Senator Rick Scott joined me this morning:
HH: Joined now by United States Senator Rick Scott. Of course, Senator Scott represents the great state of Florida. He’s also chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and a friend. Good morning, Senator. How are you?
RS: Good morning. Did you see our January fundraising numbers for the National Republican Senatorial Committee?
HH: I did not.
RS: We raised over $8 million dollars. We have $17 million dollars of cash on hand. Our average donation was $32 dollars. We had almost 90,000 individual donors. So people know we’ve got to take back the majority, and we’ve got to fight back against this radical left. So if anybody wants to help us, it’s www.nrsc.org. But we are going to elect Republican senators in 2022 so we take back a majority in the Senate. I think Kevin McCarthy’s going to take back the majority in the House, and we’re going to stop the Democrats’ support for socialism, higher taxes, more regulation, big government, and this cancel culture which is bad for America. So I’m excited.
HH: I think you’re a great chairman, because I intended to get to that, but you put it up top so it’s in the lead. No one’s going to be able to read the transcript and not go past the www.nrsc.org button. Senator, let me begin with the question on everyone’s mind. The videos yesterday, the testimony in the impeachment trial was harrowing, to say the least. And I believe no one who watched it would be other than horrified by it. I am wondering if anyone in the Republican caucus who voted against proceeding on Constitutional or prudential grounds has their mind, to your knowledge.
RS: Well, I think what everybody, I’ll tell you my case. The videos were horrible. The people that did this need to be prosecuted. Nobody should be coming in the Capitol, and nobody should be doing anything that hurts another human being or tears up property. It shouldn’t happen. So my hope is that everybody will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But here’s where I look at this. The Democrats are just obsessed with Trump. I mean, Trump is not in office. I mean, he is not the president. And so why don’t the Democrats stop their obsession and focus on getting something done instead of making us sit through this unconstitutional, backward-looking, waste of time impeachment? I mean, the Democrats don’t care about getting anything done for a family. This is just pure political theater. It ought to be done at the Kennedy Center. It shouldn’t be done at the Capitol. So I hope, I’ll be glad when this ends. I hope everybody in this country is thinking why are the Democrats focused on the past rather than the future. This is horrible. Hugh, this is horrible precedent. So if you don’t like the next president, so they’re going to find something to impeach him on. And then whoever is running, whoever is in the Senate then has to sit through an impeach where, think about it, there was no due process. I mean, they didn’t do any interviews. They didn’t do any depositions. They did nothing. They just said oh, we’ve got to impeach this guy. And then they sat on it. They had to rush through it, then they sat on it. So it does nothing for an American family, and I’m disappointed with what the Democrats have done.
HH: So the point, though, being 44 of the members of the Republican caucus voted against proceeding either because it’s unconstitutional or they had, in the case of Ted Cruz, an argument that it’s too partisan. Have any of those 44, to your knowledge, changed their mind? Or is the acquittal of President Trump still a guaranteed thing, in your mind?
RS: You know, Hugh, nobody’s told me that they’ve changed their mind. I mean, look, I think we all hated the fact, I mean, this disgusted, it’s just disgusting that people would come into the Capitol, and some of the things these people said. It’s just absolutely disgusting. I’m disappointed that President Trump didn’t say something quicker to make sure people left the Capitol. With that, I’m very disappointed that he didn’t do that. But this is just a charade, because the Democrats are obsessed with a prior president. This is horrible. This is horrible precedent. And by the way, if it’s Constitutional, where’s the Chief Justice?
HH: Well, I have pointed out…
RS: We have a senator running the thing.
HH: Article II, Section 4 persuaded me even before Judge Luttig opined on this, and he’s the authority to whom I look. I know there are counter authorities in people like Mike McConnell, a former judge, and Chuck Cooper, former United States assistant attorney general and a big man in the conservative movement. However, Article II, Section 4 is pretty clear to me, and I don’t have to invent phrases that aren’t there in order to justify this. But Senator, I also wonder about the message that’s going out. In no other setting, not a criminal trial or a civil trial, not in any proceeding in a college or a fraternity or a club or anywhere are victims allowed to be jurors. And this is unique, because you are solely charged with impeachment.
