin officially annexes or unofficially annexes it.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. And if Putin --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're having a vote within Crimea tomorrow, Sunday.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.


MS. CLIFT: And if Putin --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And we have to see how that goes.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Well, we know how it's going to go.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's largely a Russian -- predominantly a Russian entity --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: John, I'm prepared -- I'm prepared --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that will probably go Russian.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm prepared to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Then he'll take that and it will be an orderly transfer of a piece of Ukraine.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm prepared to give you 20-to-1 odds on the outcome of this election, just to show you the kind of guy I am.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: There's no --

MS. CLIFT: I'll say there'll be zero no votes, because there's no place on the ballot to vote no.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, ready for action.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is not mincing words with the Russians. Last Friday the general told PBS NewsHour that the U.S. will take military action if fighting escalates in Ukraine. Excerpts are posted on the Atlantic Council website.
Here are the general's own words: "We're trying to tell them" -- the Russians, that is -- "not to escalate this thing further into eastern Ukraine, and allow the conditions to be set for some kind of resolution in Crimea. We do have treaty obligations with our NATO ally. And I have assured them that if that treaty obligation is triggered in Europe, we would respond.

"If Russia is allowed to do this, which is to say move into a sovereign country under the guise of protecting ethnic Russians in Ukraine, it exposes Eastern Europe to some significant risk, because there are ethnic enclaves all over Eastern Europe and the Balkans," unquote.
The U.S. guaranteed Ukraine's territorial integrity in the 1994 Budapest memorandum.

Question: What does that constitute, a treaty obligation requiring the U.S. to defend Ukraine if fighting breaks out? Mort Zuckerman.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I mean, this is going to be the key issue. I mean, I don't think the United States wants to or has the will to get involved in fighting with the Russians over Ukraine. And to my mind, the issue is how -- and, by the way, I don't believe Putin wants to get into that either. And if you saw how carefully he moved into Crimea, you realize this man knows how to play the game without trying to trigger and without triggering the kind of military response that he doesn't want.

So I don't think we're going to have that kind of a clear-cut issue. If the Russians do anything, they'll move in very, very subtle ways and in very slow ways, just as they did in Crimea. He played the game beautifully. He ended up with a prize at virtually no cost.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, we don't have any --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: We don't have any NATO agreement to defend Ukraine at all. We do have a NATO commitment, though, to Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, all of which -- Latvia, for example, has got 500,000 ethnic Russians in it; a tiny Baltic republic of 2 million. That's what Dempsey is saying.

Look, if this Ukraine goes and you start moving into the Baltics, you've got across NATO's red line.

MS. CLIFT: Well, General Dempsey --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is --

MS. CLIFT: -- in that interview you cited, said that he's speaking constantly with his Russian counterpart and telling him exactly what we're doing. And basically, he's saying NATO is the red line. You cross the red line, you're going to trigger a response. The problem is, when you put a red line out there, you basically tell them they could do everything short of that.

MR. TAYLOR: Right, which could be read as almost a defeatist --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: (Inaudible) -- Syria.

MR. TAYLOR: -- a defeatist --

MS. CLIFT: But NATO is the red line, clearly.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I understand.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama --

MR. TAYLOR: I think Dempsey sounded quite desperate in his remarks.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Pat. Hold on. President Obama's position on Crimea and the referendum --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's illegitimate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Illegitimate. Why, therefore, is he even talking to someone who is from --

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look, he wants to indicate American support for what is the temporary government in Kiev right now. He wants to indicate to the Russians that what you're doing in Crimea is not going to be recognized by anybody. And I think he wants to signal that if you keep moving, especially in eastern Ukraine, you're going to have real problems. But I don't think anybody believes, even in that case, there's going to be a war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think anyone else will not regard the referendum as being binding?

MR. BUCHANAN: Nobody in Western Europe is going to recognize this.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're talking now about Crimea.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, Crimea will be recognized by Belarus maybe -- by Belarus and Kazakhstan.

MS. CLIFT: And maybe Moldova. I don't --

MR. BUCHANAN: Maybe Moldova.

MS. CLIFT: But that's about it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the EU?

MS. CLIFT: No way.

MR. BUCHANAN: Nobody's going to recognize the --

MS. CLIFT: It's not --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The referendum in Crimea?

MR. BUCHANAN: They're not going to -- (inaudible) -- legitimate.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: John, you will not have legal recognition. You will have de facto recognition. We're not going to do anything about it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That satisfies the requirement.

Issue Two: Spooks Versus Spooks.

SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): I have grave concern that the CIA search may well have violated the separation-of-powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution, including the speech-and- debate clause. It may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function.

