Award-winning Wall Street Journal columnist and Editorial Board member Kimberley Strassel joined Breitbart News Daily SiriusXM host Stephen K. Bannon to discuss her new book, The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech — a fact-based indictment of the Obama administration’s “brass knuckle tactics” against its critics.
Bannon recited Strassel’s impressive resume as a member of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, writer of the Journal’s popular “Potomac Watch” column, graduate of Princeton University, and recipient of the Bradley Award for Excellence in Journalism in order to emphasize that her book is not the work of a “tinfoil hat” conspiracist. Likening Strassel’s methodical, heavily researched book to Peter Schweizer’s bestselling Clinton Cash, Bannon called it “the scariest indictment of the Obama administration” he has ever read.
Asked to describe her motivation in writing the book and how she “connected the dots,” Strassel described her experience moving to Washington, D.C., ten years ago to cover politics in the nation’s capital at a time “that corresponded almost precisely with the Obama administration” coming to power.
“I was very struck from the start by the brass knuckle tactics that this administration would use to get what it wanted and ended up writing a lot of columns about those abuses,” Strassel said. “And a while ago, couple years ago I realized that, these random occurrences — the IRS targeting, these attacks by Senators on climate scientists — that this was not random, but rather was a very coordinated strategy, well honed by a number of prominent actors, and that’s what the book is about, it’s about how the administration and now liberal prosecutors across the country, elected Democrats in Congress, working together, try to train the power of the government on citizens they don’t like and go after them.”
Bannon asked Strassel if her book could be a “roadmap” for the Republican Party leadership to fight back against these tactics.
Strassel believes people need understand the big picture because “[the Obama administration] get away with spinning their lines and then the media repeats it and then a lot of people then are not aware of what is going on.”
“It’s like the Tea Party example and what happened at the IRS for instance,” she said, explaining:
To this day the administration continues to peddle this fiction that this was just the result of a couple of agents out in Cincinnati who didn’t know the law, when in fact you read The Intimidation Game, the book, we have all the evidence we need — the emails, the documents, everything — that tells the complete story of what happened at the IRS, and we know that this was inspired by elected Democrats who sent letters to them. It was inspired by President Obama who went out and essentially called on the IRS to do this, and by a very partisan bureaucracy that was primed and ready and had a plan and made it, managed to put tens of thousands of American’s voices on ice, not just in 2010, but in 2012 during the presidential election.
Strassel stressed that understanding these tactic is the first step. The other is to speak up in “outrage” over the use of these tactics. “A lot of these things should not happen in America,” she said. “People are beginning to catch on, but it’s a slow process.”
Bannon recounted the sequence of events on Tuesday, starting with FBI Director James Comey walking “through a bill of indictment” of Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton before announcing that he won’t suggest an indictment for her, and then following directly after this, Clinton and President Obama arrived on Air Force One to campaign in North Carolina, where Obama belabored a beat down of GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump and offered up Clinton as the heir apparent of his third term.
“We’ve got an audience and on the site heads are blowing up,” said Bannon who then asked Strassel if the Obama administration is “so used to winning right now that they think they continue to just get in your grill?”
Affirming the sentiment of Breitbart readers, Strassel said, “Heads should blow up because what happened yesterday was terrible.”
“But I think it’s a version too of the intimidation,” she added. “I mean, this is also how they go about getting their way. There’s the ugly tactics like prosecutorial raids in Wisconsin or silencing Tea Party groups during an election, but then there’s just the subtle intimidation and pressure every day in which you had the President of the United States sending a message to the FBI every day that he didn’t want this woman indicted.”
You had the Attorney General meeting with [Clinton’s] husband, whatever message that sent to everyone at the FBI. And James Comey is not the sort of person with the backbone needed to stand up to that kind of pressure that was also coming from the media, the constant drum beat every day — ‘oh there’s nothing that you can get her on,’ like this is just made up, there are no real charges here — and they succumbed to that in the end. But we are entering a period where you just feel there’s a certain amount of lawlessness that goes on in Washington on a day to day basis and a lack of accountability, which you also read about in my book, because not only have all of these terrible things happened and that were perpetrated by powerful people, but no one is ever held accountable. Look at Lois Lerner. Look at the prosecutors in Wisconsin. Look at Hillary Clinton now.
Bannon asked Strassel if we were now in a sort of “Constitutional crisis” like we saw during the Watergate scandal. “Do you believe now that this has gone beyond people,” he asked. “We’re talking institutions, we’re talking about the IRS, we’re talking about the FBI, we’re talking about the Justice Department, we’re talking about the Oversight Committees on the House, that we now are hurdling towards an institutional crisis in our government?”
“To a certain degree, yes,” Strassel said, “because we have a President that in the past eight years has politicized these agencies to a degree that we have never seen before.”
She went on to reiterate the “powerful players” wielding a politicized government as their personal weapon without the threat of being held accountable:
We have players — powerful players — who are willing to then inspire those politicized bureaucracies to take lawless actions in ways that they’ve never acted before. And we have, as you saw yesterday, a system that no longer has the ability or the will to actually hold people accountable when these transgressions come up.
Strassel noted that she’s a reporter before being an opinion writer and “spent years reporting the things” she carefully documented in her book to inform the public about “what’s actually happening.”
Bannon asked Strassel if she, as a reporter, thinks Obama sees Clinton as his third term.
“Oh absolutely,” she said, predicting that in the coming months we’ll see the Obama and Clinton camps do “whatever it takes” to win in November:
And I think it’s important, therefore, in looking [at] what happened with the whole Comey decision. Barack Obama is desperate to have another Democrat in office. Why? Because so much of what he has assembled in Washington is tenuous — meaning, the country hates Obamacare; a lot of his priorities he had to put in through regulatory means because the country didn’t want it, and the Congress wouldn’t pass them. So, this stuff is not very strong, and he knows that unless you have a Democrat in office who will continue to use his tactics of simply imposing that agenda against the will of the country, then he’s got no shot, and it’s all going to go away.
So, he was all in for Hillary because he knew she had the best shot, or he believed she did from the beginning and that’s why [there was] all the pressure on the FBI to back off on the probe. And we’ll probably see yet more tactics done in aid of her over the next 4 or 5 months. They will do whatever it takes.
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