President Trump is receiving back lash after saying he would be willing to listen to foreign governments if they approached him with information on a political rival. Trump made the admission during an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, adding that he would not necessarily contact the FBI if such an approach was made. Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling the president out on this, saying such involvement should always be reported. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) joined the “Guy Benson Show” to discuss the president’s comments, immigration, big-tech censorship & more:
Guy Benson [00:00:17] Joining me now is Congressman Dan Crenshaw a Republican representing the 2nd Congressional District in Texas. He’s a former Navy SEAL. Congressman great to have you back.
Rep. Crenshaw [00:00:27] Great to be with you Guy.
Guy Benson [00:00:28] So I want to get to policy in a second but first I have to ask if a foreign entity came to you during the campaign cycle and offered you dirt on your opponent what would be the appropriate course of action in your view.
Guy Benson [00:00:43] I can see this question is going the appropriate course of action is to certainly report it. And. I think the president needs to be clear about that. Again I I don’t I think the Miller report did in fact clear the president’s wrongdoing in the campaign the proper way to move forward from here is to then say let’s clarify what was the proper behavior moving forward you really shouldn’t give any interpretation.
Guy Benson [00:01:11] Yeah I agree with you I’m just trying to figure out and I’m not asking you to crawl into his mind and figure out why he would say something like this but when he is given multiple opportunities to say no I wouldn’t do that. And he sort of hedges here and then says maybe I do both over here and then he says well actually taking dirt from a foreign source wouldn’t be interference. It’s all over the map Congressman.
Rep. Crenshaw [00:01:35] Yeah. I mean he’s trying to analyze it in real time and he’s also very defensive about it because he’s been accused of wrongdoing for years now. So he’s in you know and he needs to get over that and simply say what the truth is and the truth is you should not take it. You should always report this from from the front. I mean I think that is the values that we should all live by. And we need to be unequivocal about stating that period.
Guy Benson [00:02:03] Congressman let’s talk about immigration you’ve been tweeting about this if you will give us a sense of what’s happening in the House this week because it seems like there’s a series of votes about funding. The president has put together a very reasonable request for a 4.5 billion dollars to mitigate the border crisis which now everyone is admitting is real. The New York Times editorial board says give him the money it’s important. House Democrats seem to be refusing to vote on that seemed like they’ve blocked it. In fact more than 12 times what’s going on.
Rep. Crenshaw [00:02:35] House Democrats refuse to do anything that will help our men and women in Border Patrol. I’m not exaggerating this. This is an objective statement. They refuse to do anything that helps them. I have a bill that passed unanimously out of Homeland Security Committee last session we’re just reopening it because it never got through the Senate. It simply makes it easier for Border Patrol to hire and get them through the process faster. I can’t get the Democrats to support this now. So they’ve changed radically in direction because they don’t want to make the Border Patrol’s lives easier. This money. People should understand this. This money goes towards humanitarian aid it goes to its border operations. It’s not for a wall. It is mostly for HHS. OK. Why is this important. Because HHS houses the unaccompanied minors that come from DHS. So after a bunch of minors children cross the border they get put through processing centers. These processing centers are the Democrats are always raising hell about okay the conditions are overcrowded. It’s hot in there. You know the kid had to sleep on floors going there for a little while eventually he’s going to company minors. They quickly go to HHS facilities which have a lot more services together. They’re much better for the kids. They are overcrowded they can’t take anymore. They completely run out of money. This money that the president is requesting is for that. It is so that children don’t have to sleep on floors. Democrats are against this. And yet they want to pontificate about this. They want to complain about this but they don’t actually want a solution they want to keep this issue alive. And it’s a really really distasteful tactic.
Guy Benson [00:04:06] Is there a way to draw more attention to that because it’s obviously a political football. The speaker is wielding her gavel very selectively here. I feel like if the shoe were on the other foot and it were political games being played like if the Wall Street Journal and National Review were calling for a Democratic president’s request to be fulfilled and there was no reason being given by Republicans to not do that and the Democrats were saying look at all these issues everyone agrees there is a crisis. I feel like there’d be a drumbeat of criticism with question after question being fired at Republican leadership. And it seems like mysteriously Congressman that isn’t the case. We’re all talking about you know you know the president doesn’t make it any easier for himself because he says stuff like he does and never was caught up in that. But he’s sort of letting Democrats off the hook. They should be they should be under fire in my view.