I have asked for an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate. I have received neither.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In an extraordinary speech on the floor of the Senate this week, Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the Central Intelligence Agency of spying on her committee staff.

Here's the background. In 2007, seven years ago, Senate Intelligence staffers began reviewing classified documents pertaining to how the CIA treats terrorist suspects, namely its harsh interrogation techniques, one of which notably was waterboarding.

Waterboarding is a post-9/11 procedure approved by the Bush White House and Justice Department. Waterboarding is a controversial tool in which a suspect is made to feel like he or she is drowning. After President Obama took office in 2009, he himself labeled the procedure as, quote-unquote, "torture" and banned its practice.
Senator Feinstein at the time, 2009, wanted to examine even more CIA documents, working out a deal with the CIA, then run by Director Leon Panetta, to have staffers review documents at a secure site in Virginia on a secure computer system.

In the course of what turned into a four-year investigation, Senator Feinstein claims documents initially provided to her staff began disappearing on the computer system, including an internal CIA report known as the Panetta review. The CIA counterclaimed that the Panetta review was not made available to Senate staffers, citing executive privilege. But Senator Feinstein says it was among the documents the CIA turned over.

The CIA disputes this, and based on evidence from its own examination of the computer drive, has asked the Justice Department to probe what it believes is the unauthorized access to the classified report.

Senator Feinstein calls the Justice probe an effort to intimidate her investigation. She has now turned the tables by accusing the executive branch of improper spying and interference with congressional oversight and constitutional breaches.

Question: Who is spying on whom in this affair? And will it develop into a confrontation between the White House and the Congress? Guy Taylor.

MR. TAYLOR: John, first of all, John Brennan, the head of the CIA, within a few hours of Dianne Feinstein making these accusations, categorically denied that the CIA had hacked any congressional computers. Whether or not we believe him or Dianne Feinstein, I think it's up in the air. The extent to which --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why is it up in the air if she has the data in front of her?

MR. TAYLOR: Because he's saying --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That he didn't do it.

MR. TAYLOR: -- we didn't hack; no one in the CIA hacked. So you're telling me that the head of the CIA --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the only way to get into it was the CIA, because they knew where the documents were.

MR. TAYLOR: There's a possibility here that -- what we're waiting to see is whether or not Republicans in the House and the Senate take the bait on this --


MR. TAYLOR: -- and call for a special investigation into this. But I think actually the Obama administration will be happy to see that go forward and expose things about the torture regime that was pursued under the Bush administration.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there a constitutional amendment or dimension to this?

MR. TAYLOR: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Constitutional. What is it?

MR. TAYLOR: It's the separation of powers. The CIA --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What power -- the power of the Congress or the power of the president?

MR. TAYLOR: The CIA falls under the executive branch.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And the Congress has this --

MR. TAYLOR: So the idea is that the executive has overstepped its bounds.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- information which the White House does not have, and the White House penetrates the veil and gets the information.

MR. TAYLOR: Using the CIA to do so.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Using the CIA to do so. That's the rap.

MR. TAYLOR: That's the accusation.

MS. CLIFT: Well, I tend to agree with Feinstein.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We don't know -- we don't know if it's the executive branch or the CIA who initiated it.

MR. TAYLOR: Or a few individuals in the CIA.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: My instinct tells me that, in fact, somebody from the CIA gave this information, shall we say sub rosa, to the committee, and they wanted to find out who it was. And that's why they, in a sense, shall we say --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't think there was any sub rosa involved.

MR. BUCHANAN: I don't think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think she arranged to get it from the CIA.


MS. CLIFT: Feinstein leaves the door open --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The question is, did she arrange for everything that she received --

MS. CLIFT: She leaves --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- including some of this information, which I think they felt was absolutely --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, I don't think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think they had it, but they hadn't really explored it, because it's a huge volume of data.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, this is not White House --

MS. CLIFT: She leaves the door open to -- she leaves the door open that there might be a whistleblower.

MR. TAYLOR: (Inaudible) --

MS. CLIFT: She doesn't know the details, but she --

MR. TAYLOR: -- whistleblower.

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me -- but she insists that her staffers didn't do anything illegal. And what tipped this for her was the triggering of an FBI investigation looking into possible illegality on the part of her staff. This is about a report that's been conducted about the extra interrogation techniques during the Bush years.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right, torture.

MS. CLIFT: And now -- and the CIA is fighting back. And John Brennan was in the CIA at the time of the Bush administration --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)

MS. CLIFT: -- and it looks strongly like he's trying to protect some people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let's get to the exit question.

