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Is David French Considering Independent Conservative Run For POTUS?

National Review Senior Editor Jonah Goldberg joined Dan & Amy this morning to discuss Trump, Hillary and his NRO colleague David French, whose name surfaced yesterday as the latest suggestion for a third-party conservative POTUS candidate from #NeverTrump ringleader and Weekly Standard Editor-in-Chief Bill Kristol. Goldberg praised French as a patriot and constitutional scholar and said French is considering the idea of running, but has made no final decision.

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Dan Proft: What up, Dan and Amy, you heard that at the top Catherine Herridge, the best reporter in the business and in a sector that is eminently important to national security, she got an exclusive interview with Howard Krongard, who is a former state department inspector general; he was state department inspector general under W., and he really did a nice job to being the argument that Hillary has been making and made again last week, when that IG report was issued, regarding her email practices, Krongard talking about the need, or lack thereof, for a private server for a secretary of state. Howard Krongard: Secretary Rice did not have a personal server. Catherine Herridge: Can you think of any circumstances under which a secretary of state would need a personal server for government business? Howard Krongard: For government business I cannot. I would have been stunned, as in if she would have sent one to me, I probably would have started an investigation. Dan Proft: I probably would have started an investigation that Condi Rice if she had done the same thing is essentially what Krongard said. And he also went on in his discussion with Herridge to say that these aren’t accidents that classified information is winding up on secured servers. Catherine Herridge: On claims 2100 Clinton emails were not classified when they were sent to received, Krongard cast more doubt. Howard Krongard: I don’t understand it, because it was either classified by the creator, or it was classified by reason of where it came from. Catherine Herridge: And moving information from classified government systems to an unsecured personal server is a deliberate act Howard Krongard: It could be done by taking a screenshot with a camera. They could just be summarized or they could be copied from a secured copier. Catherine Herridge: It doesn’t happen by accident. Howard Krongard: No. Dan Proft: “No”. And this from Dan Metcalfe; he is a law professor at the American University. He wrote in Sunday Column, “Given the facts in law are so clear in Miss Clinton’s case, it is difficult to imagine her not being indicted”. He was, by the way, an official in the Justice’s Department Office of Information and Privacy for 25 years, including during Bill Clinton’s tenure as president of the United States. “Difficult to imagine her not being indicted given how clear the facts and the law are in this case”. Well, for more on this, as well as the other side of the aisle, Mr. Trump’s candidacy, we’re now joined by David French’s Vice-Presidential running mate, Jonah Goldberg from National Review, Senior Editor at National Review, nationalreview.com. Jonah, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it. Jonah Goldberg: It’s good to be here. If asked to serve, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve, or however that thing goes. Dan Proft: Yes, that’s very nice. So what about the – you wrote recently about Hillary and Bill, they are both unapologetic liars, and you tried to explain why. I assume because it’s profitable. Jonah Goldberg: You assume it’s profitable that I write that they’re liars, or you assume that’s profitable for them to be liars? Dan Proft: Profitable for them to be liars; it seems to be. Jonah Goldberg: Maybe both. I think, the thing is, the way I put it, at least, or what I think about it, is that ultimately the Clintons have no first principles other than advancing their own political ambitions. Every other principle that they have is like a parachute that you need for a certain terrain, or a golf club you need for a certain hole, they pick it up when it’s useful and they put it down when it no longer serves their purposes. Dan Proft: I like that analogy. Jonah Goldberg: So just think about all the position Hillary Clinton has held over the years, from gay marriage to free trade and all these things. She picks them up when they’re useful to her and she puts them down when they’re not useful to her. Bill Clinton; Bill Clinton is the guy who in order to prove that he was tough on crime took time off from his campaign to execute a mentally retarded guy who literally told his prison guards to save his pie and he’d come back for it later as they took him to the electric chair. These people are willing to do and say anything, and so any constraint on the degree to which they will lie or cheat hinges upon the penalty of either political harm or force of law, which is why when they do tell the truth they do so incredibly grudgingly and legalistically, because they bump up against the power of law and the deposition, and so they start waxing metaphysical, “but the meaning of is”. Amy Jacobson: Well, they almost act like a victim too. “They’re coming down on me because this is a right wing conspiracy” when it’s really her own state department that came up with the IG report. And she should have asked for approval to use a private email address and server, but she didn’t because she knew that if she asked they would have said no. Jonah Goldberg: Yeah, look, my problem with all of these recent revelations in the IG report and all that, I grant that it’s news, they’re fresh new details, it’s interesting, it puts a story back on the front pages. That’s all to the good. But what frustrates me about it is there’s nothing in this report that changes what I thought about the story a year ago. I’m sort of a broken record on this – but for a year we’ve been getting this slow trickle of classified emails proving time and time and time again that what she did jeopardized national security, and each and every time one of these emails comes out, some defender says, “Well, there’s no smoking gun here”, and it drives me nuts, because first of all, when you’re confronted with evidence or the charge that you’ve committed a crime and you respond, “Hey, there’s no smoking gun”, that’s not a denial. We don’t have the standard in the law where the cops come upon a crime scene, they see someone murdered, and they find all sorts of evidence pointing to the murderer, but then they say, “Ah, damn it, there’s no smoking gun here, I guess we can’t investigate this crime!” Dan Proft: Yeah, it’s like a scene from Police Squad. Jonah Goldberg: It is, to say that you have no proof that I did this is what serial killers say who are very careful in covering their tracks when the cops come to their house. And second of all, we have a smoking gun: it’s the server. It’s just sitting there all smoky like. She set up this clandestine illegal server in