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Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) is Interviewed about Pelosi's Exchange with Reporter; House GOP Leader Speaks as Pelosi Calls for Impeachment Articles. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired December 5, 2019 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the president's violation of his oath of office. And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word "hate" in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is full -- a heart full of love and always pray for the president. And I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time. So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That was an exchange that Speaker Pelosi just had moments ago -- moments ago, forcefully pushing back on the idea that she and Democrats in the House are proceeding with articles of impeachment against the president, because she and Democrats just don't like the guy, as the reporter put it.
This is just as she announces her public support of proceeding with articles of impeachment. And the next step is announced, with a hearing Monday to present publicly the evidence compiled.
Joining me right now, Democratic Congressman from Arizona Ruben Gallego for much more on this.
Congressman, thanks for coming this.
REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D-AZ): Thank you for having me.
BOLDUAN: I am curious what you make of the speaker right there. It was an extraordinary moment. She was really pushing back when the reporter there asked point blank. do you hate the president?
GALLEGO: Look, if you know Nancy Pelosi, she loves this country ;and she understands the real important figure that the presidency is. So everything that she's doing right now, she's doing reluctantly.
Not only that, but all of us Democrats. We don't hate this president. We may hate what this president has done, but more importantly, we love this country more than anything else. And we love our duty to protect the Constitution of the United States. And that's what she was trying to get across.
BOLDUAN: You have supported impeachment. You support impeachment as it's proceeding. What does it mean in this historic moment, the speaker coming out this morning, to hear that from the speaker this morning? What does it mean?
GALLEGO: Well, I think for many other people that are still on the sidelines, it's a guide post. She has been very reluctant to really stick the impeachment foot out there, because she wanted everyone to come to a good conclusion in a way that I think would, you know, justify our actions as members of Congress.
But her duty, like my duty, is to the Constitution of the United States and to protect it. And we have an executive power right now that's basically trying to bribe other countries to interfere in our elections. And she realizes that this is a very important time for us to step up, and that's why she's asking everyone on the Democratic Caucus and the Republican Caucus to do so.
BOLDUAN: One thing that the speaker said today that I found very interesting, she said that, when it comes to the investigation and impeachment, this isn't about Ukraine. This is about Russia, is what she said. She said Ukraine is just the vehicle.
Does that mean that charges relating to the Russia investigation are going to be included?
GALLEGO: I don't think so. And I guess I'd have to wait and hear. But I think what she's trying to say, like she has said before, this all leads back to Russia. Everything that's going on.
The disinformation campaign that is taking place has to do with Russia and its involvement in the 2016 election and its involvement, in general, in our everyday governing policies.
The ability for U.S. senators to actually spread false propaganda, the fact that this president is spreading false propaganda to try to break up the bipartisan relationship we have in the Ukraine, all has to do with Russia.
So I don't know if it's going to be involving in terms of the articles of impeachment, but what I think she's trying to say is that this, at the end of the day, is the weird relationship that is occurring between this president and Russia.
BOLDUAN: Can we just -- I just want to reality check, gut check, whatever kind of check you want it to be, for a second.
The speaker was asked by Manu Raju about is she worried about the impact of this vote on vulnerable Democrats in -- in tough races, coming up? And she pushed back forcefully, saying that this has absolutely nothing to do with politics.
Yes, maybe on one level there is a constitutional responsibility that obviously, when it comes to impeachment, we've been discussing that ad nauseam, but it is about politics on some level. I hear that -- I hear that from the vulnerable Democrats in those districts.
GALLEGO: Look, there is only one level. And that is your sacred duty to protect the Constitution of the United States. And I'm sure there are some --
BOLDUAN: Even when it comes to the calendar and the speed with which you guys are considering impeachment?
GALLEGO: Even when it comes to anything. Our first duty is to the Constitution of the United States. And I'm sorry there may be some vulnerable Democrats that are feeling icky about this, but the American public will always react positively to members of Congress, whether Democrat or Republicans, that are here to protect that -- the Constitution, our sacred Constitution.
So that is all we have to answer to. We swore an oath, and we have to answer that oath. And we will be rewarded by the public for doing that.
