by Sharon Rondeau
(Sep. 5, 2021) — In an interview with former congressman Jason Chaffetz, who guest-hosted Maria Bartiromo’s September 5 “Sunday Morning Futures” on the Fox News Channel, Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL18), a veteran of the Afghanistan war in which he lost both legs, said he considers Biden’s July attempt to pressure Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to put forth a different “perception” of the Taliban’s territorial gains in the country to be “aiding and abetting the enemy,” and “treason.”
Fox’s headline for the interview reads, “Rep. Mast slams Biden admin for Afghanistan troop withdrawal, says Taliban now in prime spot.”
Chaffetz began the segment by citing Biden’s sinking approval numbers after his August 31 withdrawal of military forces from the nation which harbored the terrorist group Al Qaeda, resulting in the U.S. September 11, 2001 attacks, killing nearly 3,000 people.
Afghanistan is now ruled by the Taliban, another Islamic terrorist group responsible for brutality and repression against women and children during its previous reign in the country from 1996 to 2001, when U.S. forces launched a counterattack in response to 9/11.
On August 26, 11 Marines, a U.S. Army soldier and a Navy corpsman lost their lives in a double explosion close to Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, where the U.S. military was staging Biden’s “airlift” of Afghan “refugees,” U.S. citizens and others out of the country. All were infants or young children when the 9/11 attacks took place.
The evacuation operation, which Biden termed an unequivocal “success,” ended on August 31, a date imposed by the Taliban, without the U.S. having recovered all of its citizens and Afghan allies who aided during the 20-year engagement.
In an August 19 interview, Biden told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that American forces would remain in-country past August 31 in the event Americans and allies had been unable to escape. That pledge was broken as admitted to by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie and Biden himself at the conclusion of the effort.
As released by Reuters last week, the transcript of a July 23 phone call between Ghani and Biden shows Biden premising further U.S. military assistance on Ghani’s willingness to put forth a different “perception” of the Taliban’s recent gains. “…there’s a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture,” Biden told Ghani.
Mast found that part of the phone call particularly “serious,” terming it “manipulating intelligence” upon which other world leaders would have depended.
“…If you’re manipulating intelligence because you want a different perception, who are all the entities that are paying attention to that intelligence to try and make real-time decisions for the military or for the Department of State?” he asked rhetorically (3:0t5). “As members of Congress, we’re getting briefings from all of the intelligence agencies; they’re trying to figure out if they have a consensus on what they believe will happen, and if all of that is being manipulated to try and reach some optical goal…then that is directly what put our service members and so many others in that danger because there was a massive misperception of what was actually going on on the ground because they actually tried to change that intelligence, and in my mind that’s giving aid and comfort to the enemy.”
Mast said that in his view, Biden’s goal was to exit Afghanistan on September 11 “because they wanted to make a very specific optic to show to the world, and they ended up creating a situation that by every one of the president’s own objectives was a failure. ‘My number 1 objective is to make sure that Afghanistan can never again be used as a launch for terrorism,'” Mast quoted Biden as having said, along with, “‘My number 1 job is to defend and protect America.'”
“I’d say he scr**** both of those up pretty bad,” Mast punctuated his thought.
It is unknown who within the federal government leaked the call’s contents to Reuters. Based on the transcript, Chaffetz said, it appeared Biden was aware that “the Taliban were actually winning the fight and they’re marching on Kabul but didn’t really do anything about it. In fact, the administration started to move on closing Bagram, the Air Force base, which is 25 miles to the north of the Kabul airport,” Chaffetz said.
Mast responded that Biden not only “changed the intelligence, apparently…” but “ignored what the true intelligence was on the ground and then beyond that, allowed himself to be intimidated…, and beyond that, siding with the Taliban, seeking to give them recognition instead of siding with those that are still in Afghanistan fighting the terrorists right to this very minute.”
As the Taliban quickly overtook the city of Kabul over August 14 and 15, Ghani fled, reportedly to the United Arab Emirates, where he sought political asylum.
Public reports say that the Biden regime left up to $85B-worth of U.S. military equipment in Afghanistan, to which the Taliban now has access.
Chaffetz speculated that nevertheless, the Biden regime believes it has “leverage over the Taliban,” a contention Mast refuted. “The administration, the State Department, they have zero leverage over the Taliban,” he said.