Rep. Crenshaw [00:04:59] Yeah it’s almost like the media likes to hold one side accountable and. The other.
Guy Benson [00:05:02] No. No.
Rep. Crenshaw [00:05:04] I mean it. I’m the first to say that.
Guy Benson [00:05:07] I’m writing that down. I need to look into that Congress. And that seems that seems concerning.
Rep. Crenshaw [00:05:13] I know but that’s exactly what’s happening. They ask us the hard questions as they show that the present hard questions as they should. But in a story like this on even the New York Times is saying hey guys maybe we should look into this. It’s not on CNN and you don’t want to be on this NBC. You know you don’t see journalists and reporters trying to do the right thing here and call this out. They won’t do it. They won’t hold one side accountable because it’s their team.
Guy Benson [00:05:38] Something that the Democrats did vote on and pass when it comes to immigration is a clean standalone DREAM Act for these so-called DREAMers kids who were brought here as young children illegal immigrants but sort of through no fault of their own. I’m in favor of a DREAM Act. I’ve said so for a long time. I’d like to see it as part of a broader package that includes enforcement and cuts down on the incentive of bringing more kids here for future dreamers. But this was an opportunity for people to go on the record and vote on a Dream Act that was standalone. You voted no. And I’m wondering if you could explain even if you’re sympathetic to the dreamers plight why you decided to vote against that legislation.
Rep. Crenshaw [00:06:19] Two reasons. One reason for which is what you just stated it has to come into a package you cannot solve this problem without solving the source of the problem. First I’m going to keep bailing out a boat without putting a hole in the boat. You have to fix illegal immigration so that we’re not creating yet another generation of dreamers. I am for a solution for dreamers. Here’s the second part though. This bill that was passed was not just a dreamer Bill. All right. It was not the standard that Obama the Obama administration had put in place. Those are very specific yet to come in between certain years you had to be below a certain age because as Americans when we think of dreamers we think of younger people they speak perfect English they probably don’t have any connection to that to whatever country they came from. That’s fine. That’s what we think of as Dreamers. This recent bill changed that dramatically. They removed all age limits for instance when you remove all age limits you’re basically saying Hey some guy who is 45 50 years old now he can just say Oh I came as a kid you can’t prove otherwise. So I’m a dreamer. That’s not what we’re thinking of when we think of dreamers. And so to dramatically expand the standards of what we label as a dreamer basically this was a massive massive amnesty bill. It was not actually a dreamer Bill. So people have to understand.
Rep. Crenshaw [00:07:35] My guest is Congressman Dan Crenshaw and the other piece of that is and it sort of goes to one of your first points. We are seeing this crisis this emergency that is overwhelming our border security personnel. Currently it is ongoing and is a very very serious problem. And one of the things that’s driving the problem is an incentive in our asylum laws to bring children across the border illegally then claiming asylum and then there’s this whole process where you can’t hold the kids for more than you know a certain number of days and then you end up either releasing families into the interior or separating families which caused a huge outcry. It seems completely insane to me even though I am pro Dream Act too in this context in particular Congressman where you have this very acute problem with bringing kids that is fueling the crisis to then say the only action that we’re going to take is a massive amnesty that incentivizes children coming into the country illegally. It’s just I cannot wrap my head around how this can even be remotely portrayed as as responsible governance.
Rep. Crenshaw [00:08:47] It certainly can’t be especially Well it depends on what you believe responsible governance to believe to be of course so if you believe responsible governance is a sense of sovereignty respect for our rule of law respect for standardization of immigration policy respect for the simple idea that we should be able to choose who comes in and out of our country and manage that process. So if you believe that our asylum process should not be fixed then honestly why then have customs agents at airports really why. I mean I really don’t understand why we’re even our passports. If we’re just going to let people and process them quickly tell them to come back for a court date. I would 90 percent. Just going from the DHS secretary. 90 percent are not showing back up. I can’t imagine why. Right. I mean they’re they know that if they bring a child across with them they’ll be let loose into the population. They’ll never have to show back up because it’s impossible for us to keep track of them and actually deport them if they’re if they don’t have a proper asylum claim. So the asylum fix is primarily right now that that should be our priority if we want to fix this problem. Republicans have multiple pieces of legislation. Senator Graham has something up there’s multiple pieces in the House as well that that would really dramatically reverse this issue and reverse the. The incentives that are causing people to simply say well I know that if I bring a child across the border raise my hand and say asylum that I will be let loose and told the sheriff recorded that I really don’t have to show up too many months later. And that’s not fair to legal immigrants doing it the right way. It’s not fair to actual asylum seekers who have a real credible fear claim. It’s not fair to the citizens of this country who believe in sovereignty and managing our borders.
