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State of the Union
Interview With Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX); Interview With Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); Interview With Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Aired 9-10a ET
Aired December 15, 2019 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): On the brink. All eyes are on the House, as Democrats are prepared to impeach the president, for only the third time in American history.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're trivializing impeachment.
TAPPER: How will the vote shape the president and his legacy? Republican Congressman Will Hurd will join me.
And trial by design? Republicans look to mount their defense of President Trump in the Senate, with leadership in lockstep with the president and his team. Will there be a big show or a quick trial?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): This thing will come to the Senate, and it will die quickly.
TAPPER: I will speak to Republican Senator Rand Paul next.
Plus: fighter in chief. As impeachment divides Washington, 2020 Democrats split over the best way to win over the country.
JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anyone who starts off saying we can't bring America together is just throwing in the towel.
TAPPER: What kind of president do Americans want in their corner? Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown joins me to discuss.
TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is bracing for impact. President Donald J. Trump's name will likely be added to a very short
list in the history books this week, but certainly not in the way he may have hoped, as the House of Representatives considers whether to use the strongest rebuke the U.S. Constitution allows them, to make him just the third U.S. president to ever be impeached.
The defiant president is watching the drama unfold from the White House as he plots his response in a Senate trial. Overnight, the president welcomed the news that one House Democrats who opposes impeachment, Congressman Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, is expected to switch parties and become a Republican.
And the White House is confident that the president will be acquitted in the Senate.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham showed this weekend that he and his party have come a long way since Bill Clinton's impeachment in 1998, when then Congressman Graham said this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1998)
GRAHAM: If the Republican president would have done this, let me just say this, it would be a good test for us.
If a Republican president had done these things, would a Republican delegation had gone to tell him to get out of town? I hope so. I would like to think that we would have done that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Well, they have that opportunity right now.
And, in contrast, yesterday, Lindsey Graham told CNN -- quote -- "I'm not trying to be a fair juror here."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: This thing will come to the Senate, and it will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly. I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Joining me now is Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Senator, thanks for joining us, as always.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Good morning.
TAPPER: You have said you don't think there will be any Republican support for removing President Trump in a Senate trial. You will, of course, be a juror in that trial.
So are you still keeping an open mind about this, or have you already decided you will acquit the president?
PAUL: You know, we have seen the evidence. We're going to hear the evidence repeated, but we're not going to see any new evidence.
So I think all of America has seen this. What we have found is, this is a very partisan exercise. There's not going to be any Republicans in the House. In fact, there will be a handful of Democrats who will vote against impeachment in the House.
In the Senate, I think all Republicans will vote against the House. And I think two Democrats have a very good chance of voting against impeachment also. So I think what we have seen is, it is just a partisan thing.
This is a disagreement. People on the Democrat side don't like President Trump. They don't like his demeanor. And so they have decided to sort of criminalize politics.
But I don't think it is a good thing. And I don't think it's a good day for the country. I think it is a sad day, because I hope it doesn't devolve into that every president, like in different parts of Latin America, we either impeach or throw presidents into jail just because we don't like their politics.
I think that will really dumb down and destroy the county.
TAPPER: You're going to swear an oath that says, "I solemnly swear that, in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of the United States, now pending, I will do impartial justice, according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God."
It doesn't sound like that oath is going to mean very much, if you have already made up your mind, sir.
PAUL: Well, I would disagree.
I would say that my oath is to the Constitution. And I take that very seriously. So, for example, you can interpret the Constitution in different ways.
I interpret the Constitution that we should not be sending foreign aid to other countries. We should be taking care of what we were empowered to do through the Constitution.
And one of them was not borrowing money from China to send it to Ukraine. So, when the Democrats say, oh, we damaged national security by holding up for 55 days for -- money that was going to Ukraine, I say, well, we shouldn't have been doing in the first place.
And I think the money would give to other countries actually damages our national security. So, just because I disagree with the Democrats, though, does that mean my position -- I should be impeached for my position?
So it really gets to the heart of this, that this is a disagreement over policy. TAPPER: Yes.
PAUL: And this is a sort of an extension of politics.
But this isn't about the Constitution or the president breaking the Constitution. Foreign aid is always contingent upon behavior. In fact, the money we gave him to give to Ukraine, it says specifically in the law he has to certify...
PAUL: ... they are less prone to corruption.
