following is a transcript of the Ron Insana Radio Show from October
Brad Friedman, of The
BRAD BLOG debated Ann Coulter on Republican ethics (or
lack thereof). Coulter left halfway through the program. For more
details on that and what actually happened, see Brad's blog
item on the matter here.
Brad also documented a lie that
Coulter told during the program here.
The complete audio version of
the hour in MP3 format is here.
RON INSANA: Hello everyone, welcome to the Ron Insana Show. Is
the Republican leadership on Capital Hill on the run? House Majority
Leader, Tom Delay, indicted for fraud and criminal conspiracy to
launder money in Texas. Senate Majority Leader, Tom Frist, being
investigated by the SEC for alleged insider trading, selling shares
out of his blind trust of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), a
health care company started by his father, some nine days before the
company warned of disappointing profits. Delay, who's close friend,
Jack Abramoff, was recently arrested for alleged shady business
dealings, says his indictment is nothing more than a blatant
political partisanship act, perpetrated by a fanatic, engaging in
the politics of personal destruction. The latter phrase, ironically,
used by Bill Clinton during MonicaGate. Now Senator Frist says he
sold the stock to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest,
since he would be helping to shape any future health care reform
legislation that might affect the firm, in which he sold shares.
Now, is the Republican leadership sinking under the weight of hubris
and moral misconduct, or is it all just a vast, left wing
conspiracy? Joining me now, in what will very likely be an explosive
debate, is Ann Coulter, conservative commentator and author of,
"How to Talk to a Liberal, if You Must" - and Brad
Friedman, of BradBlog.com, a liberal that Ann must talk to today.
Thank you both for joining me, and Ann, let me start with you. What
do you make of all this stuff? Is it a....is it all just a sham?
ANN COULTER: Um, well, not all of it. Um, I mean, I didn't look
at the charges, but it looks like Abramoff is in trouble.
ANN: It's well obvious he's not part of the Bush administration,
he's not on Tom Delay's staff, um....
RON: Although Mr. Delay called him a very close personal friend.
ANN: [She laughs] Is that the level of criminality required for
Republicans? We could have put.....
RON: It was during TravelGate though, wasn't it?
ANN: We could have put Clinton in prison before he was out of the
crib, if that was the standard. Um, but yes, that is what the
Democrats think the standard is for Republicans. Um, they've been
after Tom Delay since 1993, they've had filed innumerable ethics
charges against him. In fact, what was happening was outside groups
were filing ethics charges against Delay. The... the... the House
Rules Committee actually had to pass a rule saying, "Um, ya
have to be a member of Congress to file an ethics complaint."
Um, he.. he.. he.. um.. didn't.. wasn't charged with anything for
those. There have been six grand juries by what I think any
fair-minded person would say is a very partisan prosecutor, um, in
Texas particularly. [inaudible] His witch hunt against a sitting
United States Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, I think tells people
all you need to know.
RON: Brad, do you agree with anything Ann said?
BRAD FRIEDMAN: Well, of course not. (Ron laughs) I don't know
where she gets the idea that he is a fanatical partisan, other than
it seems to be Tom Delay's defense for all of this. The fact of the
matter is, Ronnie Earle has prosecuted, I believe it's, twelve
Democrats and just three Republicans, prior to this whole Tom Delay
RON: Those are my numbers as well, that I saw today, yes.
BRAD: Yeah, I mean and so.....
ANN: Can I respond to that?
RON: Uh, let me give Brad a little more time to comment, Ann, and
then I'll get back to you shortly.
BRAD: I mean, what these guys do - and it's just, it's remarkable
to see this Republican party right now, who used to parade around
and claim that they were in favor of the rule of law - all of a
sudden they don't seem to give a damn about the rule of law, and
when they can't defend themselves, which seems to be quite
frequently lately, what they do is try to destroy their opposition.
Despite the reality, despite the facts. To call Ronnie Earle a
fanatical partisan, when he's, you know, prosecuted twelve... out of
the fifteen cases that he's prosecuted, twelve of them have been
Democrats, it is indeed the politics of personal
RON: Alright, Ann, let me get your response to that.
