tv Newsmakers Sen Chuck Grassley CSPAN June 24, 2018 10:00am-10:35am EDT
way he interacts with donald trump. he gushes over him, and it is sometimes uncomfortable to watch even. i think he knows he has to do it. host: thank you very much for being with us. you are back tomorrow morning with washington journal. immigration will be front and center. we will break it all down. later, the president asking for the creation of space force. newsmakers is next. thank you for joining us on this sunday. enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a great week ahead.
>> newsmakers is next with republican senator charles grassley of iowa. that is followed by president trump signing an executive order to end the separation of migrant families along the u.s. border. the first lady's visit to texas facility.toured a house members debate one of two bills that dealt with immigration and border security.
>> senator charles grassley of iowa, the chairman of the judiciary committee. joining me is bob kusak. as we get started, the house is still in progress. with your many years watching this town, what is your view of what this city and country went through regarding immigration policy? where are we going to end up? sen. grassley: a lot of journalists can turn things around quickly. there is a good chance, at least in the senate, we could next week -- we are going to work on a bipartisan basis to get a bill passed. nobody wants children separated from their parents. there are things that demand you cannot hold children in housing, detention with their parents.
there is more that can be done. i think there is a good chance. there was a bipartisan discussion of this. some differences of opinion. certainty we ought to get some legislation passed. we approve of what the president did but i would call that a short-term solution. the solution has to be legislative. we are elected to legislate. you bring certainty with legislative action.
>> as a point of leverage, capitol hill has been trying to work on immigration legislation for months. for those who saw this policy as a means of moving capitol hill, do you think it was effective? sen. grassley: the president doing what he did? there are a lot of things people think congressmen are supposed to know. how laws are enforced. you do not know that right away. for instance, it has been 3-4 months since i got the phone calls from islands, outraged about anything the federal government is doing. they have been on top of this. maybe people back at the grassroots do not think they can make an impact on congress, but the publicity and people understanding the problem, the fact that but every senator i
know does not think kit should be separated, bringing things to a head. >> did you contact the white house to lobby president trump to move forward with the executive order? the press coverage was extremely negative for the white house. sen. grassley: i did not. there were 12 people who signed a letter. i have been looking at the case we talked about. decided the only way you are going to keep these children with their parents and do it with certainty is to change the law. when i saw the house moving in that direction, the president endorsing one of those bills, similar to what we were trying to do in the senate, i thought there was a good chance it might bring congressional action. i still hope that is possible.
the president can issue executive orders. tomorrow he can change it. a new president can come along. on an issue like keeping kids with their parents, it ought to be law not the whim of a president. >> are you optimistic it will pass the senate? some democrats have raised concerns, indefinite keeping the kids and families together. sen. grassley: the best thing to do is to consider the legislation and hope next week when people sit down, that is a broad range of opinion. if they can get together, we will pass legislation. >> to move on to a different topic, criminal justice reform. there is a bit of a stalemate.
the majority leader has said he is not interested in bringing up the prison built for more comprehensive package. have you reached out to anyone with any offer to break this? sen. grassley: always reaching out to the white house through his special assistant, mr. kushner. my very first meeting with the president included a short conversation, can we work together? he feels the best way to work together is with prison reform. that is 100% of a loaf of bread. that is probably one fourth of the loaf. we have the thing that will really bring about social justice and compassion. it is so bipartisan.
senator lee on one and, senator durbin on the other, i think that is the best hope of moving. i think the opportunity to do that, when we do prison reform, sentencing reform together. >> you have been reaching out fairly constantly, we have not seen movement. are you optimistic? sen. grassley: the thing that makes me optimistic, we have high-level people that think some of it needs to be passed. as we build support, we are building support almost every day, when the white house sees -- i better say when president trump finally comes to the understanding this is why
and this cantisan be a win for him, he needs to show bipartisanship, that is the key to getting it up on the senate. >> there was a big inspector general report. it expressed displeasure james comey did not show up. he had time for media appearances but not congress. are you going to subpoena him to respond? sen. grassley: i will want to subpoena him what in the senate rules, you have to have both agreed to it. i cannot tell you she would agree to it. if she will we will subpoena. , >> loretta lynch as well? when you think a decision will be made? sen. grassley: if senator feinstein tells me yesterday, we will do it.
