Date: February 21, 2017
Participants: Rep. Pete King, Liuba Grechen Shirley, Sandra Levine, Shafi Rehman, Jackeline Saavedra
Background: Members of New York’s 2nd District Democrats (NY02 Dems) had been calling and emailing Rep. Pete King’s office to request a Town Hall, and individual constituent meetings. Rep. King’s office ignored all requests. On Friday, February 3, the group organized a rally to protest Rep. King’s support of President Trump’s Executive Order, banning refuges and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Liuba Grechen Shirley, the founder and district organizer, of NY02 Dems called to request a meeting before the rally began, and was told that staff would try to meet with her and a few members that afternoon. When they arrived, the office was locked. Grechen Shirley called the district office, and was transferred to the Washington, D.C. office, who told her that the police insisted the NY office lock its doors.
Hundreds of constituents protested that afternoon, and as a result Rep. King finally agreed to a meeting with a small group of constituents. The group’s goal was not to debate Rep. King, but to get him on record on a range of issues, and keep him speaking for as long as possible. Some of his comments were outrageous and false, but the group chose not to argue too much, because he is known for cutting off meetings when constituents disagree with him.
After the meeting, King told WCBS 880 he personally met with leaders of “protest groups.” Grechen Shirley called King’s office to explain that she was in fact a “taxpaying constituent,” not a “leader of a protest group.” King has since blocked the 2nd District Democrats from commenting on his Facebook page.
Below is the full transcript of their meeting, editor’s notes are marked in red.
ON REP. KING’S RELUCTANCE TO HOLD AN IN PERSON TOWN HALL
Liuba: Thank you for taking the time to meet with us. We appreciate it. We represent a group of your constituents. While the name of our group is New York’s 2nd District Democrats, our members include Democrats, Independents, Republicans, voters who never felt the need to be politically active before, and a number of those who voted for you in the past.
We have too many questions to cover today, and would like you to please schedule a Town Hall?
Rep. King: No. People want to know where I stand? In the last week I did five national television shows. Not just Fox, but CNN with Jack Tapper, Poppy Harlow. I’ve done Channel 7 with Bill Ritter. I think I’ve done Channel 5 twelve times. I didn’t just talk on soft issues, but on Trump and immigration and the Terror Ban.
So people know where I stand. There’s no position now that I haven’t taken for a number of years. I did the hearings on Islamist radicalization six years ago. There have been rallies in Times Square against me. New York Times attacked me. Washington Post attacked me. Newsday was confused. They didn’t know where to go. On immigration I’ve always supported strong border security and I do support the wall, and I strongly support the Executive Order on the seven countries.
Liuba: Would you consider a telephone Town Hall at any point?
Rep. King: I can do that. The reason I’m doing it…. listen I have no problem going into confrontations. I go onto crazy shows and all that yelling. No one wants to have a confrontation, but they turn out that way.
Liuba: We just want to ask you some questions. People want to feel like they’ve been listened to. I know Lee Zeldin is hosting a telephone Town Hall. Nobody wants to have any screaming. They just want to be able to speak with their Congressman.
Rep. King: Ok I can do that. I’d be happy to. The reason I’m getting into it, like I saw Tom Reed who is the most mild-mannered guy in Congress. I’m not. Tom Reed he couldn’t get a word in edgewise last week.
Liuba: That’s not something that we want.
Rep. King: We will definitely work out a telephone Town Hall.
Editor’s Note: “The purpose of a Town Hall is not for constituents to hear our Representative’s positions, but for him to listen to ours. He works for us. He represents us – all of us, even those who didn’t vote for him. When my boss calls me into a meeting, I cannot say no. Pete King is refusing to do his job,” said Liuba Grechen Shirley.
Grechen Shirley has been following up with his office regarding the telephone Town Hall. On Monday, March 6, his office finally confirmed, with 1.5 day’s notice that they would host the call on Wednesday, March 8. She suggested that one day’s notice is not sufficient for constituents with busy schedules.
“Rep. King’s office is clearly not taking this seriously. His constituents want to speak with him, and he gives us one day’s notice for a telephone Town Hall. People have jobs, children, schedules to juggle. This is his attempt to limit the number of people able to attend,” said Grechen Shirley.
REP. KING ON CONGRESSMAN NADLER’S RESOLUTION OF INQUIRY
Liuba: We are all concerned about our national security, which is something I know you care deeply about. We are not going to agree on everything, and we aren’t here to attempt to change your mind.
Rep. King: That’s okay. That’s fine. This is what democracy is.
Liuba: We want to talk to you about some things you can do, as our representative, to make us feel safer. My first question is about Congressman Nadler’s Resolution of Inquiry. The deadline is March 14, and it may go to a vote. What are your thoughts on it? Will you vote for it?
Rep. King: What’s that’s for? What on Russia?
Liuba: The resolution of inquiry is to investigate Trump’s Russia ties and conflicts of interest.
Rep. King: No. Not now. First of all there’s no need for it. I’m on the Intelligence Committee. We are investigating, and it’s bipartisan. That’s been going on now – actually we’ve been calling, we’ve been involved in investigating Russia since last summer.
It’s accelerated since the CIA changed its position in December early January saying that Russia had favored Trump, so we’re now working. It’s going to take a while. The reason I tell you that if you read the report – the public report and the classified report does not give much evidence. I’m not saying the evidence isn’t there. Let me just make that clear. Most what they say is coming from sources that they’re very, they claim are very sensitive and without going into full detail right now we have our staff…..
The Democrats and Republicans are working with the different intelligence agencies to examine as much of that as they can, without giving away any sources and methods. So if they do have the information that Russia was favoring Trump it can be very tricky as to how they got that. There is a public record where people can analyze anyway they want, but as far as what caused them to come to that conclusion we have to find a way to examine it and discuss it in a way that is not going to put anybody’s lives at risk. So anyway, but it is going on.
As far as with Russia so far in this – I have to be careful with what I say, but as far as the public record the story in the New York Times last week, the front-page story, was nothing in there that wasn’t known six months ago. I mean Paul Manafort has dealt with part of the world and buried in the middle of the story it said so far there’s no evidence from no conduct or collusion. I’m not saying it’s not there. I don’t know. I’m not.
REP. KING ON DONALD TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS
Liuba: So the tax returns. George Bush’s chief ethics Council said that Trump should release his tax returns. What are your thoughts on that? Do you think Donald Trump should release his tax returns?
Rep. King: I think he should. I would if I were running for president.
Liuba: It would make his constituents – we would feel safer knowing that he doesn’t have ties with Russia, knowing that he doesn’t owe Putin lots of money. Is there anything you can do to help push that along?
Rep. King: I wouldn’t push. I don’t think that should be legislated. Okay? I think that’s really a political issue in the best sense of the word and it’s up to the American people to decide that. I don’t believe in forcing people to disclose that. Now again, if it comes to an investigation, and there’s evidence he would have to anyway.
Liuba: Have you discussed it with him? Have you asked him personally?
Rep. King: No. I have not. I discuss other things with him.
REP. KING ON H.R. 356
Liuba: I know where you stand on H.R 356.
Rep. King: Which one is that?
Liuba: Establishing a bipartisan independent commission. So I know where you stand on that. Are there any conditions under which you would support a special prosecutor, independent commission or at the very least, a select committee?
