John McLaughlin: “Our Foreign Policy is Out of Control”

On Wednesday, the all-consuming political drama of impeachment goes public for the first time on Capitol Hill, with the chance to see testimony first-hand from various government officials – including Trump appointees – who have corroborated the original whistleblower complaint. Former Deputy CIA director John McLaughlin joins the program to discuss what’s at stake.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: What is at stake here? What is the heart of the wrongdoing, as far as you’re concerned?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I think it’s pretty simple actually, Christiane. This is a case where the president has used congressionally appropriated funds to essentially put a bribe out to a foreign government to assist in his re- election campaign by finding dirt, if you will, looking for dirt, if you will, on his opponent. And, you know, people will argue about what is a high crime and misdemeanor, and that’s a fair argument. It’s not something we settle very often. When the founders thought about all of this, they did talk about bribery as one of the things that would qualify. So, I think that what is at the heart of this, that’s at the heart of it. But there’s more. Also, at the heart of this, to me, is our foreign policy. What we’re seeing here is a perversion of our foreign policy process in a very important case where you have, in Ukraine, newly elected president, elected to be opposed to corruption, making progress in his anti-corruption campaign, facing an invasion from a country that means only ill for the United States, the Russians, an invasion in which 13,000 people have died already, and seeking to combat that. So, foreign countries looking at this spectacle of an American president treating a partner that way and drawing conclusions cannot fail to draw the conclusion that our foreign policy is out of control, ill-defined and lacking direction. So, in a way, I think that’s the larger issue. We can go way down into the weeds on this and look at every line and every piece of testimony. But at the heart of it is we kind of lost our way in our foreign policy when it comes to Ukraine and Russia.

About This Episode EXPAND

On Wednesday, the all-consuming political drama of impeachment goes public for the first time on Capitol Hill. John McLaughlin and Joe Crowley each give Christiane Amanpour their thoughts on the situation. Yair Golan joins the program to discuss violence and political confusion in Israel. Chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov sits down with Miles O’Brien to talk technology, Trump and Putin.