HH: I don’t know if it were an impeachable offense, and it was Constitutionally being conducted in the appropriate time, it would be difficult. But what do you think about being a juror as you see the video of, I don’t know if you were in the Senate that day, but you know, Mitt Romney’s been a friend of mine since 2005. It’s very upsetting to see this stuff happen. I’ve known Mike Pence longer than that. I just don’t know how anyone can actually fairly judge this.
RS: Well, yeah, I was there, and we were, you know, we evacuated. You know, I was never fearful for my life. The, you know, the, but, I mean, I’m sure, maybe some people were. I don’t know, but it’s wrong what they did. It’s wrong. It’s disgusting. It’s undemocratic, all the bad things. This is not what should be happening our country. So I want to thank your law enforcement. I want to thank the Capitol Police. I mean, they did, if you look at what they did, I mean, they clearly did everything they could to try to make sure this didn’t happen, that people didn’t get hurt. You know, the lives that were lost are horrible. I mean, there’s nothing, there’s nothing you can say good about this, but it’s unconstitutional. The, it’s, you know, the President should have said something faster. But this is just political theater because they’re obsessed with a prior president, a prior president. Let’s remember that. And Nancy Pelosi sat on this. If she actually wanted a trial, she could have, you know, they could have, you know, they could have done this, you know, I think the way they did it without any testimony, without anything, was wrong. But she sat on it even after that and didn’t give it to us. So it’s just political theater.
HH: So just to summarize and move on, Senator, you still think it’s unconstitutional. Yesterday’s testimony did not change your point of view?
HH: And you know of no other Republican who has changed their point of view?
RS: Not that I, not that they’ve said to me, Hugh.
HH: And so your estimate is still, as Lindsey Graham said this morning, you would agree the President will be acquitted at the end of this?
RS: Absolutely. It’s unconstitutional. I mean, how can you convict somebody in something that’s unconstitutional?
HH: Well, that’s what I tried to argue on NBC last night with Chuck Todd, is that not one member of the 44 who voted not to proceed on Tuesday are going to vote to proceed and to convict on the basis of video that they already know exists. Otherwise, that would be demonstrating a lack of grasp on the Constitution given the arguments they made on Tuesday. It’s just astonishing to me the coverage of this, but let’s go to, now, post-acquittal. The Senate has to come back to, I have one more question on process. Last night, Senator lee objected to the managers’ presentation arguing that he was being mischaracterized, and that they had alleged he had said something he did not say. He was quite adamant about this, he’s a very good lawyer, that they were using untruthful testimony. He objected. Senator Leahy, who was in the chair, not the Chief Justice, and Senator Leahy is by everyone’s admission one of the most partisan Democrats on the Hill, Senator Leahy overruled him and would not allow that objection. What does that tell you about the fairness of this proceeding?
RS: Yeah, how can somebody that’s a partisan be a judge? I mean, how can they be presiding over the Senate? Where is the Chief Justice? Where is the Chief Justice? Read the Constitution. That’s what it says. If we’re going to have an impeachment, it’s going to be with the Chief Justice. He didn’t show up. And we’re talking about a former president, a civilian right now. We are impeaching, we’re doing an impeachment trial over a civilian.
HH: And the jury is made up of victims, and the judge is, Patrick Leahy, himself a victim.
HH: I mean, I’ve never seen anything like this. And the prudential thing as well as the Constitutional thing would have been said…
RS: Hugh, it’s horrible precedent.
HH: Move on, yeah.
RS: Think of the precedent of this. Do you think there’s not going to be pressure now for Republicans to do this when we get control of the House in two years? It’s a horrible precedent.
HH: Well, you know, there’s going to be pressure for Kevin McCarthy to bring impeachment proceeding against Nancy Pelosi for abuse of her Speaker’s gavel.
