Cruz: The Most Important Question In Impeachment Trial Is Can A President Investigate Corruption? | Video | RealClearPolitics

Cruz: The Most Important Question In Impeachment Trial Is Can A President Investigate Corruption?


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said the most important question that will come out of the impeachment trial and the reason why President Trump will be acquitted is can a president investigate corruption? In an interview with nationally syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt on Friday, Cruz said the answer is obviously yes.

HUGH HEWITT, HOST: That is really terrific. You know, that’s contemporaneous account that will matter should this country ever have to go through this again. Well done, Senator. Now, big question, what is, in your opinion, in the best interest of the republic, and I don’t mean just in the next 100 hours or 100 days, or months, even, but in the next 100 years? What, if we are thinking in that time frame, is in the best interest of the republic to happen next?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Well, in terms of finishing the trial, let’s just, best interest of the republic is a broad enough question. Let’s focus on just the impeachment trial right now. In terms of finishing the trial, we’ve got one more day of arguments from the House managers. So we will sit there all day today and listen to them argue. I suspect they’ll make many of the same arguments over and over again, because we’ve seen that, now, for several days in a row. And then starting Saturday, the President’s defense team for the first time gets to stand up and present their defense of the President. And that’ll start Saturday and continue through Monday. Once the opening arguments are done, we will then move to questions from senators, 16 hours of questions from senators. Now the way it works is we don’t get to ask questions directly. Instead, we handwrite them, and the Chief Justice, Chief Justice John Roberts, will ask the questions for us. After that…

HEWITT: Now does that alternate from the majority to the minority?

CRUZ: Yes, it does.

HEWITT: And does it alternate by seniority among the majority and the minority?

CRUZ: So it’s not seniority within the two parties. It alternates Democrat and Republican, but it has typically been the majority leader, the Democratic leader decide the order of the questions. So you submit them, but it’s not straight seniority.

HEWITT: Now will you print yours, Senator, or will you use script?

CRUZ: You know, that is a good question, and I’ll confess I don’t know the answer to that. In the Clinton impeachment trial, they followed the same proceedings, and they had a form that looked like you had to write them out. I’ve got a number that I have typed. And I’m continuing to type them. But I’m not sure which way to work. I hope you can type them. It makes for a more effective questioning. And by the way, one of the things I’ve invited people to do on the podcast that I’m doing every night is I’ve said listen, if any of you listeners have ideas for questions that you would like me to ask, just tweet them at me. My Twitter handle is @TedCruz, and just put the hashtag #Verdict. And we are reviewing all of those questions and trying to get good ideas for pithy, effective, meaningful questions to ask of the House managers.

HEWITT: Well, here is my request that you consider – Footnote 565, in which the President’s lawyers in their brief for the President cite contemporaneous account from Politico as to Ukrainian meddling. Now I have described, this is going to hurt as a Texas senator, Senator, and I apologize in advance, the Russians were the Houston Astros of cheating in 2016. They were really the champions.

CRUZ: (groans)

HEWITT: But the Ukrainians were still the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, you know, a double A club, and they were playing in this. And therefore, given the contemporaneous accounts, the President’s full panoply of powers are engaged. Is he within his rights to inquire as to whether or not it’s Burisma or Crowdstrike, I believe the former is relevant, not the latter, but is it within his rights as president to do so?

CRUZ: Absolutely, yes. You know, sadly enough, the footnote you cite, I’m familiar with. I’m familiar with that Politico article. I’ve read that Politico article that came out that detailed at great length the multiple efforts that Ukraine did to interfere in the 2016 election to put, to weigh in on behalf of Hillary Clinton. Now they didn’t engage in the sort of conduct that Russia did…

HEWITT: Agree.

CRUZ: …which means they didn’t have bot farms. They weren’t hacking electronically. But they had multiple players throughout their government that were vocally aggressively advocating for Hillary Clinton and attacking Donald Trump in a way that is extremely unusual. And it is perfectly legitimate for a president, for a president to press for an investigation as to foreign countries and why they’re interfering in our elections, which is what the President did. And then when it comes to Burisma, the most important question in this entire trial, and the reason why at the end of the trial the President is going to be acquitted, is can a president investigate corruption? And the answer is obviously yes. And in fact, if there’s serious evidence of corruption, the President not only has an ability to investigate, a responsibility to do so. When it comes to Burisma, Burisma is the largest natural gas company in Ukraine. It was owned and controlled by a Ukrainian oligarch who made billions doing this. It was corrupt through and through, and Burisma had on its board Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden. It was paying him a million dollars a year. And Joe Biden was the Obama administration’s point person for Ukraine policy. And he vigorously advocated. He pressured Ukraine to fire the prosecutor that was investigating and targeting Burisma and the oligarch who had made billions. And he did all of this while his son was making a million bucks a year. Now whether that is in fact corrupt or not, I don’t know. But it’s at least, it’s enormous evidence to justify investigating, to make whether it’s corrupt, and that’s what President Trump asked the Ukrainians to do, and that was within his authority and responsibility to do.

HEWITT: Now our friend, Jonah Goldberg, says Hugh, don’t, and he would say Senator Cruz, don’t overlook he brought up Crowdstrike. Crowdstrike is a discredited conspiracy theory. I believe the Crowdstrike theory is discredited, but that does not disable the President from throwing out whatever he wants to throw out provided that there is a predicate for Ukrainian corruption. It will be disproven, eventually, by others that Crowdstrike is not the way to go, but Burisma is legitimate. Do you think that there is any honesty on the other side to recognize the presidential power with this predicate?

CRUZ: So there isn’t, but I also think the House managers made a serious tactical mistake. I think yesterday was very consequential, because what they’ve done is they’ve opened the door to Burisma. They’ve opened the door to Hunter Biden testifying. And the reason for that is they have built their whole case on the proposition that they argued, they argued at length yesterday that there is zero basis for any reason to investigate Burisma, that it is completely fake and phony and bogus and without merit. That’s their argument, that the only possible reason to investigate Burisma is illegitimate political motives. That’s simply not the case. And we were talking a minute ago about the podcast that I’ve launched, Verdict with Ted Cruz. Last night, the entire show, we did a half hour show where the entire topic was Burisma. And I walked through in real detail here is all of the evidence of Burisma corruption that would justify any president saying we need to investigate. I walked through the timeline and the facts. And so let me encourage your listeners to go and subscribe to Verdict with Ted Cruz, sign up, give it five-star ratings. You know, so it’s a little crazy, Hugh. We launched it three days ago. It is already one of the top ten podcasts in the world.

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