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Transcript: Kellyanne Conway on "Face the Nation," November 24, 2019

Conway: White House preparing for Senate impeachment trial
Kellyanne Conway says White House preparing for Senate impeachment trial 08:39

The following is a transcript of an interview with Kellyanne Conway that aired Sunday, November 24, 2019, on "Face the Nation." 

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we're back. Thank you for sticking with us through a technical problem there. We're joined now with counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway. Good morning to you Kellyanne. 

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Good morning, Margaret.  

MARGARET BRENNAN: We right off the top talked about Michael Bloomberg getting into this race. What do you think the 77 year old billionaire joining means for the field?

KELLYANNE CONWAY: It means that the Democratic field is underwhelming, even to someone like Michael Bloomberg. There are 18 Democrats still running for president of the United States, Margaret, with probably another ten or twelve already dropped out of the race. And as Michael Bloomberg coming in saying, I don't think any of you can beat Donald Trump, for all the talk about electability, that's a fiction. You don't know if somebody can or can't win until they do or don't. The real way that you win is through the Electoral College, which we proved in 2016. So I think Bloomberg's play here is to ignore those early states and focus on Super Tuesday. That was supposed to be a play for someone like Kamala Harris to go in and really make big gains in California. She's all- her candidacy is all but deflated. But I will say a couple of things about Michael Bloomberg. His- his new ad that he'll put millions behind is all unicorns and rainbows. Keep your health care if you like to and if you don't, I've got something better for you. Let's rebuild America. Number one, we heard that from Obama-Biden and Obama-Biden care passed almost 10 years ago and as we sit here today, over 28 million Americans have no health insurance of any kind. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you're happy to run against another New York billionaire? 

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, we're ready. How's that? I think that President Trump will be ready. The other thing is that Michael Bloomberg is saying rebuild America. America already elected a builder. If we want to truly rebuild America, then the people who work behind us for you and me ought to get infrastructure done. Surface transportation, an air traffic control system that was built for one hundred thousand annual passengers who now have close to a billion. So we have a builder in the White House who wants them to do what Nancy Pelosi said she'd do this fall, it's almost Christmas, which is pass that USMCA which would be more jobs like he's talking. Look, Michael Bloomberg was a great mayor of New York City. I lived there under Rudy Giuliani and- and Michael Bloomberg. All four of my kids were born in New York when Michael Bloomberg was mayor. I wish he'd be mayor of New York City again. But if he's going to jump- if he's going to jump in--


KELLYANNE CONWAY: --I think the most important thing to note is not just does the country have an appetite for a billionaire who's going to throw that money around the way--


KELLYANNE CONWAY: -- billionaire Trump never did. We were under-resourced and understaffed at the Trump campaign and we- and Hillary Clinton's campaign showed the fastest way to make a small fortune is to have a very large one and waste most of it. It's not that Michael Bloomberg may not be unwelcome by the national electorate, is he welcome in his own Democratic Party? You've got the front runners saying that we don't want any billionaires in the country, let alone in the Democratic primary.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I want to get on to what is happening here in Washington with this week of hearings. The president has said he wants a trial in the Senate, but then others at the White House say they're not even sure Democrats will move ahead with impeachment. What exactly are you preparing for?

KELLYANNE CONWAY: We're preparing for both eventualities. And here's why, Margaret. If we- if it does go to a trial in the Senate, and that is not certain right now. You've got a lot of Democrats wringing their hands that they did not see, as Will Hurd— a moderate Democrat, excuse me, a moderate Republican who's retiring this year— said he did not see overwhelming, compelling, clear, and convincing evidence. Many of those Democrats, especially the ones who represent the 31 Trump-Pence districts from '16, they have to go back home and say, "I know I promised to lower your drug prices. I know I promised to keep this great economy going on. I know I promised trade deals like USMCA, but we're busy impeaching a president." And they're getting blowback for that. So I think for those Democrats, they're- it's not completely certain yet. Some of them have actually gone on the record saying, "I'm not there yet. I have to see what the articles say and what the report is." But we know what they didn't see this- over twelve witnesses in two weeks of testimony and over 30 hours. They didn't hear anybody say when they were asked bribery? No. Extortion? No. Quid pro quo for the aid? No. Preconditions for a meeting? Did the president commit a crime? No, no, no every time. The closest they got to it was Sondland in his prepared remarks saying he thought there was a quid pro quo for a meeting. 


KELLYANNE CONWAY: They had the meeting on September 22nd in- in- in New York. And also the aide went to Ukraine earlier than that. 


