The following is an excellent transcript of the interview of Sen Amy Klobuchar with George Stephanopolos on the ABC This Week program of February 5, 2017 titled “‘This Week’ Transcript 2-5-2017: VP Pence, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Ben Sasse” and I quote:
“BILL O’REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Do you respect Putin?”
TRUMP: I do respect him.
O’REILLY: Do you?
TRUMP: Well, I respect a lot of people. But that doesn’t mean I’m going get along with him. He’s a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world —
TRUMP: — major fight, that’s a good thing.
Will I get along with him?
I have no idea.
O’REILLY: He’s a killer, though. Putin is a killer.
TRUMP: You got a lot of killers. We got a lot of killers.
What, you think our country is so innocent?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: President Trump there with Bill O’Reilly. I’m joined now by Democratic senator Amy Klobuchar.
Thank you for joining us.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Thank you, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator, well you just heard the president right there, he ended with a question.
“Our country is so innocent?”
KLOBUCHAR: What I would say here is you cannot compare any leaders in our country to what Vladimir Putin has done. This is a man and a regime that has taken down a passenger plane in Ukraine, killing hundreds of people.
This is a regime that has been known to poison human rights activists, including a recent incident, where someone is laying in a coma in a hospital. This is a regime that, we believe — 17 intelligence agencies in our own country have said — has tried to influence our own election.
I don’t think there’s any comparison. And I really do resent that he would say something like that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Quite a contrast also from what we saw from Vice President Pence right there, who said that basically we’re watching what Russia is doing, especially in Ukraine.
KLOBUCHAR: Yes. And I appreciate that as well as the U.N. ambassador’s recent speech.
But what we would like to see from the administration, as someone that went recently to Ukraine and the Baltics with Senator McCain and Graham. And I saw firsthand what they’re facing every day there.
We would like to see support from the administration for the expanded sanctions bill as well as the independent commission to be able to look what these cyber attacks were, not just on our election, by the way. This isn’t just about one candidate, one party, one country. They’ve engaged in these attacks all over the world.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You also opposed the president’s executive order suspending that travel from the seven Muslim nations.
Do you think that that will stand when it gets through the courts?
And what do you make of the president’s tweet yesterday, talking about “that so-called judge”?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, it’s not a surprise to me that you’re seeing a number of courts across the country look at this and, in various ways, either temporarily staying it or, in the case of the Seattle judge, actually saying that it should be thrown out.
That is because it was done in a way — I think my friend, Republican Senator Rob Portman said it best — the vetting order wasn’t vetted. There is a difference between being bold and being rash.
And when you put out an order that basically suspends the refugee program, not just in those countries but in every country in the world, when you put out an order that you have not worked with businesses or with your professionals in the security area, when you have done it, I don’t think it’s a surprise there’s going to be court challenges or that you’re going to have chaos, which is what we have seen all over the United States.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Schumer says the president’s questioning as to the legitimacy of that judge is going to impact the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.
Do you agree?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, this has been a pattern with the president. He attacked Judge Curiel during the course of his campaign on the Trump University case. He attacked the acting attorney general.
And he’s got to see that there are three equal branches of government here. And so when he attacks the independence of the judiciary, I think it does focus on the fight before us now.
And that is that we want to see a nominee that is independent, not just of a president but is not making decisions based on ideology but instead making decisions based on precedent.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You mentioned independence, Neal Katyal, who was President Obama’s acting solicitor general, has come out in support of Judge Gorsuch. On that main point, he’s already wrote in the New York Times, he said, Judge Gorsuch would help to restore confidence in the rule of law. His years on the bench reveal a commitment to judicial independence, a record that should give the American people confidence that he will not compromise principle to favor the president who
appointed him. Your response?
KLOBUCHAR: We have a solemn obligation here, George, to look at this judge’s record. How his decisions have differed from precedent in the past. I have concerns, of course, I care a lot about campaign finance. And he made a decision, or he concurred in a decision, put out his own opinion, that went even farther than the other judges in terms of what it could do to campaign finance laws.
That being said, I’m a member of the judiciary committee, I think it is very important that we hear him out, that we listen to his views, and it’s equally important that we keep in place the senate rules that say that the Supreme Court is different than the other judges, which have a 51-vote margin in
the Senate. This has a 60-vote threshold. And we have put in this place over the years so that you can get mainstream discussion, mainstream candidate that can get both Democrat and Republican votes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you heard Vice President Pence right there. He said that one way or the other, one way or the other, Judge Gorsuch is going to get confirmed. They’re ready to do it if they have to, to change the rules, move it to 51 votes.
KLOBUCHAR: Let me make this clear, that is what the vice president said and the president has put out there, but Senator McConnell has made it clear that is the Senate’s decision, and this is a longstanding Senate rule.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He has made it clear that it’s the Senate’s decision. He basically put it back on Senate Democrats, though. He says that that’s up to you. If you decide to stonewall on Judge
Gorsuch, not provide the 60 votes, he’s likely to change the rules.
KLOBUCHAR: Let’s see what happens, because I believe that when you look at the past, when Democrats were in charge, we were concerned, well, what if Republicans are in charge, let’s keep that 60-vote threshold in place. And it has been a long-standing precedent both the President’s nominee, Obama’s nominees, got over 60 votes. And that is the threshold.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think Judge Gorsuch can get over 60 votes?
KLOBUCHAR: I think everything depends on how he answers the questions. When we look at his record, we literally just got this nomination.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Klobuchar, thanks for joining us.
KLOBUCHAR: It was great to be on, George, thank you.”
(The Democrats have a number of women that could run in the 2020 presidential primary. In the meantime, the biggest problem is to get a great FULL TIME DNC chairman that would go and organize all of the 50 states we have in our country which have sadly been neglected for the last approximately 8 years.
LaVern Isely, Progressive, Overtaxed, Independent Middle Class Taxpayer and Public Citizen Member and USAF Veteran