Q&A: My conversation with Edward Klein

by Rush Limbaugh in the Limbaugh Letter, December 2017

It was so valuable to speak with this absolutely stellar old-school journalist -- former editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine, author of multiple books on the Kennedys, the Clintons, the Obamas, and now his must-read tome, All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump:

RUSH: Mr. Ed Klein. I've wanted to talk to you for quite a while, and now we have this opportunity to do so. I appreciate your carving out time for us.

KLIEN: Thank you, sir. I'm honored to be with you.

RUSH: Before getting specifically into your latest book, All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump, I need to ask a question I've wondered about ever since I first heard about you. You have done a considerable volume of work that focused on scandal and corruption on the Democrat side of the aisle. Yet look at your resume -- you're a New Yorker, a journalist. You're the former editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine. How did you escape being caught up in the East Coast liberal media corridor?

KLIEN: I was the editor of The New York Times Magazine between 1977 and 1988, and during ten of those 11 years I reported to a guy by the name of A.M. Rosenthal. Abe Rosenthal and I worked together on the magazine. I reported to him, and he kept that paper straight during his tenure as executive editor. As soon as he left, it started drifting to the left, and of course now it's rushing to -- if not over -- the edge of the left. But when I was there, The Times wasn't a left-wing newspaper. It was a down-the-middle-of-the-road newspaper.

Of course, now I am persona non grata here in New York City. Friends and colleagues of longstanding who are journalists or just friends don't talk to me when they see me on the street in New York. Sometimes they actually come up to me in restaurants and stick their nose in my face and say, "How can you write all that stuff?" This is like a religious war here in New York City, Rush. The left has no room for even considering any ideas other than their own.

RUSH: They consider you've gone to "the dark side", as purely a conspiracy writer. I read what they say about you, and it's in common with what they say about anybody else who's not on their page. I don't think there's journalism anymore, Ed. I don't even think there is news anymore.

KLIEN: There isn't, Rush. It's a rag, and a mouthpiece of the left wing of the Democrat Party.

RUSH: How did this happen? I've been trying to trace it. Like you say, under Abe Rosenthal, The Times had always been an establishment paper, and its leanings were always to the left, but there was respect for certain Republicans. Did it arrive with Obama? When did this shift to becoming purely liberal-left-wing Democrat Party agenda-driven happen?

KLIEN: It happened when Punch Sulzberger -- that's Arthur Ochs Sulzberger -- handed the reins of the paper as publisher to his son, Arthur, Jr. who is known as Pinch. Pinch became publisher, but he couldn't take the paper to the left, which is what he wanted, until Abe Rosenthal retired. I remember being in the newsroom with Pinch Sulzberger before Abe retired, and he pointed to the national desk, the foreign desk, and the arts-and-leisure desk and he said, "Someday there are going to be no white guys running those desks anymore. It's going to be women and African-Americans." He really meant what he said.

RUSH: The New York Times is the leader. Every other news organization waits to see what The New York Times is writing about, and what The Times covers becomes their guide for the day. Journalism was once defined as people going where other people weren't, recording what happened, and then telling other people what happened. That's not what it is anymore. You can't trust it. You can't rely on it. It's so obviously partisan now that it has been affecting the media's bottom line -- yet nothing, nothing that ends up harming them is causing them to take stock and change any of it.

Anyway, I'm glad you didn't get caught up in it. Now let's get to your book. This is your fourteenth book, All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump. Before we get to the details of your book, what do the plotters -- and I'm going to ask you who you think those people are there, if there's a ringleader group doing this -- but what do the plotters think will happen if this coup of theirs succeeds?

KLIEN: They want to put an instant stop to the disruptive agenda of Donald Trump. That's clear. And the way they're going to do it if they succeed is to gain control of the House of Representative in 2018. That is their goal. Because despite what Nancy Pelosi says, "Oh, we're not going to worry about impeachment, that's not what's on our mind," that's all that's on their mind: impeachment or the 25th Amendment, removing the President for disability, in his case a supposed mental disability. I've spoken to a lot of Democrats in Washington and believe me, their first agenda if they get control will be to throw this President out of office if they can.

RUSH: What role does the Mueller investigation have in that?

KLIEN: Well, clearly so far Mueller hasn't turned up a scintilla of evidence of collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians.

RUSH: Because there isn't any.

KLIEN: There isn't any. Exactly.

RUSH: There aren't any Russians in this story.

KLIEN: None. Zero. But what there is and Mueller so far has not looked into, as far as we know, is the connection between Hillary Clinton and the Democrat Party and the Russians. Now there is a move inside the Justice Department on the part of several prosecutors who are putting pressure on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a new special prosecutor to examine Hillary Clinton and this Uranium One deal and her husband's speeches, especially the one Moscow where he got a half a million bucks. But Jeff Sessions I'm told has been resisting this. I don't know this for a fact but I'm told he said, "I don't want to politicize the Justice Department." Well [laughter], give me a break, Jeff. I mean, this Justice Department and the FBI have been politicized for how long?