ANN: Um, first of all, um, okay sorry, I think I am giving facts
and not throwing around charges like Brad just did..... um, Kay
Bailey Hutchinson, I mentioned I believe, and in that case, days
after a United States Senator was elected, Ronnie Earle raids her
offices, without a warrant, um, grabs boxes of documents, and for
one year, goes around publicly accusing her of being a criminal.
When it came time for the trial, the prosecutor shows up and he
says, "No, I'm not ready to make the case yet" and the
judge said you can't just keep going around calling someone a
criminal. You have to make the case, or not make the case and
[inaudible] directed the acquittal of Kay Bailey Hutchinson, to put
and end to this. As to the number of Democrats the prosecutor....
and in addition, the prosecutor's been showing up at Democratic fund
raisers, calling Tom Delay a bully, and saying guilty one to get
him. Um, he's been cooperating with documentary producers on the
case against Tom Delay. But, there's no documentary movie if he
doesn't indict Tom Delay.
RON: Now let me just bring up one point... Ann, if I can, let me
bring one ....
ANN: Let me get to the final point... and that is [inaudible]
these Democrats, that by itself, frees Ronnie Earle from the taint
of politics, after everything else I've mentioned. I mean for one
thing, I mean up until five minutes ago, all politicians in Texas
were Democrat. If you look at the Democrats he's prosecuted, for one
thing, some of them were [inaudible] Democrats, but most
importantly, they had committed crimes. I mean I'm not saying that
Ronnie Earle was so political that when a Democrat politician takes
bribes, he will not be prosecuted. I mean these were people, who
went to trial, were convicted and had to strike plea bargains. If
you're a Democrat in Texas and you commit a crime, yes you'll be
prosecuted, but Ronnie Earle will prosecute Republicans, whether or
not they've committed a crime.
BRAD: Why is it when Democrats commit crimes, that are prosecuted
by Ronnie Earle, they're crimes, but when Tom Delay does so, you
have no interest in them whatsoever and it's a partisan witch hunt?
I mean, you guys have so many standards for what's right, right now
in this country, now that you're really just drunk with power, it
seems, in every house, whether it's the Senate, whether it's the
House... Bill Frist... I'm sure we'll talk about that a little bit
RON: Yes we will.
BRAD: ...the Whitehouse outing of a CIA agent, for the first time
in American history and apologists, like Ann Coulter, come on the
air and you know, try to attack the folks who are, you know, trying
to hold them up to an ethical standard. It's outrageous and if you
really are interested in the rule of law, you'll let this thing move
forward, find out exactly what the charges are, look - there's a
reason why there's so many ethics charges that have been brought
against Tom Delay, in fact, by a Republican congress. You know, I
mean he has abused his power, a Republican Ethics Committee and
Congress has found that was the case three times last year, when Tom
Delay used the Department of Homeland Security to track down
airplanes that Democrats were riding on. I mean, what kind of abuse
of power is this and how does Ann get off supporting this - morally,
ethically, or in any other way?
RON: Now let me interrupt you for a second, Brad, because one
thing I want to ask you about, is Dick Morris, who yesterday in his
syndicated column, essentially turned on Tom Delay and you know,
from one day to the next, you're not necessarily sure which team
Dick Morris is playing for, understandably, but he said that Tom
Delay you know, may or may not be guilty of this, you know, of
funneling of corporate money to Texas interests. But what he said
what he was guilty of, was circumventing the democratic process by
using those funds to gerrymander the state of Texas, so republicans
can win back the majority. Um, surprising to hear that from Dick
ANN: Um, well I don't really care about the source, one way or
another, I disagree with it. I didn't read the column, but, um,
what.. what.. what had happened was - because as I say, up until ten
minutes ago, the only Republican in Texas was Phil Graham. That was
a solid, Democratic state, because of the gerrymandering done by
Democrats. Um, um, in presidential election after presidential
election, the Republican would win in Texas by, you know, like 65%
to 35%, every four years, 65% for the Republican. Meanwhile, it was
basically the reverse in the House of Representatives. That is the
result of gerrymandering, when 65% of Texans are voting for the
Republican overall, but yaw have 70% of the delegation, 80% of the
delegation, are Democrats, that's [inaudible], precisely so you can
get the maximum possible number um, of, of Democrats in office. If
Tom Delay had gerrymandered in such that Republicans were getting,
you know, 100% of the seats, whereas only 70% of Texans are voting
for the [inaudible], that would be gerrymandering in the reverse.