Right now it’s in standing committee. I understand you are investigating it.
Rep. King: The Senate and the House Intelligence Committees are both investigating it and the Senate may go ahead and set up a select committee I don’t know.
And so far, believe me I’m not trying to cover it, there is no evidence yet that goes beyond what was in the New York Times last week. Paul Manafort got a page and Rodger Stone, who’s been around for forty years.
Liuba: I watched your Bill Ritter interview. You said that there was no evidence except for a few tenuous connections. Do you think it’s fair to say that Trump’s former campaign manager, national security advisor and Secretary of State are tenuous connections?
They all have ties to Russia.
Rep. King: Well the ties. If you go to Manhattan right is now there is any number of business people who have connections to Russia. I mean Russia is, I’m serious.
Liuba: They have ties to Putin. They have ties to Putin – not to Russia. They have direct ties to Putin.
Rep. King: I don’t know if Manafort does. Manafort has been gone since August. No one, there’s no one that should be surprised by this. It was known that Manafort represented the Ukrainian government, which had links to Putin. That was known. That was public record.
That was disclosed. He was you know a public lobbyist for them. As far as Rodger Stone, he denies everything. And the other one Carter Page, he really had limited, as far as I know, limited involvement with the Trump campaign.
So at this stage I would say there is not. Listen I voted against Bill Clinton’s impeachment. I do that because. I don’t want this to be a permanent investigation going on until there’s more evidence. If there’s more evidence, yeah. Remember the FBI is doing a full-scale investigation.
Liuba: Have you read through the letter that Congressman Nadler and many other representatives sent to Paul Ryan that lays the evidence and concerns they have about Trump’s business ties with Russia? I’ve read through that in detail and it greatly concerns many of us.
Rep. King: An investigation is going to prove nothing right now. The FBI is carrying out a very intense investigation. They have four field offices involved. And to rush the gun and to set up the committee before it’s even in the preliminary in the FBI is wrong. I would have said the same thing if it was Hillary Clinton.
Liuba: The FBI CIA and NSA have all confirmed with a high level of confidence that Putin did, as you said earlier, Putin did interfere with the election to get Donald Trump elected. How do you reconcile your assertion that there is no evidence with the intelligence community’s findings?
Rep. King: There are two things. Putin could have favored Trump. I’m sure Putin favored Obama in 2012 over Romney, when Romney was very anti Russian and Obama was very pro-Russian at that time. Obama did more, if you’re looking at results for Russia than any president. He’s the one that brought Syria back into the Middle East. No, listen after forty years they were thrown out in 1973 by Sadat. It was Obama that brought them back in. It was Obama that hit the reset button and it was also Obama, President Obama, who in his meeting with Medvedev, when he didn’t know there was an open mic, said ‘tell Vladimir if I’m reelected I can do more.’ So I wouldn’t call an investigation of Obama. To me what you’re talking about it’s a preliminary set of facts, which may end up being totally disproved. It may not be. I’m saying that the FBI should go further.
Liuba: There was no CIA FBI or NSA claim at that point that Putin interfered with our election to get Obama elected. So that’s a big difference!
Rep. King: That’s not a reflection on Trump. Assume Putin did that.
Liuba: I think that it is.
Rep. King: No seriously, listen you can go through any number of countries. I’m sure Putin, he engaged, I’m sure he favored Obama over Romney and in 2008. I’m sure he favored him over McCain. I mean McCain is the most anti-Putin person imaginable. But again, there’s not enough evidence yet to me to warrant going beyond what the FBI is doing. We should know in a few months.
Liuba: Alright then we’ll agree to disagree.
REP. KING ON TRUMP’S UNDERMING OF THE PRESS
Liuba: You obviously have an interesting relationship with the Press. We see you on news shows across the political Spectrum. You’re regularly quoted in papers. So you have a decent relationship with the Press.
Rep King: I don’t know about that.
Liuba: Sometimes you have a decent relationship with the Press. Donald Trump recently called the media “the enemy of the American people.” Bannon said the press should “keep their mouths shut.” Do you think those comments are crossing a line?
Rep King: No they don’t cross the line. First of all he’s not doing anything. Nobody went after the press more than Obama did as far as leaks. There were more people arrested for leaks.
Liuba: But calling the press the enemy of the American people.
Rep. King: That to me is just political. Listen the stuff that the Press says about Trump I don’t get offended. All of us are big people in this business. There’s no doubt there’s a bias.
Liuba: It’s not about bias! It’s not about people getting offended. Our president tweeting that the press is the enemy of the American people it’s dangerous to American citizens, who now will not believe the press anymore. You need a free press to have a functioning democracy!
Rep. King: The First Amendment also guarantees the president freedom of speech. Nothing he’s saying is worse than what the media is saying about him. Including the New York Times, which is a rag but that’s another story. I don’t get along with all the media just so you know.
Liuba: Oh I know that. I’ve seen. But McCain said that’s “how dictatorships start.” What do you think of that?
Rep. King: I think John McCain is wrong for saying it overseas. There is no hint of any dictatorship in this country. Trump is taking no action against the media. He’s not cutting off the media. I supported John McCain’s presidents in 2000. We are personal friends. But I don’t think an American politician should first of all criticize the president when he’s overseas.
REP. KING ON STEVE BANNON & THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL
Liuba: What are your thoughts on Bannon on the principles committee?
Rep. King: I don’t know Bannon. I have met Steve Bannon twice. I hadn’t even heard of them tried to last summer. I want to wait and see what’s McMaster says about him. I have tremendous respect for McMaster.
Liuba: Have you heard of H.R. 804?
Rep. King: Which is that now?
Liuba: That’s the one to remove Bannon from the National Security Council….to make sure we don’t have political operatives on our National Security Council.
Rep. King: Congress cannot interfere with the president as far as who is on the president’s staff. No.
Liuba: What do you think of him taking off the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence?
Rep. King: Well they’re not off. They will sit in on when appropriate.
Liuba: They’re by invitation only.
Rep. King: Having said that, McMaster has been given a free hand. So let’s see what McMaster does. I have great respect for him.
REP. KING ON ‘AMERICA FIRST’
Liuba: How do you feel about Trump using the term “America First,” knowing that it was made popular by Nazi-friendly Americans in the 1930s? Do you know that you have 41,000 constituents living in Jewish households in your district? People are angry about it. I’ve heard from numerous people that they are very upset that Trump is using this term. They don’t want the president using it. What do you think?
Rep. King: First of all I wouldn’t use it, because I know the history of it. Having said that I don’t think it has a real impact and it’s out there and I’ve spoken to many rabbis, Jewish people and friends of mine. You can always find some I guess connotation from the past.
I wouldn’t use America first only because I’ve studied a lot about World War II, but I understand where the president is coming from. I don’t see it as him being anti-Semitic if that’s what you mean.
Liuba: You don’t see it being anti-Semitic?
Rep. King: Trump? No. He’s the most non anti-Semitic president we’ve ever had. That I can say. Long before it was fashionable.
Liuba: What about Bannon? Bannon is incredibly anti-Semitic and known for white supremacy.
Rep. King: First of all I won’t accept that. I don’t know enough about Bannon. I’ve read everything that’s out there, but I also know there’s people out there like some fairly prominent moderates who have said it’s unfair to say about him. So I want to get more on that. But I certainly wouldn’t support legislation to keep Bannon off. That’s up to the president to make that decision. If it turns out to be wrong he’ll have to answer for that, but again I’m going to wait and see what McMaster to says.