HH: And I don’t think that would be wise. I will oppose it at the time. But there will be Republicans who want her impeached as a, and she’s going to retire, as a former Speaker because of her abuse of the impeachment process. I mean, it never stops.
HH: It never stops.
RS: And Hugh, this does nothing to help an American citizen. Nobody wins. Nobody gets help. Nobody gets a job. Nobody gets a vaccine. Nobody gets a school open. Nobody gets anything out of this. This is just political theater.
HH: All right, now Senator, if I can move to the $1.9 trillion dollar budget reconciliation. We know that they are going to pass a lot of money. Joe Biden wants to pass double what President Obama passed. I think it comes down to the math being that. Of that $1.9 [trillion], is any of it going to go to national defense, because the Congress will have appropriated $5 trillion dollars in the course of one year. I don’t think they’re going to spend a penny for defense, reversing the old adage millions for defense, not a penny for tribute. It’s going to be millions for pork, not a penny for defense.
RS: Yeah, look, the Democrats don’t care about defending this country. They don’t, it’s a fight to get money in the budget for defense. And look at this. We’ve spent over four, already on COVID, we’ve spent over $4.5, or allocated over $4.5 trillion dollars. We actually don’t even know how much we haven’t spent. We have no earthly idea. So will all Republicans want to help people that lost their job? You better believe it. Help our businesses get open, Republicans will do that. But this idea of bailing out New York and California, California revenues are up billions of dollars, and they want to give him, you know, it’s just a payback. It’s a payback to Cuomo. It’s a payback to Pritzker in Illinois. It’s a payback to Newsom out in California for their support of Biden. That’s all this is. $350 billion dollars when these states have not seen a downturn in their revenue.
HH: So Senator Scott…
RS: So we’ve already given them $400 billion dollars. This is ridiculous.
HH: Given that they’re going to do it, the one thing I would support first, of course, is additional PPP for businesses that have been shuttered. And then, I would support the child tax credit. Is there, of all the $1.9 trillion, which is so much money I can’t put my arms around it, what is the least bad expenditure of that $1.9 trillion, in your view?
RS: Well, we have to continue to say do we need more money to get the vaccine out. You know, do we need more money for, to help our small businesses get, you know, stay open or get open. You know, do we need more money for our schools. Now I think all those things, we’ve got to look at. We’ve got to look at people if they’ve lost their jobs. That’s who we’ve got to focus on. But this idea of bailing out states, I mean, that are seeing, and first off, how does the federal government become responsible when we’ve already given them $400 billion dollars in the last year, and they won’t even tell us how they’ve spent that money, even though it was all supposed to be spent on COVID? The states don’t even tell us anything.
HH: All right, a last question, Senator, because I…
RS: I mean, Hugh, this is so crazy.
HH: I always want to check in on the recruitment effort. You’ve got to find candidates in Ohio. I believe Josh Mandel, the former state treasurer, is going to run for Rob Portman’s seat.
HH: I don’t know what’s going on in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia. How are you doing on recruitment?
RS: We’re talking to a lot of people. There’s a lot of interest. People know it’s going to be a great, ’22’s going to be a great year to win seats. I mean, I think the ones we clearly, you know, have a really good shot at winning is Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, Nevada. But the truth is I think it’s going to be a great year all across the country, because people are going to be fed up with this agenda of open borders, amnesty, killing jobs. I mean, the Keystone pipeline, just kill the jobs and they don’t care, raise the minimum wage, which we know many of the people lose their jobs. Democrats, oh, we don’t care. The debt? I mean, we have $27 trillion dollars’ worth of debt, and the Democrats, oh, they don’t care. I mean, Buttigieg, who is the Transportation secretary, wants to raise your gas tax. That’s a tax on the poorest Americans the most. So Americans are going to be fed up with the Democrat socialism, big government, higher taxes agenda, and we’re going to have a big year in ’22.
HH: Keep posting us up, Senator Rick Scott from Florida. Thank you, Senator.
End of interview.
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