But when you just get back to representing the citizens of Texas,
it's not gerrymandering, it's [inaudible].
RON: Alright, now Brad, let me ask you a couple things with
respect to Ronnie Earle, the prosecutor who has indicted Tom Delay.
Um, there's an interesting piece in the National Review online,
talking about how Mr. Earle quotes the bible and says that the evil
influence of money has to be driven from politics - and he's very
biblical in his descriptions about this, as Ann said. He's had a
documentary crew following him around as he developed the case
against Tom Delay, although the documentarians themselves said they
began this process two years ago, before they knew indictments like
this were coming. But various other accounts suggest that, you know,
the whole Delay process has been the thing they were most interested
in filming, suggesting to some, an ulterior motive.
BRAD: Well, was the House Ethics Committee also making a
documentary? Is that why they found him, you know, guilty of three
various ethics charges last year, (Ann starts talking, "they
didn't find him guilty of anything") including attempting to
bribe a Congressman, on the floor of the U.S. House?
RON: Ann, what were you saying?
ANN: That's a lie, they didn't find him guilty of anything. I
mean, at least lets talk about, argue about, what the facts actually
BRAD: They haven't found him, they haven't censured him for three
different ethics violations, in the Ethics Committee, Ann.
ANN: Oh, he got a little tap on the wrist for one, but all of
them were dismissed, every single one of them.
BRAD: That's not true. He was, he was found in violation three
different times, for using the Homeland Security to track down
Democrats, down in the state of Texas, for attempting to bribe a
Congressman and promise him that he would not endorse his son,
unless he voted for the Medicare Bill. (Ann starts talking again) I
mean these are facts.
ANN: I mean he got a slap on the wrist for that.
BRAD: Fine, Ann, and your acting as if this didn't happen.
ANN: I will just recommend for the listeners, um, you know, go
onto "Google" and look up how the Ethics Committee
disposed of these, of these various ethic complaints.
RON: Alright, let me take a break on that note. When we come
back, we're going to continue with Ann Coulter and Brad Friedman,
we're going to take your calls as well. We're talking about a series
of allegations against the Congressional Republican leadership. Not
only the merits of these claims, but also how it will affect the
Bush administration's second term agenda.
RON: Hey we're back on the Ron Insana Show and we're talking
about this week's hot topic - which is, of course, the indictment of
House Majority Leader, Tom Delay, forcing him to step aside
temporarily from his rather powerful position in the House of
Representatives, and the insider trading investigation of Senate
Majority Leader, Bill Frist. Joining us now to debate the merits of
these allegations and what they mean to the Bush administration's
second term agenda, still Ann Coulter, a conservative commentator
you well know, and author of, "How to Talk to a Liberal, if You
Must" and the liberal she must talk to, Brad Friedman, of BradBlog.com, who joins us as well. We're taking your calls. Ann,
let me ask you about Bill Frist. I mean, his office has maintained
that he is innocent of any wrong doing, with respect to the sale of
stock in the company his family started out of a blind trust. But
the sale came not too long before a major earnings warning, that
drove the stock down rather considerably. I mean, I imagine you can
understand why people might look at this with a somewhat [inaudible]
ANN: Oh right, sure, I mean people buy and sell stock all the
time. When the stock goes up, that's when they sell. Um, everything
is fine. If the stock goes down, yes that always raises eyebrows.
Um, what I think should cause people's eyebrows to go down here, I
mean you want to look at the timing of these things...and you know,
when he knew what, well obviously he's going about the process of
selling stocks, um, for a presidential race. Um, and he began the
process of selling the stock back in April. Well, back in April, the
stock was flying high, there was no inside information to come about
what was going to happen, you know, six months hence. It takes
awhile for, you know, the blind trust, the lawyers, to figure out.
Does he need to sell it, does he sell it, um, it's just a long bureaucratic
process. So, once you know that he started to sell it,
um, and first made the moves for it, back in April when the stock
was fine, I think eyebrows can go down now.
