Rep. Greg Walden And Guy Talk Impeachment Inquiry And Trump Ukraine Transcript Fallout
Walden Reacts: “If your going to remove a sitting president you better darn well have a big reason to do it. Treason, Bribery. I mean the Major Crimes Misdemeanors as they say and and I don’t think it rises to that. Not his finest minute not his finest hour not something he probably should have done necessarily but also to world leaders talking about these remember this president ran on an anti-corruption. The president Ukraine ran on an anti-corruption campaign to clean up the bad behaviors of the past.”
Guy Benson: It’s the happy hour the final hour here on THE GUY BENSON show on this Thursday. Thank you very much for joining. I’m Guy Benson in D.C.. Guy Benson’s show dot.com is our Web site. Joining me now is Greg Walden. He’s a congressman representing the people of Oregon’s 2nd congressional district. Congressman it’s good to have you back guy.
Rep. Walden: It’s good to be with you.
Guy Benson: I want to start with news of the day and everything that we’re seeing of course up on Capitol Hill and all over the media it is impeachment fever you’ve got this whistle blower the whistle blower complaint the transcript Ukraine it really is a lot of swirling information. You’ve been watching it you’ve been following it. You recognize that your colleagues across the aisle have moved forward at least in some way toward an impeachment process that happened earlier in the week. How are you thinking how are you feeling about all of this what is your assessment at this point.
Rep. Walden: Well I’ll tell you two things one. There were those who had already called out and decided the president needed to be impeached before the transcript was released. The whistle blower complaint was filed. I mean the Democrats have been after Trump since before the inauguration. Let’s let’s start there. Second if your going to remove a sitting president you better darn well have a big reason to do it. Treason Bribery. I mean the Major Crimes Misdemeanors as they say and and I don’t think it rises to that. Not his finest minute not his finest hour not something he probably should have done necessarily but also to world leaders talking about these remember this president ran on an anti-corruption. The president Ukraine ran on an anti-corruption campaign to clean up the bad behaviors of the past. And and I think in some context that’s part of what our president was saying. Have you looked into this one and what I would love to know since President Trump was willing to release the transcripts of his conversation with the Ukrainian president is Joe Biden willing to do the same thing about his conversations with the Ukrainians whether it involved getting rid of the prosecutor that was going after his son. Wouldn’t that be interesting to read.
Guy Benson: Congressman I agree with the point that you made about many of the Democrats being way ahead of the curve on Impeachment for a very long time.
Guy Benson: They’ve been willing to throw Trump out of office or at least delegitimize him since he got elected and shocked them all and look no further more than half of the House Democratic Caucus was in favor of impeachment before any of this Ukraine style even boiled to the surface right. They were they were convinced about tweets and Muller stuff was impeachable and you know I totally disagree with that. So there’s a judgment question on their part. There’s a credibility question on their part. But there are some who said no no no. All along this doesn’t rise to that level who now see this transcript and the allegation from the whistle blower and they say OK now this is now much more serious. I’m not sure this is worthy of uprooting a duly elected president and kicking him out of office. But I do think it’s serious and I think it goes farther than just not his finest moment. I just do have an issue with any sitting president phoning up a foreign leader and asking him specifically to have that government investigate a domestic political rival. It just feels like an especially deputizing his personal lawyer who’s over there and involved with this as well it feels like someone using the power of the office and the the levers of American foreign policy to benefit himself explicitly and politically. I don’t know that that strikes me as. Problematic beyond just sort of like maybe he shouldn’t have done that it seems like more to me.
Rep. Walden: Yeah I mean maybe he shouldn’t have done that is where I stop and I think looking at what I know now and I don’t know all the facts I’ve read I’ve certainly read the transcript I’ve read the report. We were in the middle of a subcommittee markup on a bunch of really important pieces of legislation while the DNI was testifying. But I tried to keep track of it. Let’s get to the facts first and if you’re going to do an impeachment investigation then you’ve got to do more than just proclaim it as speaker of the House as Nancy Pelosi did. There is a formal process you said right but then go vote in the house. They’re not doing that why aren’t they doing that because it’s still about politics and their base is so spun up and was so deflated after the Muller report and they promised it was going to do all these things and it didn’t. They were so spun up that that now that anything short of impeaching the president is a political failure on their part. And that’s why I think you see more and more Democrats who are okay I can’t hold this back. I mean I know of one who said oh I’m the last one of my delegation I had to come out for it. How could I not. It’s like that’s a thoughtful approach to something a significant and consequential as impeachment. By the way I I sit here as a sitting member of Congress representing three quarters of a million people in Oregon and think if I’m actually going to go through an impeachment proceed proceeding I’m going to treat this as if I’m a juror if you will. And actually wait to hear all the conclusions and the facts before I render a decision I may end up having to vote on quote unquote articles of impeachment. So I think there’s also an obligation of an initial impression there’s another to to restrain a little here and not predetermine the entire outcome before you’ve even seen all of the evidence or heard the other side of the story.
Rep. Walden: And I said I think we’ve got to be careful about this this is serious business if you’re going to overturn the will of the American people. And by the way you’ve got another election coming in about a year. How all this is going to play out. Do you really think the Senate’s going to vote two thirds to remove President. I don’t.