BOLDUAN: I do want to turn to the president -- the presidential election, because you endorsed Kamala Harris for president in September. At the time, I recall, and I look back, you called her bold and compassionate and a capable commander in chief. And you said, "I know that she's best equipped to serve as our next president."
And she dropped out of the race on Tuesday. What was missing, what went wrong, from your perspective?
GALLEGO: Look, it's a very crowded field. I think that was probably one of the hardest things. I think it is very difficult for a woman of color, especially the first woman of color to run for office, at such a very intense time when it comes to all the levels of social media and media.
And at the end of the day, I think that she's still going to have a major part in this election. And I still think she would have been our best candidate to win this year and defeat Donald Trump.
BOLDUAN: Do you have a second choice?
GALLEGO: So I don't have a second choice, because I'm going to focus to getting a debate in Arizona. We in Arizona deserve a Democratic debate. We are going to be the state that decides whether President Trump stays in office or not.
So Tom Perez, if you're hearing, I want a debate in Arizona, and we should make sure it happens.
BOLDUAN: Congressman, well-played. Let me ask you about the debates, actually. You've noted the
dwindling diversity in the field now, with Harris getting out. A quote from the executive director of Indivisible national progressive group, she said -- they said this, that "No matter your candidate, you have to recognize that going from the most diverse field ever in January to a potentially all-white debate stage in December is catastrophic." Do you agree?
GALLEGO: I think it's a problem. I don't know if it's catastrophic. You have these campaigns that are actually extremely well-staffed with a very diverse staff, and many of them have great experience in history with different communities.
It does hurt, though, not to see some very well-qualified people of color up there. You have Castro, who is a former HUD secretary, former -- a graduate of Harvard Law School. Cory Booker, a Rhodes Scholar, actual mayor of a big city, you know, U.S. sitting senator. They should be -- just be given a consideration. Just as much, just like we have other people, including Senator Bennet, who's a sitting U.S. senator right now.
The fact that they're not is a problem. I don't blame the DNC. I think they were trying to come up with the best system to fix what happened in 2016. But this is one of those unintended consequences, unfortunately.
BOLDUAN: Congressman, thanks for coming in.
GALLEGO: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Still ahead for us, Rudy Giuliani facing new scrutiny as he decides to take a trip. And that trip is back to Ukraine, of all places. Why would the man so central in the impeachment drama when it comes to exactly this, his trips and work with Ukraine, be right there right now? We'll be right back.
BOLDUAN: All right. Welcome back. We're going to head back to Capitol Hill. The Republican leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, speaking right now about impeachment.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Had she listened to the Democrat constitutional scholar, Jonathan Turley. He said there was no bribery. No extortion, no obstruction of justice, no abuse of power. He said this would be the fastest, thinnest, weakest impeachment in U.S. history.
This is from the individual who did not vote for the president. This is from an individual who is not a Republican.
The further they get from their time line, the further they get away from their own requirements of an impeachment. Even in this year of March, the speaker of the House said impeachment was so destructive to the nation that it had to be overwhelming, compelling, and bipartisan.
That was the criteria she laid out for the nation and for her conference. It's just not the criteria she held herself to.
This is the day that Alexander Hamilton feared and warned would come. This is the day the nation is weaker, because they sheerly cannot put their animosity or their fear of losing an election in the future in front of all the other things that the American people want.
They don't even have a budget. We don't have a trade agreement that was signed more than a year ago to make this country stronger. We're not lowering drug prices. We're not rebuilding this nation. Why?
Because the time line that they started from the day they were sworn in, down to the very freshman announcing what they would do on the night they were sworn in, to the selection of the chairs of who would oversee the impeachment, has come true today. It's not a day that history will be proud of. It's not a day I hope America ever repeats.
I'll take your questions. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2016, you said that then-candidate Donald Trump was one of two people who were hated by Vladimir Putin, the other being former Congressman Rohrabacher. Do you still believe that Vladimir Putin --
MCCARTHY: I said then it was a joke, and you took it to an extent it's not. And that's really embarrassing that you would even ask that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You mentioned that Speaker Pelosi often pointed to a need for bipartisanship. Can you guarantee that there will be no defectors here, the Republicans will be united?
