Former Vice President Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney joined me on the program today to talk about the announcement of their forthcoming book and the Iran hologram that President Obama’s team has “negotiated”:
HH: I begin this hour happy to welcome back to the program Vice President Dick Cheney and his daugher, Liz Cheney. The Vice President and Liz Cheney have a brand new book coming out on September 1st, Exceptional: Why The World Needs A Powerful America. That’s 15 days before I ask questions at a Republican debate, and I’ll start with you, Mr. Vice President. I guess foreign policy is back center stage and you’re timing the delivery of your and Liz’ book just as the Republicans start to debate it?
DC: Well, it’s, no question it’s back big time, Hugh, and it’s good to be on the show again. The situation we’re faced with today on the international front because of the rising threats and the diminished capacity of the U.S. to respond under Obama is a huge problem for all of us, and it’s going to be front and center for the next president. And we thought it was important for the debate to be able to put the book out, because we believe very strongly in the importance of rebuilding America’s capabilities.
HH: Exceptional will come out right at exactly the moment to impact the debate. Liz Cheney, former senior State Department official, you are also the head of the Iran/Syria policy and operations group when you were at State. Let me play for you President Obama from Sunday, a small pull, cut number three if we can have that, Adam, from Sunday:
BO: Well, I think that it’s important to recognize that Iran’s a complicated country, just like we’re a complicated country.
HH: Liz Cheney, is Iran a complicated country just like we’re a complicated country?
LC: Boy, Hugh, I cannot even imagine an American president saying any sentence that has Iran in it and says they’re just like us. I mean, it’s outrageous. Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. They’ve got the blood of hundreds if not thousands of Americans on their hands. And they are continuing their attempts to obtain a nuclear weapon. And I thought it was so telling the day that the administration sort of went out and proclaimed victory in the nuclear talks, that when the Iranian foreign minister came out, he said we aren’t going to stop enriching, we aren’t going to shut down any facilities, and all of the sanctions are going to be lifted. That’s his interpretation of the deal. And so you know, this president, to be in a situation where he’s aligning our policy with that of Iran is breathtaking, and it’s really shameful.
HH: Let me play for both of you a cut from earlier today. The President sat down with an NPR reporter who asked him about Scott Walker’s statement on this show last week, that he’d repudiate the emerging Iran hologram, I don’t call it a deal, on day one. Here’s what the President said:
BO: Any president who gets elected will be knowledgeable enough about foreign policy and knowledgeable enough about the traditions and precedents of presidential power that they won’t start calling into question the capacity of the executive branch of the United States to enter into agreements with other countries. If that starts being questioned, that’s going to be a problem for our friends, and that’s going to embolden our enemies. And it would be a foolish approach to take, and you know, perhaps Mr. Walker, after he’s taken some time to bone up on foreign policy, will feel the same way.
HH: Vice President Cheney, you’ve been boning up on foreign policy since you entered the House 30 years ago. What do you make of that statement?
DC: Well, it starts from a flawed presumption on Obama’s part. For most of the last 70 years since World War II, we’ve had a bipartisan accord in this country between Democrat and Republican, Harry Truman, Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, the Bushes, believed that America had to play a leading role in the world, that we needed to maintain a first class military capability to do that, and occasionally use it, that the world works best with U.S. leadership. The first president, really, who doesn’t, no longer believes that fundamental truth, is Barack Obama. And what he’s saying in his criticism of Governor Walker I think probably Governor Walker welcomes. It’s almost like a paid commercial. I heard today that as soon as the statement came out from Obama criticizing the Governor, he immediately sent out letters to all of his supporters. I’m glad he did that. I think it’s a mark of the weakness of this president that he’d say such a thing.
HH: Let me play a couple of other cuts from the Sunday interview, cut number eight, Adam, please:
BO: What we’ve also seen is that there is a practical streak to the Iranian regime. I think they’re concerned about self-preservation.
HH: And cut number nine:
BO: I think they are responsive, to some degree, to their publics.
HH: So Mr. Vice President, you dealt with Iran a lot both as Secretary of Defense, and eight years as Vice President. Do they strike you as a practically minded and responsive regime?