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) -- the president in a very awkward position.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which will take longer to complete, Attorney General Eric Holder's review of the IRS handling of the tea party applications, reportedly begun last year, or his review of who acted improperly in the CIA-versus-Intelligence-Committee flap now going on? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Both are very long-range, John, before they -- but this is a CIA protective operation against the Senate committee, which is trying to dig into it. Barack Obama is an absentee on this one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let Eleanor in, quickly.

MS. CLIFT: Barack Obama chose not to investigate the people who did the waterboarding when president -- when he came into office.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, quickly, quickly.

MS. CLIFT: And he's under a lot of pressure to make these reports (public ?).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Three seconds.

MR. TAYLOR: The CIA fight takes a lot longer to resolve.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It will take so long that there'll be a new administration in power before they really get to the material. Let me put it that way.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's good enough, Mort.

Issue Three: Big John.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DINGELL (D-MI): (From videotape.) God bless the United States of America. We have a tremendous treasure here. Let's guard it and let's pray that it is successful for many, many centuries.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The longest-serving member of Congress in history has announced that he plans to retire -- Michigan Democratic Representative John Dingell, aka Big John.

Mr. Dingell will leave the House of Representatives at the end of this year, 2014, after nearly six decades in the office. During that time, John Dingell has played a key role in energy, food safety, environmental law, telecommunications, health care.

Of the latter, his career spans the creation of Medicare in 1965 to the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, i.e. "Obamacare." In fact, in every new session of Congress, Representative Dingell introduced a universal health care bill, keeping the public health cause alive until the arrival of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare," 2010.

In a statement last month, President Obama nodded to Dingell's role in fighting for universal health care. Quote: "Of all John's accomplishments, perhaps the most remarkable has been his tireless fight to guarantee quality affordable health care for every American," unquote.

For his part, John Dingell says that the achievement that makes him proudest was his vote for the civil rights bill of 1964, which led to this Q&A last year.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

STEVE KROFT (CBS "60 Minutes"): Do you think that you could pass the 1964 civil rights bill today?

REP. DINGELL: (Laughs.) I said the other day I wasn't sure we couldn't pass the Ten Commandments in this place.

(End videotaped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Debbie Dingell, wife of John, has announced that she's running for her retiring husband's seat.

Question: Was this quip of John Dingell characteristic of him?

MR. BUCHANAN: John, he's one of the most well-respected, well- liked members of the Congress of the United States. He goes back a long way to somewhat better times. He did some great things, I think, from his standpoint; one of them the Clean Water Act and the environmental legislation. In the Nixon years, which was the beginning of all that, he was right in the thick of it. And, of course, he's enormously proud of his role in that 1964 Civil Rights Act which -- you know, which passed the House and Senate handily.


MS. CLIFT: Yeah. He held the seat that his father held before him. And his father introduced President Roosevelt's health care plan before the Congress. And Congressman Dingell every year would introduce some form of this health care plan. There isn't any legislation of modern social welfare that doesn't bear his imprint.

On the negative side, he protected the auto industry a bit too long, but he did come around on that as well.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's good on guns.

MS. CLIFT: He's a huge supporter of the NRA. But when the NRA went too far, he resigned as a board member, as I recall.

So he's a man who goes back a long time, but he changed with the changing times. And he leaves an enormous amount of respect across the aisle, Republicans and Democrats.


MR. TAYLOR: I think he is absolutely an old-school Democrat. A younger politician who came along today and supported the NRA would be painted as an extreme right winger. A younger politician who came along today and at the same time supported affordable care and nationalized health care would be painted as an extreme left winger.

We don't have politicians of the younger generation now that can do those things without being painted into an ideological corner. It's a problem. And I hope that it passes with time.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, he, you know, reminds us of days when you had politicians and political leaders who knew how to compromise and deal with both sides of an issue and with both sides of the House. He was one of those extraordinary politicians. And that's why, given his longevity and given his seniority, he was able to be as attractive as he was.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The CIA-Feinstein war is an all-Democratic war that will fade away.


MS. CLIFT: Feinstein's credibility will trump the CIA.


MR. TAYLOR: The Russian military makes a limited incursion into eastern Ukraine in the next month.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: Senator Feinstein will have a press conference in which she announces that she's satisfied now with how she has worked with the CIA.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that the U.S., U.K. and U.N. sanctions on Russian oligarchs will burst the bubble of the high-end real-estate markets in London, Miami, Aspen and other chic cities. We're talking about bottom falling out of the sales of double-digit million-dollar mansions, the pricey properties that appeal to oligarchs who thought they were investing their money in safe havens.


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