RON: Brad, do you accept that explanation, or is it too close to
the earnings warning for that to ring true?
BRAD: Oh yeah, [small chuckle], I mean yeah, of course, I'm just
sorta sitting here just a-s-t-o-u-n-d-e-d at the apologists, like
Ann Coulter, who just seem to excuse every sort of... uh...
everything - and with these sort of Clintonian [inaudible] of facts
and figures, to suit their argument. I mean, it was clear that Bill
Frist, who lied about not knowing what was in this blind trust, he
absolutely knew what was in the blind trust. He received notices all
the time about what was in the blind trust and you know, what ...
ANN: That's what I said. It has nothing to do with anything.
That's what I said. That has
nothing to do with anything. Yes, he knew what was in the blind
trust. But the point is....
RON: But you can't know what's in the blind trust.
BRAD: [inaudible] was a coincidence that he happened to sell it.
I mean it's....
ANN: How do you explain April? That's my point.
BRAD: I'm sorry?
ANN: How do you explain that he tried to sell it in April, when
the stock was fine? The earnings report came out, hell, a month ago.
RON: Well, you do want to sell it higher than lower, don't you?
BRAD: That kept him from, uh, selling his stock? That's what
you're actually suggesting?
ANN: That he was selling it when the comp... well... uh... the idea is, he had... the accusation is he had
insider information that a stock that is doing well, is about to
collapse. That would be true if he only decides to sell, um, you
know, days before he actually did sell.
RON: Why is that true, Ann? Why is that true?
ANN: Well, we know that he tried to sell it ba.... I mean, you're
allowed to sell......
RON: No, but I understand that, but look - having covered the
stock market for twenty-one years, you can know six months in
advance that a company's going to be heading southward, and not have
those numbers come out, for six months. I mean, there are ways to
massage earnings reports...
ANN: Okay, but now all of the evidence suggests that the insiders
themselves didn't know what was going to be out there six months
BRAD: Where is that evidence you're talking about, Ann? You...
you seem, once again, to just sorta be pulling things out of thin
air, the way...
ANN: I know you understand this in the case of Arab terrorists,
but you do have to produce the evidence of guilt. You don't just
make an accusation and say okay group, [inaudible]. The evidence
is.. is overwhelming that if he went to move to sell it, long before
the company was in trouble, he's.. a.. and for another reason,
because he was obviously running for President, um, you're allowed
to sell stock. You're the ones that have to prove that at that
point, they knew eight months out - six months out - that the stock
was going to tank, you know, at the end of the year.
RON: Yeah, I mean, Brad, you do have to have material inside
information before you can be prosecuted for insider trading.
BRAD: Well, exactly, and they're looking at that and we'll see
what the evidence is, and, but to apologize and say that we, you
know, shouldn't move forward.... and you know, after Ann has clearly
convicted all kinds of folks, before any evidence has ever been put
forward. She's called Bill Clinton a felon and a rapist and
everything else. I mean, look, let the facts move forward. We'll see
what it is, there's nothing to worry about if it's just a complete
coincidence, then we'll find that out. If it's just a complete
coincidence that Bill Frist's family hospital settled in the largest
Medicare fraud case in the history of the country, two days before
he became, uh, a Senate leader, as reported over at RawStory.com,
I guess that's just another coincidence. There was a hundred and
twenty months they'd been investigating that case, the largest
Medicare, uh, fraud case in the history of the nation, and two days
before he was to become Senate leader, that occurred.
RON: Okay, let me jump in here for one second here, if you can.
(crosstalk) Okay, hold on one second here, Brad, I just
want to jump in and I am loathed to do this, because I know the fire
storm a question like this could potentially create, but you know,
Bill Clinton was investigated for Whitewater, which turned out to be
a land deal in which he lost money. Along the way there are
allegations that he somehow, or associates had somehow, ran a
cocaine operation out of the Mena Airport, in Georgia. All of these other things that were thrown out in
there, that no one ever proved, and yet - he was never given the
benefit of the doubt as that prosecution went on. Ultimately, it was
sexual misconduct and lying, that forced him to be impeached.