So, I mean, he was instructed by Congress to do exactly what he asked to be done.
TAPPER: So you're saying that you think that President Trump was actually doing this because he was combating corruption?
This is, of course, a president...
PAUL: Well, yes, there are all kinds of accusations that Burisma and Hunter Biden and the company were corrupt and the founder of the company was corrupt.
TAPPER: But this is a president whose former personal attorney Michael Cohen, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, former campaign adviser Roger Stone, former deputy campaign chair Rick Gates, former associate George Papadopoulos, all of them have been convicted of federal crimes.
In addition, last year, Trump University settled a $25 million fraud lawsuit. Last month, President Trump admitted misusing his own charitable foundation's money, was ordered to pay $2 million.
You really think President Trump is concerned about rooting out corruption?
PAUL: I think most of what you listed and most of the people that were indicted or convicted were alleged to have been part of some sort of huge Russian conspiracy.
But I think what we found out from the inspector general's report is that it was all based on a false premise that Carter Page had something to do with Russia.
TAPPER: It was the Trump Justice Department that put -- the Trump Justice Department put all those people in prison or sentenced all those people. It's not me.
It turns out -- it turns out -- it turns out that the FBI hid information that Carter Page all along was telling another part of the government, the CIA, about Russian information he was getting incidentally.
TAPPER: That doesn't absolve Paul Manafort of money laundering.
PAUL: Well, no.
No, the whole -- the whole investigation that started this, General Flynn was not guilty of anything to do with Russians.
PAUL: General Flynn was guilty of not reciting his conversation properly and should have had an attorney with him.
TAPPER: I'm asking you about President Trump and corruption. I'm asking you about President Trump and corruption.
I just listed a number of close associates of President Trump's who are either in prison or facing sentencing.
PAUL: Right. But I think it's based on opinion.
TAPPER: No, this -- these are sentences. These are criminal sentences.
PAUL: His opinion -- his -- his -- his opinion on foreign aid is similar to mine. Mine is a little more exacting.
But the president has had doubts on foreign aid. He said the European should pay more. He withheld it.
In fact, the law allows any president to withhold aid as long as they want until the end of the fiscal year. This is in the anti...
PAUL: ... act.
TAPPER: And Ukraine had been cleared -- Ukraine had been cleared...
TAPPER: ... on the benchmarks it needed to meet in terms -- in terms of getting that aid that Congress passed.
PAUL: Well, no, I think, according to the president -- according to the president, I don't know that he had accepted that that they had been cleared, because he was still holding up their aid. TAPPER: Let me just get back -- I just wanted to know, do you really think President Trump is concerned about corruption? Just a yes or no. Is that something you really believe?
PAUL: Yes, I do.
TAPPER: You do think that.
PAUL: I do think -- I do think that Ukraine -- I think Ukraine has been one of the corruptest countries on Earth...
TAPPER: That's not what I asked.
PAUL: ... whether it was Russian-backed or Western-backed. All the governments of Ukraine have been corrupt.
And, yes, I do think that foreign aid does not cure corruption. I think foreign aid aids and abets corruption. And if you look at studies, you actually find that the more corrupt nations get more money, because we think we're going to somehow make them better.
TAPPER: OK, so you're...
PAUL: But they steal the money.
Look at the Mubaraks in Egypt.
TAPPER: But you're not really answering the question.
PAUL: They stole $20 billion, $30 billion.
Well, sure I'm answering the question. I think you're saying...
TAPPER: You're saying you -- you're concerned about corruption.
PAUL: ... foreign aid.
But let's be clear here.
PAUL: Well, I think the president was too.
If you listened to the president's speeches throughout his campaign and throughout his administration, he's been concerned with corruption with regard to foreign aid. He -- every time I talk to the president, he's talking about how countries are taking from us and not doing as we have asked them to do and not being good allies.
TAPPER: So, Senator...
PAUL: And so this is a common theme. And I think it's a political point. And I think the Democrats are
trying to impeach him for politics they disagree with.
TAPPER: So, just to be clear, this precedent that you are prepared to set, you would be OK with a president, say, Elizabeth Warren, asking a foreign government to investigate her top Republican rival, as long as there's some -- was some sort of allegation about that Republican rival having some sort of connection to allegations of corruption?
TAPPER: That's going to be OK with you?
PAUL: I think you all misreport this. But I think you all misreport this.