To say that the president is anti-Semitic, like for instance Trump’s son-in-law. Certainly he’s the one that defends Bannon the most, and he’s an orthodox Jew. Kushner is one of Bannon’s biggest supporters. I would be much closer from what I know of things to Reince Priebus then I would be to Bannon. But again people that work with him including Kushner. I’ve been in meetings and seen Kushner and Bannon do get along.
Liuba: Bannon has said some pretty horrible things. People are very upset with Bannon, and don’t want him on the NSC.
Rep. King: Well there are others that aren’t who are also very proudly Jewish.
Liuba: Alright. Let’s move on.
REP. KING ON DONALD TRUMP, FAKE NEWS & FOX INTELLIGENCE
Liuba: I’m sure you saw what Donald Trump said about Sweden the other night. We’re very concerned. It’s been shown many times that he will Tweet things after watching it’s on Fox News. Our president is getting his intelligence from Fox News! What are your thoughts on that? Because that is probably one of our biggest concerns.
Rep. King: Well he gets other intelligence. I am a personal friend of Mike Pompeo head of the CIA, and I know that President Trump does get the daily briefings… almost always. What you’re talking about is a stream of consciousness that Donald Trump has. I was on Catsimatidis’ radio show on Sunday, and I said he should stop the tweeting, or certainly cut back on it.
I agree with that. It’s not my style. That’s Donald Trump and he got elected. He wasn’t my first choice to campaign. I thought he was far preferable to Hillary in the end. I’m actually very personally friendly with Hillary and Bill Clinton.
Where are we going with us again?
Liuba: Trump getting his intelligence from Fox News.
Rep. King: Oh yeah…well that’s him being caught up in his own speech. I’ve been in meetings with him where that can happen.
Liuba: You should tell him not to do that, because people don’t understand what’s going on and they think that there are terrorist attacks in Sweden and Bowling Green! What happens when the president keeps lying?
Rep. King: Well that was Kellyanne Conway. I can see how somebody can do that. I mean Hillary Clinton said she was shot at in Bosnia. There were people in Bowling Green, who were arrested who were high level and when you’re on those shows…
Liuba: But when you’re in that position you can’t do that.
Rep. King: You cant, but again I can show you any number of things that Bill Clinton said or I’ve said.
REP. KING AGREES WITH 90% OF WHAT DONALD TRUMP DOES
Liuba: You said recently that you agree with 90% of what Trump is doing? What is the 10% that concerns you?
Rep: King: I supported the Iraq War. He didn’t. I support TPP. He doesn’t. And not so much for economic reasons… I supported TPP, because I thought it would make us much stronger against China. China would have to deal with 12 nations combined. Now they can go by one by one. So I think for me from a strategic point of view, I supported TPP.
I support him for the most part on terrorism. I support him on the police. I am hopeful to be able to support his tax reform. We’ll have to see where it goes. And same on Obamacare. We have to see where that goes.
REP. KING ON DONALD TRUMP’S ASSERTION OF MASS VOTER FRAUD
Liuba: What are your thoughts on the 3-5 million people that Trump’s keeps making up that illegally voted for him?
Rep: King: He shouldn’t do it. I don’t know why he does it. I mean, I got to tell you. I think personally every top Republican says he shouldn’t. What can I tell you? Every president has his quirks. One of his quirks is….
Liuba: That he lies?!
Rep: King: He has a stream of consciousness. I don’t know if that’s a lie.
Liuba: That’s a lie!
Rep: King: It’s just the things that he says, and ah..
Liuba: Alternative facts!
Rep. King: Whatever, I’m not defending it. What do you want me to say? He shouldn’t say it.
Liuba: Ok. I’ve lived through a number of presidents – Republican and Democrat – If Romney had won, ok….Bush.…but this man lies on national television.
Rep. King: I’m not disagreeing with you. You want me to define a lie? When something is obviously wrong and you say it, is it really a lie? I don’t know.
Liuba: YES! That is the definition.
Rep. King: The point I’m making there is its different if you say that so and so did this on a certain night and nobody can prove it…and it turns out. He says these things, and once he’s into it he continues to say it. He shouldn’t do it. I’m telling you.
REP. KING ON DONALD TRUMP & PUTIN
Liuba: He criticizes everybody. He never criticizes Putin. He never says anything negative about Putin. In fact he equated Putin’s Russia to America.
Rep. King: And I was one of the first people to criticize him.
Liuba: And I called your office to thank you for that.
But the fact that he never criticizes Putin, and the fact that Donald Trump Jr. said, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” that concerns us.
Rep. King: I think that was 20 years ago and that is being investigated.
Liuba: That was nine years ago. It was 2008.
Rep. King: Nine years ago? Ok maybe it was. I think he was talking about when the money came in.
That could very well be. Well that why the FBI is doing the investigation. It’s part of the investigation. Where it leads it leads. I’m not in anyway calling for the FBI to curtail the investigation or cut it back. I think they should do whatever they have to do.
Shafi: Can I ask a follow up question? If the FBI investigation does show that there are strong connections between members of the Trump campaign, or perhaps even his family or himself with Putin and his cadre, what do you think is appropriate action?
Rep. King: We have to see what they are. Have to see what the allegations are, what the facts are, what the conclusions are. I mean basically again I don’t know what Manafort could have done. Certainly he left the campaign in August. What Carter Page could have done. What Roger Stone could have done. How those three. If they did, they did. We’ll have to see.
REP. KING ON THE CARDIN-LUGAR OIL TRANSPARENCY RULE
Liuba: One more question. The Cardin-Lugar Rule. You were there when Donald Trump repealed it.
Rep. King: The which?
Liuba: The Cardin-Lugar Rule. The oil transparency rule.
Rep. King: Oh yeah yeah.
Liuba: I find it, and I’m curious what your thoughts are, that a rule that our Secretary of State flew to Washington to lobby hard against…it was a bipartisan rule…. I find it a huge conflict of interest that that is one of the first major bills he sign to repeal this. The story is that it puts us at an unfair disadvantage – but European and Canadian oil companies all have to disclose these payments, and now we don’t. This ends up hurting developing countries suffering from the resource curse.
Rep. King: First of all, it still can be illegal. There are laws in place – foreign corrupt policies act – going back years. This was an unnecessary burden, I believe on American business. Virtually every American business organization was talking about the burden that put on them. So to me it was worth it to repeal that rule.
Liuba: You don’t think that was conflict of interest? That it was something the Secretary of State lobbied against?
Rep. King: Oh you’re talking about Tillerson? Why he lobbied against it. I don’t even know if he did or not.
Liuba: Oh he did. He flew to Washington to lobby against it.
Rep. King: Well it didn’t have any impact. That I can tell you.
Liuba: No he lobbied against it years ago.
Rep. King: Oh years ago?
Liuba: And now that he’s Secretary of State, it’s one of the first bills that Trump signed. I find that to be a conflict of interest.
Rep. King: That was done before Tillerson got sworn in. We worked that out I guess.
Liuba: No it was done last week.
