November 23, 2019

Will Hurd

House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) discusses the impeachment hearings. Hurd explains why he says President Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president was “inappropriate,” and where he stands on allegations of bribery and extortion. Hurd discusses which witnesses he wants to hear from next, and whether or not he has made up his mind on how he would vote.

GUEST Will Hurd
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HE’S A REPUBLICAN ON THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE WHO IN THE PAST HAS STOOD UP TO THE PRESIDENT.
WILL HE DO IT AGAIN?
THIS WEEK ON ‘FIRING LINE.’

IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE SHOULD BE COMPELLING, OVERWHELMINGLY CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS.

TWO WEEKS OF PUBLIC IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS, TEXAS CONGRESSMAN WILL HURD PRAISED DIPLOMATS AND OFFERED SOME CRITICISM OF PRESIDENT TRUMP.

CERTAINLY NOT HOW THE EXECUTIVE CURRENT IN THE FUTURE SHOULD HANDLE SUCH A CALL.

AT OTHER TIMES, SEEMED TO DEFEND THE PRESIDENT’S ACTIONS.

I HAVE NOT HEARD EVIDENCE PROVING THE PRESIDENT COMMITTED BRIBERY OR EXTORTION.

MORE AND MORE WITNESSES COMING FORWARD.

WAS THERE A QUID PRO QUO?
THE ANSWER IS YES.

WHAT DOES WILL HURD SAY NOW?

‘FIRING LINE WITH MARGARET HOOVER’ BROUGHT TO YOU BY — ROBERT GRANARI.
ADDITIONAL FUNDING IS PROVIDED BY —
CORPORATE FUNDING PROVIDED BY STEVENS INC.

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD, WELCOME TO ‘FIRING LINE.’

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

YOU’RE A REPUBLICAN MEMBER OF HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES REPRESENTING TEXAS’S 23rd DISTRICT.

THAT’S RIGHT.
29 COUNTIES, TWO TIME ZONES, 820 MILES OF THE BORDER.

WHICH MAKES YOU THE ONLY REPUBLICAN IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THAT REPRESENTS A BORDER DISTRICT WITH THE U.S.
BORDER AND MEXICO BORDER.

THAT’S CORRECT AND THE LONGEST BORDER.

YOU’RE ALSO ON THE HOW INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE WHICH HAS THIS WEEK BEEN UNDERGOING IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP.
WE’RE AT THE END OF THE SECOND WEEK OF PUBLIC TESTIMONY AND THIS WEEK, WE HEARD FROM DR.
FIONA HILL.
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S FORMER RUSSIA NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL ADVISER.
HERE’S WHAT SHE SAID IN HER OPENING STATEMENT.
LET’S TAKE A LOOK.

I REFUSE TO BE PART OF AN EFFORT TO LEGITIMIZE THE GOVERNMENT THAT THE UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT IS THE ADVERSITY AND UKRAINE NOT RUSSIA ATTACKED US IN 2016.
THESE SWITCHES ARE HARMFUL, EVEN PURELY DOMESTIC POLITICAL PURPOSES.
WHEN WE ARE CONSUMED BY PARTISAN RANCOR, WE CANNOT COMBAT THESE EXTERNAL FORCES AS THEY SEEK TO DIVIDE US AGAINST EACH OTHER, DEGRADE OUR INSTITUTIONS AND DESTROY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND OUR DEMOCRACY.

THE PRESIDENT AND SOME REPUBLICANS SEEM TO BE SUBSCRIBING TO THIS NARRATIVE THAT UKRAINE INTERFERED IN OUR ELECTIONS IN 2016.
ALTHOUGH THERE DOES SEEM TO BE NO EVIDENCE THAT’S THE CASE, DO YOU SUBSCRIBE TO THIS?

WELL, LET’S START WITH WHAT THE RUSSIANS DID.
THERE’S THIS NOTION THAT REPUBLICANS ON THE INTEL COMMITTEE ARE NOT SUPPORTIVE OF THE FACT THAT THE RUSSIANS TRIED TO MANIPULATE OUR ELECTIONS IN 2016.
EVERYBODY AGREES TO THAT BECAUSE THEIR GOAL WAS TO SEW DISCORD AND KISSDISTRUST IN OUR DEMOCRA INSTITUTIONS.
THAT’S STILL GOING ON.
IT’S CLEAR THE REPUBLICAN REPORT THAT THE RUSSIANS WERE INVOLVED AND MY FEAR THAT WE ARE NOT DOING ENOUGH TO COUNTER THE DISINFORMATION THAT THE RUSSIANS ARE CONTINUING TO TRY TO DO IN 2020 AND IN MY HEARING AGAIN AFTER THE MUELLER INVESTIGATION, BOB MUELLER SAID SITTING THERE TODAY, THE RUSSIANS ARE STILL TRYING TO DO IT.

