Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) weighs in on the latest with Impeachment, the violence in Mexico, 2020 & Urging Senator Chuck Schumer to Stop Blocking Drug Pricing Bill.
Sen. Cornyn blasted Adam Schiff calling the impeachment hearings a "partisan process" saying, "Schiff has been interviewing people behind closed doors and then selectively leaking information that supports their narrative, finally they're going to open it to the public. But I don't think anybody should be under the illusion that this is a fair process"
Guy Benson: It's Tuesday, November 12, 2019. Welcome to The Guy Bensons show. I'm Guy Benson live in Washington, D.C., coming to you coast to coast. Always appreciate you being here. Guy Benson, Show Dot.com is our Web site. We've got a big lineup for you on this Tuesday. Eli Lake will be here, Juan Williams as well. Oh, some news about my alma mater, Northwestern, not making me happy. A big embarrassing scandal at the journalism school or at least a student newspaper. I will address all of that coming up. But we begin today's show with a first time guest. We are pleased to welcome Senator John Cornyn, senior senator from the great state of Texas, a Republican. He serves on the Judiciary Committee, the Finance Committee, the Intelligence Committee. He's also seeking reelection next year. Senator, thanks for being here.
Sen. Cornyn: Thanks, guy. Good to be with you.
Guy Benson: Well, I have to ask you, the biggest news of the day, at least here in Washington, people are anticipating tomorrow the kickoff of open hearings, public hearings in the impeachment process over on the other side of Capitol Hill. As you take a look at this process unfolding from down the hall in the Senate, what would it, in your view, a fair process look like in the House? And if they move forward with impeachment, which I think they probably will. What would a fair trial process look like in the Senate?
Sen. Cornyn: Well, unfortunately, Guy, Nancy Pelosi knew that if you produced a partisan articles of impeachment, that it would taint, taint this whole process in the eyes of the American people and be unsuccessful in the Senate, where it requires two thirds of the Senate to vote, to convict and remove. And fortunately, I don't think there's anything they can do at this point to restore the impression that this is a fair and fair process. I think finally, after Adam Schiff has been interviewing people behind closed doors and then selectively leaking information that supports their narrative, finally they're going to open it to the public. But I don't think anybody should be under the illusion that this is is a fair process, by the way. This is would be the fourth time in American history where this process has been started and none of them have resulted in the forced removal of a president. Obviously, President Clinton resigned. Excuse me. Nixon resigned. Clinton was not removed. And so during this one year before the next election, and basically eliminating the possibility of doing anything else constructive during this time period strikes me as is is a futile act.
Guy Benson: I mean, I struggle to envision a scenario where the Democrats don't impeach the president, the president, and kick it over to the upper chamber. If that happens, if and when that happens, do you think the process of a trial would look at least somewhat similar to what we saw in the late 90s with Bill Clinton?
Sen. Cornyn: Yes. I think what happened then is Tom Daschle and Trent Lott negotiated essentially a standing order or a process by which the evidence was presented by the impeachment managers. And then the president's lawyers got to respond, which lasted basically five weeks. But this is going to be kind of an out of body experience, I think, for most Americans watching senators sit there, not being able to speak with the chief justice presiding over this partisan enterprise. I just why would call the call the Senate, the jury here. Ordinarily, you would think of a jury as being disinterested and impartial. But obviously, this is a partisan process from start to finish. It's not going to work. And unfortunately, with Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff are going to further divide the country with no nothing really to show for it in the end.
Guy Benson: No, Senator, I can imagine some of your colleagues in the Senate who are running for president. I think it might be very difficult for them to sit there speechless, literally not able to talk. Given the political season that we are all in. Last question on this. You're on the Intelligence Committee in the Senate. Talk about the distinction, because over in the House now, for years it has been extremely partisan, extremely acrimonious in the House Intelligence Committee. But that really hasn't been the case in the Senate with Chairman Burr and Ranking Member Warner. It seems like it's been a lot more collegial and professional and serious. Why?
Sen. Cornyn: Well, I appreciate you saying that. I think it's because I think we all see the the benefit to the Senate as an institution into the country and the intelligence community for us to try not to let this the important work that we do fall victim to partisan wrangling. I don't think this is covered the House with glory even under the previous when Republicans were in the majority. Unfortunately. The house is a little more rambunctious than the upper chamber, sometimes referred to as the House of Lords, but are. But that's something we work very hard to try to do throughout a very difficult investigation over the Russian Russian act. The active measures during the 2016 campaign and beyond. We haven't always succeeded, but we've certainly tried.
Guy Benson: Senator, you represent Texas, a huge border state. I'm wondering your reaction to some of the really extraordinary violence that we've seen south of the border in recent days, including one of the major cartels effectively defeating Mexican forces in a battle and being forced to release drug kingpins son from custody and then this really horrific massacre of American citizens. That has to be something of concern. And I think it underscores when when people talk about border security, it's not just a political talking point. There are some very dangerous realities in a country that is sitting. Exactly. You know, due south of your state.
Sen. Cornyn: Exactly. Well, obviously, under Lopez Obrador, he essentially as waved a white flag when it comes to taking on the cartels. And they are very big and powerful and well-armed and they are wealthy and well organized. And they their tentacles reach into all aspects of Mexican life, including the government. And it is a growing concern. Ordinarily, the cartels would not and would not try to attack Americans because they would realize that would raise the visibility of their activities in a way that would get some unwanted attention. But right now, Mexico controls a little more than half of their landmass. Almost half of their landmass is controlled by the cartels, including all the region adjacent to the U.S. Mexico border. We can't ignore this because we are we we're for better or for worse, joined together by that common border. And our economies are are very dependent on one another. But I think we're all trying to figure out what comes next. Because we can't allow Americans to be targeted in Mexico and just have us do nothing in response. So we're trying to figure that one out right now. But this really raises the whole concern to a new level.