DC: Absolutely not, Hugh. This is the most, one of the most radical regimes in history, headed up by the mullahs who believe in a very, sort of, I think, twisted version of the Koran, who are sworn to destroy Israel, who always have these big meetings. They did just this week, because they were negotiating in Geneva, shouting Death To America. This is a totally radical regime that is the premiere sponsor of state terrorism in the world, and Obama’s about to give them nuclear weapons. It’s, I can’t think of a more terrible burden to leave the next president than what Obama is creating here.
HH: Is he naïve, Mr. Vice President? Or does he have a far-reaching vision that only he entertains of a realigned Middle East that somehow it all works out in the end?
DC: I don’t know, Hugh. I vacillate between the various theories I’ve heard, but you know, if you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on our allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing. I think his actions are constituted in my mind those of the worst president we’ve ever had.
HH: Liz Cheney, from your position of having been deputy assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, having been the principal deputy assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and as I said, the head of the Iran-Syria Policy and Operations Group, I’m stressing your State Department experience now, because I want to turn to Hillary Clinton. Earlier today, Ben Rhodes said frankly, you have to act as if information could be compromised if it’s not on the classified system. He was responding to the reports that the Russians had hacked the White House What did you make of former Secretary of State Clinton’s private homebrew server?
LC: Well, it’s, again, another example of Secretary Clinton really feeling, clearly, that the laws and the rules don’t apply to her. You know, I would just say that there is no way that I can conceive of that someone who is secretary of State is able to conduct all of the business required that a secretary of State conducts on a personal email server without having any classified information on that server. It’s just, it’s inconceivable. You know, every meeting that she attends, the briefing memos for those meetings are classified. Her theories and her thinking and her concepts about American strategy in the world and American policy in the world is classified. And so the notion that she was operating solely on this personal email server, that she now says she’s wiped completely clean, when you know, the laws that govern records of the government are very clear that they’ve got to be preserved, and it’s not sufficient to say well, I preserved them because I sent some emails to people who have State Department accounts, clearly, that’s not in keeping with, for certain, the spirit of the law, and probably the letter of the law, either. So it’s a big problem for her, and I think that it will confirm for people the sort of bad feeling in the pit of your stomach you already have about Secretary Clinton, which is that you know, she just believes that the rules and the laws don’t apply to her, that she’s somehow better than everybody else, smarter than everybody else, and you know, basically what she’ll like to do is you know, make the decisions and take the heat later on. But when you’ve got a situation like this which so clearly violates clearly all of the documents that you sign when you take employment at the State Department, it’s a problem that’s not going to go away for her.
HH: That brings me, Mr. Vice President, to a story in the Wall Street Journal today by Peter Berkowitz quoting, or titled, The False Evidence Against Scooter Libby, your former senior aide who was convicted of perjury in a much controversial trial led by Peter Fitzgerald. Do you expect that Secretary Clinton will be subject to the same kind of inquiry that Scooter Libby was about her statements and her conduct of her official business?
DC: Well, I doubt it. Scooter is an innocent man, and the book that Judith Miller has written, a reporter who was on the key witnesses at his trial, is now convinced that she was misled by the prosecutor, proves that. And the fact of the matter is, he is innocent now, and always was innocent, and he was falsely charged in really a drummed up deal. I think that justice needs to be served here, and we’re not certain how that gets sorted out. But it’s clearly important, as the Wall Street Journal said today, that the man be cleared and his name be cleared. He’s an honest man, and he always was.
HH: Last question, and we have a minute, Mr. Vice President, so I’ll end with you. Do you think President Obama’s Iran deal is headed to a Woodrow Wilson-like League of Nations defeat in the Congress?
DC: I think it is. My sense of it is that the members of Congress are much more realistic in their expectations of what Iran is prepared to do. They’re familiar with the history They know the background. They’ve been around long enough, and I think are far more realistic in their assessments of Iran than Barack Obama is. I trust the Congress at this stage, not the President.
HH: I look forward to reading Exceptional: Why The World Needs A Powerful America, which is coming out September 1st. It’s already available for preorder, America, on Amazon. Vice President Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney, thanks for joining me.
End of interview.