Rep. King: It was signed. But I was saying it passed the House and Senate. He lobbied against it when he was with Exxon. But as far as I’m aware, I’m not aware of any involvement. This was I can tell you was Jeb Hensarling and the House. This was going back last year before Tillerson ever got involved.
REP. KING ON TRUMP ADMIN’S CONFLICTS OF INTEREST & DIVESTING
Liuba: And in terms of Trump’s business assets, he’s not divesting. His sons are now in control. What are your thoughts on conflict of interest? Because he could very well be in violation of the constitution.
Rep. King: Well if he is that will come out. The emoluments?
Liuba: Yeah the emoluments clause.
Rep. King: Nah I don’t think so. You’re talking about successful people. This is going to happen. People knew who he was when he ran. They knew all the interests he had all over the world.
Liuba: But he said that he would 1) releases tax returns and 2) divest and he hasn’t done either we’ve never had that with a modern president ever.
Rep. King: No but you’re going to have more of it as people get more involved in international business if you’re going to have successful business people run that’s going to happen and you’re talking about as far as his business engagements everybody knew
Liuba: But everybody trusted that he would divest and release his tax returns.
Rep. King: He didn’t say he’d divest. He said he would work something out, which he feels is satisfactory enough and nothing involving him is anything more of an entanglement than the Clinton Foundation that would have been a real…
Liuba: Do you think that what he’s done is enough?
Rep. King: I think it is right now yeah will see will see it and practice when it’s followed yeah absolutely.
REP. KING ON THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
Sandra: I’m going to switch gears now over to the Affordable Care Act. As you know this is a great concern to many many people in this county. What’s going to happen with… I called your office about it and I did get a letter in return stating your position about it, which I appreciate.
Rep. King: When was this?
Sandra: About a few weeks ago.
Rep. King: Okay because I’m in constant negotiation and talks with public leadership, with the hospitals, with different advocacy groups, and right now the key point we’re probably at is on Medicaid expansion. I was attacked by Rand Paul, the other day. He called me a big government Republican.
Rep. King: Actually he and I hate each other anyway.
Sandra: But that was one of my issues.
Rep. King: Just so you know. So I’m not hiding anything here on Medicaid expansion. I don’t know if I would have gone into it originally, but now that it’s there we have 800,000 New Yorkers who are part of Medicaid expansion. What do you do with them and what happens to them? You have 31 states signed up for Medicaid expansion. So far I’ve not seen anything that really addresses that sufficiently for me.
Sandra: Well Paul Ryan’s plan that came out recently…
Rep. King: The Better Way yeah?
Sandra: Yeah the better way first of all I agree with you, like you expressed in this letter you’re concerned about some of the flaws of the ACA. There are flaws and I do think it’s a good idea to try to repair those flaws, but I didn’t see anything and Paul Ryan’s plan that address any of these flaws, in terms of rising premiums, high deductibles. It’s not really affordable for a lot of people, and that’s a major issue. I agree, but I didn’t see anything in this plan that’s going to make it affordable.
We have big concerns around the fact that it’s based on tax credits and health savings accounts, which are going to benefit people with higher income levels. If somebody doesn’t have a lot of money, they’re not going to have any money to save.
Rep. King: I hate to disappoint you, but I agree with a lot of what you’re saying
Sandra: That doesn’t disappoint me. That makes me happy.
Rep. King: And I don’t know where we’re going to go in the end, because I do believe there should be a repeal. Having said that, the problem we have is if we repeal, we can do it 51 votes, and all you’re doing is repealing the funding mechanism basically. To put reforms in place, or changes, whatever you want to call them it’s going to have to go to the Senate, and Schumer is never going to let 8 Democrats vote for it. We’ll need 60 votes. For reform you need 60 votes, or changes or whatever you want to call it. 60 votes and that’s the real concern that I have that we would be cutting the funding let’s say for Medicaid expansion, and what do you put in its place. If this was all part of one big negotiation where we could do both repeal and reform in one ball of wax, I’d be a lot more confident. Instead it’s going to be a two-step process.
We can come out with our reform plan or the replace plan, or the substitute plan, whatever you want to call it, but that really can’t pass without 60 votes. All we can pass with 51 votes is the revenue measure. So I have many of the concerns that you have
Sandra: Okay yeah.
Rep. King: I may come down on a different side than you, but I’m telling you that I made it clear to them that as of now I’m not on board
Liuba: In the letter you said that you support Medicaid expansion, but you voted for the Ryan budget in the past, which turns Medicaid into block grants, and then you can expand Medicaid.
Rep. King: And that was also a way to send a message that we want to repeal and replace. There was only really one way to vote. So that what that was. That would go into the category of a protest vote, knowing that Obama was going to veto it, knowing that the choice was: Do we allow the Obamacare to stay in place or do we send a protest? That was a way to get on record saying that we do want to repeal and replace. That’s all.
Sandra: The other issue is pre-existing conditions.. ensuring that people who do have… I can include myself in that category..,, I have MS. I’ve had it for 28 years, and I’m lucky I can still work and I have health insurance through my employer, but that can change and it was always very comforting for me to know that the ACA was there and that there would be affordable insurance for me in case I couldn’t work. So what is the plan? I’m surely, in your District, not alone in this situation, and I know you’ve been involved with Cystic Fibrosis. They’re a lot of people living with this kind of situation. How are you going to ensure?
Rep. King: That has not been defined. That is a commitment that Republicans have made that pre-existing conditions, and also keeping people on their parents policy still 26. How that’s going to be done it’s still not defined
Sandra: It hasn’t worked in the past so that’s a grave concern as well. The point is to know that you will do whatever it takes to ensure that your constituents are protected in this area even if it goes against the Orthodoxy of your party because it’s a lot of ideology going into this.
Rep. King: And then on the other side, I do have small businesses who feel that they are being put out of business by Obamacare. People who, even some states around the country where there’s only one insurance company left in the entire state, where premiums have gone up 100%, or whatever the number is. So there are real issues that have to be addressed.
Liuba: I watched the healthcare debate with Bernie Sanders and Senator Cruz. Ted Cruz said that every Republican plan covers pre-existing conditions. But it only covers pre-existing conditions if you have continuous coverage, so if you lose your health insurance and then you get health insurance you’re not covered. So he didn’t really answer that woman’s question, who asked. She had cancer. He kind of glossed over it, and that is my biggest concern, because what happens when you lose your health insurance? Pre-existing conditions are great, but if you lose your job and you need to get health insurance, and all the sudden you’re not covered, that’s a problem. Watching what the Republicans are doing they don’t have a plan for that.
Rep. King: Well I can tell you Ted Cruz never speaks about anything.
Liuba: What would you say about that? I’m very concerned?
Rep. King: But that’s why I’m involved with negotiations with the Republican leadership to try to find where the funding will be. How much of the funding we can afford to cut back on, and how we’re going to substitute it, and how we’re going to continue the pledges that we made to the American people.
REP. KING ON THE ‘MUSLIM BAN’
Jackie: I have questions regarding the executive order issued by Trump…the Muslim Ban
Rep. King: It’s not a Muslim Ban.
Jackie: You have promised to protect us from terror attacks and Trump’s executive order could be used as a recruitment tool for extremists to join their forces. Don’t you think the executive order is not protecting us, it’s actually putting us in harm’s way?