DO YOU THINK PART OF THE RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN IS THIS IDEA IT WAS ACTUALLY UKRAINE?
IT WAS SUBSCRIBED INTERFERING IN OUR ELECTIONS, NOT RUSSIA?

SURE AND THERE’S ELEMENTS OF THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT MAKING IT SOUND LIKE IT WAS UKRAINE.

IS IT HELPFUL TO HAVE THE PRESIDENT, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE PRESIDENT IS SPREADING A NARRATIVE NOT TRUE ABOUT OUR FOREIGN ALLIES?

IT’S BAD FOREIGN POLICY.
IT’S ALSO BAD FOREIGN POLICY WHEN YOU HAVE DEMOCRATS ON THE HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE SUGGESTING THAT REPUBLICANS DON’T BELIEVE THAT THE RUSSIANS WERE INVOLVED IN THE 2016 ELECTION.
THAT ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTES TO ALL THIS DISINFORMATION.

YOU’VE SPENT THIS PAST TWO WEEKS HEARING FROM MEMBERS OF OUR FOREIGN SERVICE AND SERVED IN SIMILAR POSITIONS AS YOU HAVE IN GOVERNMENT.
ONE OF THEM IS THE FORMER AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE, MARIE YOVANOVITCH WHO YOU QUESTIONED FOR NEARLY FOUR MINUTES.
BUT YOU SAIDPENT THE FIRST MINU TALKING ABOUT HER ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND HER AWARDS.
TAKE A LOOK.

YOU’RE TOUGH AS NAILS AND YOU’RE SMART AS HELL.
YOU’RE A GREAT EXAMPLE OF WHAT OUR AMBASSADORS SHOULD BE LIKE.
YOU’RE AN HONOR TO YOUR FAMILY.
YOU ARE AN HONOR TO THE FOREIGN SERVICE.
YOU ARE AN HONOR TO THIS COUNTRY AND I THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO ON BEHALF OF OUR COUNTRY.

WHY DID YOU DO THAT?

I THINK IT’S UNFORTUNATE THAT THERE HAVE BEEN MANY MEMBERS OF OUR FOREIGN SERVICE THAT HAVE BEEN SMEARED OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS.
AND I THINK AMBASSADOR YOVANOVITCH IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THE KIND OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER THAT WE NEED DOING OUR NATIONAL SECURITY AROUND THE COUNTRY.
AND FOR ME, I THINK IT WAS AN EXAMPLE OF, SHE’S BEEN IN TOUGH PLACES.
SHE’S WON COUNTLESS AWARDS.
AND I THINK ONE OF THE BENEFITS OF THESE HEARINGS IS THAT THERE’S VERY FEW, IN MY OPINION, THAT WE GOT TO SEE SOME OF THE MEN AND WOMEN IN OUR DIPLOMATIC CORPS THAT OFTENTIMES DON’T GET THE ACCOLADES THEY DESERVE.

AND YET AMBASSADOR YOVANOVITCH, WHILE SHE WAS ABROAD, WAS, AND SERVING OVERSEAS WHILE AMBASSADOR IN UKRAINE BECAME THE TARGET OF A SPEAR CAMPAIGN BY PRESIDENT TRUMP’S LAWYER AND HIS ASSOCIATES.
THE PRESIDENT LATER REFERRED TO HER AS BAD NEWS AND SAID THAT SHE’S GOING TO GO THROUGH SOME THINGS.
WHEN HE SPOKE TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNTRY SHE HAD SERVED IN.
AND THEN THE PRESIDENT TWEETED WHILE SHE WAS TESTIFYING IN FRONT OF YOUR COMMITTEE SAYING EVERYWHERE MARIE YOVANOVITCH HAS WENT TURNED BAD.
SHE STARTED OFF IN SOMALIA, HOW DID THAT GO?
FAST FORWARD TO UKRAINE.
WHERE THE NEW UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SPOKE.
I WANT TO SHOW YOU HER REACTION ABOUT THE PRESIDENT’S TWEET WHEN SHE WAS TESTIFYING.

NOW THE PRESIDENT REALTIME IS ATTACKING YOU.
WHAT EFFECT DO YOU THINK THAT HAS ON OTHER WITNESSES’ WILLINGNESS TO COME FORWARD AND EXPOSE WRONGDOING?

