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Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) is Interviewed about Impeachment; America on High Alert for Attacks; Congressman's Siblings Call for His Removal. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired January 13, 2021 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Just hours from now, the House will impeach Donald Trump for an unprecedented second time. This morning, so far, five House Republicans say they will vote to impeach him for inciting the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Joining me now is Republican Congressman Ken Buck.
Congressman, thanks so much for coming back on the show.
You stood up to the president's efforts to overturn the results of the Electoral College. How will you vote on impeachment today?
REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): I will vote against impeachment. It is -- it is absolutely polarizing. It's a bad idea. You impeach a president after hearings and great deliberation. You don't impeach a president in the heat of the moment.
This is something that Nancy Pelosi is doing because she has a very small majority in the House right now and also because she's fundraising off of it. And it is a -- it's just a very cynical ploy. And I -- I just think it's -- it's the wrong thing to do. I have sent a letter to President-elect Biden asking him to request that the House not go forward with this because his administration should start with more peace in this country and more unity in this country. To be sincere about that, we should move forward together and not dividing us like this effort is doing right now.
BERMAN: What could be more unifying than Democrats and Republicans coming together and saying what the president did was inexcusable?
BUCK: What could be more unifying is to hold a commission -- or a committee hearing or put this in the Judiciary Committee and find out what actually happened. We know what some press reports are. We don't know what the testimony is under oath. We don't know what the documents show. And in order to get to the bottom line, we need to make sure we have a full understanding of the facts.
BERMAN: You --
BUCK: This doesn't just start with -- go ahead.
BERMAN: You -- sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt. You were talking about Nancy Pelosi. But let's talk about Liz Cheney, who is the conference chair of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, the third ranking Republican in the House. She says the president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, lit the flame of this attack. There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.
BUCK: My response is that the relationship between Liz Cheney and the president has been toxic for years. The president attacked her father's reputation. I used to work for then-Congressman Dick Cheney and I'm a big fan of the Cheney family, but this has something -- this had nothing to do -- January 6th had nothing to do with what their -- what the Democrats are involved in right now. And, frankly, it's disappointing that --
BERMAN: Well, what about Adam Kinzinger. Adam Kinzinger has no family beef with Donald Trump. He says, I must consider, if these actions, the Article II branch inciting a deadly insurrection against the Article I branch are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense?
Your response to that?
BUCK: My response is the same. We need to look at the facts. We need to take our time. You don't impeach a president days after an event has occurred and days before he leaves office. What's the -- what's the great rush right now? The great rush is to make political points. It's not to actually get the facts in front of the American people and make a sound judgment.
BERMAN: Do you believe that the president's actions, the president's speech before the mob attacked the Capitol, the president's position on overturning the results of the election, which you were against, do you believe, in a vacuum, OK, forget that there is seven days left in the administration, did they constitute an impeachable offense?
BUCK: No. No, I don't believe that. And what we need to know is, was the president involved in organizing or promoting folks that have actually decided to enter the building.
When he used the word peaceful in his speech, he wasn't talking about breaking down doors and assaulting police officers. He was talking about coming to the Capitol and letting people's voices be heard. That is much different.
But, look, you've got to go back -- when the -- when the speaker rips up the State of the Union Address, when Maxine Waters calls out people (INAUDIBLE) to level the frustration (INAUDIBLE) --
BERMAN: But, Congressman -- but, Congressman, I -- I told you, you know, I just read to you Liz Cheney. It isn't Nancy Pelosi. Liz Cheney didn't rip up any speech the president gave. Adam Kinzinger didn't rip up any speech the president gave. John Katko didn't rip up any speech the president gave. Mitch McConnell, who we understand this morning is open to the idea of impeachment, didn't rip up any speech the president gave.
So there are Republicans doing the same thing. This is no longer a Democrats say thing, this is members of Congress are saying. And I'm just trying to understand from you what would constitute an impeachable offense.
So let me ask this a different way. How comfortable are you --
BUCK: Well, let me -- let me answer your question, if you give me a chance to answer your question.
BERMAN: No, no, I'll just ask you a different way, how comfortable -- how comfortable are you with the president's behavior? The behavior the president exhibited last week before the insurrection with his speech and then during when he did not stand up to the people who were attacking the U.S. Capitol, when the video he did release he talked about how much he loved them. What is your opinion of that?
BUCK: Oh, look, I don't think the president -- on a number of occasions has acted very presidential. That's not the question here. The question is whether it's an impeachable offense. And what I'm trying to suggest to you is that the level of animosity and the level of really vitriol between these two sides has been building for five or six years now. And to say that there's one speech or one incident that caused this group of people to storm the Capitol is just not accurate. What I'm trying to suggest to you is that both sides are at fault and that -- that in America we need to be very careful of the words we use.