ANN: What do you mean? Of course he was given the benefit of the
doubt. By the way, I think [inaudible] from Clinton, that's what I
RON: Well, I'm just throwing parallels, I'm not......
ANN: [inaudible] that point, that Clinton was innocent, but
saying, "I'm making Clintonian excuses" - I think I'm just
citing facts and getting a lot of hysteria from the other side.....
RON: Alright, I have to stop you both there, we have to come back
and do more of this. More on the ethics investigations of the GOP,
when the Ron Insana Show continues after this.
RON: And welcome back to the Ron Insana Show, this week's hot
topic of course, the ethics and investigations - the ethical
investigations, I should say, of the Republican leadership in
Congress - whether it's the Majority Leader, Tom Delay, or Senate
Majority Leader, Bill Frist. Got a couple of key Republican
Congressmen in hot water, something that may very well threaten the
second term agenda of President Bush. Now we are talking to Brad
Friedman, of BradBlog.com, he is a liberal, who in the last half
hour went up against Ann Coulter, a conservative commentator and
author of "How to Talk to a Liberal, if You Must" - Ann
had some other obligations this half hour, but Brad has agreed to
stay with us. We're taking your calls to find out what you think
about these charges against the two top Republican leaders in
Congress. Brad, just before we go to our phones right now, I just
want to point out that we did, as Ann suggested, uh do a little
search here on what happened with respect to the House ethics
investigation of Tom Delay, back in 2004, and NPR's Andrea Seabrook,
in her writings, pointed out that Ed Bethune, a former Arkansas
Congressman, who was Tom Delay's attorney in the case, pointed out
at the time, that the committee issued no censure, levied no fine,
or other sanction, that meant that the charges were in essence - and
we're quoting here - "dismissed". The public
admonishments, according to Mr. Delay's lawyers, were only slaps on
the wrist, necessitated by the politicized environment in which the
committee worked. The other complaint, which now has turned into
this indictment out of Texas, the Ethics Committee on that, chose to
defer judgment....so, Ann was essentially right, that there was no
formal censure of Tom Delay.....
BRAD: Well, he was admonished three times. He's the Republican
Majority Leader and he was admonished three times, by the
Republican-run Ethics Committee, in the House. That's just a fact.
That other charge you're talking about was deferred because of the
criminal prosecution that was moving forward on the case......
RON: For which he's now been indicted, yes, I understand that.
But I mean, words do matter. I mean, is there a difference, a
legitimate difference, between admonishment and censure, in the
BRAD: Well, you know, I'm sorry that Ann decided not to stay with
RON: Well, it was always planned that she would be a half hour. I
should point out.
BRAD: Okay, well, because I understand that she is, or used to
be, a constitutional attorney and perhaps she could point that out
to us, the difference between the two, but in fact, you know, he was
admonished and as thanks for that, Tom Delay went ahead and replaced
just about everyone on that ethics committee, with his cronies. And
when I say cronies, I mean folks that have given him - thousand and
thousands of dollars, to defend his legal positions and therefore,
the Ethics Committee hasn't moved forward at all in this second
term, because they're at a complete standstill, as if there are no
ethics problems in Washington. You know, the fact of the matter is,
Tom Delay and Bill Frist's stuff is really just the tip of the
iceberg, for not just this administration, but this entire party.
I'm sure you know, you may have heard that the federal auditors
yesterday said that the Bush administration violated law by
purchasing news coverage.
RON: It's in the papers this morning, yes.
BRAD: Yeah and I mean disseminating quote "Hoover
propaganda". That's the Bush administration and even that is
just the tip of the iceberg.
RON: Alright, I want to come back to that point in a second - let
me just go to the phones real quick, because we've got Jeff on the
line, from Chelsea, Mass., who's listening to us on 96.9 FM Talk
WTKK. Jeff, what's on your mind today?
JEFF: Hi, yes, now as far as this Tom Delay case is concerned,
what about Hillary Clinton and Cattlegate? There's a book out called
"Unlimited Access", by Gary Aldridge, that shows the kind
of people that Clinton let into the Whitehouse. Now I'm not trying
to be partisan here, I'm just saying that if you're going to indict
people, indict across the board. The left wing media gives Democrats
a break, while Republicans and Independents, as free thinkers, are
left out to dry if they blow their nose the wrong way.