TAPPER: That's just a fact.
PAUL: What you guys say every time is -- well, it's not.
I mean, what you said is completely untrue.
TAPPER: Wait. No, no, no, no, no.
PAUL: The president didn't call up the president of Ukraine and say -- no, let -- let -- let me finish.
He didn't call up the president of Ukraine and say, investigate my rival.
TAPPER: He said, investigate Joe Biden.
PAUL: He said, investigate a certain person and a certain -- let -- let -- let me finish.
Here's -- here's the thing, is, you guys are not being honest with the facts here. He does not call up and say, investigate my rival. He says, investigate a person.
So let's say I'm the Republican sheriff in my county here in Kentucky.
TAPPER: And Joe Biden is his rival.
PAUL: And let me finish. Let me finish my sentence.
If I'm the Republican sheriff here, and my Democrat opponent son is caught stealing from a liquor store, am I supposed to say, oh, I'm allowed to investigate corruption unless that person is related to someone that might run against me?
So you can't make rules that way. It's either corruption or it's not growing corruption. It happens that, in this case, there were allegations of corruption, and they involved Joe Biden and his son.
And the American people, when they hear that Hunter Biden made 50 grand a month, they smell corruption.
TAPPER: If you want to...
PAUL: And I think it was wrong.
And I think he used his office to enrich his son. And I think most Americans agree with us. But you keep saying that the president said, investigate my rival.
TAPPER: He said, investigate Joe Biden.
PAUL: No, he said, investigate corruption.
TAPPER: He said, investigate...
PAUL: It involves -- yes.
TAPPER: The word corruption does not appear in that transcript, sir.
PAUL: Yes. Right.
TAPPER: The word corruption does not. He said, investigate Joe and Hunter Biden.
But I know you want to -- I know you want to talk about Afghanistan.
PAUL: Right, who -- who worked for a company -- no, but who worked for a company called Burisma, which had been investigated for many years for corruption.
There are still allegations of corruption against Burisma. And I don't know that we have gotten the full picture of the corruption involved...
TAPPER: He didn't say, investigate Burisma.
PAUL: ... this oligarch and Hunter Biden's...
TAPPER: See, he didn't say, investigate Burisma or go investigate all the corrupt companies in your country.
He said, investigate Joe and Hunter Biden.
TAPPER: There's no secret about that.
PAUL: Yes, I know.
TAPPER: But I know you want to talk about Afghanistan. We agreed to do this interview...
TAPPER: Do you want talk about Afghanistan or not, because...
I mean, the whole thing is...
PAUL: ... we should talk about important things, instead of wasting our time on this partisanship, you know?
TAPPER: Well, I don't know that impeaching the president of the United States is a waste of time, in terms of discussing it.
But let's -- let's...
PAUL: Well, it's completely partisan.
TAPPER: Let me -- I know you want to -- I know you want to...
PAUL: And it has nothing to do with the facts.
TAPPER: All right.
I want to get your view, because I know you want to talk about it, on this stunning new report from "The Washington Post" on Afghanistan, which found that U.S. officials misled the American people by publicly saying that they were making progress in Afghanistan, even though they knew they were not.
We are now three years into the Trump presidency. There are more U.S. service members in Afghanistan and in the Middle East now than there were when Donald Trump took office.
Do you think your foreign policy is actually more in line with Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders than with Donald Trump, at the end of the day, not what he says, but what he does?
PAUL: I think our American soldiers deserve better. And it's been Republican and Democrat administrations, George Bush, President Obama. Look, President Obama put 100,000 troops into Afghanistan.
And now Donald Trump has pledged to bring some out, but hasn't necessarily followed through with it.
I think we should leave Afghanistan. That's my point of view. And I think our soldiers deserve to know what the mission is.
And if our generals behind the scenes and our colonels behind the scenes are admitting that there's not a mission, that we cannot possibly make Afghan into some great American democracy, that we need to come home.
We have needed to come home for more than a decade. And I don't want to see one more life lost. And, yes, I will work with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Donald Trump on trying to make that happen.
But, really, politics and the impeachment is getting in the way of this. It used to be that there was bipartisan support between libertarian-leaning Republicans and some progressives, like Bernie, or Jeff Merkley, or Tom Udall.