WELL, IT’S VERY INTIMIDATING.

DESIGNED TO INTIMIDATE, IS IT NOT?

I MEAN, I CAN’T SPEAK TO WHAT THE PRESIDENT IS TRYING TO DO BUT I THINK THE EFFECT IS TO BE INTIMIDATING.

WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE PRESIDENT’S TWEET TO MARIE YOVANOVITCH?

I THINK IT WAS TERRIBLE AND IT SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN DONE.
AND ULTIMATELY, EVERYBODY HAS AGREED THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS THE ABILITY TO SELECT HIS AMBASSADORS AND JUST DO IT.
IF YOU WANTED SOMEBODY DIFFERENT, PICK SOMEBODY DIFFERENT.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE PROCESS THEY WENT THROUGH AND SOME OF THE THINGS SHE HAD TO DEAL WITH.

WAS THAT WITNESS INTIMIDATION?

YOU KNOW, I THINK WITNESS INTIMIDATION IS A VERY SPECIFIC TERM USED TO INFLUENCE SOMEBODY THAT’S COMING TO TESTIFY IN A JUDICIAL PROCEEDING.
THIS WASN’T A JUDICIAL PROCEEDING BUT I THINK IT WAS ILL ADVISED AND SOMETHING THAT SHOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED.

ANOTHER PERSON WHO TESTIFIED THIS WEEK WAS AMBASSADOR GORDON SONDLAND, THE AMERICAN AMBASSADOR TO THE EUROPEAN UNION AND HE SPOKE DIRECTLY WITH THE PRESIDENT ABOUT UKRAINE ON AT LEAST A HALF DOZEN OCCASIONS.
LET’S WATCH A PORTION OF HIS OPENING STATEMENT.

SURE.

I KNOW THAT MEMBERS OF THIS COMMITTEE FREQUENTLY FRAME THESE COMPLICATED ISSUES IN THE FORM OF A SIMPLE QUESTION.
WAS THERE A QUID PRO QUO?
AS I TESTIFIED PREVIOUSLY, WITH REGARD TO THE REQUESTED WHITE HOUSE CALL AND THE WHITE HOUSE MEETING, THE ANSWER IS YES.

IN YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO QUESTION AMBASSADOR SONDLAND, YOU ASKED HIM ABOUT A CONTRADICTION IN HIS TESTIMONY, IT SEEMED TO YOU, WHERE HE SAID ON THE ONE HAND, THERE WAS A QUID PRO QUO, AND THE OTHER HAND, WHEN HE SPOKE WITH THE PRESIDENT, HE SAID THERE WAS NO QUID PRO QUO.
DO YOU THINK THERE’S A MATERIAL DIFFERENCE OF WHETHER THERE WAS A QUID PRO QUO FOR A MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OR FOR THE $400 MILLION IN MILITARY AID?

THERE’S A VERY BIG DIFFERENCE BECAUSE ULTIMATELY, WHAT THE DEMOCRATS ARE ALLEGING IS THAT SOME TYPE OF BRIBERY HAPPENED, AND UNDER THE FEDERAL BRIBERY STATUTE, A MEETING OR CALLING SOMEONE IS NOT COUNTED AS SOMETHING THAT CAN BE OFFERED FOR A BRIBE.
AND SO THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AID AND BRIBERY IS SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT AND ALSO, WHEN YOU LOOK AT ALL THE INDIVIDUALS THAT WERE INVOLVED AND THAT WE’VE HAD CONVERSATIONS ABOUT, MANY OF THEM COULD NOT SAY THAT THEY KNEW AT THE TIME THAT AID WAS INVOLVED.

NOW WE HAVE THIS PREPONDERANCE OF INFORMATION HOW THIS SERIES OF EVENTS HAS UNFOLDED.

WHY WAS THE AID WITHHELD?

IT SEEMS TO ME WE WON’T KNOW THAT UNTIL WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO HAD DIRECT KNOWLEDGE OF THE PRESIDENT’S INTENTIONS.
DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU, IT SEEMS TO ME WE SHOULD NEED TO HEAR FROM THE PEOPLE TO KNOW.

100%.
DO WE NEED TO HEAR FROM RUDY GIULIANI?

100%.
DR. JOHN BOLTON?

WE NEED TO HEAR FROM RUDY GIULIANI, MICK MULVANEY.
THOSE WERE THE FIRST TWO.

SECRETARY OF STATE POMPEO.