Rep. King: No I don’t. That’s obviously a judgment that has to be made. I believe the threat of allowing those countries to continue to have immigrants come to this country from those seven, Syria in particular, is much more of a threat coming from that but as far as people being radicalized, people getting incentive, there was no incentive before 911. We can go through all of these situations. I think radical Islamists have their own motivation no matter what we do. In fact I think they look upon it as a sign of weakness, but those seven countries and you call it a Muslim Ban. The seven countries originated with President Obama last year. Actually it was four plus three. We felt that it was very dangerous because right now European countries have a visa waiver policy, where if you’re from certain European countries you can come to the United States without getting a Visa.
Because of the large number of Europeans who were involved in the fighting in the Middle East, they can go back to Europe and come to this country. We worked with the president to say anyone who visited certain countries would lose their visa waiver status and it was the administration, and the Congress came up with four countries. Then after we passed the law, Obama added on three. That’s where those came from and the reason for them those countries virtually – there is virtually no viable government in those countries, except for Iran, which has, but has, uh, but you take Yemen, you take Somalia, you take the cross-pollination with the Al-Nusra front, Al Shabab, Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, Al Qaeda itself, and it is very very difficult to vet.
In only three of these countries we even have embassies. Syria, we have no way of knowing, whether it’s Comey or whether it’s uh, the head of DNI, certainly Comey has said the expression, it’s not what I said, “you can vet till the cows come home” was his expression, but you are not going to be able to vet whether a refugee from Syria has terrorist connection, cause there are no records.
Liuba: But Obama didn’t ban those countries, he took away their visa waver, he didn’t ban them, and
Rep. King: Certainly, but that’s where the seven countries come from.
Liuba: Well we know where the seven countries come from.
Rep. King: People say it’s a Muslim ban, did he —
Liuba: The executive order specifically says they’re going to prioritize Christian refugees over Muslim refugees
Rep. King: Well there is a reason, first of all — I don’t know, if the second one will say that, but the logic in that would be, that if you know that a person is a Christian, you can assume they’re not an Islamic terrorist. If a Jew is coming from Nazi Germany, you can assume they were not Nazis.
Liuba: We have Christian terrorists, we have shooters in this country, so you can’t say because someone is a Christian they’re not a terrorist.
Jackie: Wouldn’t that be religious discrimination?
Rep. King: No no, let me just say that, if you are vetting, if the person, if the person, as best you can determine, has a clean record, and is Christian, chances are, they’re — but again, it’s not foolproof.
Liuba: What about the countries that aren’t on the list that we, the 9/11 terrorists are from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and they’re not on the list because Obama, no not Obama, my god, cause Trump has business ties
Rep. King: That’s totally untrue — you accused Trump of lying, but what you’ve just said now, why didn’t Obama put them on the list
Liuba: But it’s true!
Rep. King: But let me ask you —
Liuba: Can we not talk about Obama, he’s not the President
Rep. King: No no, it’s important to know what went into those seven countries. That was a bipartisan effort between the Congress and the President from the seven most dangerous countries
Liuba: But Obama did not ban those countries, he took away their visa waiver.
Rep. King: Why? Why? Because those were the most dangerous
Liuba: But if we have terrorists, that we know, from 9/11, that were from Saudi Arabia….
Rep. King: I’ll tell you the explanation for that, same rationale, that we’re using, is what Obama used — is that in Saudi Arabia, first of all, since then, Saudi Arabia’s been attacked by Al-Qaeda, Saudi Arabia is much closer to us now, not for any moral reason, but for their own self-survival. Saudi Arabia has a viable intelligence agency, has a viable government. Whether we agree with it or not, we can work with them. Do we trust them all the time? No – same with Egypt. so that’s the rationale for that, we cannot have anything with Libya, we cannot have anything with Sudan, or Somalia might be a little bit better right now than it was last month.
Liuba: Refugees go through 18-24 months of vetting.
Rep. King: You can’t vet Syrian refugees — as a practical matter you cannot.
Shafi: You said that, if someone is coming from another country, and you know that what there religion is, you can assume they’re not a radical —
Rep. King: No, I didn’t say assume — I’m saying, all things being equal, there can be a presumption that if a person is coming from a minority, not cause he is Christian, if he’s coming from a minority in that country, that same — for instance I would say an Ahmaddiya Muslim would get preference over a Sunni Muslim coming from some of those countries because the Ahmaddiyas are persecuted by groups like Al-Qaeda.
Shafi: Sure. So if there are Muslims, women and children, coming from Syria, young children and women coming from those countries, would the assumption not be, and tell me why I’m wrong, that they’re fleeing a war?
Liuba: They’re the victims, not the perpetrators, of terrorism.
Rep. King: Some are, some aren’t — for instance the massacres in Europe, there were refugees who were involved in that. We know ISIS has specifically said, and tends to include..
Shafi: Sorry, not to cut you off, but which particular massacres were led by —
Rep. King: Certainly in Paris — not led, but there were refugees involved.
Editor’s Note: Rep. King said that there were certainly “refugees involved” in the Paris Bataclan attack, even though we know that all but one of the terrorists were identified as European nationals.
The outlier, who died near the Stade de France, could only be identified as Ahmad Al Mohammad —a name used in a falsified Syrian passport. Authorities believe that he too was likely a EU citizen and was using the fake passport to travel to and from Syria. Contrary to King’s claims, none of the terrorists were refugees.
European authorities made an error in not identifying the counterfeit passport Ahmad Al Mohammad carried. The extreme 24-month vetting of Syrian refugees under President Obama included biometrics, background checks, ground investigations and interviews. Mohammad’s October 3, 2015 entry to Europe via Greece did not have similar vetting.
Rep. King: And we know that ISIS has specifically said that they intend to, which is why the FBI and the DNI both said they were very concerned.
Liuba: You said, I think it was on Bill Ritter, I don’t know where I heard it recently, that you said that it was the protesters that caused confusion. I have to ask you, they handcuffed 5 year olds and they took breastfeeding infants away from their mother. I have a breastfeeding infant and if somebody took my infant from me, I would lose it. They took away infants. I’m sorry, please explain to me, as a human being, how that is ok?
Rep. King: It’s not ok
Liuba: That’s what they did.
Rep. King: It’s not OK. It shouldn’t have been done. I’ve also said ..
Liuba: It wasn’t the protesters who caused confusion. It was the way it was handled. Because it wasn’t — it was not handled correctly. You know that.
Rep. King: I’ve said that from the start. However, almost all that was rectified within 24 hours. The demonstrations with thousands of people tying up an airport, is what added …
Liuba: I know people who days after, whose 82 year old grandparents were held in cells – who had done nothing wrong.
Rep. King: Right. Could well be. Having said that, disruptions.. disruptions were caused by protesters.
Liuba: The disruptions were not caused by the protesters. They were caused by a faulty, bad rollout. That they didn’t work with the White House, or the Department of Justice, or Homeland Security.
Rep. King: I agree with you, I agree with you!
Liuba: Then you can’t say that the problems were caused by the protesters.
Rep. King: No, in fact, I have great respect for General Kelly. Kelly was working on that from start. Once the problems arose, and you had people coming and creating demonstrations, listen, if they wanted to have orderly protests, but to be carrying on the way they were, added to the confusion. And to me, they almost wanted it to fail.
Jackie: How about banning lawful permanent residents who were properly vetted?