But politics has got in the way of this. And because everybody hates Donald Trump so much, they criticize him for trying to leave Syria or Afghanistan, instead of saying, hey, this is an opportunity where we actually could work together to get something done for the country.
TAPPER: Thank you so much, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, joining us from Bowling Green this morning. Appreciate it.
Thank you, sir.
PAUL: Thank you.
TAPPER: House Democrats set to deliver a historic rebuke to President Trump this week, and then the next day they're going to hand him a huge victory.
Plus: Do Democratic primary voters want a lover or a fighter? Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown joins me next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
Just a day after Democrats are set to impeach the president, they will hand him a political victory.
House Democrats giving the green light to advance President Trump's replacement for NAFTA, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, or USMCA. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will take up the renegotiated trade deal after the impeachment trial. Joining me now on this and much more, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown
of Ohio. He's author of the new book "Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America."
It's getting rave reviews.
Senator, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.
I want to talk about that deal in a moment, but let's, of course, start with the expected impeachment trial in the Senate.
Democrats are up in arms over Republican Senator Lindsey Graham saying yesterday -- quote -- "I'm not trying to pretend to be a fair juror."
But several of your fellow Senate Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, they have all said that, based on the evidence they have seen, they would vote to convict President Trump.
Are those Democratic senators making the same mistake that Lindsey Graham made?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): Well, I won't speak for others.
I -- although I share the outrage about McConnell, as the leader of the Republican Party, the majority leader in the Senate, saying: We're going to get this over with. We don't -- we know he's not going to be convicted. I'm, in fact -- and then he says, I'm working directly with the White House.
This is -- I mean, we take an oath, when we -- I have never been in this position. I mean, most of us haven't. We take an oath saying that -- at the beginning of the trial, that we will look at the evidence.
I mean, I have very strong feelings about this president. I supported impeachment. He did things that Richard Nixon never did. He solicited a bribe from a foreign leader. But I don't know if it rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, to the level of conviction and removal, until I see the evidence, I hear the prosecution, which is the House managers, until I hear the president's defense.
Then you make the decision, based on the evidence. And for the leader of the United States Senate, Mitch McConnell, to say he's coordinating with the White House to make sure he's not convicted and removed is -- I just -- it really is part of this see no evil, hear no evil.
It's why I'm so disappointed in my colleagues, this see no evil, hear no evil attitude, that they don't want to look at anything to -- that might disagree with their world view of Republicanism and this president.
TAPPER: Let me ask you a question.
If we could step away for one second from what President Trump is alleged to have done and what we know he did, and also to note, there's no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Joe Biden, and Ukrainian prosecutors say there's no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden, but, in terms of the deal that Hunter Biden got, quite frankly, Senator, it stinks.
It stinks to have someone make thousands of dollars to sit on the board of a company just because of a family connection. Should there be a law preventing people for being paid essentially just for their connections, familial connections to politicians?
BROWN: I don't disagree with you on your assessment.
I don't know how you write a law to do that exactly. But I think that it's -- as I said, your assessment, I think, is pretty much right there. I think that we, as a nation, need to look more at what we do in our foreign policy on things like that. And I would certainly consider that.
TAPPER: Let's turn to the president's deal to replace NAFTA, the USMCA.
Speaker Pelosi announced last week that Democrats had come to terms with the president. A House vote is expected as soon as this week.
You originally opposed the deal. But after securing a number of worker protections, you now say it is -- quote -- "the first trade agreement I have ever voted for."
How did you get this -- how did you get that? I'm stunned that it's good enough for somebody like you, who is a big union guy, to vote for. And does President Trump deserve some credit?
BROWN: I have never -- I have never -- as you point out, I have never voted for a trade agreement because every trade agreement that's been presented to Congress is all about corporate interests and all about investor protections and corporate -- and corporate special interest protections, never about workers
When Trump -- when President Trump put out his NAFTA, it was the same template. It was a pro-corporate deal that helped Washington special interests.
I worked with Speaker Pelosi and with the labor movement and with Senator Wyden of Oregon, my partner in this, on the Brown-Wyden language, which simply, finally, says these agreements should be about workers.
And this will mean that workers in the United States and with our trading partners will see their standard of living increase. It will begin to slow down the movement from corporations shutting down production in our country and moving overseas.
But it doesn't fix that, because, frankly, President Trump's tax bill, where, if you shut down production in Lordstown, Ohio, you're paying a 21 percent tax rate there. You move to Mexico, you pay 10.5 percent.