RUSH: Yes. But Sessions is not a warrior Attorney General. He believes the law is pure and that at the end of day, the law will win -- if everybody else treats it as pure. Do you think he's the guy for the job right now?

KLIEN: No, I don't. And I think there's a very good chance, and a lot of my sources tell me, that the President and his inner circle are seriously considering removing Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. I would not be surprised if that happens.

RUSH: He was one of the earliest mainstream endorsers. He was supportive of Trump. Immigration was the thing that drew him in. It'd be a shame if that happened because he was so loyal to Trump. I just don't think he's got a personality and a warrior mentality that matches Trump in this circumstance.

KLIEN: That is very true, and you know I think better than most people that Jeff Sessions was a real conservative when he was in the Senate, but he somehow lost his testosterone when he got into the Justice Department.

RUSH: I know him somewhat. I couldn't say I know him very well. I think maybe he just has this massive amount of respect and reverence for the place, and it doesn't matter what Holder did. It doesn't matter what Loretta Lynch did. He's going to keep it clean and pure as the wind-driven snow because that's his duty, almost.

KLIEN: Yes. I think you're 100 percent right, Rush. I think that's what's motivating him, but I don't think that's what's going to save him his job.

RUSH: What are the odds from what you're hearing that there will be a replacement? Any idea who it might be?

KLIEN: I don't know who they're considering, but I do know that this conversation is going on inside the White House practically every day.

RUSH: Ed, let me tell you something else that has totally dazzled me about your work. You have cultivated amazing sources over the years. I think this is one of the reasons why media and people on the left have tried to caricature you as a tabloid writer. You have incredible sources. In your books, you quote people who are in the room in the places you're talking about, including the White House, when these events occurred.

KLIEN: That's correct.

RUSH: One of the factors I've always remarked upon is the loyalty that people have to the Clintons. There was never a tell-all. There was never any dirty laundry aired until Donna Brazile came along. No one betrayed them whether out of fear or love or both, yet you've gotten sources to feed you the most revealing intimate details and inside information on pretty much whatever you choose to write about. I'm not asking for trade secrets. It's just amazing. How have you done this, and have your sources ever been burned?

KLIEN: My sources have so far, thank God, not been burned. Most if not all Journalists use what I would call official sources. In other words, spokespeople, people who do polling for politicians, press secretaries, and so forth. My sources in my books over the past at least 10 or 12 years have not been these official sources, but rather close personal friends and associates of the Clintons, the Obamas, and now of course the Trumps.

How do I do this? Rush, it's a long and [laughs], what shall I say, winding process. You sit with these people for hours and hours and talk about everything under the sun. You drink with them. You play tennis with them. You do all kinds of things, and you develop over the years a sense of loyalty. You develop over the years a sense of trust, and they love to talk about their proximity to people in power. Like everybody else, they have this need to brag about how important they are, and it shows how important they are if they can say, "I was in the room."

And this is one of my stories in the book. When Bill Clinton was reading and editing Hillary Clinton's latest book, What Happened, he was taking a red pencil to it, and he was telling her how she should rewrite the whole book because it's a whiny, self-pitying book. She refused to do it, and he took the manuscript pages and literally threw them in the trash can. This is in front of several people, not just Hillary, and I spoke to two of those people. Now they told me this story because they trust me. They know I'm not going to blow their identities. They often tell me things that are also, of course, a part of their agenda. It's what's called good reporting, and taking the time to get the real story.

RUSH: You get people that nobody else gets. I'm sure it raises curiosity, suspicion.

KLIEN: It also raises a lot of jealousy.

RUSH: Well, yeah.

KLIEN: The editors on newspapers say, "Klein's saying this. Can you match that?" and they can't. They can't match it because they don't have the sources.

RUSH: Let me ask specifically about this book. Have you had a source tell you something that you know is true but you don't use it or can't use it for reasons not having to do with accuracy? Perhaps it's too incendiary, or it would be too easy to identify the source if you used it. In other words, are you sitting on bombshells you can't use because you have to protect the source or yourself?

KLIEN: The answer to that is no, and I'll give you an example. I have a source who smoked marijuana with our former President, Barack Obama -- who is now, I'm told, literally getting stoned a couple of times a week. I hesitated to run that story because I thought it would be a huge scandal. But [laughs] to my utter surprise, I've been interviewed 20, 30 times ever since this book came out, and I've told this story about how the former President is popping cannabis-infused gummy bears and turning on, and there's not a lot of shock anymore about this. Rush, I think we've gone so far away from our value systems that when I tell people that we have a stoner ex-President, they shrug. They don't seem to think it's a big deal.