Rep. King: It was wrong. I’m telling you, what I’m saying is, it was handled wrong.
Liuba: So what do you think, in your opinion, the next executive order that’s coming out, how do you think they should handle it so that it’s handled properly?
Rep. King: I would say that making exception, not exceptions, make it clear that Greencard holders and people with visas will not be covered.
Shafi: Do you see a situation where we reopen? The original executive order, the original executive order was only for 90 or 120 days, I don’t remember — is this supposed to be a temporary executive order that’s then going to be legislated or is this simply a temporary stay?
Rep. King: I think we should see where we are after 90 days.
Shafi: Ok. Follow up on that: So, if these next 90 days are extremely critical, that’s what it sounds like to me, because we’re signing an executive order — you’ve been a part of the government, part of Intelligence, Homeland Security committees for years — was there not danger during those times? We didn’t have this ban in place?
Rep. King: I spoke out against Syrian refugees over a year and a half ago.
Shafi: So underneath the watch of both Republicans and Democrats over these years, the kind of presupposition is that dangerous people have been allowed into this country. Do you agree with that?
Rep. King: Dangerous people have come into this country.
Shafi: Because we did not have this ban in place?
Rep. King: Yeah.. certainly it has changed, because it was easier after 9/11 in that we had Al-Qaeda, basically we had one group. Since then, it has metastasized, morphed, cross pollinated, whatever term you want to use — and having the breakdown in the Middle East, primarily Syria — which I really put a real blame on Obama for.
Liuba: Why not Putin?
Shafi: Why not George W. Bush?
Rep. King: Oh because he — Obama invited Putin in! Obama’s the one who — Putin was not involved in Syria, Putin had nothing to do with Syria. Obama invited him in, because he wouldn’t enforce the red line.
Editor’s Note: This of course is a false narrative, trying to paint Obama as weak and miscalculating. Assad, and Putin have had a longstanding relationship, and close ties between the two countries stretch back four decades. Syria is Russia’s only key surviving ally in the Middle East. Syria’s coastal city, Tartus, has hosted a Russian naval port since 1971. The port allows the only Russian access to the eastern Mediterranean. Russia has cast vetoes on several UN resolutions against Syria – even before the so-called red line was crossed.
Shafi: I’m sorry, Putin’s had a relationship with Assad for a long time — him, Iran
Rep. King: He was not involved militarily, there was no military involvement until President Obama, in September, 2013 or 2014, I’m losing track of the days, invited Putin in, he made the deal, after he had drawn the red line, which we were going to enforce, and John Kerry went to our allies, and we’re not mentioning the countries, we had Arab countries lined up to take action, without telling any of them, President Obama made the deal with President Putin, that Putin would come in and that brought Russia back into the Middle East.
Shafi: Would you blame —
Rep. King: And that’s when the Syrian refugees, situation, really broke which is after 2013
Shafi: Would you blame George W Bush for going into Iraq, which then created —
Rep. King: No — cause that was an essential war. I believe that was an essential war. To invite Putin into Syria, to me, was a calamitous mistake, which I said at the time.
Shafi: Thank you
Jackie: How about the recent executive orders targeting undocumented immigrants? I mean, immigrants contribute to the economy by paying taxes, which Trump does not, and we understand that, you know, that some undocumented immigrants have committed serious crimes, you know, may need to be removed for the safety of our communities, but how about the removal of parents of United States citizen children, like the separation of families who are immigrants in detention centers?
Rep. King: I would say, first of all, Obama did deport 2.5 million, I think, but having said that, as far as I know, the numbers I’ve seen roughly 90-95 percent of those who have been deported in these recent series all got criminal records.
Liuba: That’s actually not true. Obama, when Obama was deporting, he focused on people with criminal records, the recent ICE raids have been random. No no, they have
Rep. King: I disagree with you on that. I disagree with you on that. Most of them have been aimed at criminals or have expanded it somewhat, people who may not have criminal charges against them, but do local police believe to be involved in gang activity. From all the numbers I’ve seen, it’s been overwhelmingly people with criminal records
Liuba: Well everything that we’ve read has been about —
Rep. King: I don’t know what you’ve been reading, but General Kelly put out the numbers last week.
Liuba: All newspapers, across the spectrum, have said that they are doing random stops, and we’ve talked to different organizations that specifically —
Rep. King: Well these raids we’re talking about, over the last two weeks, have been almost all …
Liuba: Do you think that’s what’s going to happen moving forward, will he only focus on people with criminal records and not doing random stops? Because that would, that would, make us feel a little bit better.
Rep. King: Well that’s what he said, and in the numbers, you check Kelly’s numbers, and I have a great respect for Kelly, I think he is going to be a superstar in the administration
Liuba: Has Donald Trump said that though? That he will only focus on criminals?
Rep. King: Primarily, yes, primarily. In fact, the Executive, there was a big series of papers put out today on that —
Jackie: Alright, I have one more, a couple more questions — do you support the deferred action for childhood arrivals — I know that Trump has threatened to take it away, or to issue an executive order since this was an executive order by Obama, so do you support it? Or do you promise or … willing to take any action?
Rep. King: Trump pretty much said last week, that he’s going to defer action, I think that’s, that would be part of a more comprehensive solution. I don’t think they’re going to be, I don’t think there will be any action taken on that now.
Jackie: Do you support that bridge act? Like the legislative proposal that was going around Congress to legislatively protect people on deferred action?
Rep. King: Yeah, I don’t know if this calls for legislation right now, but I do support having a suspension of enforcing it.
Jackie: Ok. Do you support comprehensive immigration reform? Do you foresee it happening under the Trump administration?
Rep. King: Again, it depends how you define it, in that, if we can be assured of border security, yes. But until, there’s more assurance on border security, there is still an incentive for illegal immigrants to come in the country. But I think, again, if we’re talking about primarily going after people with criminal backgrounds, and if we can go forward on some immigration policy, fine, but we want to make sure that the border is secure. Again they’re asking for 10,000 more ICE agents, and 5,000 more Border Patrol agents. And that could go some way toward securing the border plus if they put up barriers or walls in certain of the key locations, that could also do a lot more to bring about border security.
Jackie: So you do support the $20 billion that will go towards the building of the wall?
Rep. King: Whatever it costs, I think, yeah
Liuba: How are we going to pay for it? How are we going to pay for it?
Rep. King: Find a way to pay for it — same way you have to pay for anything. To me, you have to pay for national security — national security has to be paid for. How do we pay for it, we pay for it.
Liuba: How? But how? How do we pay for it?
Rep. King: We’ll see. That’s part of the legislative process —
Liuba: The tariff – what do you think of the tariff idea?
Rep. King: I’m not a big fan of tariffs, I think it ends up being counterproductive to American business — but we have to find a way to pay for it.
Liuba: What programs will be cut?
Jackie: Will it be the American people?
Rep. King: If we have a growing economy, we have to cut where you have to. You have to cut where you have to.
Liuba: Do you have any ideas of what would be cut?
Rep. King: I would wait till the process goes forward. But we have to do it, certainly, have to do it — we have to have new weapons systems, we have to pay for them — we need more people in the military, we have to pay for that.
Sandra: We also need bridges that don’t collapse, and public transportation.