RON: Well I mean [small chuckle] being a member of the media and
not being left wing, not being right wing, but actually being pretty
much down the middle, I mean the remaining hair that I have on my
head, stands up with comments like that because you know, if you
look at the coverage of Bill Clinton during his presidency, it's not
like he got a pass. But Brad, with respect to Cattlegate. I mean
there are open questions about that trade that some people allege
was just nothing more than what they call an allocated trade, that
gave Hillary Clinton the profits of a hundred thousand dollars, on a
one-thousand dollar investment and switched the losses to somebody
else. Those were the charges at the time and the Chicago Mercantile
Exchange never released the records, so no one ever knew what
BRAD: Well, yeah, first off, let me say I'm still waiting to
figure out who that left wing media is that he's talking about,
because I haven't found them out there. But that said, uh, look, I'm
interested in giving no one a break. If something was done wrong, if
Hillary Clinton did something wrong, I've got news for your caller -
for five years, the Department of Justice has been run by the Bush
administration and Republicans, and if she did something wrong,
indict, prosecute. You know, it's about the rule of law. And unlike
Ann, and I hate to mention it since she's not here, but you know
these are facts that are about right and wrong. They're not about
left and right. And you move forward with prosecution, you hold
these guys accountable, no matter who they are. I don't care which
party they are. Apparently a lot of Republicans seem only interested
in the rule of law when they're coming down on Democrats.....
RON: That's true both ways, thought, isn't it? And I hate to
resort to an argument like this, but Good God, I mean this is all
we've seen now for years, where it's just - it's just about getting
the other guy. It's not about policy anymore.
BRAD: Well, I think it's horrible, I think what's happened to
this country is horrible, I think folks like Ann Coulter, in no
small part are responsible for that - that the vision is right and
left nonsense, this red and blue nonsense, this is not good for the
country. I'm not in favor of that, I mean......
RON: Paul Krugman does the same thing in the New York Times,
though. I mean there's never been a good economic environment.......
BRAD: Well, I'll let Paul Krugman defend himself, but it's not
good when anybody does it. It's not a partisan case, you know, I'll
be more than happy to beat up on Democrats, I do all the
time, and you know I'm not in there defending any
particular party. I'm in favor of America - and for Republicans who,
you know, run around with their stickers on the back of their SUVs,
saying "United We Stand" - to you know, put divisiveness
and dividing the country above all, and put party above all, above
truth and above the rule of law, I think it's atrocious.
RON: Alright, let me go to Ben, out in Texas. Hi Ben, what's on
BEN: Hello, good afternoon.
BEN: I just wanted to say that uh, as far as like whether or not
this is going to hurt the Republican agenda - I think it will slow
it down, if you've ever cooked spaghetti, I know this is kind of a
bad analogy, but...
RON: Well, you're talking to a Sicilian here, so I think I'll get
BEN: Okay, if you cook spaghetti, you know a lot of times you
take the spaghetti out of the pot and throw it against the wall. If
it sticks, then you're ready to go. If it doesn't stick, you put it
back on simmer and everybody has to wait to eat.
RON: You know, I'll tell you something. We never did that in my
house. I mean, I know Felix Unger did it in the Odd Couple, uh, but
that was out of anger, not out of testing the temperature. What do
you think about that, Brad? I mean, is that the way this is going to
work, we'll still see the Bush administration - now that his
approval ratings are actually starting to go back up - make some
head-way on this second portion of his domestic agenda?
BRAD: Well, we'll see about those approval ratings going back up,
I think you might be a little bit early to say that.
RON: Well, they're back to where they were pre-Katrina, that 45%
approval, as of today.
BRAD: Yeah, well I mean, as I mentioned in the previous segment,
this stuff with Frist and Delay is just the tip of the iceberg. I
mean the thing that really, I gotta tell you really irks me, having spoken with so many Iraqi
vets, and so many folks in the CIA and so forth, uh that Karl Rove
and Scooter Libby now clearly outed a CIA agent, a covert CIA agent,
you know, putting national security at risk, with something that
even George W. Bush's father called, you know, the most insidious of
traders who would do that. For a Whitehouse to do that, it's the
first time in history - and somebody mind you, who was working on
WMD - I gotta tell you, that is just so atrocious, so appalling and
that's the sort of thing that jumps out at me. When you hear these
guys running around talking about national security and how much
they care about it..... to out a covert CIA agent, our own assets,
uh, unprecedented - and that's going to be coming forward soon.