MCCARTHY: I don't need to guarantee. I'll show you the vote. If she laid out a criteria, the speaker of the House, telling the American public in March of this year that impeachment was so divisive that it would divide the nation, that the only way that we could move down it, it had to be compelling, it had to be overwhelming and it had to be bipartisan.
Well, we've had that vote on the floor for an impeachment inquiry. And the only bipartisan vote that turned out there was not to move forward.
So the standard that she gave to the nation, that she gave to her own conference, she will not hold her own self to. Why? Because she wrote this time line before she was even sworn in for president. She picked the committee chairs based upon what she wanted to accomplish in the time line.
The freshmen that gave them the majority said it on the night they were sworn in. The individuals that first moved the impeachment said the reason why they were afraid of losing. The committee that it went to yesterday, two-thirds of them, if this is the jury, had already voted for impeachment before they heard.
If they had listened -- and who did they select? Three Democrats to a witness that Republicans could invite. We invited a Democrat. We didn't invite a Republican. We invited a constitutional scholar, someone who didn't even vote for the president. Why? Because this is too important. We would stick to our own standards of constitutionality.
And what did that individual say? It's the weakest, it's the thinnest and it's the fastest impeachment in history. And he said there was no bribery.
But you know what's more important in what Turley said? He said if there is abuse of power that you want to impeach this president over, that's not the case. It's actually the abuse of Congress, if you move forward based upon what they want to do.
Why would they not listen to that? Why should -- why would she not hold herself to the standard she said to move forward?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But that vote was before we had heard from any witnesses. That was before this investigation. Now are you confident that not a single Republican will back this?
MCCARTHY: I am more confident that the bipartisan vote on impeachment that comes to the floor will be no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- including Mr. Turley, THOUGH, expressed concern ABOUT the obstruction part of this, that the president's blanket refusal to comply with any subpoenas.
Why shouldn't the president of the United States have to comply with lawful subpoenas from Congress? And do you worry that this president sets an example for the Democratic president in the future who might just say, I'm not doing it?
MCCARTHY: I watched President Obama do this.
If you watched the hearing yesterday, Turley was asked the question from John Ratcliffe, and he stated and agreed no bribery, no extortion, no obstruction of justice, no abuse of power. That was the answer.
I do not understand what they have going forward. They have a timeline, but they have no proof, so they brought professors in. They selected professors that were donors to the Democratic Party.
We selected a Democrat who did not vote for the president. We selected an individual who's probably the only one that is respected the most when it comes to a scholar on constitutionality, because we take this so important. And we believe exactly what the speaker said back in March, that this is so divisive. You need something overwhelming. You need something compelling, and it doesn't meet the criteria.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why shouldn't the president have to comply with a subpoena? Why shouldn't the investigation be --
MCCARTHY: I think if you -- I think if you watched the president's or read the president's letter from his attorney from the White House, if he had a process the same as Bill Clinton.
So your first question should be, why didn't the speaker, if she wanted to go through impeachment and she's not going to stick to her own criteria, why wouldn't she create a fair process? Why wouldn't she create the same process that Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon had? Because it didn't fit their timeline. Why did we extend one more week in December in a continuing resolution? Because that met the timeline of what they writ and what they want to do in impeachment. And in that letter, the president said he would comply if he had a fair process.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Leader --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Leader, have you spoken to the president in the last couple of days? Do you expect to speak to him today? And how do you look at the decision of whether the president should participate going forward?
MCCARTHY: I spoke to the president twice yesterday. I spoke to the president quite often. Do you know what the president and I talk about? The things that America should be doing. USMCA. We talked about trying to get USMCA done. We talk about a number of different issues moving forward.
He called me first in the morning when he was over at the NATO meetings. Here was the president overseas, making America stronger. What were the Democrats doing? Dividing us further.
It's interesting of what they do and when they do it. When she first announced to move forward, the president was at the U.N. when the rest of the world was there. When they had their hearing, the president was with other foreign leaders, as well. I've always thought, regardless a party, you'd put this country first. We've watched from the timeline and from the swearing in, that the party means more to them than the country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Leader, you participated, though.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With USMCA, what are you hearing from sources that the Trump administration is giving Pelosi weaker patent protections, more things that the unions want on labor rights? Are you worried that Trump might cut a deal that leaves out Republican priorities and makes it harder for you to vote for that?