Rep. King: Yeah and that too — yeah I agree. No we face a lot of challenges
Sandra: Right. With $20 billion going to that wall, when we have so many needs…
Rep. King: Well, no, that is important too, have a secure border is very important for a nation’s survival. But also, on that, there are certain parts, Kelly has gone into some detail before our committee, as to certain locations he’ll be starting out with that so.
REP. KING ON ACA
Sandra: One thing when I was talking about the ACA, I forgot about was this whole issue. I know that one thing that happened with the ACA was that ensuring that behavioral health, mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment was to be treated on par with every other kind of treatment, meaning no limits, no caps and it had to be covered. And that’s a huge issue here, as you know, the opioid epidemic is horrible here on Long Island. Will you ensure that that’s still the case? Because, that really ties into Medicaid too, because that’s desperately, even Kasich in Ohio was saying we need the Medicaid because we’re fighting a huge opioid epidemic here as well.
Rep. King: Yeah, in general, the answer is yes, I know Tim Murphy, a Congressman from PA, who is also a psychologist, he’s had a series of legislative proposals on that, uh no, there’s no doubt, and this is something that’s in the middle income communities, the upper income communities, this is not an inner city issue, it’s not a low income issue
Sandra: It’s a white, suburban, Long Island issue
Rep. King: Yup, yup
REP. KING ON MIKE FLYNN VS. KARL ROVE
Liuba: One more question. You called Mike Flynn a hero and a patriot and you said that whoever leaked this information should be prosecuted. Twelve years ago you said that Karl Rove deserved a medal and was trying to protect American lives. What makes one a criminal and one a whistle-blower?
Rep. King: As far as whistle-blowing, when it becomes a crime and this goes beyond Mike Flynn, forget Mike Flynn, I saw Mike Flynn’s record he was a military hero and he was the one who did more to expose ISIS despite the opposition of the Obama administration, they were saying that Islamic terrorism was on the run. Flynn was the only one in the administration who was talking about ISIS. He was talking about the danger of ISIS and six months later President Obama was still calling it the JV. He detailed for us and then when he went public, because we used to meet often with him in private sessions. He was the first one to really really have the inside on ISIS and I think he was a hero that way and also his military record in Afghanistan particularly was extraordinary. Now as far as, we can leave Flynn in or out, the information was leaked on Flynn to Washington Post. That, if it’s true and, I can’t, I’m not allowed to comment on whether it’s true or not because for different reasons, that if we are monitoring a foreign embassy that can only be done with the approval of the Pfizer court which for reasons is a secret court. If an American, if his name or his voice or her voice comes up on any of those wire taps, that has to be masked and kept confidential and only the court can release the name. That’s done to protect the privacy of American citizens, and to release that, to disclose that, is punishable by 10 years in jail. So forget that it was Flynn, I would say the same thing if it was anyone to disclose –
Liuba: What about that Karl Rove and Valerie Plame?
Rep. King: Karl had nothing to do with Valerie Plame. That was totally untrue.
Liuba: What do you mean? You said he deserved a medal for being the second source.
Rep. King: I don’t think he was second source. I think he was –
Liuba: He was the second source.
Rep. King: He wasn’t the second source. If that were true, he would’ve been indicted if he were.
Liuba: But you said he deserved a medal for outing her, so what’s the difference?
Rep. King: For his criticism of her. First of all, that whole thing was a total lie. First of all, they knew about it when Fitzgerald was appointed. He found out immediately that Richard Armitage was the one who leaked it. Richard Armitage –
Liuba: He was the first.
Rep. King: Who was against the war –
Liuba: He was the first
Rep. King: Right and they went through Rove and they could not, there was not enough to indict him then. He did not disclose it and that was the whole point.
Liuba: But in the news clip that I watched of you, you specifically said that Karl Rove deserves a medal. Karl Rove by outing her put her –
Rep. King: But he didn’t out her. He didn’t out her. Armitage outed her
Liuba: But you said that you –
Rep. King: No I think for exposing, for saying how terrible Joe Wilson was. He was a total liar. He was a fraud. Joe Wilson…there was no, that whole report he wrote – first of all he never wrote a report, Joe Wilson. Secondly, there was independent analysis by the British, which backed up what Bush had said in his address to Congress. So Joe Wilson was a liar and a fraud, and I’ve said that and he attacked me and everything else. And Karl Rove, I give him credit for standing up, but he did not, he didn’t leak it. And read through Fitzgerald’s report and read why Rove wasn’t indicted. But I was saying basically, if I can remember the quote, but if Rove was willing to stand up for Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, I give him credit.
Liuba: Well what you said in the interview, it was 12 years ago, I don’t know if you remember it correctly but you did say that he deserves a medal for outing her. That was the quote.
Rep. King: I don’t think I said outing.
Liuba: That’s what it said in the video.
Rep. King: I have to see it. Where did you see it? I have to see the full thing because I was very much involved in that and I –
Liuba: She risked her life and the life all of her assets. She was in the field —
Rep. King: But he didn’t do it. It was Armitage that did it. Armitage is the one.
Liuba: Well he was the first.
Rep. King: No, who was?
Liuba: Armitage was the first –
Rep. King: If Rove had done it, he would’ve been indicted, because Fitzgerald spent a fortune to indict him. They could not. It was a question of when somebody asked Rove a question and something he may have said —
Liuba: But why did he deserve a medal and whoever leaked the Flynn tapes is a criminal? What’s the difference?
Rep. King: Because he didn’t leak it. That was the whole point. Okay otherwise he would’ve been indicted.
Liuba: Okay, I heard what you were saying about Mike Flynn the other day in the news and I find it, and many people find it …. Trump knew for two or three weeks that Mike Flynn had lied to the Vice President. He knew that he had made multiple phone calls on the same day that Obama levied these sanctions, and Donald Trump tweeted on that same day that he knew Putin was very smart.
I find it incredibly concerning that the President knew this information, and as of the day that he finally resigned, had his full confidence and was still sitting in top secret meetings and had his security clearance, and I don’t think he would’ve been asked to resign had the media not found out about this. And I’m very concerned about our national security, and I heard you say that it wasn’t illegal. So my question for you, among many questions, if he violated the Logan Act, even if it is an antiquated law, he did violate the Logan Act.
Rep. King: Well we don’t know if he did or not. And again you haven’t seen the transcript, I haven’t seen the transcript, I do know that it was one of the reasons why they withheld judgment was … I have to watch what I say here…. investigated by the White House council and if we can believe media reports the FBI has concluded that no crime was committed. That’s all I can say is what media reports are saying. That Flynn did not commit any crime.
Liuba: But he was conducting diplomacy as….he wasn’t the national security advisor. He was conducting diplomacy against what Obama… Don’t you think it’s concerning that Donald Trump knew for weeks and didn’t do anything about it?
Rep. King: First of all we don’t know what was said. I know that there was a White House investigation going on over it, and I do know that again if we believe press reports, parts of the transcripts are ambiguous, that Flynn may not have quote unquote lied that, again.. I’m skeptical. You haven’t seen the transcript, I haven’t seen it. The FBI having reviewed it –
Liuba: The DOJ told him that he lied weeks before.
Rep. King: Well one woman in the FBI does not mean you have to believe her either. She’s also the one that who wouldn’t enforce the executive order, which was illegal for her to do that, because she should have resigned. You do not have the right to refuse to enforce an order. You resign if you don’t believe it, so the fact that one person who is a Democratic holdover said that Mike’s a liar is not enough to remove somebody from office. You have to be fully investigated and when they would have done it, we have to, again, all as a part of our investigation
Liuba: What are your thoughts on Donald Trump undermining the judiciary calling Robart a “so called judge?”