So the president has continued his pro-corporate trade policy through the tax system and other ways.
But this agreement, because we have got this -- these labor standards that will lift workers up, make sense.
TAPPER: Let's turn to the 2020 race.
You said it would be a -- quote -- "terrible mistake" for the eventual Democratic nominee to support Medicare for all, saying that it could scare off voters in places like Ohio, where you're from, and give President Trump a political advantage on health care.
So, are you saying that you don't think Democrats can beat Trump with a nominee who supports Medicare for all, like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren?
BROWN: Well, I think we're going to beat Trump. I think we're going to beat him in Ohio.
But I think, because of this -- so, on this health care, all the Democrats on that platform, all the Democrats in the debate want -- want to get to universal health care coverage, some at different speeds or at different -- in different paths.
But the fact is that all Democrats want universal health care. President Trump doesn't. President Trump, first through Congress, when McCain cast the tie-breaking vote to stop the repeal, now through a court, Northern District court in Texas, is trying to take away those protections for seniors, take away the consumer protections for preexisting conditions.
So, the debate is about, Democrats want universal coverage. Republicans, the president, the entire Republican Party is opposed to it and opposed to those consumer protections for preexisting conditions.
Two million people in my state have a preexisting condition. This is a direct threat, what the president is doing to their health care coverage. That's what the debate should be about.
That's what I will work in Ohio to make that debate about, no matter who the president -- who the Democratic nominee is.
TAPPER: All right, Senator Sherrod Brown, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.
The book, again, worth checking out.
We appreciate it today.
BROWN: Good. Thanks very much.
TAPPER: Next, we're going to talk to one moderate Republican who says President Trump's call with Ukraine was inappropriate. So, has the president learned his lesson?
Congressman Will Hurd, Republican of Texas, is next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
Earlier this year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that impeachment must be bipartisan. But not a single Republican in the House has said he or she will vote aye on Wednesday.
Joining me now is someone who will be casting one of those historic votes, Republican Congressman Will Hurd of Texas.
Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.
You said that you're going to vote against the articles of impeachment. Are you not worried at all that your vote will essentially be seen as giving a green light for every president in the future to use their power to ask foreign leaders, pressure foreign leaders to investigate political rivals?
REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): No, I don't believe that's what the message is being sent.
You can vote against the impeachment and still disagree with some of the policies or some of the behavior.
As you said in the lead-up, this is such a monumental vote. Using this a process of impeachment is one of the most serious things that the House of Representatives can do. And even Speaker Pelosi said it should be bipartisan.
The only thing bipartisan about this process is the opposition of impeachment. We're going to have at least two Democrats voting against this.
And my fear is that you weaponize impeachments for political gains in the future, just like now we have budget debates that become weaponized, voting for Supreme Court justices have become weaponized.
And, for me, my standard for impeachment has always been a violation of the law.
You have 435 folks in the House, 100 senators. That means there's 535 different definitions of impeachment. And I have sat through those hundreds hours of depositions and hearings, and didn't see any evidence presented of bribery and -- or extortion.
Now, I would have liked to listen -- hear from Rudy Giuliani. I would have liked to hear from other folks. But it's the responsibility of the leaders of the House, Speaker Pelosi, to press for the third branch of government, the judicial branch, to compel action. TAPPER: So, if it's not bribery, what was it?
I mean, President Trump clearly was asking a foreign leader to investigate Joe Biden, who is, by definition, one of his political rivals. He -- according to Gordon Sondland, it was a quid pro quo. Those investigations needed to be announced in order for the Ukrainians to get a White House meeting.
You have said that this behavior is inappropriate. How do you send a signal to a president or any future presidents, you can't do this? Because, otherwise, potentially, you have President Buttigieg demanding that China investigate Jared Kushner's family for their comments about visas.
I mean, it just -- it opens up a huge Pandora's box. I'm sure you see that.
HURD: No, look, I don't disagree with the premise.
But -- but there's other tools in our toolkit. There's ways to prevent legislation that the president wants, to prevent funding for operations.
And -- but I would also question the issue of -- that the funding was based on the announcement of this -- of this -- of an investigation, because Mr. Yermak, who is the senior adviser to the -- to the Ukrainian president, questioned Ambassador Sondland's -- how he remembered one of those meetings.