order to get around foyer requests, congressional investigations and the federal records act. It was obvious to anybody that had common sense that that was what she was doing; she broke the law, she broke the rules, she did it all, she claimed, “Oh, I’m just like Colin Powell”, because he had an AOL account or something back at the dawn of the internet. It is so transparently obvious that she’s lying, but what the Clintons always do is they muddy the waters, they complicate things, they drag it all out, they stone a wall and then, when there’s new evidence confirming what we knew a year ago, they say, “Oh, this is all old news”. And they’ve been doing that for 30 years and it’s just so obvious to me, because I’ve been in the trenches, beating on the Clintons for a long, long time. I just find it so familiar and bogus, and yet we always have to go through this kabuki dance with every new Clinton scandal. Dan Proft: Your colleague at National Review, Andy McCarthy, suggests that the Torricelli protocol may need to be invoked, and that’s not a chess opening. He’s referring to the Jersey Senate race back more than a decade ago, where Robert Torricelli, an incumbent, was so badly beset by corruption investigation that they had to bring in 80-year-old Frank Lautenberg to replace him in the middle of the election. So this has been the rumor that even if, ultimately, Comey refers her for, that will leak out if it does come to pass, that she will be irreparably damaged and then Biden and Elisabeth Warren parachute in. Is that your belief as well, or do you reject the premise? Jonah Goldberg: Well, no, I think, given the assumption that Andy makes, I think he’s absolutely right… or not absolutely right, it’s absolutely plausible. The problem is that I’m not sure I share the assumption. I think Hillary Clinton steps aside for somebody else, that’s like getting hurt and let go of her broomstick. It’s not going to happen easily. That’s one problem; the second problem is I think it would be from the perspective of somebody who thinks both of these choices, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are essentially crap sandwiches and I don’t want to eat off either plate, I think it would be fantastic news if they did this, because Bernie Saunders and his supporters would openly revolt. And the idea that somehow you’re going to parachute in Biden or John Kerry or some other democratic establishment pick over Bernie Saunders and the Saunders revolution, the party would feel the burn like you wouldn’t believe. And I think Saunders would be totally justified in pulling a Ralph Nader and running third party. And if he runs third party, all of a sudden the logic of an authentic conservative who’s not corrupt, like either Trump of Hillary Clinton, running as a forth way, becomes at least more plausible and it would have a more legitimate path to actually succeeding. Amy Jacobson: And so your buddy David French, is he taking Bill Kristol’s offer seriously, to be a third party conservative candidate? Jonah Goldberg: Well, you know, I’ve been texting with David, I found out about this a couple of hours before everybody else yesterday. I’m a huge fan of David’s. He is a man of deep religious faith and integrity. He’s a man of great honor and patriotism. He dropped everything to go fight for America overseas. He won a bronze star, he’s a brilliant lawyer who’s been fighting for religious liberty. I am a huge fan of David French’s. Whether this whole thing is good for him or for the cause that David believes in, which is giving America another choice, I haven’t made up my mind yet. I think the attacks on David French’s family that already started last night on Twitter are disgusting and reprehensible, particularly given that you have one guy, Donald Trump, who brags about cheating on his wife, and has been married 3 times, and then you have Hillary Clinton who comes from, shall we say, less than perfect marriage, and then you have David French, who’s a loving serious committed husband, who dealt with being deployed overseas, which is difficult for any family, in a humane way, and people are making fun of him, and mocking him. This is a guy who’s adopted kids, he is a very serious family guy, and I think all that stuff is disgusting. And when friends get attacked like this it makes me inclined to put down everything and rally to their defense, but politically I just haven’t made up my mind whether this makes much sense. Dan Proft: Yeah, and despite your shermanesque statements, it’s good to hear you’re rallying to David French’s aid on that, but you’re suggesting that he’s seriously considering this? Jonah Goldberg: He’s a man of very serious conscience, and I think that – he wrote a piece, what, two weeks ago, begging Mitt Romney to run. I don’t think this is something that has ever been part of a long plan of his. I don’t think he’s ever been scheming or thinking about this. I think if you talked to him three weeks ago and would have said, “You’re our guy, you’ve got to run”, he would have laughed as much as I would laugh if someone said that to me. But at the same time, no one is stepping up. No one is jumping into the breach and I think that David is sort of a Thomas More type. I don’t know this firsthand, and I think he’s really agonizing over this. I know he has not made a final decision, but he’s really agonizing about this; he wants the voters to have a better choice, he thinks both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are unacceptable for various and sundry reasons, and I agree with him. I just worry that what this will do to his family isn’t worth the price, particularly if it doesn’t yield any tangible results on Election Day that really matter. And so I worry about that. We’re supposed to talk soon, but he’s bunkered away with his family and some advisors trying to figure out what to do. But yeah, it’s a serious thing. Dan Proft: That would be my concern too. I’m a huge David French fan as well, I love his work, but I would just be concerned that he gets basically strangled in the crib, just swamped by overwhelming resources and the Trump infrastructure that’s already in place. Jonah Goldberg: I agree with that, and one of the great ironies though is we constantly hear how Trump’s base is a white mate working class guys, and I think that’s true analytically. And David French sets the demographic of exactly those guys almost to a tee. He lives in rural Tennessee, he’s a big gun guy, he’s an Evangelical Christian. He’s a sort of a Harvard educated redneck in a lot of ways, and I mean that in the most generous way possible. Compared to the billionaire dandyism from the East Side of Manhattan, it’s just kind of ironic that everyone’s screaming that if you’re a populist you have to vote for the billionaire from New York and not the hunting and fishing evangelical Christian from rural Tennessee. Dan Proft: Alright, Jonah Goldberg, Senior Editor at National Review, nationalreview.com. Jonah, thank for joining us. Appreciate it. Jonah Goldberg: Good to be here, thank you.

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