Rep. King: I’d say that it’s nowhere near as bad as what Obama did when —
Liuba: No it we’re not talking about what Obama did. We’re asking about what Trump did.
Rep. King: Do I think it’s? It’s a fair comment. Judges have to take it. I mean would I have said it? He has the right to free speech. Just like Obama did and just like Franklin Roosevelt did and just like other presidents have had. Why are you holding Trump to a different standard than Obama or Franklin Roosevelt?
Liuba: Because Obama didn’t call anyone a “so-called judge.”
Rep. King: What he did was when the judge was saying he violated every protocol in the history of the United States to have judges sitting in front of him in the state of the union and attacked them.
Liuba: When did Obama attack judges?
Rep. King: In the State Union, when he attacked the Citizens United case. He attacked the decision made in that case with the judge sitting in front of him as a captive audience unable to respond. That was considered by anyone with a sense of ethics as being totally wrong. That showed more disrespect for the court than anything Trump said.
Liuba: Does anybody want to ask a question on that? I don’t remember that particularly.
Jackie: But that doesn’t compare
Rep. King: It certainly does. To have the judge sitting there at state of the union sitting in front of him and attack him.
Liuba: But he was attacking their decision, not them.
Rep. King: First of all, judges are not immune. Maybe I wouldn’t have said it but …. I think about people like Franklin Roosevelt said about the courts.
Shafi: Forget this so-called judge for a second, the idea is that the so-called judge, the reason that I think it sparks a lot of kind of concern is that there’s been some previous comments that he’s made about institutions in the United States, right? So the press being one of them, the Judiciary being the other.
Liuba: The intelligence community.
Shafi: The intelligence community being a third.
Rep. King: There were certainly people at the top who did act disgracefully, like John Brennan for one that I can tell you. I’ve been involved in that one. I know some of the stuff that went on there. Not the rank and file. 99% people of the good people, some at the top, Mike Morell, former intelligence guy.
Shafi: Mike Morell also endorsed Hilary Clinton in the New York Times and also said at the CIA Counter Terrorist Center, was a Muslim, and that he has kept people safe in this country for 10 years.
Rep. King: Mike Morell? Mike Morell was also involved in rewriting the talking points. I was very involved with Morell in that believe me, I’m not a fan of Morell. I go back many years with Morell.
Shafi: Sorry just to go back to the Judiciary.
Rep. King: I got to go in about 2 minutes.
Shafi: Yeah, no problem. I guess the last question I wanted to ask, the judiciary. When he criticizes the judge’s decision based on his ethnicity, which he did kind of earlier in the campaign, I think it calls into question a lot of people’s idea of what he is allowed —
Rep. King: First of all, I wouldn’t have said that. On the other hand, I think what Hilary Clinton did having Michael Brown’s mother on the stage at the national convention. I’m saying he was an attempted cop killer. That was an absolute disgrace. Cops are being assassinated in the streets, in fact, just a week before 10 days before the convention there were cops assassinated and she is saying Michael Brown is some kind of civil rights hero. She has his mother standing on the stage of the convention.
Shafi: I don’t remember that, but –
Rep. King: Oh, I do.
Liuba: But this has nothing to do with the question….
Shafi: No, but my question is do two wrongs make a right?
Rep. King: No I’m not implying there are different standards for Trump. I’m just saying that what Hilary Clinton did is far worse than Trump criticizing a judge.
Shafi: I don’t think we’re trying to apply different standard. I think we’re just trying to find out what the current president —
Rep. King: I would say in the world of politics, a lot go back and forth, I don’t complain when people attack me and to me it’s all a part of being in the arena.
Liuba: In terms of that particular judge, he said because he was of Mexican descent, he couldn’t do his job.
Rep. King: I wouldn’t have said it!
Shafi: But do you think that it’s the right thing to have done? Forget whether –
Rep. King: No, no I didn’t, I don’t, I also think that what Hilary Clinton did, what John Kennedy did, what Eisenhower, I can go through a whole list of things nobody is prefect you know you deal with what’s out there.
Sandra: Just one thing about what Trumps says and what Trump tweets. The major concern I think from my perspective, and from other people’s too is that this is who he is and this is what he does and he does have his first amendment rights of free speech, but his words and his tweets and everything has a big impact on people in this country. For example, the rise in anti-Semitic acts is way up.
Rep. King: I don’t blame Donald Trump.
Sandra: Oh, I’m not even… it’s the environment. There’s an environment, there’s a lot of.. I can feel it in terms of even what people write in blogs, and stuff there’s just divisiveness going on that’s really, it’s not good. It’s not good for our country to have this.
Liuba: He’s supposed to be our leader and when your leader talks about.. boasts about sexual assault and still becomes the president. That hurts people especially – –
Rep. King: Listen Bill Clinton is a friend of mine. It’s one thing to talk about, it’s another thing to do it.
Liuba: One thing is sex between two adults and the other is boasting about sexual assault!
Rep. King: Well were they consenting? It’s a whole different story between having a young girl in the White House. I don’t want to get into it…
Sandra: Yeah let’s not go down that road.
Rep. King: No don’t tell me. I’m saying out of fairness to Bill Clinton who I know very well and —
Liuba: But Donald Trump boasting about that really hurt many many women especially survivors.
Rep. King: Ok well it’s out there and there’s still a majority of, well a good number of women voted for him.
Liuba: That’s shocking, but yes, you’re right.
Sandra: We’re all still trying to wrap our heads around it but yes it’s true.
Rep. King: Well, I’m saying, certainly on Long Island, I mean, I can tell you in Long Island, the majority of women voted for him
Sandra: So that’s just my point…. his words have a bigger impact
Rep. King: I’m not trying to run out. I enjoy this. I understand. Listen now you sound like my wife. She’s always telling me to calm down. I’ve been in meetings with people, not since the campaign, but during the campaign, where people on the staff would say, he’s just…. because he’s a totally different person in private, that I can tell you, for the most part. I put him in front of a microphone and he feels he has to excite the crowd and that’s. It’s Donald Trump. He’s different I didn’t support him in the beginning.
Sandra: I know you didn’t
Rep. King: He was like my third or fourth choice. It came down to him and Hilary. Hilary is a personal friend but I disagree with on her with so many issues. T-hat’s all. And on issues that I have met with him on, which we’ve talked mainly about, including terrorism, police, we are in agreement and that’s –
Liuba: I’m sorry. I know you have to go. Two years ago you said that the Muslim ban or the ban, the travel ban whatever you want to call it was beyond American Values.
Rep. King: Oh yeah. What did he say? He said to ban people because they’re Muslims, but I also said at the time if you’re talking about people coming from certain countries, that to me is totally legitimate. That’s all.
Sandra: Alright, well thank you.
Liuba: Can we talk to your staff about setting a telephone town hall?
Rep. King: Yeah, actually Anne is the one who would do it and she’s out she’ll be back on Thursday, so give Anne a call maybe Friday. I don’t know when she’s coming from upstate
Liuba: Ok thank you so much
Rep. King: Ok, again, appreciate you coming.