Bill Weld on Challenging President Trump in 2020

President Trump has a sky-high approval rating among Republicans, so who would think to challenge him in the 2020 Republican primaries? One lone voice is former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, who is the quintessential long shot and is worlds apart from Trump on practically everything. He speaks with Christiane from New York to discuss his quixotic bid, and the current state of his own party.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Tell me, why have you chosen to run?

BILL WELD, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I like to say that President Trump and I are two large orange men who have absolutely nothing in common. I really don’t think the poor fellow is up to the job. He had absolutely no preparation for it. You were asking Senator Romney and Senator Murphy Senator whether you think we’re coming to a constitutional crisis, it’s obvious to me that President Trump is trying to provoke a constitutional crisis. He’s not willing to really join issue and have a serious discussion about any of the issues generated by the Mueller report.

You know, you had 400 federal prosecutors, former federal prosecutors yesterday signing a letter saying that President Trump clearly committed obstruction of justice, and no one’s even talking about that. All the president is saying is, “We’re not going to comply with any subpoenas because they’re partisan. They’re on one side and we’re on the other.” OK, that is the path to a constitutional crisis.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me just probe that a little bit now, because you are — obviously, you have a long history of prosecutorial involvement and experience. You’ve had experience in the realm of impeachment. But this is what the Senate Republican leader, the leader of the majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said about the Mueller report. Just listen to this for a second.


SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL: I’ve told everyone there’s been a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign. Yet, on this special question, the Special Counsel’s finding is clear, case closed. Case closed. This ought to be good news for everyone. But my Democratic colleagues seem to be publicly working through the five stages of grief.


AMANPOUR: Well, what do you say then? This is a Republican, the leader of the Senate, of your party, the Republican saying, case closed. Well, you did hear the previous senators, Murphy and Romney, saying that it will probably take the courts to close any case.

WELD: Well, I would begin by saying that 400 or 500 federal prosecutors yesterday disagreed with the Senate Republican leader’s conclusion that the case is closed. They found that there was overwhelming evidence that the president of the United States did commit obstruction of justice. And I would suggest that the only reason that Mr. Mueller didn’t seek an indictment for obstruction of justice is because Attorney General Barr told him that he would not permit that. And he outranks Mr. Mueller in the Justice Department. But if Mr. Mueller had had a free hand, I think he would have sought that indictment. And by the way, I was one of those 400 former federal prosecutors who signed that letter yesterday.

AMANPOUR: Well, let’s get back to your challenging the president in the primaries. I mean, I said that you were a little bit of an outlier in today’s political landscape, being socially liberal, fiscally conservative. Let’s just put up a little graphic of some of the positions that you have supported when you were governor of your own State of Massachusetts.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with Mitt Romney & Chris Murphy about what’s going on in Washington; and Bill Weld about his bid for the presidency. Hari Sreenivasan speaks with Neha Narula about the future of digital currency.