Despite the U.S. government’s “control” over “some of the dollars” funding the Afghani government, Mast said, “…if they couldn’t get people out through American strength…when we had people on the ground, they’re not going to be able to get people out when there are no Americans there. The Taliban rolled through Afghanistan without having access to any of those dollars that they’re saying are this [quote] ‘leverage’ that they have on them; they’re not extremely worried about that, and now what do they have? They have the [quote] ‘most advanced military weaponry’…the Taliban has the leverage…,” he told Chaffetz.
The Taliban is now communicating with Iran, Russia, and China, Mast said, who wish to “be able to extract whatever they want from that region of Afghanistan.” A hypothetical uniting in common purpose among those nations, Mast said, would prevent the U.S. from acquiring intelligence to combat their “aggression.”
Following a commercial break, Chaffetz presented a montage of a number of congressional Republicans calling for Biden, and in some instances some of his cabinet members, to resign, or for the cabinet to “do something.”
Regarding Biden’s hypothetical removal from office, Biden’s cabinet members invoking the 25th Amendment is unlikely, Mast opined. A graphic displayed during the discussion reflected that a total of 60 members of Congress have called for Biden’s impeachment, voluntary resignation, or invoking the amendment, which contains the Section 4 provision:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
The same day the U.S. service members and scores of Afghanis, including children, were killed in the twin explosions, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC11) in a letter implored Kamala Harris to “speak the truth and bear witness to what you have surely seen with your own eyes,” referring to what he said is Biden’s declining mental state, and for her to subsequently, along with Biden’s cabinet members, exercise their duty under Section 4 of the amendment.
According to his bio, Cawthorn, 26, “received a full ride ROTC scholarship to NC State and was also nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy by Rep. Mark Meadows in 2014. However, Madison’s plans were derailed that year after he nearly died in a tragic automobile accident that left him partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who is copied on the letter, herself raised the “disability” aspect of 25th Amendment toward what would be the end of President Trump’s term, advocating for a bill she introduced allowing for the establishing of a “commission on presidential capacity” aimed at “future presidents.”
“The public needs to know the health condition of the president,” Pelosi insisted. Trump, who at the time was battling coronavirus, retorted in a tweet, “Crazy Nancy Pelosi is looking at the 25th Amendment in order to replace Joe Biden with Kamala Harris. The Dems want that to happen fast because Sleepy Joe is out of it!!!”
Regarding Biden’s hypothetical removal from office by any of the three options, Mast told Chaffetz he believes “no member” of the Biden cabinet will invoke the 25th Amendment for “partisan” reasons. “Impeachment is absolutely something that should be considered,” he continued, stating a potential charge as “reckless endangerment” of “all of the American lives over there,” which he stated as “a minimum” of “no less than 10,000.”
While celebrating its takeover of the country, Taliban fighters fired shots into the air, a common practice in Middle-Eastern countries, killing 17 civilians, Chaffetz additionally reported Sunday. According to The New York Post, 50 others were injured.
On Sunday, the BBC reported that eyewitnesses said the Taliban murdered a pregnant police officer “at the family home in front of relatives in Firozkoh, the capital of central Ghor province.”
“Since taking power on 15 August, the Taliban have sought to portray themselves as more tolerant than their global reputation suggests, but incidents of brutality and repression are still being reported in parts of Afghanistan,” the BBC additionally wrote. A New York Post article dated August 25 quoted Afghanistan’s former interior minister having tweeted, “Taliban are trying to rule over people by terrorizing, killing young children and elderly citizens…”
Some reports say that a resistance to the Taliban has formed and operating from the Pansjir Valley which the U.S. should support. However, Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan has suggested the U.S. might provide economic support to the Taliban, depending on its conduct going forward.
Mast said “the truth” behind the July 23 phone call should be discovered and revealed. “We know for a fact that the Taliban is a sworn enemy of the United States of America,” he said. “We are still in the midst of the War on Terror, and as I said, I would absolutely consider the manipulation of intelligence, giving aid and comfort to the enemy — all three of those things are part of what meet the constitutional definition of treason, and then when you go beyond that and you talk about impeachment, I think we all know, though, prior to any change in the majorities in the House or the Senate, you will not see anything move on impeachment with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in power…”
Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution states:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
18 U.S. Code § 2381 provides for the following punishment upon conviction for “treason”:
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
Mast then suggested, perhaps for the first time by any member of Congress, that along with the possibility of “dementia,” Biden “appears to be schizophrenic” based on what Mast said is “the statements that he’s making in front of one camera and the way that they’re directly changing in front of the camera on a different day or the day after that or what members of his cabinet are saying; there’s definitely got to be schizophrenia there.”