The Inspector General's Report and the Singapore Summit


HUGH HEWITT: Morning glory, America, from the Studios inside the Beltway. That music means it is time for the "Hillsdale Dialogue." All things Hillsdale are collected at, including your opportunity to sign up completely for free for Imprimus, the news and speech digest that comes out almost every month.

I'm joined by Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College. You can watch Dr. Arnn on many of the courses available at And of course, he's been my primary interlocutor in the many years we've been doing the "Hillsdale Dialogue," which is the last radio hour of the week. All of those hours are collected for your binge listening pleasure at And on this morning of the IG report aftermath and of the Singapore summit, no better person to talk to than Larry Arnn. Good morning, Dr. Arnn.

LARRY P. ARNN: Good morning.

HUGH HEWITT: I want to begin with the IG report, because it seems to suggest that that which you have always been afraid of, a police force answering unto itself, actually was at work for a period of time in the United States. I think it's over, but it was there.

LARRY P. ARNN: Yeah. Well, so the report-- I've been reading the report this morning. And of course, it's a federal government document, and so it's a massive blather. And I might even just read you one paragraph so that you can see how hard it is to-- because it doesn't want to say anything clear, right?

So I will say one thing clear. The FBI puts itself forward as a symbol of neutrality, that these are professionals, and that they're law enforcement people, and that they're neutral. And there's no thinking in the making of the Constitution of the United States that any large class of people would ever be regarded that way, because people have interests. Indeed, the heart of the Constitution, of the arrangements according to James Madison, is that it aligns the interest of the man with the duty of the place. In that man, ambition is used to offset ambition.

So the point is, there are these smoking guns. There are at least four of them, four different people whose guns are smoking, caught smoking, where they are obviously partisans in the politics of the day. And they're on the left. And the worst of them even says that we are going to stop Donald Trump becoming president of the United States.

Now, the point there is that that means that this force, too, requires to be controlled. It can't just be unfettered. And then I'll go on to to say whether it is or not in my opinion. But remember also that this is really tough, because in the middle of a presidential campaign, they're going-- and since presidential campaigns last about two years in their most public active phase, and since these investigations take months, any investigation of a presidential campaign is going to run up against an election. And they're very sensitive to that in the FBI, very sensitive about their own-- what-- their reputation.

And the FBI report, this inspector general's report, is sensitive that way too. So on the second page of the executive summary, I'll just read-- if it's OK with you-- I'll just read a few sentences. "There were clearly tensions and disagreements in a number of important areas between Midyear"-- that's the investigation of Hillary Clinton's servers-- "agents and prosecutors. We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions we reviewed."

So "directly affected." That's an interesting phrase.

HUGH HEWITT: Would you make a note? Because I want to come back to that, because it's contradicted eight pages later. But go ahead.

LARRY P. ARNN: That's right. Now, next-- and what I'm showing you is this summary at the beginning, it just shows. So now, the next paragraph right after "directly affected" sentence, begins "nonetheless." That's a conjunction, right?


LARRY P. ARNN: What that means is whatever's going to come after that is some kind of a disagreement with the previous sentence.


LARRY P. ARNN: "Nonetheless, these messages cast a cloud over the FBI's handling of the Midyear investigation." Now the next sentence, another conjunction. "But"--


"Our review did not find evidence to connect the political views." So you see, I like to call this square dancing language.

HUGH HEWITT: Yes. And may I give you the better one?

LARRY P. ARNN: Yeah, go ahead.

HUGH HEWITT: OK, this is on the Roman numeral page IX, the first full paragraph. "In assessing the decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related" investigation-- which is the server-- "discovered on the Weiner laptop, we were particularly concerned about text messages sent by Strzok and Page that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions they made were impacted by bias or improper consideration. Most of the text messages raising such questions pertained to the Russia investigation, and the implication in some of these text messages, particularly Strzok's August 8 text message ('we'll stop' candidate Trump from being elected), was that Strzok might be willing to take official action to impact the presidential candidate's electoral prospects. Under these circumstances, we did not have confidence that Strzok's decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over the following up" of the server-- the Midyear-related investigation lead-- "discovered on the Weiner laptop was free from bias."