RUSH: I know. I've seen the reports of it, and there's no even mildly upset curiosity about it. It's just what is, and some people think it's even cool.

KLIEN: Next I'm going to find out some politician is a polygamist, and everybody's going to shrug and say, "Oh, so what?" I'm being sarcastic of course.

RUSH: I know, "It's nobody's business."

KLIEN: Exactly.

RUSH: Here's an important quote from your book: "In America, you are you are entitled to your own opinion. But you are not entitled to overthrow the democratically elected President of the United States and inflict irreparable damage on our country. That, however, is what Donald Trump's enemies on the left and right are doing. Through a variety of underhanded tactics -- lies, leaks, obstruction, and violence -- they are working to delegitimize President Trump and drive him from office before he can drain the swamp and take away their power." When it comes to this plot, the destruction of Trump, who's leading it, Ed?

KLIEN: Well, it was supposed to be Barack Obama, but as I say he's checked out essentially. He has refused.

RUSH: It really was? Obama was really the guy they were looking to lead this? Silently or publicly?

KLIEN: Behind the scenes. The leadership of the Democrat Party have called him, have been in touch with Valerie Jarrett, his consigliere, have urged him, "Please set up a shadow government in the Kalorama section of Washington where you live." As you know he's got this $8 million mansion there that he lives in, and Valerie Jarrett lives there with them. He's refused to do it.

Now Hillary, on the other hand -- and I'm going to break some news here if I may to show you just how serious she is in this "resistance" movement -- Hillary Clinton is currently, as we speak, through her aides negotiating with Christopher Steele, the author of that infamous dossier, for a second dossier, because she has heard from him that he's got more dirt on Donald Trump. She's actually been told by her donors that they will pay for that dossier if Steele will put it together and give it to her.

RUSH: There's nothing factual in the first one is there?

KLIEN: Not that I'm aware of.

RUSH: She doesn't sound well to me.

KLIEN: She's not. I'm told by these sources that you referenced before, her inner circle sources, that she believes the first dossier, including all the stuff about prostitutes and the beds and everything. It's all been proven to be false, but she has said that she believes it, and that there's more scandalous sexual material to be mined against Donald Trump because -- and this is according to a friend who quoted her to me: "I want to see Donald Trump's Presidency end up in ashes."

RUSH: Does she have any delusions that she could somehow end up in the Oval Office? That there's some weird kind of machination getting rid of Trump? What's in this for her? Is it just vengeance?

KLIEN: Again based on the reporting I've done, I think what she sees as her best route to the Oval Office is to destroy Donald Trump, have Vice President Pence in office as an "illegitimate" President because he wasn't voted as President, he was voted as Vice President -- and then start running again for office against President Pence. I think that's her strategy.

The Democrats I talk to say she reminds them of Monty Woolley in that old movie, "The Man Who Came to Dinner". She won't shut up and she won't go away, and they want her to go away because they know she would be a disaster if she ran again.

RUSH: Is she, then, behaving independently of what we would consider a Party structure? I know she's taken the loss hard. I know she can't accept it, can't get over it. None of them can. Nate Silver and everybody told them they were going to win, a 93 percent chance, at seven o'clock that night. They still haven't adjusted to this. Does she not know the Democrat Party wants her out of the way?

KLIEN: From what I'm told, I think she's living in a world of delusion that the Presidency was stolen from her somehow. I don't know how she comes to that conclusion since as we all know the Electoral College voted for Donald Trump very decisively, but that's the way she is talking. That's the way she is behaving. According to, again, sources that are close to Bill Clinton, he thinks she's gone around the bend.

RUSH: [Laughs] I love that, Ed. Bill Clinton thinks she's gone around the bend.

KLIEN: That's right, and these two are at such loggerheads now that they're not even talking. Literally. When they're in the same room they don't even speak to each other. That's how bitter their relationship has become.

RUSH: Obama may have shirked the leadership role of "the resistance", but virtually everybody in the media is devoted to it.

KLIEN: That's right.

RUSH: Except at Fox. But in the mainstream media, it doesn't matter where you go, they're all into it. It's the express purpose of the "news coverage of the day." The Democrat Party is obviously in on it. Is this just moving now in its own inertia, or is there a general, is there a command structure for this resistance? Is it donors, K Street? Are there secret "Deep State" intelligence or military people funding it or encouraging it, designing it? Or is it just moving along because its own momentum has carried it this far?

KLIEN: Within three or four days after Donald Trump won the election, George Soros convened a meeting in Washington, D.C. of his foundation and the heads of several other foundations, billionaires, multi-millionaires, to create a new group to specifically fund this resistance. Part of that group is Tom Steyer, the so-called environmentalist from California who has ponied up $10 million for TV ads specifically calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump. However, having said all this, there are huge amounts of money pouring into the ACLU. There are huge amounts of money pouring into the Southern Poverty, whatever the hell that's called.

