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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Former Secretary of State John Kerry On His New Memoir “Every Day Is Extra”

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Former Secretary of State John Kerry joined me Wednesday to discuss his new memoir, Every Day Is Extra:

Audio:

09-12hhs-kerry

Transcript:

HH: So pleased now to welcome former Secretary of State John Kerry to the program. Secretary Kerry, welcome. Every Day Is Extra is a fine read. I love memoirs. I’m a sucker for memoirs, but this one is very good. Welcome, and thank you for joining us.

JK: Well, thank you, Hugh, and I apologize for being a moment late. I was trying to dial in, and the number wouldn’t work, but I finally got it.

HH: Oh, I’m glad you’re here. I’m going to save the last ten minutes for Iran, but I want to begin, one of the many revelations, many surprises in this, I did not know on the 4th of July weekend of ’13 when the government of Mr. Morsi was falling apart in Egypt that your wife had a serious health episode. That was very surprising. How is her recovery going?

JK: She’s doing great. Thank you very much. She’s a fighter, and she came back from it very well. But she did. She had a bad seizure, what they call a grand mal seizure. It’s the only one ever, and we learned a lot. I learned a lot about that challenge that apparently in 50% of all seizures, they can never tell you why it happened, and you may never have it again. It’s just amazing.

HH: Yeah, idiomatic syncope. I had it in my family, and so when I read that, I was fascinated. And you were in the middle of following and sort of overseeing our response to the army’s takeout of Morsi. It doesn’t, it brought home the fact that diplomats have lives.

JK: They do, occasionally. That’s for sure.

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The Nature of Evil

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Not surprising that on 9/11 I would think about evil.  It is not pleasant to think about, but think about it we must.  It comes in many forms and guises – some are easy.  As Alfred said to Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight”

Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

That is evil in its purest, but also rarest, form.  Pure evil is, relatively speaking, easy to combat – you kill it.

The evil of 9/11 was different.  While the perpetrators could not be, “bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with,” they were deluded and thought they were doing good.  Most evil is done in the somehow misguided pursuit of good.  In the case of 9/11 is was in pursuit of a wrongful ideological good.  That is an evil that can be fought directly.  Ideologies can be combated with competing ideologies.  Yes, religiosity combined with wrongful ideology makes the battle harder, but it also supplies the opposition.  Religiosity is not the problem – the ideology to which it is affixed is.

The evil that is hardest to combat is the evil born of self-interest, often perceived by the perpetrator to be in the pursuit of good.  The evil that results from this motivation is not as instantly sweeping or as immediately devastating as 9/11, but when viewed for what it is we can see that it is a rot that may defeat us far more certainly than any attack possibly could.

I can think of two examples of this last motivation for evil that are worth examining

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Senator Tom Cotton On The “Washington Generals” Of The Senate: Democrats On The Judiciary Committee

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Senator Tom Cotton joined me this morning:

Audio:

09-11hhs-cotton

Transcript:

HH: Joined by United States Senator Tom Cotton. Senator Cotton, good morning.

TC: Good morning, Hugh. It’s good to be with you.

HH: I’d like to begin by asking you if you will be voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to be the next justice of the Supreme Court.

TC: I will be voting, Hugh, with the majority of the U.S. Senate to make Judge Kavanaugh Justice Kavanaugh later this month.

HH: Have you heard any Republican indicate anything other than a positive vote?

TC: No, Hugh, I have not, either in their public statements or in our private conversations. And I have to say after Judge Kavanaugh’s stellar performance in the Judiciary Committee last week, I expect we’ll get not only 51 Republican votes, but some Democratic votes as well.

HH: All right, so it’s a done deal, in your view?

TC: I think it’s a done deal, Hugh. Now, it’s just a matter of the time running out. You know, the Judiciary Committee Democrats didn’t cover themselves in glory last week. They’re behaving kind of like the Washington Generals.

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Judge Ken Starr On His New Book “Contempt” And On Whether A President Can Be Indicted

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Judge Ken Starr, author of the new book Contempt, joined me this morning:

Audio:

09-11hhs-starr

Transcript:

HH: Pleased to welcome back an old friend to the Hugh Hewitt Show, an old friend of mine, Judge Ken Starr. He is the author of the brand-new book, Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation. Contempt is in bookstores now. It is available at Amazon. I just tweeted out the link. I have known Judge Starr since I showed up as a young clerk on the D.C. Circuit in 1983 to Roger Robb and George MacKinnon. I have known him. Since then, his time as a special counsel, his time as the solicitor general of the United States, his time as dean of Pepperdine Law School, his time as the president of Baylor, now as the author Contempt. Judge Starr, welcome back.

KS: Hey, Hugh, how good to hear your voice. Thank you.

HH: Good to have you. And what a timely book, Contempt, to come out. I want to go right to the heart of it. Can a sitting president be indicted?

KS: I believe he can. The Justice Department says no. And that’s been the traditional policy at the Justice Department, and Bob Mueller is bound by that.

HH: Now the Federalist 69, and you are no stranger to it, says the president of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors removed from office, and would afterwards be liable to be prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of the law. To me, that’s always been dispositive. Why are you persuaded he can be indicted despite that, Ken Starr?

KS: Well, first of all, the Federalist Papers are terribly important, but they are not the Constitution. And they help us understand, but it’s not sacred writ. And to me, what trumps, so to speak, that very learned passage in Federalist 69, are really first principles. If the president of the United States has committed a crime, then in my judgment, he, like anyone else, is subject to the ordinary course of law. Now it may very well be that the indictment will be held under the discretion of the prosecutor and the trial judges, or in abeyance, if articles of impeachment are brought. But there are different areas of accountability. There are arenas of accountability. And my view has been, and I think it’s supported by a Supreme Court case, Clinton V. Jones, no one is above the law.

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