MCCARTHY: No, I'm more worried about America missing an opportunity, America missing an opportunity to be stronger. Every economist will tell you it will only make our country stronger.
I'm worried that America, with their No. 1 and No. 2 traders when it comes to Mexico and Canada in a negotiation with China and what the future holds. China is our No. 3 trader. And if we're in a negotiation with China, we all know what the future holds. If we're going to be competing, we need to be stronger. We would get a better agreement with China if we had the USMCA done. We would be in a stronger position.
But the speaker is more concerned about tearing the president down instead of building the country up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Leader, I gather you were watching just now when the speaker, in rather effusive terms, denied that there is any personal animus on her part that is motivating the impeachment drive. Representative Collins had suggested as much in hearings yesterday, when he intimated that the Democrats are simply impeaching President Trump because they don't like the guy.
You probably also heard her invoke her Catholicism.
Do you take the speaker at her word and believe her? Do you believe she's telling the truth when she says she does not hate the president and that's not what this is about?
MCCARTHY: Look, I'll take them at their word when Congresswoman Tlaib said on her very first day of Congress of what she referred to the president, which I wouldn't think anyone would want to refer to them, that she was going to impeach him.
Or when Adam Schiff continued to lie to the American public, only to get to the point that they are today. Or when he said he was going to send him back to the golden throne.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I asked about the speaker.
MCCARTHY: I'll take the speaker at her word, but if she paused for a moment, if she looked at just the facts, she would not have made that determination. If she paused and she actually listened to the hearing yesterday on what a Democrat, who did not vote for the president, who has studied the Constitution, who almost at any time has been a witness for Democrats or Republicans based upon his own ability as a scholar, that this is the weakest, the thinnest impeachment in the history of America, that there is no bribery, no extortion, no obstruction of justice and no abuse of power.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you don't accept what she said?
MCCARTHY: I think I have a hard time believing it.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You've been saying -- Republicans have been saying the facts are disputed. One of the facts that is not is that the president did, in fact, ask the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden. Is it ever appropriate for a president to ask a foreign country to investigate a political rival?
MCCARTHY: OK, let's stick to the facts. The president asked a country to participate in a case that happened in 2016. That's 100 percent legal. That happens every --
RAJU: In the phone call, he also said Joe Biden.
MCCARTHY: That happens every day in America dealing with other countries. It was a case the U.S. attorney had already opened.
And every single time of every witness that the Democrats got to select and control, they were asked the question. The two best witnesses that they had that they started this all with, can you name one article that he should be impeached upon? No one could say a word.
So why are we going through this nightmare? It goes back to the very first day after the election. They had a goal. They wrote a timeline. And they had to change the basis and move it to Adam Schiff's committee, and they're sticking to that timeline.
So the answer to your question: they've always wanted to impeach the president. Watch him at their words, watch them at their actions, watch what they have done.
The most important part here is Alexander Hamilton, Founding Father, was concerned and warned us that this day could come. History will look back today, and it will be a sad day. We hope that, at any time, whoever has this power in this country, that they never repeat what Alexander warned us would come, and that this day will never happen again in America.
Thank you very much.
RAJU: Should he ask for a Biden investigation, sir?
BOLDUAN: All right. So right there, the top Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy, offering what amounts to, essentially, a rebuttal to what you heard from the speaker of the House moments before.
One thing I want to actually get to, because Kevin McCarthy hit on it a few times. We've had this discussion on this show before. When he talks about Nancy Pelosi saying in March that, because impeachment is so important, it needs to be bipartisan for her to support it. That was in March in "The Washington Post," and he says she's not standing by the standard that she laid out. She laid that standard out, but she won't hold it to her -- won't hold herself to it. Nancy Pelosi responded to that, actually, this morning and said what
changed was the whistleblower report in September, and that changed everything.
All right. That's what we've got for us today. Thanks, everybody. See you later.