Guy Benson: I certainly don’t based on the available information and I agree with you that this should be done in a manner that is. Thoughtful and deliberative and I see these articles about how Democrats are saying we need to railroad it through right now because the iron is hot so let’s do it. While the media attention is all here and in saying no no no let’s slow down so they’re divided on tactics at the moment as well.
Guy Benson: I do wonder because I saw some people sharing sort of giddily this poll earlier today that they’re saying what the public is turning significantly in favor of impeachment but the poll question was based on a total hypothetical which was what if the proof emerges that Trump withheld or pause this foreign aid the military aid to Ukraine in order to present this quid pro quo to the Ukrainians and a bunch people said oh yeah that would be impeachable but there’s no proof of that at this point I mean look there’s some suspicious timing that’s fair. Questions need to be asked but there has not been any linkage between Trump’s delay on that aid which did get paid out by the way it did go to Kiev and and this conversation they had over the phone.
Rep. Walden: Remember a lot of the Democrats thought it was terrible that Trump wanted to intervene with foreign military aid along the way. It’s amazing it’s like they’re all free traders now. It’s it’s astonishing. Whatever he’s for they’re against unless they can twist it and use it to their benefit.
Guy Benson: But let me just let me just ask you quickly Congressman because that to me is something that is an open question that deserves additional scrutiny. I’m not asking you to go one way or another as a hypothetical. What this would mean for you if that type of evidence were to become established and emerge. Would that be a game changer in the way a lot of your colleagues think about that. What do you think.
Rep. Walden: Well again I go back to where I stood on the Mueller investigation first and that is I had great respect for Bob Mueller when he was head of the FBI. I attended many classified briefings where he presented I was trying to be straight up and forward. And so I support it. Okay. He’s a good guy. Bob Novak. I always defended the investigation because as an old journalism major. I wanted to get to the facts of the case before I rendered a decision and so I don’t like to engage in hypotheticals. If this happens and this happens then does that happen. I think we’re much better served as a country. Let’s get the facts on the table then let’s have that discussion. Let’s get the lawyers involved to say what does this mean. Mr. High Crimes and Misdemeanors. How’s that been interpreted in the past. We’re talking really really really serious things here. When you’re talking about impeaching a sitting president United States and and what what rises to that level what what’s history tells us. What are the precedents. What have other leaders done. And again how can you discount what I must say you are. But how do you discount what we’re now learning about what Joe Biden did as a sitting vice president United States involving his own son get bragging about getting the prosecutor taken off the case apparently and withholding money. What was the you know does that deserve to rise to a level of investigation since he is the leading candidate for president on the Democratic side at least for now.
Guy Benson: You know I think there some fair questions to be asked about that in addition to Trump’s action right there. They’re sort of parallel tracks. My understanding is there’s more complexity to the prosecutors situation but there are I think some suspicious things or a few things that are a bit fragrant in terms of conflict of interest answers that Biden has given and I think it’s absolutely fair game. Also Biden’s brother there’s a report today in Politico about talking to pharmaceutical companies and saying oh yeah Biden’s initiative on X Y and Z will make a lot of money for you and invoking his brother’s name there’s there are definitely I think fair questions to be raised when it comes to maybe not corruption but influence peddling and why people connected to a certain politician are making more money. Have at it. I’m with you on going after the facts and I’m also with you on circumspection and let’s see where this goes. Meanwhile Congressman I do want to ask you about a policy question because you have been working on we’ve talked about it before some bipartisan legislation on health care and I know that you are still laboring on that front. I know you’re frustrated with Speaker Pelosi in connection to this effort on your part. Tell us where things stand.
Rep. Walden: Well we’re we’re trying to put a stop to the surprise medical billing situation. It is bipartisan Democrat chairman Energy and Commerce Committee the committee I used to chair were shoulder to shoulder on this to protect consumers against bills they shouldn’t get because they think they’re covered by their insurance only discover they’re not. And one out of five trips emergency room now in America’s giving that consumer a surprise medical bill there is a case of a woman who gave birth son had a problem ends up in the. In the neonatal intensive care unit she gets a fifty thousand dollar bill even though her insurance at that hospital was covered by her plan. That hospital they contracted out their neonatal intensive care unit. Now what parent what person what individual American would ever think to ask that question. Right. And so that’s the kind of bad billing behavior that’s going on and we’re trying to put a stop to that take the consumer out of it and find a fair system to accommodate the providers in the hospitals the docs it doesn’t stick it to the consumer which is what’s happening now and it’s a big revenue stream these these companies have figured out how to make a lot of money off of surprise medical buildings.
Rep. Walden: They narrow the networks of who’s covered. They contract out their emergency rooms as as private equity firms buyout practices and literally take them out and network out your insurance raise the rates. Ninety six percent this happened and then stick it to the consumer insurers need to notify consumers when there’s a change in coverage in their policy they don’t do that. There’s a lot here and we’re going after it. And meanwhile the people are profiting big time off this or spend 30 million dollars in TV ads attacking us. And it’s not going to the tourists is going to do it to make us move forward.
Guy Benson: Congressman Greg Walden is a Republican from Oregon the second district in that state. He’s the ranking member on the GOP side of the Energy and Commerce Committee which is a very significant and powerful committee. Congressman thank you so much for your time.
Rep. Walden: And we’ll be in touch soon I’m sure to be continued thanks guy.
Guy Benson: Indeed. And to be continued will be The Guy Benson happy hour right after this.