SECRETARY OF STATE POMPEO SHOULD COME AS WELL.
I THINK THERE’S A LOT MORE PEOPLE THAT WE SHOULD HEAR FROM.
I ACTUALLY THINK WE SHOULD HEAR FROM HUNTER BIDEN.
I THINK WE SHOULD HEAR FROM THE WHISTLEBLOWER AND BE ABLE TO PROTECT THE WHISTLEBLOWER’S ANONYMITY.
ULTIMATELY, WHO DID THE WHISTLEBLOWER HAVE CONTACT WITH BEFORE THE WHISTLE WAS BLOWN?

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

IT TALKS ABOUT THEIR INTENTION AND WAS THERE DIRECTION IN THEIR EFFORTS IN DOING, IN ULTIMATELY BRINGING THAT, THE COMPLAINT.

DO YOU THINK HE DIDN’T HAVE EARNEST INTENTIONS?

I DON’T KNOW THE INTENTIONS.
HERE’S WHAT I DO KNOW.
ADAM SHIFF HAD TO CORRECT A STATEMENT ON HIS OFFICE’S CONTACT WITH THE WHISTLEBLOWER.
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM ADAM SHIFF AND HAVE HIM ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT WAS HIS OFFICE’S CONNECTION AND INVOLVEMENT WITH THE WHISTLEBLOWER PRIOR TO THE COMPLAINTS BEING BROUGHT FORWARD AND AFTER THE COMPLAINT.

THE WHISTLEBLOWER CAME TO HIS OFFICE AND HIS OFFICE SAID THAT THEY COULDN’T DEAL WITH IT, SO ADVISED HIM TO SEEK LEGAL COUNSEL.

SHOULD WE JUST TAKE ONE STATEMENT OR NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS?

WHAT WOULD WE LEARN FROM HUNTER BIDEN?

ALL THE THINGS THAT WENT AROUND BURISMA.
ALL THIS BECAUSE THE NAME BIDEN WAS MENTIONED ON THE JULY 25th PHONE CALL BETWEEN PRESIDENT TRUMP AND MR. ZELENSKY.
SO HIS ROLE IN THIS COMPANY, THIS COMPANY HAS BEEN INVESTIGATED MULTIPLE TIMES.
THE LEADER OF THE COMPANY IS FAIRLY WELL KNOWN TO HAVE BUILT THE UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT AND I THINK IT’S AN IMPORTANT PIECE BECAUSE THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF CONVERSATION ABOUT BURISMA AND MR. BIDEN.
IF HE CAN CLEAR UP SOME OF THIS, I THINK IT’S ACTUALLY HELPFUL.
WE SHOULD HEAR FROM EVERYBODY.
THIS IS NOT, AND I SAID THIS A BILLION TIMES.
WE’RE NOT BUILDING SOMEBODY OFF THE ISLAND IN SEASON 12 OF SURVIVOR.
THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST SERIOUS THINGS A MEMBER OF CONGRESS CAN DO.
IT SHOULDN’T BE RUSHED.
THIS IS BEING RUSHED PREMATURELY BECAUSE THE DEMOCRATS WANT TO GET IT DONE BEFORE THE ELECTION THAT START IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, AND THE PRIMARIES IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.
THERE’S A LOT OF PEOPLE WE SHOULD STILL BE TALKING TO AND UNDERSTANDING MORE INFORMATION, BUT THEY’RE TRYING TO PUSH THIS.
AND THIS IS A SERIOUS, THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER.
IT SHOULD BE AN OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE OF THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR AND WHAT WE HAVE SEEN IN THE COUPLE WEEKS OF HEARINGS IS NOT OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE.

YOU CALL THIS PART OF AN EXERCISE.
YOU’VE CRITICIZED THE WAY THE PROCESS HAS BEEN HANDLED.
DO YOU THINK THE HEARING SO FAR HAS BEEN HELPFUL OR USEFUL TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE?
HAS INFORMATION COME OUT THAT HAS BEEN HELPFUL?