Guy Benson: Senator Cornyn, another issue separately that you've been talking about quite a lot recently involves drug prices, which is not necessarily a sexy topic for talk radio, where everyone gets heated and passionate, but it's a pocketbook issue that matters to millions of people, especially senior citizens. And you seem to be frustrated at the moment because there's a bipartisan bill that's way late, at least for now. Talk about the bill and what's happening.
Sen. Cornyn: Well, this is once something that I thought that the administration was interested in tackling. Certainly Republicans and Democrats see this as a pocketbook issue. And we're hearing a lot from our constituents about their high out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. We did pass a bill unanimously through the Judiciary Committee has to do with patent patent thickets. It's called where drug companies will file tens, sometimes more than 100 individual patents and in a way to discourage any generic competition. For example, there's a drug humerus, which is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world. And it's a wonder drug. But the company who patented it has more than 120 separate patents on the same molecule. And in Europe, there are four competitors in place. So obviously we need more competition and to bring down prices and produce more affordable medications for our people. And it's a it's something I'm afraid is falling quickly, falling the casualty to impeachment mania. But in this specific instance, I've gone to the floor with Richard Blumenthal, my Democratic colleague from Connecticut, and it's been blocked by Senator Schumer. We're going to be back again this week to try to have some political accountability for blocking this common sense bill.
Guy Benson: What is his justification for blocking it?
Sen. Cornyn: Well, I think because he can and because he doesn't want Republicans to get any credit for anything positive in this area during an election cycle, election year coming up on an election. But I think we're going to try to smoke him out later this week. And in the end, I don't think you'll be able to sustain his position blocking it, because it's not it's not a partisan bill, but it is one that will actually lower drug costs for consumers. And I think that's a hard position to sustain.
Guy Benson: Senator, on that point, right, I'm all for choice and competition. I'm a. Capitalist I'm someone who believes in all of those fundamental values when it comes to an issue like the development of new miracle drugs. Right. I can understand if you bring in generic competitors, prices come down for the American people. I'm all for that. I'm in favor of that, of course. The counter argument that you sometimes hear from the pharmaceutical companies is it takes and this is true. It takes huge amounts of money to in research and development to innovate and create new drugs. And if they can't sort of get the benefit, the windfall from doing so, it disincentive Vice's research, development and innovation. What are the protections that these types of laws have to make sure that innovation isn't immediately sort of ripped off by competitors?
Sen. Cornyn: Well, you accurately described, I think, our intellectual property protection system under our under the Constitution that the you can patent something and you have exclusive rights to sell it for a period of time. The question is whether that time can be artificially extended by gamesmanship rather than by by the by the traditional patent protection period after which there is competition by generic generic competitors. And so they can recoup the costs of their research and development of these lifesaving drugs. We don't want to discourage innovation and we do want to protect intellectual property. But after a point there, it really becomes a matter of them maintaining their exclusive right to sell something by by artificially precluding that kind of competition, which we know in the end ultimately will benefit consumers and bring down prices, too.
Guy Benson: Senator, on health care, one of your colleagues running for president, Elizabeth Warren, has openly conceded. She has said that her single payer health care plan would make health care, private health care coverage illegal for 180 million people. She's openly considered that it would kill 2 million jobs. She has openly conceded that it would apply and be given by the taxpayers to illegal immigrants. She's she's admitting these things. And I wonder what you make of that. Not just on substance, but as a political matter.
Sen. Cornyn: Well, it's surreal to hear the here. After many years of arguing the Affordable Care Act was somehow the panacea that was going to solve all of our health care concerns. To hear Elizabeth Warren and other other radicals in her party say that's not good enough anymore, we want to take full control over your health care choices. And it will have the consequence that you just described, an incredible increase in costs and longer lines. By the way. And would would would destroy the private health insurance that 180 or so million people get from their employer. I think, you know, the Democrats have lost control of their party to their to their radical base. Nancy Pelosi has lost control of them and leading it to this ill, ill considered impeachment process, partisan impeachment process. But it looks like the base of the party is supporting Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. And these things like the Green New Deal, Medicare for all, which are just completely unrealistic, will break break the bank and will concede more control to the federal government and less freedom for individuals to choose what they think is best for themselves and their families.
Guy Benson: Senator Cornyn, last question briefly. Jeff Sessions announcing he wants his old job back. You served with him for a long time, a senator from Alabama. Your thoughts on him jumping back into the race, having served as attorney general for a while?
Sen. Cornyn: Well, Jeff Sessions is a friend of mine, and I did serve with him for a long time in the Senate before he became attorney general. Obviously, he got crosswise with the president when he recused himself from the from the investigation over the Russian activities. I believe he did had no choice but to do that under Department of Justice guidelines. I think he's he's conducted himself honorably to the best of his ability. He hadn't attacked the president, which I think is smart. And he's decided to go back and run and serve the people of Alabama. And I wish him well.
Guy Benson: Senator John Cornyn of Texas. We really appreciate your time. We'd love to have you back, sir.
Sen. Cornyn: I'd love to come back. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Guy Benson: We'll make that happen. And we'll take a quick break as we just get going. It's Tuesday. It's the Guy Benson Show. Don't go anywhere.