Jason Buttrill Sidesteps IEDs to Retrieve Bible With ISIS Bullet Holes

Fresh off his dangerous and controversial trip to Iraq, Jason Butrill with TheBlaze sat down with Glenn to give a firsthand account of his experience on the ground --- from shooting at ISIS, which he now regrets, to bringing Glenn a bible used as target practice by ISIS.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

GLENN: I want to start with a little bit of controversy that happened mainly in the media, but also the -- the right of the country was fed fake news. And about me. And said that I fired a guy on my staff for shooting at ISIS. As evidence, I have not fired the guy because he is sitting right here. Jason Buttrill who is our chief researcher and our writer for many of the programs. Did the root. And goes out into the field and tries to find the things that others are missing.

And I want to start with just 60 seconds on the controversy.

You went over and you were on your own. You were not with the journalist at the time. Right?

JASON: Right.

GLENN: And what happened?

JASON: Yeah. So we were out on our own. We were chasing the story that you were talking about. We were having a considerable hard time getting it because the Iraqi army is now in control of the final like checkpoint lines to actually get into Mosul. So we were having a lot of problems. But I was out searching for another story about the tunnels that we talked about.

GLENN: Uh-huh.

JASON: And there did come a time when ISIS was in the distance. And I did take some shots at ISIS. I -- I -- I didn't think about how the perception was in making it public and what it looked like. And that -- I'm a part of a media organization. And, you know, there are journalists all over the country that are -- that are showing -- or that are doing great work, especially in combat zones. And I didn't think about what that does to them all over the world.

GLENN: Right.

JASON: It puts them in danger. I'm not a combatant. And I shouldn't have engaged.

GLENN: And you're not a journalist.

JASON: I'm not a journalist. But the appearance.

GLENN: But the appearance was that you were a journalist, and that's what ISIS says -- is that ISIS will say, "I can shoot a journalist because they're -- you know, they're really combatants under disguise."

JASON: Yeah.

GLENN: And that's not true. You're not a journalist. I didn't send you over as a journalist. You're a researcher. But you shouldn't have done that. And you -- I've known you for a long, long time, you've had the snot kicked out of you from this. And this deeply affected you.

JASON: Yeah. Yeah.

GLENN: Learned your lesson?

JASON: Absolutely. Yeah. I -- I don't know if you can be trained to handle something like this. Like I said, my mind was just going crazy after this. I more felt bad for -- when I was reading everything -- I did feel bad for journalists all over the world covering these stories. I was worried about what I did to them. But I was worried what I did to the organization. The organization has been great. Like I said, I was not fired. But, yeah, it's -- it's behind me. I'm definitely moving forward. I'm a better person now.

GLENN: Good. Thank you.

Can you tell me now what you saw?

JASON: Yeah.

GLENN: First of all, isn't this -- because I wore one of those scarfs once, and I was told I'm now part of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. You're wearing a scarf.

(laughter)

GLENN: And I like them. Pat would call it an ascot. And I like them. But I've worn it once on television, and everyone said, "Oh, really? You're for Lebanon."

PAT: It's only an ascot when you wear it the way you do it. He's not wearing it as if it were an ascot.

JEFFY: That's correct.

STU: Yeah, he looks cool in it. You look really ridiculous.

GLENN: He's wearing it wrong. He's wearing it wrong.

JASON: I think it depends on the designs and everything.

But this is actually a Kurdish scarf. And they use it to put around their heads. To keep the wind and sand out. But this is Kurdish. And it's crazy cool. I kind of like it.

GLENN: I like it too.

So what did you find?

JASON: We found -- I was chasing that story, when we kept getting stonewalled. And it was getting harder and harder.

In fact, the Iraqi military is making it very, very difficult for even the UN -- when I was getting denied to go into the middle of Mosul, the UN was also getting denied for moving in there.

They are keeping it very tight under the lid, as far as how much casualties that they're taking and as far as their defeats and losses. They're not letting any of that get out. The day I was --

GLENN: Which usually means that that's --

PAT: It's not going well.

JASON: Right. Well, that day, there was -- they shut us down, and 30 to 40 ambulances went speeding out of the front line area. It took a massive hit. That was the same day that we bombed that hospital. I don't know if you read about it a few days ago. Because they were trying to take the hospital which was a command center that ISIS was using. And they couldn't take it. And so we had to bomb it.

But, yeah, it's -- I would say it's a very mixed bag now as far as how the operation is actually going.

GLENN: I heard ISIS is moving back into -- they just moved back into Palmyra. They just retook Palmyra.

JASON: Yeah. That shows you exactly what, you know, Assad and Putin want out of Syria. It's not to destroy ISIS or to fight ISIS, what they say.

They're there to once and for all defeat all the people -- what started as a protest during the Arab spring, they're there to defeat all those people. ISIS has nothing to do with it. That's ridiculous.

GLENN: What do you think about Tillerson? You had a long 30-hour flight back home. And I know you and I have done a lot of homework on Russia and Putin. We both are very clear, based on evidence and facts, on who he is, what he is -- what he really, truly believes.

Not a good guy. Here's Tillerson -- first of all, Donald Trump saying that 17 agencies -- and I think the agencies can be wrong. I mean, they have been wrong in the past.

So I don't want somebody just to take, "Well, the CIA said this is true. So it's true." Well, no. So let's reason. But we have 17 agencies all saying the same thing. We have Russia.

If I'm not mistaken, didn't Russia confirm in research that we have done -- haven't they said that they have their own, you know, disinformation farms?

JASON: Yeah.