In other words, Dr. Arnn, they said it's free from bias. But then they just said, we don't have confidence that it was free from bias. It is Orwellian.

LARRY P. ARNN: That's right. And that whole thing is-- so, early on they attribute to Comey that Comey decided-- a big step in all of this is that Comey decided to make a unilateral, that is to say without the Attorney General's Office, without the Justice Department, to which he reports-- make an announcement that Hillary Clinton was not going to be prosecuted. Let me enter here, by the way, that I'm not at all confident that Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted.


LARRY P. ARNN: But he used the word grossly negligent. And then he changed that word to extremely careless. And then he made some other adjustments in the language to tone it down. And they say that he felt like he had to have that language-- as far as I can tell, this is based on things he said to the inspector general-- had to have that language because he didn't want FBI employees to get the impression that they wouldn't be prosecuted if they handled information the way Hillary Clinton did. So isn't that an interesting thought?


LARRY P. ARNN: I don't want the people working for me to think they can get away with this crap.

HUGH HEWITT: Do you know there was another interesting thought, is that they had a briefing for retired FBI agents on October 21 to describe the investigative decisions so as to arm former employees with facts so that they, too, might counter falsehoods and exaggeration. So they were weaponizing their retired agents to go and defend their conduct. It's astonishing what they did. I think it is indisputable, Dr. Arnn, that if the public had known what was going on, had just had this IG report in front of them prior to the election, Donald Trump would have won by an even greater margin in the electoral college because they would not accept being manipulated by the FBI.

LARRY P. ARNN: Yeah. And it makes it all-- I watched Christopher Wray. I don't know him or much about him, I confess. But I watched his statements. And they're all-- it's very good the way we know how to talk now, because here's a plain stating of what the FBI-- of the difficult and dangerous thing going on in the FBI. Some hard political partisans using-- in the course of their daily work-- using the machines that they use to accomplish their daily works, their cell phones and their computers, computing with each other-- communicating-- said that they were going to stop the election of one guy and cause the election of another, the president of the United States, while they're investigating the campaign.

Now, that's just blaring bad. And then, of course, Strzok goes on to the Mueller investigation later. And the thing is, that's shameful, especially if you present yourself to the world as neutral.

HUGH HEWITT: And it's dangerous. I mean, it undermines-- and that brings me to something we have to talk about. You and I are not fans of special counsels. We're not. But I think we have to have one here, because the attorney general tells us this is all being sent to the US attorney in Utah. Do you have confidence that the US attorney in Utah is going to investigate fully and prosecute completely those who were involved in this, Dr. Arnn?

LARRY P. ARNN: And see, so in answering that, let me add a point. And that is that I'm not a friend of special prosecutors in general, although they are common and necessary. I think it's particularly sensitive when the president of the United States is being prosecuted, because he has the vote of the people behind him. You can't have prosecutors messing with that. So there's another way in the Constitution. Here, I have little reluctance to appoint a special prosecutor.

HUGH HEWITT: When we come back, we'll talk about moving forward. AG Sessions, please go find Mike Luttig and make him your special counsel. Stay tuned, America. It's the Hugh Hewitt Show.

Welcome back, America, from the Studio. I am Hugh Hewitt, joined by Hillsdale College Dr. Larry Arnn, because it is the "Hillsdale Dialogue," our weekly journey into very important issues at the mountaintop. All things Hillsdale collected at

Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, we're talking about the IG report and how murkily it is written and great length it goes and strains to obscure. Contrast that with yesterday. The Supreme Court had before it a case challenging the state of Minnesota's ban on wearing political buttons and other garb into your voting place.

In a challenge brought successfully by the Pacific Legal Foundation against that law, the chief justice of the United States writes succinctly, "The First Amendment prohibits laws abridging the freedom of speech. Minnesota's ban on wearing any political badge, political button, or other political insignia plainly restricts a form of expression within the protection of the First Amendment."

Clarity, right? Now, this is what the First Amendment says, this violates the First Amendment, ergo it's unconstitutional. If you were to summarize this 500-plus pages of mashed potatoes that are cold overnight, how would you do so?