>> does that also go for a compulsory process for mccabe? i know he had requested immunity. sen. grassley: that involves a few steps. agreeing to it. i want to do that. we are in negotiations. it goes to the justice department to see it is not interfere with their potential prosecution. i think another step that is not so regular, we are working through his lawyers on this, having a conversation of what he can contribute to our oversight. if he cannot contribute anything substantial, there is no point going forward. >> provided that results in a positive outcome -- sen. grassley: yes. >> we have talked to republican senators and they are frustrated
with president trump. on trade they have made the case , to him you are hurting the people you elected with your trade policies. are you frustrated with president trump and his moves on tariffs possibly pulling out of , nafta? it doesn't seem like the arguments republicans are making who are pro-trade are resonating. sen. grassley: they may not resonate with him but i can tell you on the points we have made, particularly agriculture, there has also been manufacturing. i have been more involved with agriculture because i was a big agriculture state. three meetings at the white house where these points of view have been expressed. remember this. we know from history, carter,
reagan, george w. bush put on tariffs. agriculture is the first to be hurt by it. there is already some hurt with the uncertainty of it. there is hurt with the dramatic drop of soybean prices in the midwest, also corn prices. a terrible drop in soybean prices. a lot of us related to this. not just to the president himself in the white house. over the course of a year. with people who are close to him like wilbur ross. secretary mnuchin and to read they have heard from agricultural states generally. other interests as well as well. it could be very harmful. nobody is going to be offended if the president can succeed in
getting a better deal on trade for all segments of our economy. it is kind of a big gamble. it seems the president is using the usual business tactics of negotiating, start with an extreme position and bring people to the brink. if he goes over the brink, i think it could be catastrophic . i can't predict the outcome. >> you posted you have had a chance to sit down with your former governor. the ambassador to china. what did you learn about the chinese reaction to the tarrifs? sen. grassley: it was in a sense confidential. five or six people were in on it
besides just the governor. i can tell you what we talked about. i don't want to tell you what was said some of the things i , said about trade, i have expressed. generally, we talked about the leadership of china. china's involvement with north korea, things of that nature. generally, getting a feel, how china is going to react to some of these things we are doing. it kind of boils down to the u.s. being the biggest economy. china being the second-biggest. they have a different political system than we do. one person there may be can decide whether or not they are going to cave or not cave.
there are a lot of uncertainties as it deals with trade. that's the only part i would give you a summation of. >> at a time when it seems like we need china, doesn't make sense to have trade and tariff issues? sen. grassley: the president referred to xi as a friend of mine. it is difficult to know what the president knows and we might not know. you get the feeling he feels he is in the driver's seat. you kind of have to take his word for it. there is a certain amount of
uncertainty in doing that. >> the campaign manager made waves when he called for the firing. there is conservative discontent with the deputy attorney general. you said, i do not have time to confirm new attorneys general. do you continue to have confidence? sen. grassley: yes. senator sessions, now attorney general sessions, the only difference is i have, he does not support my efforts. i told him a year ago in march, i said you can be tough on crime. i am tough on crime. there is some unfairness. we have to have compassion when there is unfairness.
all we are doing in sentencing reform, we are not opening the prison gates. we are allowing people to have another bite at the apple with the judge. let a judge look at this. maybe the mandatory minimums are unfair to this person. maybe his sentence of 20 years should be reduced to 10 years. nobody is getting out of prison the next day as a result. if that passes and is signed by the president, 6000 people are going to walk the next day, i believe you read law enforcement people, particularly the association of attorneys, that is what they want you to believe.