We'll see what Fitzgerald releases, I think this week, we may see
RON: Yeah, with Judith Miller, of the New York Times, just
testified. So, let me take a break on that note. We're going to come
back and talk more about investigations into top Congressional
Republicans. What does it mean and what do you think the people
indicting and investigating are up to?
RON: We're back with the Ron Insana Show, we're talking about the
ethics investigations into some of the top Republicans in Congress.
House Majority Leader, Tom Delay, temporarily out of a job as he is
indicted by a Texas district attorney, for allegedly funneling
corporate funds to the Texas state legislators, in order to get them
into Congress, something that clearly violates Texas statutes - and
also an insider trader investigation of Senate Majority Leader, Bill
Frist. Did he sell shares of his family's company stock before the
stock plunged and did he know the stock was going to take a dive,
because the company was going to miss an earnings target for the
latest quarter? We're talking about this now with Brad Friedman, of
Blad blo...BradBlog.com. You could make this a little easier to
say for some of us in the media you know, but you haven't [Brad
laughs], I'm going to hold that against you for the remainder of the
BRAD: You can.
RON: We'll be taking everybody's calls. You've been using the
expression, "tip of the iceberg" here, and you started
talking about some other things that you think are a big deal. What
do you think is going on, that you're most worried about? You
mentioned the alleged outing of a CIA agent, that Scooter Libby and
Karl Rove are being looked at for. What do you think Judith Miller,
of the New York Times, who's just gotten out of prison after four
months, is telling investigators in this?
BRAD: Well, it seems from reports, and frankly I try not to
speculate, but the reports that I've seen have said she's, you know,
now testifying, that in fact Scooter Libby, uh, out of Dick Cheney's
office, was the one who told her that Joe Wilson's wife was a covert
CIA agent. It's so troubling, because these guys seem willing to do
anything and everything uh to retain their frankly tenuous hold on
power right now.....
RON: Now why would Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff,
finally give Judith Miller permission to testify, if things were as
bad as people think?
BRAD: Well, I don't know, it's hard to say. Again, I would have
to speculate and I really do try to avoid speculating.
RON: As do I. Unless it's in the commodity markets....
BRAD: You know, but again, that is even itself, the tip of the
iceberg. I mean you see s-o m-u-c-h corruption going on in the
Republican party right now. It seems to me to be unprecedented, and
it seems that folks, you know, partisans, like Ann Coulter and so
forth, are just look, a good American Republican ought to be calling
right now for indictments, for folks to step down, because this is
not good for the Republican party. For years you've had a president,
that has not been good for conservatives, frankly. He runs around
calling himself a conservative, but he is anything but conservative,
and you know, that's not good for the conservative movement, the
true conservative movement, and what's going on right now - is not
good for the Republican party.
RON: Let me ask you something about the corruption being
unprecedented. I mean, one, I never use that word because there have
been Democratic administrations that have been, uh, equally corrupt
if someone wants to make that comparison, and I'm not saying that
the Bush administration is, I'm just saying that, you know, there is
no such thing as unprecedented amounts of corruption in the history
of either American or world politics.
BRAD: Well, you know what? I gotta tell ya, I think there is. I
mean, in many ways, it's the amount of corruption and the number of
scandals that's really keeping these guys afloat right now, because
of folks like me out there in the blogosphere trying to keep up with
all of this. We can't stick on any one topic for any length of time,
because a new one comes up and it is a fact that
it is unprecedented what this Whitehouse has
done, outing one of their own CIA agents.
RON: Oh, you're talking about that - okay let me go to Brian, out
in Worcester, Mass. Hi Brian. Brian, you there?
BRIAN: Good afternoon.
RON: Alright, go ahead.
