Eyewitness News’ Brad Byrd talks to Congressman Larry Bucshon on the impeachment trial and the process inside the House and Senate chambers.
BB: Welcome to In-Depth. The impeachment trial of President Trump represents a history lesson that is in progress. Politics aside, what do we really know about the process going on in the House and Senate chambers. Joining me tonight is Eight District Congressman Larry Bucshon. He voted against sending the articles to the senate as did all Republican House members. Congressman, you’re back in the district. You’ve been back for a few days. What are your constituents telling you?
LB: Well I’ll say the vast majority are constituents across the country. They are wanting us to get back to work on behalf of the American people. This has been a very divisive process and so that’s the main thing I’m hearing around the district why don’t we get back to getting health care costs down, working on drug pricing. So that’s the major thing that I’m hearing.
BB: A lot of the rhetoric has been very bitter in this impeachment trial. The Cheif Justice John Roberts whose resigning basically told all the senators on both sides of the isle call that rhetoric down. What do you think about that?
LB: I would agree with that. If you’re going to have a process be professional about it. I think sometimes We’ve seen some unprofessional behavior both in the House and the Senate. So I would agree that if you would ya know, you want to be professional about the process. Its a constitutional process and we’re elected to represent the people and we should show respect to the constitution and the people we represent.
BB: How are you following this impeachment trial being here at home? It’s going on 10-12 hours per day closer to 10 since the rules were changed. How are you following this?
LB: I follow both during the day. Occasionally watching part of it on tv. Through news report updates. Primarily from the Wall Street Journal and other organizations like that. Also House Republicans and from the White House mostly about what they see happening in the process.
BB: Is there anything you were seeing since the vote from the House just in the back of your mind are you saying at any time maybe we should change direction here or are you still steadfast. No new witness allowed in, new evidence. Why are you not wanting those as part of the Senate process?
LB: Well the constitutional process is the House does the investigation… The house has the opportunity to do that and that chose not to. The House Democrat chose not to subpoena John …. which that could have. they did that because they put in an artificial timeline to finish before Christmas. So the process has occurred in the House it’s up to the Senate to hear the information the house has determined what has occurred and then make a judgment. It’s not the Senates problem. It’s not the senate’s role to be calling witness in my view. The House did that and they should have done better.
BB: But House Democrats would tell all his people to resist subpoena. Do not volunteer to be a witness in that process. What’s your response to that?
LB: He claims executive privilege on those and every president since George Washington claims executive privilege. For example, President Obama claimed it when we were investigating what was called “Fast and Furious” where there were some guns sold to some Mexican cartels. We subpoenaed Eric Holder to come to Congress. President Obama claimed executive privilege. In fact, we held Holder in contempt of Congress for that, but we didn’t impeach the president for that. It’s a legitimate legal process and the president has the right to do that.
BB: The government accountability office the GAO has said the White House violated a law, the president violated a law that limits the president’s power to withhold allocated by congress. That report came out after the House vote before the Senate trial. Your response.
LB: The GAO also said, the Obama administration violated the law 7 or 8 times and a quick Google search will tell you what those were. The most prominent one was when they traded prisoners from Guantanamo Bay for … and the GAO will tell you they violated the law and you didn’t see us impeach the president for that.
BB: This brings the statement two wrongs make a right?
LB: Well what I’m getting at is, the GAO are an opinion and the opinions of the budget office at the White House. The Office of Management Budget the OMB was that they did not violate the law. Let me tell you why because even though the money was appropriated they had until the end of the physical year to give the aid and they did. They beat the deadline by quite a number of days. So the money that was appropriated by Congress for that physical year was given to the Ukrainians in aid before the deadline and so that’s not a violation of law in my opinion. And the Officer of Management Budget agrees with that, that it was not a violation of law. My point about the GAO is it is an opinion administration disagree with it. The Obama administration also disagreed with some of those opinions.
BB: It’s expected, President Trump will be acquitted considering the math of the votes and how they’ll be taken. Okay, he’s acquitted not convicted. Regardless preception wise, will this have an impact on his ability from this point forward to lead?
LB: I don’t will actually.
BB: Why is that?
LB: I just don’t think it will because once he’s acquitted, I mean you’re innocent until proven guilty in this country. And contrast to some of the Democrats who are saying well the president has to prove his innocents well that’s not the way the constitution reads. And so once he’s proven innocent and acquitted by the Senate I think he’ll move forward I think hopefully the Congress will move also. I know I will.
BB: We were talking tonight as far as the senators paying attention. The country paying attention. Network tonight is reporting that GOP senator has been passing out fidget spinners to members of the US Senate.
LB: Well they shouldn’t be doing that.
BB: they shouldn’t be doing that but they are doing that. First, there were cell phones and then some of them had apple watches on. So is that a strain. You listen to a lot of testimony. Well, I mean through the appropriation through the judiciary committee but the arguments in the overall House.
LB: Yeah, I think again people should act professionally. There are rules you shouldn’t be handing out these types of things. You should be paying attention as a senator. You know, they have bathroom breaks and they have breaks for lunch and dinner and those types of things. But otherwise, I think they need to be paying attention that’s the constitutional process and if I was a senator I would be at my desk listening.
BB: Okay, well it’s not over until it’s over.
LB: It’s not over yet.
BB: Okay, well thank you so much for joining us. You’re watching Eyewitness News at 9 we’ll be right back.
(This story was originally published on January 23, 2020)