GLENN: Right. So it's not a surprise -- this is the one conspiracy theory that Alex Jones just can't buy into. You know, chemicals that the government is using making frogs gay, he's all into. But this one, there's no way it can be true.

What do you think about the denial and also Tillerson?

JASON: I think Tillerson -- I'm trying to give Trump the benefit of the doubt here.

Now, he's -- he's not doing -- he's not naming these people. And he's not pro-Russia on certain stances because he wants to enable Russia to be -- to take us over or whatever.

I do think that he's setting people up and setting a path forward to make a friendship actually possible. That's what I think.

Now, it could be to our detriment. But there are -- as I look back at foreign policy mistakes that we've made in the past, especially with Russia -- I mean, we've made severe mistakes going back to Clinton since the Yugoslav wars, when we completely cut them out. We pressed for NATO to go forward. And that further backed them into a corner.

The sanctions were warranted, but that was -- a lot of that was -- you know, because Bush was going for an antiballistic missile shield in eastern Europe. So there's a lot of things that have pushed Russia into a corner and have made them an enemy.

Now, if his strategy and coming up with people that understand Russia -- you know, and I hate -- personally, I don't want a Secretary of State that has been labeled and given a medal for being a friend of any country. I don't like that.

But if he's setting it up to where he's saying, "Look, we're going to make some concessions, but we're looking for concessions to you." Like, how about, get out of the propaganda campaign in Europe. Stop funding some of these far-right movements throughout the world.

GLENN: But he won't even admit that there is anything like that going on.

JASON: Yeah. I --

GLENN: I mean, you know, if you don't -- if you won't say -- you want to take a stand and say, look, let's look into that. Let's look into that. And have somebody else make the case. And then be the broker of the deal saying, "Look, I've got 17 agencies here that say it's true. I want to believe you. Why don't we just do something where it's trust and verify. Get out of that business. You say you're not. But we know you are over in Europe. So get out of that business."

JASON: What's scary to me about it is, I can see if he's just not saying anything publicly about it. Basically kind of -- not confirming that that's -- that Putin is meddling in elections all over the world. I can see him not coming at that publicly. But what it sounds like is that he's just denying or dismissing actual intelligence reports.

GLENN: Yes.

JASON: Just because it's not convenient for him at the time. That's extremely dangerous. I just don't -- I refuse to believe he's that stupid. There's got to be more going on than what we think.

There's so many ways that he can come out and be fine with this. He just refuses to do this diplomatically. He could just say, "Yes, they were involved. Now, I don't support that. I shouldn't have said, give me the 30,000 emails. You know, I don't support that. But we also can't turn a blind eye to the -- these are facts that they brought up about Hillary Clinton.

Yes, they were involved in exposing them through WikiLeaks. But, you know, we can't turn a blind eye to the actual facts. They reveal a truth, but they shouldn't have done it.

You can easily say that and be done with it.

GLENN: What happens to Russia with Syria? What's going to happen with Syria now?

JASON: It's a mess. I don't think it will ever be what it ever was.

You have a significant Kurdish problem in the north. It's a problem for Assad. They're not going anywhere. That's probably the next fight.

They'll probably turn towards the Kurds before they turn towards ISIS. I mean, just --

GLENN: You can't go after the Kurds. The Kurds are -- the Kurds are the best in the Middle East, next to Israel. The Kurds get it. The Kurds are our friends. And we will abandon them yet again.

JASON: Yeah. Well, I -- there's a weird -- the two stepbrothers, the Kurds in Syria and the Kurds in Iraq, are a little bit different. They even speak a different language. The problem is they're connected to the terrorist group in Turkey, the ones in Syria, which will significantly hurt how we operate with them in the future. Right now, we are operating with them. But that's going to be a huge mess with Turkey going forward.

But I fully expect Assad to turn on the Kurds next, which means we have operators fighting along with the Kurds, some of our own. That's going to be a huge deal. I mean, we're going to have Russian planes bombing those guys while our guys are standing right next to them. I haven't even heard them address that fact right now. But that's going to be a significant problem.

But I still would not be surprised if ISIS morphs into something else later on. It becomes some other Islamic republic right there in the middle of Syria. But you could see three separate countries right now in Syria.

GLENN: Last thing, you brought home a Bible that was being used by ISIS as target practice.

JASON: This -- one of the main stories you're going to see come from my trip is the urban warfare now on the outskirts of Mosul. This Bible was used as target practice on the inside.

This hadn't even been swept for TNT or IEDs yet. So we literally had to follow a guy in. He said we were crazy, but we had to step where he was stepping as he was going through this church.

There were still wires, IED wires that were still attached to TNT as we were walking through this. No other media organization has walked through that. No other foreigner has walked through that church, but now that Bible is from that church.

I was blown away. Like, ISIS does not exist above -- up in the sunlight. They don't walk around through the streets. They go in tunnels. They go from house to house to house to house. They just travel through tunnels. And that's how they are in ISIS right now. But we're going to show you all those tunnels, where you actually walk through those tunnels.

GLENN: When is that? Is that after the 1st of the year?

JASON: Yes.

GLENN: Jason, I appreciate it. And sorry that the trip was so -- I mean, you shot yourself in the foot, so to speak.

GLENN: Yeah.

JASON: But I'm glad that you learned. And I'm glad that you're back, and we pray that the -- we pray for the safety, as you know, because you -- you guarded my family for several years. And you know my family praise for all the soldiers and press and everybody who is in harm's way every night. And we continue to do that. And good to have you back.

JASON: Thanks.

GLENN: Thank you very much.

Featured Image: Glenn displays a bible shot by ISIS, brought back from Iraq by Jason Buttrill.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.