Transcript: Rep. Mark Meadows on "Face the Nation," December 8, 2019

Meadows on House impeaching Trump: "I don't think it's inevitable"

The following is a transcript of an interview with Rep. Mark Meadows that aired Sunday, December 8, 2019, on "Face the Nation."


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back with the former chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows. Good morning. 

REPRESENTATIVE MARK MEADOWS: Good morning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Good to have you here. 

REP. MEADOWS: Great to be here. Great set.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you.

REP. MEADOWS: I tell you, this is exciting.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You're christening it for us. You just heard Chairman Schiff--

REP. MEADOWS: Sure.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --lay out his case. From your perspective, is it inevitable that the House is going to impeach President Trump?

REP. MEADOWS: Well, I don't think it's inevitable if you follow the facts. I-I heard Chairman Schiff lay out his talking points, and that's very different than the facts. And I think what we- we need to understand is, is right now- and the president just highlighted this in a tweet- within 48 hours of the hearing that's happening in judiciary tomorrow, we have the judiciary team changing the guidelines in the rules for what impeachment is all about. After the Nixon impeachment effort, the Congressional Research Service put out guidelines and said this is what impeachment should be based on, it's been updated. Now all of the sudden--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

REP. MEADOWS: --there's new found evidence by Jerry Nadler and his team. It's because the facts are not supporting their argument.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But when I'm asking you--

REP. MEADOWS: Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --if you think it's inevitable, that- that's also political calculation. Do you think there will be a single Republican defection to--

REP. MEADOWS: I- I don't see--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --vote alongside--

REP. MEADOWS: Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --to impeach the president?

REP. MEADOWS: I don't want to speak for all my colleagues, but based on my conversations with them, I don't see a single Republican defecting. They've looked at the facts. They know where we are on this. I think, if anything, there's more pressure on my Democrat colleagues where instead of having just two defections, we may have more than that coming up as the articles get voted on. But inevitably they're going--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you know that? Or you're just guessing that you're going to see  more than two?

REP. MEADOWS: Well, I said there's more pressure on them.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

REP. MEADOWS: And- and I have talked to a number of my moderate Democrat colleagues, and- and I know there are a few that are out there that are real concerned. Again, I don't speak for Republicans or Democrats broadly, but I do have conversations, bipartisan conversations on a regular basis.

MARGARET BRENNAN: One of the wildcards here—

REP. MEADOWS: Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: —is Rudy Giuliani—

REP. MEADOWS: Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: —the president's attorney. He was in Ukraine this week.

REP. MEADOWS:  Right. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you just heard Chairman Schiff say he- he's not sure exactly what the president meant yesterday when he said that a report is going to be produced to Congress and the attorney general by Rudy Giuliani.

REP. MEADOWS: Well, I think if Adam Schiff wants to look at the evidence, wouldn't he, whether it comes from Rudy Giuliani or anybody else, wouldn't he be happy--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So—

REP. MEADOWS: --to see any evidence of- of foreign intervention in terms of the 2016 elections?

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, I'm sorry. Are- are you saying you would trust any information Rudy Giuliani produces as credible?

REP. MEADOWS: I- I would trust any information that comes to Congress to be able to be evaluated in a neutral manner. So whether it comes from Rudy Giuliani or- or some Democrat witness that's there, if they're bringing information—

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

REP. MEADOWS: --Congress has an obligation to look at it. We have the oversight responsibility--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So—

REP. MEADOWS: --and so--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --are you-- 

REP. MEADOWS: --to- let me- let me just finish real quickly. So, if- if he's getting relevant information that comes- comes forth from Ukraine, I- I think it's important for us to look at. So many times people have said, listen, Ukrainians never got involved in the 2016 election. Well, that's just not accurate because—

MARGARET BRENNAN: The issue around impeachment is about the upcoming election and Joe Biden. One- one of your colleagues, Matt Gaetz of Florida, who- who's a fellow Republican, said it's "weird" for him to see Rudy Giuliani out there doing this—

REP. MEADOWS: Well I- I'm not suggesting that you—

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think Giuliani needs to come in under oath?

REP. MEADOWS: Well, I- I think that Rudy Giuliani, if he's got evidence that's important to illuminate this, should come in, should testify. I agree with that. The- the other aspect of this that is critically important, that so many people are starting to look at, they're- they're trying to focus on Rudy Giuliani. This impeachment is about withholding foreign aid. And- and Rudy didn't have anything to do with that. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well he—

REP. MEADOWS: Actually, none of the promises, none of the- the so- so-called interference in elections actually ever happened. Adam Schiff just was on here, just a few minutes--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Rudy Giuliani has- has said on this program and elsewhere that Joe Biden needs to be investigated. He- he has propagated this idea that's at the center of it all, as you know. 

REP. MEADOWS: Right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But one of the things the White House did this week was put out a letter saying it's not essentially going to participate--

REP. MEADOWS: Right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --in these upcoming hearings. 

REP. MEADOWS: Right. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: But then the president at the same time, and- and Republicans like yourself say he's not getting a fair shake. So, how do you have it both ways of--

REP. MEADOWS: Well--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --of not participating, but then complaining about not being included?

REP. MEADOWS: Well, listen, if you can change the rules- MARGARET, I'll play any game with you no matter how talented you are- if I get to control the rules, I'll win every time and that's what the Democrats-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's what happens when you win the majority. 

REP. MEADOWS: But- but no, that's not because what we- we have standards here. And what happens is- is I've been in over 100 hours of depositions. I've seen my Democrat colleagues time and time again leak out what's favorable to them and not favorable to the president. They've done it over and over and over again. That's not fair and should- should the president participate in an unfair process? Absolutely not. He'll get a fair process if it gets to the Senate.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you're saying it's not inevitable that that will happen. 

REP. MEADOWS: Well, I think it's probable but not inevitable. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. I also want to ask you, I know you care about government funding. 

REP. MEADOWS: Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Being fiscally responsible. We are about two weeks out from a deadline here on running out of government funding. Do you see the chances- where do you see the chances of a government shutdown? Can they be avoided?

REP. MEADOWS: I- I think it will be avoided. I think- I know the president wants to avoid it. I believe based on what Nancy Pelosi says, she wants to- to avoid it. Here's what they're going to have to do though. They're gonna have to--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Even without border wall funding? 

REP. MEADOWS: Well, Nancy Pelosi made an agreement not to go back when we increase the debt ceiling in the- the previous budget deal. She agreed to leave the funding there that is static. And so what I would say, a continuing resolution for those viewers that are out there, continuing the funding as it is for three or four months while we get this impeachment effort off the agenda, is certainly appropriate. I think the president would sign that and believe my Democrat colleagues would as well.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman, good to have you here. 

REP. MEADOWS: Thank you. Great to be here. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you.