Posted originally on the CTH on March 12, 2023 | Sundance
During an interview with Margaret Brennan today, Congressman Michael McCaul -another GOPe weasel – said he stands with Vice President Mike Pence in saying “they avoided a constitutional crisis” on January 6, 2021, when Congress declared an emergency session and refused to entertain any challenges to the 2020 election certification. WATCH:
[Transcript] – MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Texas Republican Congressman Michael McCaul.
Good morning to you, Chairman McCaul.
REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-Texas): Good Morning, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I have got a lot to get to with you today.
But I want to start where I just left off with those very strong remarks from Mike Pence last night. Do you want to associate yourself with what he said?
REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Let me just say Vice President Pence exercised moral clarity and judgment that day by doing his constitutional responsibility, authenticating the votes and counting them.
He avoided a major constitutional crisis that day. As you know, I voted for certification. That is our constitutional role not to overturn state- certified ballots. So, I agree. I mean, look, it was a dark — dark day. And I think people will be — history will judge everyone by what they did that day.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-hmm.
It was a pretty strong condemnation of Donald Trump, who he hasn’t directly taken on like that before. But it’s also back in the news very much, Chairman, because it was the speaker of the House who gave those 41,000 hours of surveillance video access to FOX News, which then has used a recasting of the events, trying to sanitize it, trying to whitewash history.
Do you think it was a mistake for Republican leadership to strike this deal with Tucker Carlson? That is who Mike Pence was talking about.
REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, I know Kevin McCarthy has turned all the videotape over to FOX News.
He has given me assurance he’s going to turn it over to the entire media. I think — I believe in the fourth estate, freedom of press, and I think the American people deserve to see all the footage from that day, and all the footage is not going to be tourism at the Capitol. It’s going to show a very dark, tragic day that I witnessed firsthand that included our Capitol Police being assaulted, 140 of them injured, two pipe bombs, one — one Capitol police officer killed, and a protester killed.
That’s not — that’s not a good day. And I think it should have been prevented had we had good intelligence that day beforehand. And, look, I support law enforcement. Like this D.C. crime bill we were passing, I support law enforcement everywhere, especially at the United States Capitol.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you on the other side of an upcoming commercial break about the hearing you just held on Afghanistan.
But, before I do that, I want to quickly ask you about what we’ve been talking about, with the Treasury Secretary saying no government bailout for this Silicon Valley Bank, but they are trying to take some action.
She didn’t give a lot of detail there. I know Austin is a start-up hub in your home state of Texas. How concerned are you about spillover here?
REPRESENTATIVE REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Yes, we do have South by Southwest this weekend, a lot of tech.
Yes, I am concerned, I hope it’s more of an isolated event, because the assets were very — it was all just technology sector and it wasn’t diversified, also, as the secretary mentioned these low interest bonds. And I think part of the problem, Margaret, is, in this inflationary time, the Reserve, Federal Reserve, now is raising interest rates, and that, I think, is part of the problem as well.
We want to make sure this is — this is an isolated event, and not a systemic event that could impact things like in 2008…
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: … when we did bailout the financial sector.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, I have got to take that break now.
And we’ll come back and continue our conversation in a moment.
MARGARET BRENNAN: If you can’t watch Face the Nation live, you can set your DVR. We’re also available through our CBS and Paramount+ apps.
And we’re replayed on our CBS News Streaming Network.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be right back with a lot more Face the Nation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION.
We want to return now to our conversation with House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul.
Now, Chairman, I mentioned that you held this hearing on Afghanistan this past week, and it was pretty emotional.
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): Yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re really examining the chaotic withdrawal from that country. And you had a Marines Corps sergeant, injured in the suicide bombing, who testified that he was an eyewitness and he actually saw the suicide bomber before the attack. He testified he has never been interviewed as part of the U.S. investigation.
How was this overlooked?
REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: I think it’s very — well, first of all, very powerful testimony. Very emotional. But very devastating and damaging to the administration. These – these snipers and troops were put at HKIA, surrounded by the Taliban.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The airport in Kabul.
REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: They put the Taliban in — in Kabul. That’s the HKIA airport. And surrounded by the Taliban who were put in charge. And that was the first mistake in the chaos that we heard that happened that day and the State Department virtually non-existent.
I think the most dramatic thing, Margaret, was the fact that this sniper had the suicide bomber in his sights and an intelligence bulletin went out, you know, describing him. He said, this is — this meets the description, meets with the team, PSYOPS, psychological operations get together, they run this up the chain of command and the commanding officer says, I don’t have the authority. And then they said, who does have the authority for permission to engage, and the commanding officer says, I don’t know, and he never got back to them.
The point is, they could have taken out this threat. But then, when the suicide bomber went off, not only did Marine Sergeant Vargas Andrews have his leg blown off and his arm, but we had 140 Afghans killed, 13 service men and women killed.
I talked to the mother of one of the Marine sergeants.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: I gave her just a hug. She was so devastated. In addition to 50 injured, including Marine Sergeant Vargas Andrews.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: And it could have been avoided.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, to the point of how it could be avoided. You know, you – you hear it, there were intelligence failures. Events just got ahead of planning.
The State Department argues that they’ve briefed Congress more than 150 times since the withdrawal. What information do you need that you don’t have yet?
REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, I think the compelling testimony we got from the sniper. We’ve never heard this before. In fact, Margaret, this is the first open hearing we’ve had on Afghanistan since the fall of Afghanistan. And I intend to move forward with this investigation. And I what to know what the commanding officer was thinking when he denied permission to take out the threat and how — what levels did it go to within the United States government? I think those are all very important questions.
And the State Department has not been compliant with our document requests. I met with the secretary. We had a very cordial conversation. Cooperation is always key. But they’re not cooperating. If he fails to cooperate with my document production request by, you know, the time he testifies on March 23rd, I am prepared to issue a subpoena.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And issue — issue a subpoena for Antony Blinken to come testify before your committee. What exactly do you think he’s withholding? What’s the documents?
REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: No, he is – he — he will be testifying, but we have an outstanding document production request that the lawyers are very combative. I think the secretary, in good faith, has told me he wants to cooperate with this investigation, be transparent to the American people, but we’re not seeing that with the lawyers handling this on the ground. So, we need these documents because a lot of this stuff, to your point, Margaret, has never been brought out to the public.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. This is the dissent cable specifically that you are requesting, that is people within the State Department disagreeing with the policy that was the administration’s planning?
REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: It’s a dissent cable. The extraordinary measure to have 23 members of the State Department at the embassy dissenting with the policy.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL: The after action report from the ambassador. But also the plan of evacuation. Just a simple plan of evacuation. What was your plan? They have failed to deliver that to Congress. Those are three key, you know, areas that we want to see compliance with.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
All right, Congressman, we will be watching that. I know there are a number of other issues we’ll talk to you about sometime soon, including China, but I’ve got to leave it there for today. [Transcript End]