And, ultimately, one of the things that we never saw when Adam Schiff presented the call records that included Giuliani, Mayor Giuliani, and Ranking Member Nunes and some reporters, you never saw Rudy Giuliani calling officials within the Ukrainian regime.
I asked every -- every person that came before the hearings, who did Rudy Giuliani speak to? Because if he was the one that was supposed to be delivering the bribe, we ultimately never -- never saw it.
TAPPER: well, he...
HURD: And, ultimately, I know that this debate about abuse of power, I wish we were talking more about what we have seen and was revealed by inspector general Horowitz from the Department of Justice on his I.G. report...
TAPPER: Yes. And...
HURD: ... about how -- how the four FISA warrants was -- was involved.
TAPPER: And I will get to that in a second.
But you just talked about Andriy Yermak. Obviously, Ukrainian leaders publicly are saying there was no pressure. It's pointed out, obviously, they still rely on President Trump and the Trump administration.
There was evidence presented to your committee August 10 Yermak privately texted: "It will be logical to do after we receive a confirmation of the White House meeting date. Once we have a date, we will call for a press briefing announcing upcoming visit and outline vision for the reboot of U.S.-Ukraine relationship, including, among other things, Burisma and election meddling and investigations."
So the Ukrainians knew -- I mean, that is Zelensky's top aide, Yermak. They knew they needed to make these announcements. Regardless of what they're saying publicly today, they were saying this privately to Trump people: We get it. We understand we need to announce these investigations in order to get what we want.
HURD: And -- and what they want in that case was -- was a meeting.
That wasn't connected to the aid, because senior Ukrainians didn't know about the aid potentially being stalled until after the July 25 phone call between Donald Trump and -- and Ukrainian President Zelensky.
And so -- so, that's -- those are -- those are the nuance of this. And I -- I -- one of the things that I get frustrated with when my colleagues on the other side of the aisle suggest that the Ukrainians are subservient to the United States of America, the Ukrainians are involved in a hot war right now with Russia.
And to say that they would, in essence, lie because they need the support of the -- of the United States government is doing a disservice to the Ukrainians and the Ukrainian president in what they're -- in what they're ultimately dealing with.
They're going to do what's in their best interests for their country, and they're not going to lie to their own citizens about something like this.
And so we kind of oftentimes just dismiss the Ukrainian -- what the Ukrainians have said on this particular issue.
TAPPER: I know you want to talk about this new report this week from the intelligence community inspector general -- the Department of Justice inspector general, rather.
The inspector general report made it clear that the Russia investigation was launched properly. But they also revealed 17 significant inaccuracies and omissions were in the FISA applications.
Progressives and civil libertarians have been arguing for years that the FISA processes being abused. Now that Republicans are outraged, aware that this process can affect people like Carter Page, is there an impetus here to reform the process?
HURD: I think there is.
FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, that was passed in, I think it was 1979. And there's been a number of additions to that to ensure that, when
federal law enforcement or the intelligence community looks to get electronic surveillance on an individual, especially an American citizen, that our Fourth Amendment civil liberties are being protected.
I think there's -- there's debates right now about, do you introduce a third entity to debate and have the side of the person that the FBI or the NSA is looking to -- to surveil to make sure that they're doing what they're doing?
And I -- I just want to make one point on this Horowitz report. The bar for the FBI to open an investigation is actually pretty low.
TAPPER: Very low.
HURD: Whether or not that was done properly or improperly -- they said it was done properly. That's not the real question.
The real question is, why were there 17 lies in this report? You had a guy who was helping one branch of the government, thinking he was helping his country, and another branch of the government was using that as an excuse to say he was committing espionage.
As a former intelligence officer, that's absolutely outrageous. And, for me, if this would have been -- the roles were reversed, I don't understand why more people aren't outraged. I don't understand why Chairman Schiff is not upset, because he was lied to by folks. The media was lied to about this.
And if the -- if Horowitz would have came back and said that the Steele dossier was 100 percent true, I would be apoplectic, because people would have lied to me. And I'd be dragging them to the Hill for -- to answer questions.
TAPPER: No, I agree with you 100 percent. There should be a lot more bipartisan outrage about this.
Congressman Will Hurd, thank you so much. Hope to have you on again soon to talk about issues beyond impeachment.
HURD: Thank you.