LARRY P. ARNN: Well, you would say that we have explicit language by Peter Strzok-- there are four such people apparently-- but Peter Strzok, that he's going to stop Trump's election. However, we cannot connect that to any actual judgments that were made. So you can state an explicit intention, and then that's unconnected.

HUGH HEWITT: And how do you make that square with "we don't have any documentary evidence," when they've got documentary evidence? And indeed they say, we do not have confidence that Strzok's decision to prioritize the Russia investigation was free from bias. It is actually an incoherent report, intended, I believe, to muffle the facts, to just drown them.

I mean, I had to print the thing out. It used up-- I had to go get more paper from the CVS. I had to get more ink, because it's 518 pages. And you cannot expect an informed citizenry to make sense of this.

LARRY P. ARNN: I don't know if people read-- I encourage people to read Mollie Hemingway, who writes on The Federalist and who's on Fox News, and she's had a lot of investigative journalism. And one thing is the FBI put somebody in the Trump campaign as a spy. And they did that in conjunction with the CIA.

That's while all this is going on, all of the things that are going on with these investigations that the inspector general's report is about. There's other stuff going on that the inspector general's report is not about, having to do with Russia and all of that. And so just think, there are intrusions into the political process by law enforcement. And we need to think long and hard about how you make sure that's not just compromised.

HUGH HEWITT: Because we're about to have an election in Turkey. And the great concern there is that there really is a deep state in Turkey, and that Erdogan will not honor a real vote. And indeed, there is a concern in Iraq that the votes have gone burning, that they're trying to do a recount and they burned down the warehouse with the votes. Wherever there are law people with guns in charge of voting and the process that elects, it is a dangerous situation.

LARRY P. ARNN: It is. And some of this-- because if we could try to think of something simple or bright light to say, because politics are the way they are and because human interests are the way they are, then elections, they're very controversial. And the reason is they decide who gets power. And it's rare that a country for a long time decides who gets power by a popular vote. Almost nobody achieves that.

And nobody has achieved that in the modern world so long as we have done that. We have done it longer than Great Britain, which really didn't even begin to do it until the middle of the 19th century. So that's a precious thing. And we should think about preserving that. And one of the tools-- and it's not the only one-- in the Constitution is that the political process itself should be encouraged to argument and debate and transparency, and then the people can find out and decide things.

HUGH HEWITT: Amen. And they're going to do that in November. And this report is part of that. When we come back, so is the Singapore summit. Dr. Larry Arnn and I talk about that. Don't go anywhere, America. It's the Hugh Hewitt Show.

Welcome back, America. It's Hugh Hewitt with Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College. We have Donald Trump on the front lawn of the White House live. Let's listen.

REPORTER: So you're saying we're on the losing end of it?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, no. There is no trade war, they've taken so much. So last year, $375 billion in trade deficit. We had a $300 with China. We had overall over $800 billion over a period of years, each year close to $800 billion in losses on trade. Not going to happen anymore. It's not going to happen. It can't happen.

REPORTER: A week ago you were up in Canada, and you met with the G7 people.


REPORTER: You know, that didn't end so well.

DONALD TRUMP: No, it ended well. For the United States, it ended well.

REPORTER: Well, the world community thinks the United States is turning our back on them.

DONALD TRUMP: No, no, no.

REPORTER: But your opinion is that you got elected to represent America, and America needs help.

DONALD TRUMP: We need protection. Everybody's taking advantage of us. The European Union made $151 billion on us last year. If you look at-- I told you about China. You look at Japan. You look at South Korea. You look at so many-- and we help these countries militarily on top of everything else. I mean, at what point does it stop?

And when I left China, it was absolutely a fantastic meeting. We left, we hugged, we kissed, everybody was leaving. And then I get onto Air Force One, and the prime minister up there, Trudeau, didn't think, I guess, that we have any televisions on Air Force One. But they have, I think, 21 televisions or some ridiculous number--

REPORTER: And so you saw it, and you hit the roof.

DONALD TRUMP: No. Well, you have to understand. We're hugging. We're saying goodbye. Everybody's happy. I made changes to the agreement, because I wanted it to be much better for the United States. I made changes.

We're all happy. And then he got up and started saying that he doesn't want to be pushed around by the United States. Well, they charge us almost 300% on dairy products. So we can't do that stuff.

