Transcript: Rep. Cedric Richmond on "Face the Nation," April 28, 2019

Richmond: Impeachment "best way" to get facts out

The following is a transcript of the interview with Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana that aired Sunday, April 28, 2019, on "Face the Nation."


MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to Louisiana Democrat Cedric Richmond. He sits on the House Judiciary Committee and supports former Vice President Joe Biden. He joins us this morning from New Orleans. Good morning to you. Before we get to those issues I want to quickly ask you about the shooting in California. These hate crimes are on a rise in this country. This shooter self-identified as a white supremacist. What should be done to combat this?

REPRESENTATIVE CEDRIC RICHMOND: Look first of all my prayers and thoughts goes out to the family, and it's just a reminder that our words as leaders in this country have dire consequences. So whether we're talking about the Steve Scalise shooting, whether we're talking about Gabby Giffords, whether we're talking about Parkland or we're talking about Tree of Life, it's our responsibility to deal with it. We've been calling on not only the Judiciary Committee in past years but Homeland Security Committee also to deal with the rise in hate crimes especially under this president. We just held a hearing in Judiciary where we talked about the issue, and I think that the rhetoric plays a part in it, the access to high capacity assault weapons plays a part in it. And I think we just have to do better as a country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You were one of the first to come out and to endorse the former vice president, Joe Biden, for president. I'm curious as to why you think that at this moment in time he is the right Democrat to unify the party and to represent it at a time when many are calling for generational change or just for the candidate to represent the country in a more diverse fashion. Why do you think he can do that?

REP. RICHMOND: Well, one I look at his entire body of work. Two, if you look at the video that he released and you can see the passion, you can see the reason why he's running and that's because we live in a country that we don't recognize. We live in a country where people are working harder and they owe more. We live in a country where people don't have the access to achieve their wildest dreams and for their children to reach economic dignity and their parents to live out their lives with economic dignity respect and independence, so we're fighting for the soul of the country. And one thing I learned in politics very early: you can't govern if you can't win. And I believe Joe Biden, one is the best person to represent the Democratic Party, but I think he's the best person to win.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Lindsey Graham was on this program as you heard, and he called it absolutely absurd to accuse the president of obstruction of justice. He says this is a closed matter. You possibly will get to ask questions of Attorney General Barr this week. Is it a closed matter for you?

REP. RICHMOND: Absolutely not. This president has attempted to collude, if that's the word he wants to use. He's attempted to obstruct justice at the least. At the worst, he's obstructed justice and I believe that is the Judiciary Committee's responsibility to dig into it. Now, Senator Graham points to President Clinton who sat down, put his hand on a Bible took an oath, and testified under oath. This president did not do that and it's clear why he didn't do that. His counsel has said over and over again, they just don't believe in his ability to tell the truth. And we see that during his presidency, so you can't compare this to other reports or other hearings or other impeachment process. We have not heard from this president under oath. So the best person we can hear from is Attorney General Barr to find out why, one, his summary, a Cliff Notes version was so different from the facts and two, why won't he just release the unredacted report?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has said though that to move forward with impeachment proceedings it needs to be bipartisan. You haven't seen a single Republican come out and say that they would support an impeachment. So is this a closed matter for you? Do you personally think impeachment should be considered?

REP. RICHMOND: I think it should. I think it's the best way to get all of the facts out. I also believe that at some point we have to hear from this president whether he's lying to us or not. We need to hear from him under oath. But look my sole for- focus right now is to make sure that he's not the president next term. And what we do this term we need to one, learn from the facts what Russia did, make sure that the president has not obstructed justice. But more importantly, we need to make sure that he- he does not win re-election and that's part of the reason why I'm here is because I'm supporting Vice President Joe Biden to beat him.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And to be clear you support impeachment, now?

REP. RICHMOND: Look, it's Chairman Nadler's decision how far we go with impeachment. I would just tell you I'm comfortable going either way. I am a lawyer by trade. I am very concerned about this president's fitness for office. I'm very concerned about the crimes that I believe that he has committed or that the report certainly suggests that he has committed. So I'm fine going either way but my goal is for him not to be president next term.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right thank you very much Congressman.