RUSH: Law Center.

KLIEN: Thank you. Southern Poverty Law Center. Tons of money pouring into Neera Tanden's group which was set up by John Podesta, American Prospect. They're making tons of money, hand over fist. They're hiring people, but there is no central general, as it were, running this whole thing.

RUSH: You've got a lot of independent contractors going off in their own direction, but they are unified around a singular premise, and that's getting rid of Trump.

KLIEN: Correct.

RUSH: You write that "the time is getting short to stop the villains from overthrowing our President." That's a quote from the book. What is the timeline? I always like to ask authors who issue statements because everybody who reads the book or listens to my show, they want to know what they can do besides vote. What can they do to stop this? What kind of timeline is involved? How close are they? Do you think they can succeed?

KLIEN: As you know, Rush, I have two separate FBI reports that I've reproduce in full at the end of the book, and in one of those FBI reports they talk about the Deep State, the rogue elements in the federal bureaucracy who are meeting secretly in church basements and other places. The FBI has infiltrated those meetings. They are of course trying to sabotage Trump.

There's another FBI report which is even more shocking, and that is that Antifa and other violent left-wing groups have traveled to Europe and the Middle East, have met with representatives from ISIS and al Qaeda and other jihadist groups, are getting training in bomb-making and toxic chemicals, and coming home. They are spread, according to this FBI report -- by the way, the mainstream media has not picked this up -- all over American college campuses, where they're protected by the academic community. The FBI concludes that "this is the greatest challenge to law enforcement since the 1970s and the Weather Underground." They expect that in 2018, which is just around the corner of course, when the midterm elections start heating up, that these violent groups on the left will become even more active in their violence.

So in terms of timeline, I'd say we don't have very much time. I'd say that it requires readers of my book, and your audience, to get in touch with their Congress people, to attend these town hall meetings that the Congress people have, to be heard, to phone, to write, and also of course to familiarize themselves with the facts I've set out in this book.

RUSH: In the Trump Administration, is there anybody there who's trying to undermine him? Is he up to speed on this effort? Does he take it seriously, or is he such a confident guy that he thinks he can weather whatever comes his way and that they're just spitting BBs at a battleship?

KLIEN: I think it's a little of each, Rush. I think on the one hand he understands that there is this threat, but on the other hand he's faced so many downturns in his career and had so many difficult times and come back. As I write, he was in debt to about a billion dollars to banks at one point as you remember, and he came back. I think he feels that he's smarter than his opponents. I'm now making this assumption rather than based on my direct reporting. But from what I can tell, I think he feels that he's winning this game and that come 2018, 2020, that he's likely not only to be presiding over a hot economy that's whistling along at three, four, maybe even five percent, but that he's going to run for office and get reelected for another four years.

RUSH: Are you concerned he's not taking it as seriously as he should, or do you think he's on the right path and can beat this back?

KLIEN: It's hard with him because he doesn't betray any of the normal human fears that most of us show, or doubts, self-doubts. He doesn't betray any of those. He's a guy who, if he has self-doubts, hides them very well.

RUSH: But you think he does have them.

KLIEN: I certainly do think he does. He's a human being the way the rest of us are and has to wonder from time to time, "How the heck did I get here, and how am I going to stay here, and how am I going to succeed."

RUSH: Does he think he has any loyalty problems in his inner circle?

KLIEN: That's an interesting question, because he depends a lot, as you know, on his chief of staff, General Kelly, and General Mattis in the Defense Department, and McMaster in the National Security Agency, all former generals. I think he respects them, but I think he also understands that in a way they are kind of like schoolteachers watching him very closely.

RUSH: Ed, I need to broach one more thing with you here before we go. I'm reminded by Ronan Farrow. He just published that story about "Harvey Weinstein's Army of Spies" in The New Yorker magazine, and he just tweeted that he feared for his safety while reporting the story. Donna Brazil says that she feared for her safety after the Seth Rich murder, after the Democrat servers and network were hacked last summer in 2016. She closed the shades, she said, so that sharpshooters couldn't find her. Look, you're dealing with the same kind of people.

KLIEN: I am.

RUSH: Do you fear for your safety? I'm not going to ask you what steps you take that would expose them, but is that an ongoing thing you have to deal with as you work every day?

KLIEN: I'll answer the question this way, Rush. When I cross the street, I look both ways.

RUSH: [Laughs] Ed, you're great at reporting information, but you don't give much up. It's great to talk with you. I really appreciate your making time for us. I've admired your work for I can't tell you how long because, Ed, as crowded as media is today, it's really hard to stand out and be different and unique with everybody pursuing the same stuff, and you've managed to do it.

KLIEN: Thank you so much for those words, Rush.

RUSH: My hat is off to you.

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