you go before a judge, you are going to get out right away. what about the bill that passed the house? that guts their argument. >> the ag and deputy ag, you have confidence. sen. grassley: yes. >> you are known for investigations of both administrations. there are some republicans in including those on capitol hill who have said, it is time for robert mueller to wrap up this probe. is it time for him to wrap up this probe? sen. grassley: i hope the president reads what i say. i said, it seems to me like you are winning. they haven't found any basis for collusion. that is the charge come up between his campaign and russia.
just let it play out. the less you say about it, the stronger your presidency is going to be. i've got faith in robert mueller. let him play it out. i would like to have him speed up. >> do you think it will be better he comes out before the election? should the election timing not matter? sen. grassley: i believe, i think he would be the type of person professionally, he either gets this done by labor day or else it will come december, january. i don't think he should do it, for sure during october. >> to fit it to another official, scott pruitt. you have raised concerned about the way he has handled ethanol. beyond that, he faces allegations of misuse of
government resources. as someone who has made oversight a priority, do you concerns beyond ethanol? sen. grassley: it does not sound good and a lot of questions are being raised. i ought to say until all the investigations are done. there are things that are very disturbing, particularly when he asked people to help get his wife a franchise. >> four minutes left. >> speaking of nominees, there is a process you are familiar with. there is concern among democrats republicans are going to do away with that process. what is the future of blue slips?
sen. grassley: i think i proved that being chairman, they have not been done away with. they will continue and they ought to continue. i am the 19th chairman of the committee since blue slips started 100 years ago and only two chairman have had absolute blue slips have to be returned. others have had exceptions. i am one of those with an exception. in five cases, have i not had them returned. we have had 42 judges through the senate. 40 judges on the calendar of the senate. we have about 40 working their way through my committee.
just think of the number of times, very rare, a blue slip is not returned. >> i am to use my last question on a fun one. you have complaints about the history channel. the history channel reached out and said, would you like to collaborate on an episode, a grassley themed project? any updates? sen. grassley: we wanted to do that and we ran into this senateon with the capital ethics people it would be promoting a profit-making organization and we could not do it. i have gone to real history channel. once a week, you'll find history on my twitter and instagram.
>> how often do you talk to president trump? sen. grassley: i would say it would average at least twice a month. sometimes he is initiating a phone call to me. very seldom do i initiate one to him. most of the meetings are small or large group meetings. things like, saturday morning, the white house calls. they said, president trump wants to talk to. i am getting ready to go out and do something and take the call. , as an on for 24 minutes example. >> the supreme court is winding down. sen. grassley: the usual rumors are out there.
there may be a resignation. i have not had any confirmation whatsoever. i am trying to get some sort of confirmation. >> this week canada legalized , marijuana. do you anticipate the u.s. following suit? sen. grassley: not during my lifetime. >> thank you for being our guest. newsmakers is back after our conversation with senator grassley. he chairs the judiciary committee. we cover a lot of territory. asked questions about blue slips. that probably means nothing to people watching. >> that is a process where the home state senator has the ability to send an objection letter, a blue slip. judicial nominations are polarizing. senator grassley was defending his use of it. there has been some concern
expressed by an number of democrats their power to use their blue slip has been lessened. it could be completely eliminated. where we have seen nominations, you do not need 60 votes, this could be the next one. president trump asked for the filibuster to end. best not going to happen anytime soon. >> he was not wrong he said he has protected the blue slip. where he has drawn the line is circuit court nominees. if one state from that circuit sends a blue slip he does not , recognize it. when is it is from one state, he still does. there is historical precedent for that. >> we did some follow-up on the hearing. what did you learn?
what do you think is next? >> it seems to me his openness to a subpoena, as well as to the community request, was a step ahead. so far, all we have seen he wanted comey and lynch in their. he gave more definitive stances than we have seen. >> he has a good relationship with diane feinstein. they have worked together on a number of issues. he is saying, it is up to her. he wants to move forward but the rules of the committee, it has to be bipartisan. i would imagine because republicans and democrats have been upset with james comey. i would think she would agree. clearly, she has not. >> a major portion of the ig report was that james comey used personal in email. i would be surprised if feinstein does not agree.