BERMAN: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, how is the other side -- first of all, you keep saying sides here. I keep telling you, I'm not sure Liz Cheney and Nancy Pelosi are on any sides together. You keep saying both sides. What on earth did any other side do than the side that invaded the U.S. Capitol, where I believe you're sitting right now?
BUCK: I'm actually standing in one of the House office buildings, but what -- what -- what did the other side do? What -- what -- you're asking me what Democrats have done to make the MAGA crowd mad?
BERMAN: One week ago -- one week ago -- one week ago -- one week ago, when the Capitol was overrun. I don't understand who is to blame for that other than the people who overran the Capitol and the people who may, and whether or not you agree they did or not, the people who spoke before and may have incited that mob to overrun the Capitol.
BUCK: Yes, first of all, I agree with you, that the people who came into the Capitol are the people who are responsible for this action. But what I'm saying to you is that this -- this animosity has been building over the years. It wasn't as if the president gave one speech and all of a sudden people went from perfectly calm and thoughtful demeanor to this violent action that occurred, which is absolutely shameful. I'm not trying to excuse it. But this -- the actions that have led up to this are typical (ph) of this impeachment.
BERMAN: Let me --
BUCK: What you want to do at this point in time --
BERMAN: I just want to go -- one last thing because this is something I know you feel strongly about. You were on the show last week arguing against those trying to overturn the Electoral College.
Mike Pence apparently agreed with you. The Vice President of the United States refused to take part in overturning the Electoral College. Apparently the president's last words to Mike Pence before he headed to the Capitol to preside over this were, you can either go down in history as a patriot or you can go down in history as a "p" word, which I'm not going to repeat here.
So what would you have said if the president had said that to you, because you share Mike Pence's position on this?
BUCK: I do. And I think Mike Pence acted as a patriot. I think Mike Pence followed the Constitution. And I think that the actions of those that supported the Electoral College vote or opposed the challenge to the Electoral College vote was the right constitutional position. And I think Mike Pence, frankly, is a hero for doing what he did under great pressure. Not just from the president, but from many other people.
BERMAN: Ken Buck, Republican congressman from Colorado, thank you again for coming on the show this morning. Be safe.
BUCK: Thank you.
BERMAN: The United States of America on high alert this morning. Cities across the country bracing for a new round of violence. Much more on the security measures putting -- being put in place to prevent another attack, next.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning, federal investigators say we will be shocked when we learn everything about the attack on the U.S. Capitol and the threat of more violence is also intensifying ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration.
CNN's Miguel Marquez is live in Lansing, Michigan, with more.
What's the situation there, Miguel?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is being called the Stand Up for Liberty sort of march. It's meant to be an armed march but a peaceful march according to those who are organizing it. FBI warning capitols in all 50 states that these marches may be happening this Sunday in the states.
Nowhere more aware of the security threats or concerns than here in Lansing, Michigan, where armed individuals took over the capitol here in April over their frustration and anger at those anti-COVID-19 restrictions. Some of those same individuals then plotted and were busted in a plan to kidnap the governor -- the Democratic governor of Michigan.
After the election, obviously, Michigan is one of those states that has been very controversial for the president and others. There were armed individuals that went to the secretary of state's office here in Michigan and there were several hearings as well as here in Michigan about what the president and others call the fraud that was perpetrated in places like Detroit.
We expect before Sunday that a large fence will go up around the capitol here. They may board up some of the windows here at the capitol as well. The mayor has asked for -- the mayor of Lansing has asked for the National Guard to come in.
So no one's quite sure how it's going to play out or if there will even be big protests here or in other capitols. But no one is also taking any chances.
All right, Miguel Marquez, please keep us posted. Stay safe.
Republican Congressman Paul Gosar's brother and sister want to see him removed from office after the deadly insurrection at the Capitol. They're going to tell us why, next.
CAMEROTA: Minutes from now, the House will begin the process of impeaching President Trump for a second time, but what about the Republicans who incited the violent insurrection at the Capitol in addition to the president? Among them, Republican Congressman Paul Gosar, who one extremist says he communicated with in planning the attack on the Capitol. Paul Gosar's own siblings are now calling for his removal from office.
Joining us now is Congressman Gosar's brother and sister, Tim and Jennifer Gosar.
Guys, thank you very much for being here. I know this isn't an easy time for you guys.
Jennifer, why do you think your brother is at least in part responsible for what we saw, the attack on the U.S. Capitol. JENNIFER GOSAR, SISTER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: Well, you know, honestly,
Alisyn, thank you for having us here. And to respond to your question, why do I think he's connected? I think he's connected because there have been numerous reports, you know, at least at the moment that show he was in contact regularly with Ali Alexander. I know he was there and spoke at the rally beforehand. He was there contesting the election on the congressional floor. He was tweeting both on the Twitter platform and Parler very different tweets at that time. But then, you know, I also know that his back story includes from, you know, from pretty right wing to extremist. So that's where it's gone over the past ten years.