Rep. Crenshaw [00:10:27] Shifting gears Congressman you’ve been tweeting a little bit about the issue that we’ve been actually talking about quite a lot this week on this show which is free speech and big tech an apparent bias or at least thumb on the scale viewpoint discrimination against conservatives. I wonder as you think about these challenges within the context of free speech as you know sort of black letter law free speech and the spirit of the First Amendment and then these huge companies that seem to be rather hostile to the world view of many conservatives. Is there a role for government here. I’m always skeptical of that but there are some conservative saying now that this is time where more regulation is appropriate. What do you make of that debate.
Rep. Crenshaw [00:11:14] That is a tough question and the question that conservatives will continue to wrestle a raffle with at this time it’s not clear to me what the government role is. What is clear to me is how much we all need to start speaking out about it forcefully. I mean very forcefully this is this is becoming more and more of a problem. The direction continues to go the wrong way. And what my theory too is that the tech companies got themselves in this mess where they tried to manage the content on their platforms. They tried to blur the line between platform and publication. And it’s always it’s always going to go badly for them there. Everybody is always going to be mad at them whether it’s from the left or the right. So now they are welcoming government coming in and the Democrats see that door opening and they’re pressing forward on it. You saw Nancy Pelosi do this by accusing Facebook of working with the Russians and and then accusing Facebook and malcontents for not taking down that video of her as if none of us have ever had crazy things posted about us on social media. So they show up. They see that opening and they want to burst through it. They want that government administration over over these tech companies. And I think. And what worries me is that companies are just welcome it. And I think this is very very dangerous. You have what because little cause was a freedom of speech is that a pressure release valve for the country just the way federalism and local control as my state does my thing. Your state does your thing. Free speech is similar to that. We need to be able to express ourselves if these sides feel like they cannot express themselves you will cause such massive resentment in this country that the divisions we see the resentment that we see the whole political divide that we see will get so much worse as you care about this country. You have to care about free speech. If you care about democratic norms you have to care about free speech. Then there’s an absolute truth. You know that was the tech companies should do what we should be calling for is to listen. There is a standard for free speech in what is what is not considered protected free speech. And it’s basically incitement to violence. OK. Use that as the standard if you want to ban certain words that you don’t like. By all means do it. So we at least know that the standard and you can hold people accountable. But right now it’s highly subjective. It’s standard list. It’s very vague. And this will go the wrong direction and we can’t let that happen.
Guy Benson [00:13:31] Yeah especially when the standards are not articulated or enforced in a clear and even handed way that just brews even more resentment. Last question on immigration I think there was a lot of frustration in your answer about the actions or lack thereof on Capitol Hill. On a happier note you tweeted about bipartisan legislation that you’ve teamed up with Representative Torres small a fellow freshman from New Mexico on homeland security acquisition just talk about how you are taking an opportunity to get to know fellow sort of new generation younger members from the other side of the aisle and trying to work together for once.
Rep. Crenshaw [00:14:08] There’s a number of members who you enjoy working with Republicans and enjoy working across the aisle. You know unfortunately it’s not really substantive issues all the time that the issues that I would like to work on but this is a good example. I’m the ranking member on our subcommittee TAA as small as the chairwoman and she’s absolutely great to work with. And we were able to get this deal for. I’ve co-sponsored other bills of hers as well. You know this particular subcommittee which is oversight management accountability for a Department of Homeland Security. It goes really well. She doesn’t try to make it divisive and we try to work on things together that would improve in this case the acquisition process for DHS. In other cases basic management functions of the department to make it run better. And so you know people should know that it’s not always that we’re the we’re at each other’s throats. We do try to find things to work on together. I know a lot of votes taken throughout the week on every single week that are that are highly bipartisan. I think it’s good for people to know that.
Guy Benson [00:15:09] Dan Crenshaw a Republican congressman from Texas too. Always appreciate chatting sir.
Rep. Crenshaw [00:15:15] Good to talk to the guy and have a great weekend.
Guy Benson [00:15:18] You too. The hockey heavy homestretch is next.