I THINK ULTIMATELY, IF YOU HATE THE PRESIDENT, EVERY PIECE OF INFORMATION YOU SAW WAS AN EXAMPLE OF WHY YOU SHOULD IMPEACH.
IF YOU LOVE THE PRESIDENT, EVERY PIECE OF INFORMATION YOU SAW WAS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW HE SHOULD BE EXONERATED.
I ULTIMATELY WANTED TO TRY TO GET TO THE TRUTH AND I BELIEVE THIS IS, WELL, THERE’S STILL MORE PEOPLE THAT WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO TALK TO AND A KEY PERSON WE HAVE TO TALK TO IS ULTIMATELY RUDY GIULIANI.
THAT’S WHY I ASK THE QUESTIONS AS MANY TIMES TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND, WHO WAS RUDY GIULIANI TALKING TO ULTIMATELY WITHIN THE ZELENSKY REGIME?
IF THERE WAS AN ARM TWISTING OR QUID PRO QUO OR SOME BRIBE AND RUDY GIULIANI IS AHEAD OF IT, WHO DID HE BRIBE?
WHO WAS THE PEOPLE HE WAS TALKING TO BECAUSE ULTIMATELY, THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE, THE FOREIGN MINISTER OF UKRAINE, HIS SENIOR AIDE, THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR UKRAINE, NONE OF THEM BELIEVE THEY WERE BEING PRESSURED.
NOW, MY DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES WILL SAY.

THEY DON’T BELIEVE THEY WERE BEING PRESSURED, AT LEAST WHAT THEY SAID PUBLICLY BUT DO YOU TAKE THEM AT FACE VALUE?

YES, BECAUSE YOU CAN SAY THE PRESIDENT OF THE OTHER COUNTRY IS GOING TO LIE TO HIS PEOPLE AND GOING TO LIE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD BECAUSE HE’S WORRIED ABOUT SOME AID FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY?
THAT’S COMPLETELY DISRESPECTFUL TO THAT LEADER.
THE UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT IS INVOLVED WITH A HOT WAR WITH RUSSIA.
THEY ARE HOLDING THEIR OWN AND BY IMPLYING THAT HE’S SUBSERVIENT TO THE UNITED STATES AND WOULD LIE TO HIS OWN COUNTRY MEN BECAUSE HE’S WORRIED ABOUT THIS AID TO ME IS CRAZY WHEN THERE’S NO EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT HAPPENED.

LET’S TALK ABOUT WHAT AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE ACTUALLY IS AND WHA GT’S GOING TO RISE TO A IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE.
IN ONE EPISODE AT THE HEIGHT OF THE WATERGATE HEARINGS IN 1973, SPOKE TO WHAT HE BELIEVED RISES TO NOT JUST AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE BUT AN OFFENSE WORTHY OF REMOVING THE PRESIDENT FROM OFFICE AND I’D LIKE YOU TO TAKE A LOOK.

YOU MUST NOT PUNISH THE REPUBLIC BY THIS.
AND THIS IS WHAT THE IMPEACHMENT INSTRUMENT IS.
THE IMPEACHMENT INSTRUMENT USED NOT TO PUNISH A PERSON BUT TO REMOVE HIM.
IF YOU THINK THE SAFETY OF THE STATE REQUIRES THAT THE PERSON BE REMOVED, THEN YOU INVOKE IT, BUT YOU DON’T INVOKE IT FOR HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS WITHOUT RECOGNIZING THAT THE PRINCIPAL CASUALTY IS OURSELVES RATHER THAN THE PRESIDENT.

IF THE PRESIDENT’S OFFENSE, AS BUCKLEY SAYS, DOES NOT IMPERIL THE SAFETY OF THE STATE, DO YOU AGREE WITH BUCKLEY THAT THE PRIMARY CASUALTY OF A REMOVAL OF THE PRESIDENT IS ACTUALLY THE COUNTRY?
INSTEAD OF THE PRESIDENT?

I THINK THAT’S RIGHT.
AND ULTIMATELY, I WOULD ADD TO WHAT MR. BUCKLEY HAD SAID.
WHAT RISES TO AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE, THERE’S 535 DIFFERENT OPINIONS ON THAT AND THAT IS THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE THAT HAVE THAT.
IT’S ULTIMATELY A POLITICAL PROCESS AND EACH PERSON HAS TO HAVE THEIR OWN OPINION ON WHAT RISES TO THAT LEVEL.

IS YOUR OPINION OF WHAT RISES TO THAT LEVEL A CRIMINAL VIOLATION OF THE LAW?

YES.

SO YOU BELIEVE THAT THE PRESIDENT SHOULD BE IMPEACHED IF THERE IS A PROVEN LEGAL OR CRIMINAL CONDUCT?

YES.

HE SAID THERE’S 535 DIFFERENT OPINIONS ABOUT WHAT INSTITUTES AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE.
IS ABUSE OF POWER AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE?

