The Knoxville Focus for September 20, 2021

The Knoxville Focus for September 20, 2021

Tim Burchett calls for Blinken to resign

Says Biden Administration Has Blood On Its Hands

By Steve Hunley, Publisher

publisher@knoxfocus.com

Congressman Tim Burchett has called for Secretary of State Antony Blinken to resign.  Burchett was one of several GOP congressmen who called for Blinken to resign.  Burchett didn’t need his allotted five minutes to make his own statement.  Of the committee members speaking, Congressman Burchett managed to say the most in the least amount of time.

Appearing on Zoom as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Burchett brandished an edition of The Knoxville Focus lauding the life and service of Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss who was killed during an attack on the Kabul airport.  The congressman referred to his “local paper” and Burchett noted Blinken had repeatedly stated the administration had prepared for “every contingency”, which the congressman said was clearly not true.

After having held up The Focus with Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss’s photo on the front page, Burchett flatly said the blood of Knauss and his fellow members of the American armed services was on the hands of the Secretary of State and the Biden administration. Congressman Burchett said the real tragedy was that the deaths of the thirteen Americans, including Ryan Knauss, could have been prevented.  Had there been an organized plan, there would have been no need to send an additional 6,000 troops in to secure the Kabul airport.  “Their blood is on your hands and this administration, sir,” Burchett said.  “I call on you to resign.”

Burchett then yielded the remainder of his time to fellow Tennessee congressman Mark Green who asked Secretary Blinken to confirm the Taliban is indeed a terrorist organization.  Blinken somewhat reluctantly confirmed the designation of the Taliban by the American government as a terrorist organization.  Green then wondered why the United States would negotiate with a terrorist organization?  Green said the Biden administration bears the full fault for not having anticipated the rapidity with which the Taliban occupied Afghanistan.  Green pointed out the Biden administration was trying to shift the blame for the failure to foresee the total collapse of the Afghani government to U. S. intelligence agencies, which the congressman said would only foster mistrust in future messages relating to national security matters by the administration.

Congressman Brian Mast of Florida called Blinken a “liar” and refused to listen to the Secretary’s attempt to answer a question, snapping, “We don’t need to hear lies.”  Mast insisted the Biden administration has been manipulating intelligence from Afghanistan.

Antony Blinken was visibly frustrated and yelped, ”What the congressman said is wrong.  Period.”

Blinken went to the usual repository of blame when all else fails for the Biden administration – – – an attempt to lay the blame for the Afghanistan fiasco squarely in the lap of Donald Trump.  Blinken said the deal brokered by the Trump administration with the Taliban had left Joe Biden little room to maneuver.  Blinken said there were only two options left to Biden, “ending the war or escalating it.”

Tennessee’s Congressional delegation, like most Americans, have collectively been highly critical of the botched evacuation that has left some Americans and our allies trapped behind Taliban lines.  Senator Bill Hagerty had issued a statement saying, “When you allow terrorists and terror organizations to dictate your arbitrary deadline, the result is dangerous and disastrous for our brave military members and allies.”  In a Tweet, Hagerty had urged Biden to “decisively respond to these horrific terrorist attacks against Americans & our allies in Afghanistan from a position of strength & with appropriate force.”

Burchett’s anger was likely fueled in part by the announcement by the Department of Defense it would not cover the costs of Ryan Knauss’s funeral home.  It was finally revealed to be a rumor and nobody was likely happier to have that disproven than Burchett.  Still, Tennessee is not called the “Volunteer State” for nothing and the folks at Mynatt’s Funeral Home stepped up to make the necessary arrangements for transporting Knauss to Virginia for burial in Arlington National Cemetery.  The Gibbs community and thousands of others throughout Knox County and Tim Burchett’s congressional district have been praying for Ryan’s wife and family and came together to honor a true hero.

Hundreds of people lined Tazewell Pike as the black hearse bearing the body of Ryan Knauss’s back to Gibbs High School, his alma mater, glided past.  A motorcycle escort flanked the sleek hearse as it made its way towards its destination.  Folks waved American flags, some veterans stood at attention and saluted, while others simply placed their hands over their hearts as they watched the procession pass by.  Hundreds filled the bleachers at Gibbs High School for the memorial service for Knauss to pay their respects to the fallen soldier, a genuine hometown hero.

Sheriff Tom Spangler, a veteran himself, personally ordered the motorcycle escort to accompany Ryan Knauss.  Sheriff Spangler said he and his department were pleased to provide an escort for Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss.  “This young man deserves our honor, and respect as he sacrificed his life in service to our country, an escort is the least we can do to show our gratitude,” Spangler said.

It was later announced the folks from Mynatt’s Funeral Home and the escort from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office will escort Ryan Knauss all the way to his final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery.

Nor was Congressman Burchett done with the Biden administration.  A few days later, Burchett was asked about the controversy surrounding writer Bob Woodward’s new book, “Peril,” which alleges General Mark Milley made two telephone calls in secret to General Li Zuocheng of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.  In the book, Woodward and Robert Costa write Milley supposedly told General Zuocheng he was worried about then-President Donald Trump’s “mental state.”  General Milley reputedly told his Chinese counterpart he was fearful Trump might start a war.

Congressman Burchett noted Woodward, as a journalist, was more of the “tabloid” variety, but if what Woodward and Robert Costa allege about Milley and the telephone calls is true, Milley had violated the Logan Act.  The Logan Act forbids any American citizen to “engage in unauthorized diplomacy with foreign countries with intent to ‘influence the measures or conduct’ of a foreign government or to ‘defeat the measures of the United States.’”

“I believe he’s violated the Logan Act, which is a felony, and he could do some serious time,” Burchett told Newsmax.  “And if it’s true, also, he should be court-martialed, because he is definitely going around our president.”

“Maybe he and Pelosi and the rest are negotiating things they weren’t allowed to do,” Burchett speculated, “but what we’re going to have to do is get a hearing.”

Therein lies the rub, as Burchett noted to get a hearing, House members must go through Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Congressman Burchett acknowledged getting Pelosi to hold a hearing would be a “tough pill for the Democrats to swallow.”

The Biden administration is trotting out various spokespeople to assert “counterpart conversations” for a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are “common.”  They also insist “frequent communication with countries like Russia and China is not atypical.”  Those assertions have paled somewhat with the flat statement by Christopher Miller, Acting Secretary of Defense at the time, I “did not” authorize any action for General Milley to telephone his Chinese counterpart. Miller was head of the Department of Defense from the 2020 election until the day Joe Biden was inaugurated.  Christopher Miller stated he “did not now and would not ever authorize” such calls which he categorized as nothing less than a “disgraceful and unprecedented act of insubordination.”  Miller was direct when he said Milley should resign “immediately.”

092021_KNOXVILLE FOCUS

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