BRIAN: Ron, you know, I guess you would expect Brad, and other
guests to be partisan and of course there is a lot of partisanship
that goes on right now, but you know when we hear so many times the
liberal media - and it certainly is - and I think anybody that
suggests that it's not, really is not looking at it in an objective
fashion. And I'll give you one example. You're talking about the
Bill Frist trading situation.
RON: uh huh.
BRIAN: You would have to dig awfully hard to come up with
anything that the media reported on Hillary Clinton's trade of the
pharmaceuticals, uh, in terms of her shorting pharmaceutical
RON: Alright, now where did that come up and where did you get
the information on that. Real quick, cause I'm going to have to take
BRIAN: Well, I mean again, you would have to dig pretty hard, but
RON: I mean, I've been in the financial news business for twenty
years and I was following this stuff then and I don't recall that
BRIAN: Ron, I believe that she traded, uh, shorted some
pharmaceutical stocks. That was before she gave her speech saying
that there should be drug price controls.
RON: Alright, I've gotta take a break. We're going to come back
and talk about that with Brad Friedman. We've got your calls on the
line, if you're there, stay with us. We'll come back with that
allegation and allegations of misdeeds by top Republicans, right
RON: Hey, we're wrapping up this hour of the Ron Insana Show,
talking about the ethics investigations of top Congressional
Republicans and also talking about some investigations that may have
been missed, of Democrats. We're still with Brad Friedman, of BradBlog.com, and Brad - before we took a break here, and rather
quickly we had a caller come in and make an allegation that Hillary
Clinton was selling short stocks of pharmaceutical companies, prior
to her speech on health care, calling for price caps on drugs. I
don't recall that allegation myself, having been in financial news
at the time, I don't know if you do, uh, but you know, if something
like that did happen, it would require an investigation as well.
Although the statute of limitations is gone on that one, but...
BRAD: Well, yeah, of course it would, but you know for five years
the Bush department has run both the SEC and the Department of
Justice, and you'd think if there was something there, they would
move forward and if there was something there..... guess what? I
would be in favor of moving forward, so you know again, not a matter
of right or left, a matter of right and wrong.
RON: Right, as any objective person would be, yeah.
BRAD: Yeah, his you know, argument that you know, about this
liberal media. I mean, you know, the media was ferocious in their
coverage of Bill Clinton and Al Gore and George W. Bush has largely
gotten a pass from these guys.
RON: Well, I wouldn't go along with that either, but I mean, you
know, I don't think anybody really gets a pass, if an opportunity
presents itself to the news media to go whole hog on a story. Let me
just sneak in one more call......
BRAD: I disagree, I can come back sometime and talk about
specifics, because I hate to level charges unless I can back them
up, I would be happy to back them up another time.
RON: We will do it another time. Marvin, let me hear what you
have to say today.
MARVIN: Okay, I was listening earlier in the show and couldn't
help but, uh, be concerned a little bit about Congressman Delay, or
[inaudible] all of these ethics charges....
RON: And you live in his state, right?
MARVIN: Yes, in fact he's been admonished several times by the
House Ethics Committee. I bet not another member of Congress has
been admonished more than once.
RON: Alright, let me stop you there... okay, go ahead real quick,
because I'm running out of the time.
Marvin: Okay, one other thing and that is the fact that he tried
to change the rules... [inaudible]
RON: Alright, we're losing him a little bit. Brad, let me just
get your final thought, as we've got about 45 seconds left.
BRAD: Uh, yeah, he did try to change the rules in the Ethics
Committee, so that they wouldn't come back to bite him and though he
had to reverse some of the changes he tried to make, he had changed
the staff of the Ethics Committee to the point where they're
completely crippled and they can't move forward with any of this
stuff. Uh, you know, it's just a culture of corruption. It really
is, and it's not just in Washington for these Republicans right now
- Ohio is a snake pit, if you pay attention, uh, states all around
the country and it's really going to harm the Republican party,
which by the way, does not help America in any way, so I'm not happy
to see it at all, despite folks who might label me a partisan
Democrat - I am not - and I haven't voted Democrat for President for
I don't know how long.
RON: Alright Brad, we're gonna leave it there. We'll catch up
with you again soon, hopefully match you with Ann Coulter again for
some more fun.