KELLYANNE CONWAY: So they got their aid. They've got javelins and cyber rifles. The Ukrainian policy under President Trump is better than it was previously and Ukraine has more aid.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, Sondland, you mentioned there who testified he laid out a few different things there. But I'm wondering, you know, he serves at the pleasure of the president. Is he going to keep his job despite testifying against him?

KELLYANNE CONWAY: He flew right back to Brussels, Belgium. I don't know that he testified against the president. Again, I need to remind the viewers that when Sondland was- when Ambassador Sondland was asked by Adam Schiff, who I guess was waiting for a different response, "so the quid pro quo was for the aid?" And Sondland said, "no, the quid pro quo was for a meeting or a statement." Ambassador Volker separately testified they abandoned the whole idea of making a statement to focus on the aid. That was very smart because Ukraine got its aid. Margaret, we simply can't impeach and remove a democratically elected president from office because you didn't beat him- they didn't beat him in 2016. They haven't a clue how to beat him in 2020. They don't much like him. And I think that in the- if there is a Senate trial, we'll be able to- that'll be more familiar to most Americans. This process is unfamiliar to them, where the president--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Meaning there will be witnesses?

KELLYANNE CONWAY: -- can't even have- there'll be witnesses. The president couldn't even have his own attorneys in there. And that's- that's not very fair to the, quote, defendant. But I think defense will go on offense if there is a Senate trial and they'll be- we'll be able to call witnesses, we'll be able to challenge their witnesses, produce other evidence. And those witnesses may include the whistleblower, and I would say his attorney, because his attorney, Mark Zaid, had an email or a text--


KELLYANNE CONWAY: -- 10 days after inauguration saying the coup begins now, impeachment.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The whistleblowers attorney there. Well, I want to get to something that we talked about in the top of the show. The president gave an extended interview on Fox on Friday, and he said once again that they, meaning Ukraine, have the server from the Democratic National Committee. Fiona Hill, the Russia expert formerly of the Trump White House, said this is something that's propagated by Russian security services- services. It's false narrative. 60 Minutes is going to have a report tonight on election hacking in 2016 and Bill Whitaker spoke to the man in charge of the DOJ investigation. Take a listen.


BILL WHITAKER: Frankly, I think the public is kind of confused because we hear you one arm of the government saying it's the Russians. We hear another part of the government saying maybe the Russians, maybe somebody else. We don't know. So what are we to believe? Is it the Russians? Is it not?

JOHN DEMERS: Well, our indictment spells out what it is. The evidence that we have has shown, which is it was the Russians who were behind the hacking and dumping of the Democratic campaign in 2016. 

WHITAKER: No doubt?

DEMERS: We could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Why doesn't the president believe his own Justice Department and intelligence experts?

KELLYANNE CONWAY: But the president has said he accepts that. But also, there are plenty of ways to interfere in election. And respectfully, if we're doing this we're back to Mueller--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But he was specifically talking about the DNC server.

KELLYANNE CONWAY: But if we're doing this, we're back to Mueller and we've already spent two and a half years and thirty five million taxpayer dollars for a Mueller report that was produced in March. It was a big bomb. Mueller testimony in July, a bigger bomb. And if we're going to go back to that, I think it exposes what didn't happen on Capitol Hill this week that high crimes and misdemeanors--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you know that Crowdstrike, that firm that the president keeps bringing up is based here in the United States. It's a publicly traded firm. It's, in fact, been hired by Republicans--

KELLYANNE CONWAY: So, here- here's--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --since that time.

KELLYANNE CONWAY: But here's what I want to say. And- and I'm glad you mention this, because the July 25th call, MARGARET, the transcript which the whole world has had access to, the president clearly lays out what's on his mind. As the day after Mueller testifies--


KELLYANNE CONWAY: --and then the president looks at it, it's his turn. He wants to get to the bottom of what happened in 2016 and certainly to avoid that in future. Look, we have done a great deal in our White House, across our administration, to secure our elections in the future. And we agree with that. But I also don't want- I don't want the impeachment process. I don't want members of the mainstream media--


KELLYANNE CONWAY: --which don't include you, to interfere in the 2020 election the way they tried in the 2016 election. She's going to win. He has zero percent chance of winning. That's a different kind of interference, and that's dangerous, too. Speaking of the polls, very quickly, the independents have totally changed. A month ago, just in late October, they were in favor by 15 points including the national polls of impeaching the president. It now has flipped. Forty nine percent against, 34 percent for. So, these Democrats who are in charge of the hearings don't represent the swing districts. They have to look at the polls and say there's no appetite to impeach and remove this president.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we're going to talk to one of those Democrats who is on the House Intelligence Committee ahead. But we're going to first take a break. Don't go away.

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