CAMEROTA: Tim, let me just play for everybody what that extremist, Ali Alexander, says. He says he was communicating been this with Congressman Gosar.
So listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI ALEXANDER, FAR-RIGHT ACTIVIST: But I'm the guy who came up with the idea of January 6th when I was talking with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Andy Biggs and Congressman Mo Brooks. It was to build momentum and pressure and then on the day change heart and minds of Congress peoples who weren't yet decided or saw everyone outside and said, I can't be on the other side of that mob.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Tim, does it surprise you to see that?
TIM GOSAR, BROTHER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: It does. It's alarming. In so many different ways. But I would say, and should have started out by, good morning, Alisyn. Good morning, Jen. Thanks for having us on.
It is alarming. It's disturbing. And Paul played a big role in that. But I would harken people back to the start of his congressional career where he was a birther. Where he was saying that President Obama was an illegitimate president and not a U.S. citizen. He called the pope a leftist politician.
And in 2016, when President Trump won, he said, elections have consequences. Get over it. 2017, he said that George Soros was a Nazi sympathizer and gave up his people to the Nazis.
So this has been a pattern of conduct, Alisyn, for as long as Paul has been a politician.
CAMEROTA: And, Tim --
T. GOSAR: And then we fast forward to what you just played. And it's disturbing and alarming.
CAMEROTA: I mean -- absolutely. And so, Tim, just one more question on that. What happened to your brother? How did he become extreme? T. GOSAR: I think sometimes we lose sight of what we've been taught
and what's important in life. And Paul's lost sight of what character and integrity mean. What we were taught as kids growing up. That your word is your honor, is your badge, is who you are and what means -- should mean the most to you. And he has lost all of that. He peddles in rumor. He peddles in propaganda. And he lies consistently to the American people and to his constituents.
CAMEROTA: Jennifer, what's your message to your brother today?
J. GOSAR: You know, the message to my brother is that, you know, he must resign, if not, you know, be expelled from Congress. To be honest with you, you know, the point in time to reach my brother, I think that's been passed. I mean I know that, you know, at this point, you know, the most that we can do as citizens, as constituents, as the public, demand that the members of Congress involved be held accountable. And that includes expulsion.
You know, to my brother, I think, you know, the -- the time is up. It's time to acknowledge the hurt and the hate. And, honestly, you know, I don't know if that message will reach him. I hope it does. But my message is actually more for the people of Congress and to the people -- the American people. I mean it is time to really stand up and condemn this in the strongest possible terms and to hold people accountable.
CAMEROTA: This isn't the first time you both have tried to sound the alarm. In 2018 you put out a campaign message you felt so strongly about your brother not being re-elected.
So let me just play a portion of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM GOSAR, BROTHER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: He's not listening to you, and he doesn't have your interest at heart.
My name is Tim Gosar.
DAVID GOSAR, BROTHER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: David Gosar.
GRACE GOSAR, SISTER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: Grace Gosar.
JOAN GOSAR, SISTER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: Joan Gosar.
GASTON GOSAR, BROTHER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: Gaston Gosar.
JOAN GOSAR: Jennifer Gosar.
GRACE GOSAR: Paul Gosar is my brother.
JENNIFER GOSAR: My brother.
JOAN GOSAR: And I endorse Dr. Brill.
GASTON GOSAR: Dr. Brill. TIM GOSAR: Wholeheartedly endorse Dr. David Brill for Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: I mean, Tim, that was quite a step then. So what, if anything, has changed since that time?
T. GOSAR: I think, Alisyn, that he's become more extreme, more radical, more dangerous.
I mean even before the election, he was telling people that COVID was overblown, that it was going to go away by the election. You know suggesting that it was a hoax. I mean that's dangerous. That's -- almost listening to that, it puts you in -- it does, it puts you in harm's way. I mean that's disturbing. And so he's become more extreme, more radical, and way more dangerous.
CAMEROTA: And we know that that's why you guys are speaking out. That's why you're calling for him to either be ousted or to resign. And, again, we know this isn't easy to speak out against a family member, but we really appreciate you guys coming on and sharing your thoughts about what has happened with him over the years. Thank you both very much.
T. GOSAR: Thank you for having us. Thank you very much.
J. GOSAR: Thank you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: CNN's special coverage of the second Trump impeachment vote continues right now.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A very good Wednesday morning to you. This is quite a day in America.
I'm Jim Sciutto.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Poppy Harlow.
As Jim said, we cannot overstate the significance of what you are about to see. Congress is on the brink of impeaching President Trump for the second time just days before his chaotic four years in office come to an end.