REPORTER: Have you heard from any of the G7 leaders?

DONALD TRUMP: Yeah, they all called me to wish me a happy birthday yesterday.

REPORTER: Really? And how was that?

DONALD TRUMP: It was very--

REPORTER: Not your birthday, but the message from the other side.

DONALD TRUMP: I took it very well.


DONALD TRUMP: No, they all called. I mean, I have great friendships. The new prime minister of Italy is great, got to meet him. Very strong on immigration, like I am, by the way. It seems that strong on immigration wins now.

The Democrats, by the way, are very weak on immigration. If you notice, when I came over, they were all saying about separating the families. And that's a Democrat bill. That's Democrats wanting to do that, and they could solve it very easily by getting together. But they think it's a good election point. I think it's a horrible election point for them.

REPORTER: Ultimately, Congress has got to change the law.

DONALD TRUMP: They've got to change the law.

REPORTER: But at the same time, Mr. President, people say, look, you rip these families apart. Even though it is the law, it's heartless.

DONALD TRUMP: But that's the law. And that's what the Democrats gave us. And we're willing to change it today if they want to get in and negotiate. But they just don't want to negotiate. They're afraid of security for our country. They're afraid of a wall. Although I must tell you, most people now, really, they want the wall. They want to stop the drugs.

HUGH HEWITT: All right, Dr. Arnn, you're getting treated there to a lot of Donald Trump. What do you make of just the style?

LARRY P. ARNN: Well, he's obviously a very confident man.


HUGH HEWITT: Yes, he is.

LARRY P. ARNN: A lot of people who don't like him-- and I don't like this thing. But I will tell you, one of the things I notice is that he praises himself a fair amount. And so he said before the summit, he said that he would understand Kim, the leader of North Korea, it probably wouldn't take him even one minute. "That's what I do." [LAUGHS]


LARRY P. ARNN: So it's like that, right? But now, what I do like is he-- so the American press, the enemy press, at least, and that's most of it-- if the leader of Canada says a bad thing about Trump--

HUGH HEWITT: You mean the political enemy of Donald Trump press.

LARRY P. ARNN: That's what I mean, yeah. The political enemies, or the opposition.

HUGH HEWITT: Not enemies of freedom, just political enemies of Trump.

LARRY P. ARNN: You know, if the president of France or the prime minister of Canada say bad things about Donald Trump after they've met with him, then that's above-the-fold, front-page headlines. And then Fox just asked him, did the summit go badly? Now, here's how he deals with that.

Very well, very well. And we were all just hugging, and everything was fine. And we'd made some good agreements. And I had helped to adjust them to get them more favorable to the United States. And then they say these things about how we're not going to push them around right after we leave. And I had TVs on Air Force One. That's not fair.

That's how he talks, right? And that's all very understandable, isn't it?

HUGH HEWITT: Yeah, well, it's exactly the way an ordinary American would-- actually, it's been part of many comedies for years. When people leave on their phone or their device, and they think someone's left the room. And then they talk trash about them, but they haven't left the room. It's like a recurring joke on Veep with Louis-Dreyfus. It's a recurring joke everywhere, that if you do dirty the people you just did a deal with, they don't like it.

LARRY P. ARNN: Yeah. Distinguish the way he talks with the inspector general's report that we were parsing out earlier.

HUGH HEWITT: How true.

LARRY P. ARNN: What exactly does that thing say? But you don't leave Donald Trump thinking that.

HUGH HEWITT: Now, let me read to you-- by the way, John Podhoretz, who is a neo-Never Trumper. He's not in the hard-core never, ever, ever Trumpers who cannot say a word good about him. But John was pretty much opposed to him.

He writes this today. Quote, "we'll stop it," close quote. "With the revelation of those three words, which popped up in today's Justice Department report about the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton, the world has changed. We now know that senior FBI official Peter Strzok sought to calm his mistress and fellow FBI official Lisa Page's fear of a Trump presidency by promising to stop it from happening. By text message.

18 months later, Congress asked the Justice Department for all materials relating to the couple's conduct-- and the text containing those three words was missing from those materials. The thing was, the text to which it was a response was supplied to Congress. But not the smoking gun. That had been disappeared. Until the Justice Department report revealed them.