I THINK IF THERE WAS AN ABUSE OF POWER THAT WAS INVOLVED IN A VIOLATION OF THE LAW, THEN YES.
SO TRYING TO DEFINE WHAT AN ABUSE OF POWER IS IS GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT YOU’RE GOING TO ALSO HAVE 535 DIFFERENT OPINIONS ON.

AN ABUSE OF TRUST, AS ALEXANDER HAMILTON SAID AND MANY LEGAL SCHOLARS SAY IS ALSO GROUNDS FOR IMPEACHMENT.
IT DOESN’T JUST HAVE TO BE A CRIMINAL VIOLATION.

THE CRIMINAL VIOLATION, THAT’S MY DEFINITION.

TO BE CLEAR, FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, AN ABUSE OF POWER IS NOT, FOR YOU, AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE.
THE UNITED STATES PRESIDENT HAS TO BE PROVEN TO HAVE BROKEN A LAW OR COMMITTED A CRIME.

I THINK THE ABUSE OF POWER OR COMMITTED A CRIME IS ULTIMATELY THE SAME THING.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE SCENARIO IS THAT YOU HAVE AN ABUSE OF POWER THAT’S NOT A VIOLATION OF THE LAW.

IT MAY NOT BE ILLEGAL TO ASK A FOREIGN LEADER TO OPEN AN INVESTIGATION INTO YOUR CHIEF POLITICAL OPPONENT, BUT IT COULD BE ARGUED THAT IS AN ABUSE OF POWER.

YOU CAN ALSO ARGUE THAT’S INAPPROPRIATE OR SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN DONE.
BUT HOW DID THE PERSON THAT WAS RECEIVING THAT REQUEST VIEW IT?
AND ULTIMATELY, PRESIDENT ZELENSKY AND THEIR FOREIGN MINISTER HAVE MADE IT VERY CLEAR THAT THEY DIDN’T FEEL LIKE THEIR ARMS WERE BEING TWISTED OR THAT THEY WERE BEING PRESSURED TO DO ANYTHING.

YOU WILL SOON LIKELY HAVE TO VOTE, AS IT TURNS OUT.
QUITE LIKELY, HAVE TO VOTE ON ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AND WHETHER TO SEND HIM TO THE SENATE.
DO YOU BELIEVE, BECAUSE YOU’VE SPOKEN THAT THIS PROCESS IS INHERENTLY PARTISAN AND YOU’VE SEEN THE PARTISANSHIP AS IT PLAYS OUT, DO YOU BELIEVE THAT CHAIRMAN SHIFF HAS KEPT AN OPEN MIND TO THIS PROCESS?

OF COURSE NOT, HE HASN’T.
THE ARTICLES IN HIS REPORT HAS ALREADY BEEN WRITTEN AND THAT’S WHAT’S GOING TO ULTIMATELY GET TRANSMITTED TO THE JUDICIARY.
WE’RE GOING TO SEE THAT HAPPEN, ULTIMATELY, FOR THE END OF THE YEAR.

DO YOU THINK ANYONE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HAS KEPT AN OPEN MIND IN THIS PROCESS?

YEAH, I HAVE.
RIGHT, AND MY GOAL HAS ALWAYS BEEN TO UNDERSTAND THE FACTS.
AND I HAVE NOT SEEN ANYTHING IN THE NUMBER OF HEARINGS THAT I HAVE PARTICIPATED IN, AND THAT INCLUDES THE PUBLIC HEARINGS, THE DEPOSITIONS THAT SUGGEST THERE’S EVIDENCE OF —
ARE YOU WAITING FOR MORE HEARINGS OR HAVE YOU DECIDED ALREADY?

I’LL DECIDE WHEN WE GET TO THAT ACTUAL VOTE.
I DON’T KNOW IF THERE ARE GOING TO BE MORE HEARINGS BUT AS I’VE SAID, THE HEARINGS THAT I’VE PARTICIPATED IN TO THIS POINT, I HAVE NOT SEEN EVIDENCE THAT SAYS, THAT CONFIRMS THERE WAS A BRIBERY OR EXTORTION.

BUT YOU HAVEN’T HEARD FROM RUDY GIULIANI.

HAVEN’T HEARD FROM RUDY.
HAVEN’T HEARD FROM A LOT OF PEOPLE.

DOES THAT MEAN YOUR MIND IS STILL OPEN OR THAT YOU DECIDED TO VOTE AGAINST ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT?

I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S IN FRONT OF ME.
AGAIN, I KNOW WHAT I KNOW UP UNTIL THIS POINT, THERE’S MORE INFORMATION, I’M ALWAYS GOING TO EVALUATE NEW INFORMATION BEFORE I MAKE SOME DECISIONS.

