Senator Chuck Grassley spoke with Brian Kilmeade about Attorney General Bill Barr's testimony, why he agrees with Barr's decision not to show up to testify in front of the democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee and the need for President Trump to remove tariffs on goods to Mexico & Canada after coming to an agreement with Canada and Mexico, replacing NAFTA with the USMCA.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX RADIO HOST: Is that how Senator Chuck Grassley feels, he was sitting right there, he's former chairman of that very committee in which the Attorney General testified yesterday. Senator, thanks so much for joining us sir, what's your response to the speaker.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): Brian, it's ridiculous, let me tell you, if you were sitting there for three or four hours listening to what - you would know that this guy is totally transparent and even if he wasn't transparent the results of the Mueller testimony and the report is totally transparent. There was no collusion, there was no crime, so we ought to move on with the people's business.
KILMEADE: So, I'm sure you weren't happy that this thing, itself when on with Don McGahn, I'm sure you were not happy that Cory Lewandowski was called and looked to do something with Rob - tell Robert Mueller he's conflicted but having said that legally this is where we are right now after two years and 434 pages. What is the next step to bring Robert Mueller in?
GRASSLEY: Absolutely not, this came up this morning in an exchange before the Judiciary Committee, before Chairman Graham and Senate Democrat Whip Durbin brought up when are we going to have Mueller in? And he - and the Chairman did a good job of saying that he's not going to do it, we're going to move on and we're going to do what we ought to be doing, the people's business. Now if this hasn't gone on for two years and $35 million spent on it and end up with no collusion and no crime then I'll tell you it'd be a whole different game. But how much more conclusive can you be than a respected person like Mueller saying that there wasn't any collusion and even more backing that up than Mueller is the fact that there were 19 lawyers helping him and there were a lot of them who donated money to Hilary Clinton and if they come to the conclusion that there was no collusion then let's move on.
KILMEADE: Senator Chuck Grassley with us, Senator yes we'll see what happens because the House today had the ceremonial open and then close of their committee with Barr not showing up. Do you blame Barr for now showing up when a staffer would have a chance to question him for 30 minutes?
GRASSLEY: You know that I was the farmered chairman of the Judiciary Committee for the first time in the history of the Senate Judiciary Committee but contrary wise I'll bet 90 percent or more of those people on that committee are lawyers and are they saying they didn't get enough training in their law school education that they couldn't answer questions and want to move in an unprecedented way of asking the Attorney General. So I think he's right in not showing up.
KILMEADE: This news coming across goes right to the column that you wrote that really struck me this week about the President should really pull of the tariffs because he's made great progress in trade. But this in, Fox is reporting and now CNBC that a U.S. - China trade deal is possible by next Friday. Sir, what could you tell us about that and what has to be in it for you to say this is worth it?
GRASSLEY: Well, China is even going to be more important for the United States and the world than Mexico and Canada but both of them are very good agreements. I believe that that report is very accurate, I've been following it both with my communication with our negotiators as well as what I followed through the press and other reports, including professors that talked to a leadership of the - political leadership of China and I think that that's a very accurate report and it'll be a very big victory for the President.
But right now I'm concentrating on U.S., Mexico, and Canada and the steel tariffs have to come off and the President's on the cusp of a big victory here, which he needs, which will be good for farmers, particularly Iowa but also manufacturing and services. And the President ought to take it off and get this thing before Congress, because with these tariffs on it isn't going to be done in Canada, Mexico or the United States and there's no purpose in having the tariffs anymore because they were put on to get Mexico and Canada to negotiate.
The President said he had success on the negotiation, he's for it, I'm for it, let's move on and then maintain our credibility with the rest of the world that we're negotiating with Japan, China, and Europe without Mexico and Canada we won't haven any credibility.
KILMEADE: Senator, a lot of people weren't aware and I wasn't truly, I kind of forgot about it that we still have the tariffs on. We put the tariffs to get them to the table, they came to the table, we had started agreements, all three countries got to get them ratified. In the meantime, the people of Iowa especially are feeling the effects of retaliatory tariffs, correct?