Let's face it. It is highly unlikely that this extraordinarily incendiary text simply vanished of its own accord. Someone almost surely vanished it so it could not become the subject of a thousand Fox News broadcasts. I think we can presume that special someone was its author, Peter Strzok.

This guy Strzok may be the emblematic figure of the past few years of Washington scandal. He was intimately involved in the investigation into Hillary Clinton and in the Russia investigation-- that is, until independent counsel Robert Mueller found out about the texting with Lisa Page and fired them both off the probe only a month after Mueller started his work."

And he goes on to say, he's the ultimate-- he uses a Yiddish term. I love this. Do I call him a schmuck? "Strzok is the ultimate shlimazel-- a Yiddish term for a clumsy oaf who trips over himself at every turn. Strzok assured his mistress that he'd stop Trump. He didn't do it in 2016. And he may have contributed to not stopping Trump in 2020."

That's from a Never Trumper, Larry Arnn.

LARRY P. ARNN: Yeah. That's right. So that's funny. So John Podhoretz is an interesting and great guy.

HUGH HEWITT: He's a wonderful intellect.

LARRY P. ARNN: And so he's funny, too. So his point is-- that's a kind of broad appeal he's making. If you're Never Trump, you should really dislike Strzok.


HUGH HEWITT: And it goes to the-- we've got to switch to Singapore. It goes to this essential Trump derangement syndrome in the media. I think they're trying to build the wall around the cesspool. But that it's not going to hold. There's too much cess in the pool.

LARRY P. ARNN: If the Congress here-- it's very hard to think through what are the resolutions to a problem of wrongdoing, legal fraud or wrongdoing, in a major election. How do you prosecute that? And the Congress, when it's better, it could do these things.

First of all, it needs an intelligence committee and other committees that can guarantee security. That is to say there won't be leaks out of them. And when the Congress is disciplined-- it has in the past been and had a disciplined leadership-- it didn't leak everything that went on.

Heck, the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine and the great emergence of the United States into world politics after the Second World War, that was worked out in a bipartisan way in the Congress with the Truman administration. Arthur Vandenberg from Michigan. Hank Meijer, a retailer, has written a wonderful biography of him lately.

Anyway, let's say Congress acted like that. Then their powers to ask the FBI questions are an important check on the executive branch, of which the FBI is part. And that's why those powers are there.

So there is, and there should be, a congressional investigation of all of this. And they should subpoena documents. And then they should treat them carefully, so as not to expose agents to danger. But they should write plain documents later about who did what, of which this inspector general report is deficient.

HUGH HEWITT: I also believe that the Republicans, led by the very able Mitch McConnell, who this week became the longest-serving Senate GOP leader in history. I believe he is the most effective Republican congressional leader in my lifetime. I believe that they ought to investigate. They ought to run for office. Because you've pointed out, the resolution of this issue is with the people.

And the Republicans should run on the economy. And it's going to be 3.6 unemployment, according to the Fed, and GDP at 3% or greater, according to Brian Wesbury and others. They should run on the economy and the tax cuts. And they ought to run on everything.

But they also ought to run on rebuking the permanent state. Not the deep state, but the permanent government and the corruption of it. They ought to run against Peter Strzok.

LARRY P. ARNN: Everybody since Reagan-- if you just think of the timeline. So the modern administrative state grew to be the powerful thing it is in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, '90s, and 2000s. So it's not so old.

Ronald Reagan gave his famous "time for choosing" speech in 1964, where he pointed out the dangers of that thing. And that made him a national figure. Then he was elected in 1984.

But it still has not really been set back. But ever since that emerged on the scene, beginning with the career of Ronald Reagan, it's always been good politics to run for national office against the government of the United States. And that didn't used to be true, see.

People don't like this kind of government. And it is vulnerable. And so they should run against the limiting of it, so that it is safe and doesn't threaten the people's freedom.

HUGH HEWITT: I'll be right back with Dr. Arnn. We'll talk about the Singapore summit when we come back. Don't go anywhere, America.