>> the president continues to call it a witch hunt. doesn't seem like the council is going very far. >> it does not. however it is important to , remember, the president trump cannot justify a rod wrote his -- fire robert mueller. very definitively. with rosenstein, the link between the mueller probe, there is a slim 20 chance that happens. his point is a big one. >> it is interesting it would look political momentum what. some say he should end it when it should end.
they shouldn't take politics into account. he is saying before labor day or after the midterm election. otherwise, it would look political. that is one to watch. if we don't see anything by labor day, maybe we will not see anything until after the midterm. >> if we do something in that time, they may be calling for his job. >> why were you interested in how often they talk? >> just interested in how often members get calls. sometimes it's random. sometimes they contact the white house. trump likes to talk to people. whether it is bad press, good press, he wants to talk about it. he has a bit of a friendship with senator manchin, who has been at the white house. looks like he is going to campaign against him. grassley is in the middle of these fights. he's making recommendations on
mueller. he's expressing concerns about trade policies. he is not getting very far on either one. grassley would be one i figure trump would talk to a fair amount. twice a month, that's a decent amount. >> the sender has been working that for quite some time. the influence, state senators where the president is popular? >> we could soon see an effort to check the president's use of a particular type of tariff. 232 related to national security. that applies to national security. we had a standoff. republicans stepped back because they want to discuss a consensus position. the china tariffs are totally separate. there is fairly strong support within the gop. >> we are out of time. thank you for your questions. appreciate you being here.
announcer: this weekend on afterwards, maryland congressman john delaney. the first democrat to declare a run for the presidency in 2020 offers his vision for america in his book the right answer. how we can unify a divided nation. you have been a member of congress since 2013. you have had an opportunity to introduce legislation. the book, call for an and to partisanship. especially that rewards division. >> i think a president, or any other elected leader in this
country, should effectively represent everyone. whether they voted for them or not. they should almost take the pledge never to divide us. that does not mean they don't go out there and say why they should vote for me over the other person, or why my ideas are better than the other but, taking it to the step where you are actually cultivating a spirit of the things one of that is going on in this country right now. which is really insidious. id think if you have the privilege of serving, we should -- in addition to swearing to defend to protect the constitution, we should lead to that we are not going to say thanks to divide us. we are going to go out of our way to try to unify the country. the country is inherently stronger when we are unified. announcer: watch tonight at 9:00 eastern.
the c-span buses traveling across the country on our 50 capitals door. -- tour. folks what is the most important issue in alaska. mostat i think is the important issue facing alaska is we are in the middle of a budget crisis. we are used to having a lot of oil money come in. as a result of lower oil prices we aren't getting that revenue that we are used to. there are over -- other things that need to happen. be happeningeem to very fast. i think there is political reasons why people are worried about implementing taxes. without an additional revenue coming in, the alaskans are facing a lot of crisis in a lot of areas. one is the opioid and substance abuse crisis. the more our economy goes down, the more and more people get
upset and aren't living their lives in a way that they are happy with. so they end up getting destitute and turning to self-medicating. that is a big crisis. >> i think the most of gordon issues child hungry. and taking care of it children. it is all linked to poverty. we were at 40% of child hunger. we went down, now we are going way back up. have to stop giving all our money to the oil companies instead of spending it on children for the future. issues is thebig tourism industry. it is a huge chunk of our economy. it is growing by leaps and bounds. we are concerned about the juno ando promote promote the state at a nationwide level. it is such a bright spot in our economy. see, fromas i can
what i have been hearing, one of the big issues is homelessness. and trying to combat it seems to be a big issue. a lot of them are not actively seeking help. the ones that are seem to be moving from place to place looking for the different types of aid that they can get. it seems like one of the big issues is that homelessness and how we can combat it and fight it here in the state. the executive director of the alaska council -- from our perspective, the most important thing in alaska is to get a long-term sustainable system plan in place. for a state which has ongoing revenue. outside of our nonrenewable resources. really, primarily, because we need to stabilize education across the state. educators need to feel that they are -- their