LET’S SWITCH GEARS FROM THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY.
YOU ANNOUNCED IN AUGUST YOU’RE NOT GOING TO RUN AGAIN FOR REELECTION IN 2020.
AFTER WINNING IN POTENTIALLY THE HARDEST YEAR FOR REPUBLICANS IN A DISTRICT THAT WAS, HILLARY CLINTON WON BY 3 POINTS AND HE WON BY LESS THAN A THOUSAND SO SAFE TO SAY, COULD HAVE WON REELECTION IN 2020.

OF COURSE.

THERE’S A TERM THAT REFERS TO THE SIX REPUBLICAN MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FROM TEXAS WHO ARE NOT RUNNING AGAIN.
WHAT’S GOING ON?

EVERY MEMBER HAS THEIR OWN, YOU KNOW, REASON FOR WHY THEY’RE LEAVING.
MINE IS SIMPLE.
I THINK I CAN HELP MY COUNTRY IN DIFFERENT WAYS.
SO I THINK THIS NOTION OF TEXAS AND WHETHER TEXAS IS IN PLAY, I THINK IT’S TWO SEPARATE ISSUES, RIGHT, AND I ALSO BELIEVE TEXAS IS IN PLAY.
TEXAS IS A PURPLE STATE.
JUST BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE THE STATE DEMOCRATS DOESN’T MEAN IT WILL PLAY IN 2020.
I THINK DEMOCRATS HAVE THE REAL SHOT OF TAKING OVER A MAJORITY IN THE STATEHOUSE IN TEXAS WHICH MEANS THEY’RE GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR REDISTRICTING IN 2021.
SO THE TRENDS THAT WE SAW HAPPEN IN CALIFORNIA, THEN THE NORTHEAST AND RECENTLY IN VIRGINIA, ALL OF THOSE TRENDS ARE IN PLACE IN TEXAS.

YOU HAVE SAID IN A QUOTE IN THE ‘WASHINGTON POST’ THAT IF THE DEPARTMENT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE TEXAS, THERE WON’T BE A REPUBLICAN PARTY IN TEXAS.

I THINK IT APPLIES FOR THE REST OF THE COUNTRY AND I WOULD ADD, IF THE REPUBLICAN PARTIES START LOOKING LIKE AMERICA AND START APPEALING TO ALL AMERICANS, THERE WON’T BE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN AMERICA.
AND WHY SHOULD THAT MATTER TO DEMOCRATS AND WHY SHOULD THAT MATTER TO INDEPENDENTS?
THE ONLY WAY WE HAVE EVER SOLVED BIG PROBLEMS IN THIS COUNTRY IS BY DOING IT TOGETHER.
THE ONLY WAY TO DO THAT IS IF YOU HAVE A TRUE COMPETITION OF IDEAS IN NOVR.
NOVEMBER.
I WANT TO MAKE SURE BY APPEAL TO PEOPLE.
THE THREE LARGEST GROWING GROUPS OF VOTERS.
SO WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO TAKE A MESSAGE TO FOLKS LIKE THAT.
AND HELPING TO CHANGE THE FACE OF THE PARTY SO THAT WE CAN DO THAT IS IMPORTANT FOR US.

THE FACE OF THE PARTY NEEDS TO BE DIFFERENT.
YOU’RE A FRESH FACE FOR THE PARTY FOR SURE.
BUT ALSO, THE MESSAGE OF THE PARTY NEEDS TO BE DIFFERENT.
YOU’VE DEMONSTRATED THAT AND ACTUALLY IN STARK CONTRAST TO THE PRESIDENT ESPECIALLY WITH HOW TO HANDLE ISSUES LIKE IMMIGRATION AND A WALL.
YOU’VE BEEN OUTSPOKEN.
AS THE ONLY REPUBLICAN WHO REPRESENTS THE BORDER WITH MEXICO, BETWEEN THE U.S. AND MEXICO, THAT YOU’RE NOT FOR A WALL IN THE TRADITIONAL SENSE.
YOU’RE IN FAVOR OF WHAT INSTEAD?

LOOK, I’VE ALREADY SAID, BUILDING A WALL FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA IS THE MOST EXPENSIVE AND LEAST EFFECTIVE WAY TO DO BORDER SECURITY.
EVERY MILE OF THE BORDER IS DIFFERENT FROM EVERY OTHER MILE.
SO YOU HAVE TO HAVE WHAT’S CALLED DEFENSE IN DEPTH.
YOU HAVE TO HAVE DIFFERENT TOOLS FOR EVERY AREA.
BUT THERE’S TWO BROADER PIECES OF INFORMATION WE CAN DO BETTER.
BETTER TECHNOLOGY ALONG THE BORDER AND MORE MANPOWER.

YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT VIEW, A MODERN VIEW OR MORE REFORMED VIEW.
WHAT ELSE DO THEY NEED TO DO?

I DON’T ACTUALLY THINK THAT MY POSITION IS THAT FAR OUT OF THE MAINSTREAM, RIGHT.

QUITE DIFFERENT FROM THE PRESIDENT.

FROM THE PRESIDENT, BUT ALSO, THE PRESIDENT IS NOT MY BOSS.
KEVIN McCARTHY IS NOT MY BOSS.
THE SPEAKER IS NOT MY BOSS.

BUT THE POINT IS YOU REPRESENT A VIEW AMONGST REPUBLICANS WHICH AT THE MOMENT IS NOT THE MAJORITY VIEW BUT NOT THE LOUDEST VOICE IN THE ROOM.

NOT THE LOUDEST VOICE IN THE ROOM.
I’LL AGREE WITH THAT BUT 75% OF REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS BELIEVE DACCA SHOULD BE FIXED AND THAT DREAMERS SHOULD HAVE A PERMANENT LEGISLATIVE FIX.
76% OF REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS.
THAT’S A LOT.
I WOULD SAY THAT’S MAINSTREAM.
SO THAT’S ONE AREA.
BUT I ALSO, I’M NOT AFRAID TO TALK AND SAY CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL.
ALL RIGHT.
AND IT’S HAVING, PEOPLE ARE HAVING AN IMPACT ON THAT.
I ACTUALLY THINK THAT MORE REPUBLICANS DO BELIEVE THAT, BUT UNFORTUNATELY, THE HANDFUL OF VOICES GET MAGNIFIED AND EVERYBODY BELIEVES THAT’S ULTIMATELY SOMETHING THAT EVERY REPUBLICAN BELIEVES THAT WAY.
I THINK THAT’S THERE BECAUSE ULTIMATELY, WE’VE GOT TO MAKE SURE THERE’S A PLACE FOR OUR KIDS AND GRANDKIDS TO LIVE.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MODERNIZING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY?

I LOVE THAT QUESTION.
PEOPLE THINK THE ONLY WAY TO GET THINGS DONE IS IN CONGRESS AND LOOK AT ALL THE MEMBERS THAT ARE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE.
ALL OF THEM ARE NOT CITY ELECTED OFFICIALS.
THEY’RE STILL HELPING AND MOVING THE PARTY.

IS THE BEST WAY TO BE A MODERN REPUBLICAN AND INFLUENCE IS TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT?

THAT’S A LONG WAY FOR ME.
IN THE INTERIM PERIOD, TALK ABOUT THESE ISSUES AND CHANGE THE FACE OF THE PARTY AND I’LL DO BECAUSE I KNOW CONGRESS.

WOULD YOU CONSIDER RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IN 2024?

LOOK, MY, AS A KID, MY MOTHER ALWAYS TOLD ME TO BE COMMITTED TO SOMETHING LARGER THAN YOURSELF AND IF THERE’S A POINT WHERE I’M ABLE TO SERVE MY COUNTRY IN A DIFFERENT WAY, THEN I’D EVALUATE THAT, BUT IN THE MEANTIME, I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO CONTINUING TO ELEVATE THESE ISSUES THAT WE’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT IN CONGRESS IN A DIFFERENT WAY, DO IT IN ACADEMIA, MEDIA, THE PRIVATE SECTOR.
THAT’S THE PLAN AND I’LL RUN TAPE IN THE 23rd BECAUSE THIS IS A PLEASURE TO REPRESENT MY HOMETOWN.

WILL HURD, THANK YOU FOR BEING AT ‘FIRING LINE.’

ALWAYS A PLEASURE.
THANK YOU.

‘FIRING LINE WITH MARGARET HOOVER’ IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE MARGARET AND DANIEL LOEB FOUNDATION.
ROBERT GRANERI THROUGH THE FUND.
DAVID STEPPER CHARITABLE FOUNDATION INC.
ADDITIONAL FUNDING IS PROVIDED BY — CORPORATE FUNDING IS PROVIDED BY STEVENS INC.
–Captions by VITAC– www.vitac.com
YOU’RE WATCHING PBS.