Welcome back, America. I'm Hugh Hewitt. Thank you for listening today from the Studio. I'm with Dr. Larry Arnn. It's the "Hillsdale Dialogue." All things collected at All of our conversations at

Dr. Arnn, I'd be remiss if I didn't have you comment on the Singapore summit, where President Trump sat down with the evil dictator Kim Jong-un. And then Secretary of State Pompeo went off to Seoul and China to continue the work. What make you of all this?

LARRY P. ARNN: Well, the joint statement, which you characterized properly earlier, really makes five points. One of them it makes twice. The shining point is this is a historic and really big deal. That was one of their points.


Then, the US and North Korea going to have new kind of relations. That's one. We're going to build a just and lasting peace. That's the same one over again.

They commit to-- the DPRK commits to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. And they agree to work towards that. So they don't commit to get rid of their nuclear weapons, but work that way.

And then-- this is real-- they say they commit to recovering our POW and MIA remains from the Korean War. So that's what it decides, really those four things. And two of them are redundant with each other.

And so what does it mean? Well, it's very unclear. They are going to keep talking. Pompeo is named in the joint declaration as the person who is going to represent the United States, by name. And they're going to keep talking.

And then, meanwhile, we have our sanctions operating on them. And we can do what we want. It doesn't mention-- the document doesn't make any mention of human rights, and that's controversial. But also, I think if you're going to try to woo this guy away from the kind of regime he has into a better kind, you don't start by the point that I'm de-legitimizing your whole regime.

HUGH HEWITT: In fact, Steve Doocy, just moments ago, asked President Trump, he said, look, he's a horrific dictator. And President Trump said, that's what it is. But am I supposed to do, walk out there and say terrible?

He also went on to say-- and this is causing quite a stir, Dr. Larry Arnn. President Trump just said on Fox News, "Kim Jong-un speaks, and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same," close quote. Of course, that is being interpreted as an authoritarian demand. How would you suggest people understand that?

LARRY P. ARNN: Well, I don't think that Donald Trump is an authoritarian or intends to be. And there's a lot of reasons for that. But his-- my favorite thing about him, and that is his long support of the rule of law, as opposed to the bureaucratic state. And I don't think he meant that by that. And the other thing is--

HUGH HEWITT: Of course, he didn't mean that by that. But it's going to be interpreted. And it's going to be recycled a million times to mean that, even as we try and drain the meaning from Peter Strzok's text message-- and otherwise infuse meaning where it isn't, and drain it where it is.

LARRY P. ARNN: Yeah. And see, he would be a much greater fool than his worst critics claim him to be if he actually thought that making some statement like that would place the American people in the mood of the people of North Korea.

HUGH HEWITT: And the moment that he made an authoritarian move, people would rise up against it. That's what I like to tell people. He just hasn't violated the Constitution, and inartful comments don't violate the Constitution.

LARRY P. ARNN: Even if it was inartful, right? Trump's support comes from people who think that the government is arbitrary and too strong. And so it is possible, if we lose the rule of law in America and everything collapses, that what will emerge is a strong man-- history shows that this can happen-- a strong man who would come and bring order, claiming to represent the people. But Trump doesn't show any signs of that to me.

HUGH HEWITT: No. He doesn't show it to me, either. But you know it's going to be all day and all night. I think this election is going to be a referendum, Dr. Arnn, on elites and their domination of the media, because I think everybody knows it. They feel it.

LARRY P. ARNN: Yeah. And we don't know what to think about the election right now. It's still too early. But it is true that the balance of the pundits has changed.

Nobody is really claiming now that we're going to have a complete and unprecedented blue wave. They don't claim that you can know that now. And they were claiming that back in January.

And so I think that we're in the middle of great national decision. It's a very slow motion. It's been going on for 30 years. If you date the rebellion against the new kind of government-- and just remember, Washington, DC, looks different because of it.

HUGH HEWITT: But I wish he hadn't said-- I wish he hadn't said I want my people to do the same. That just doesn't sound good. It's not what he means. It's inartful. I just wish he hadn't said it, Larry Arnn.

LARRY P. ARNN: Yeah, OK, well.

HUGH HEWITT: By the way, he's still live on Fox. So people can leave us now and go watch President Trump on Fox News or listen to Mike Gallagher. Dr. Larry Arnn, always a pleasure.