GRASSLEY: That's right, both with - particularly with Mexico for Iowa corn and pork, particularly it's holding up, getting wheat into Canada for the first time and very much helping our dairy people by getting more of our dairy people in to Canada. And also for dairy, there's a big tariff on cheese going into Mexico that's hurting the dairy farmers of Iowa. So, and Wisconsin particularly, so this is something the President can do that will help his base, remember how strongly the farmers of the United States voted for this President.
KILMEADE: Sure, absolutely so Senator the executive branch can do that unilaterally, I know he really respects you, have you picked up the phone? Have you talked to the Chief of Staff Mulvaney? Have you talked to the President about this? Why won't he do it?
GRASSLEY: I'll be meeting with the President 2:30 this afternoon to discuss this with him and hopefully convince him that it's good for the economy, good for all the negotiations he's going to do and move on and accept a victory. And these have to come off and if they don't come off they won't come up in any of the three countries.
KILMEADE: By the way the President's speaking right now at the national day of prayer, it's a beautiful sunny day outside and we're talking to Senator Grassley who in three hours will meet with that very President of the United States. I hope you come back and tell us how it goes, and have the charts, he likes visuals, show him the charts. And Senator lastly I want you to hear what Joe Biden said yesterday, let's listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: China is going to, you got to lunch, come on man, they can't even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China sea and the mountains in the East, I mean in the West, I mean I, you know, they're not bad folks, folks, but guess what, they're not - they're not competition for us.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KILMEADE: Is that true, China's not a competition for us?
GRASSLEY: He's 100 percent wrong and I would suggest that Biden read the book entitled "The 100 Year Marathon." And the success that they've made in getting their place in the world to be number one, not only by 2049 which is the end of the 100 year, they're probably going to make it by 2030. And even if they were a threat, they're a member of the World Trade Organization and if you're a member of the World Trade Organization you're supposed to follow the laws and the rules of international trade. They steal our intellectual property, they steal our trade secrets, they manipulate their currency, if you want to do business in China you got to give them your technology.
They have - their data in the sky will - they can do it in the United States, data in the cloud I mean, should have said. They can do it in the United States, we can't do it in China and these negotiations are bringing this all around and so you could see what a President Biden would do, he would never consider China a threat and that's a sure loss for the United States. Not only...
CHUCK GRASSLEY, SENATOR: And so you can see what a President Biden would do, he would never consider China a threat, and that's a sure loss for the United States. Not only in global leadership, but in military might, and keeping the peace of the world.
BRIAN KILMEADE, ANCHOR, FOX: Senator, I thought -- I thought we'd get statements like that from Bernie Sanders, this guy's been around for 30 years, you've known him forever, does he really not understand the economic and military power of China? Even Senator Schumer sees it. So does that scare you?
GRASSLEY: Absolutely, and I would say -- Schumer ought to talk to his former colleague and wise him up.
KILMEADE: And that would be interesting. So, overall, we looked at what happened yesterday in the senate and I remember what happened Tuesday in the Oval Office. The President sat down and worked out in theory a 2 trillion dollar infrastructure spending plan, Nancy Pelosi actually said nice things as did the Senator. Are you as a Republican senator of Iowa, a powerful one at that, how do you feel about a 2 trillion dollar infrastructure plan?
GRASSLEY: It's probably a hot -- it's probably a trillion dollars too much that's even realistic and I agree a trillion might be realistic but here's what Schumer said in a news conference afterwards. If there's going to be any increase in the gas tax, which there'll (ph) probably have to be if you're going to do this -- that he'll only go for it if we repeal the tax bill of December 2017.
Now, the president isn't that crazy, I'm chairman of the tax writing finance committee, I'm not that crazy. We have seen this economy rebound to 3.2 percent economic growth compared to the one and half percent economic growth averaging of the 8 years the Obama administration, we're not accepting a new normal, we're going to continue America growing at it's historical level, and the -- the deregulatory and the tax policies of this administration's made it possible and I don't think the President is going to go for that.
KILMEADE: Lastly, we only have 20 seconds, the USMCA, can you link that to an infrastructure plan, can you get Democrats to ratify that this session?
GRASSLEY: I wouldn't want to connect the two with infrastructure. Trade issues should stand on their own, because trade issues are good for the dolp (ph) you know before we started international trading, 50 percent of the world was in poverty.
KILMEADE: Now much less, Senator Chuck Grassley, thanks so much.