Transcript: Rep. Kevin McCarthy on "Face the Nation," November 3, 2019

McCarthy: Schiff should testify about staff contacts with whistleblower

The following is a transcript of an interview with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on "Face the Nation" that aired Sunday, November 3, 2019, on "Face the Nation."


MARGARET BRENNAN: We begin this morning with someone who was right at the president's side last night. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who joins us from New York. I- I imagine you enjoyed the fight last night?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: It- it was a good fight. Those are some amazing athletes and very--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah. 

REP. MCCARTHY: -- tough, yes. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you got a fight ahead of you here in Washington too and that's what I want to ask you about in terms of what you think the strategy is to counter what could be some damaging detail in these published testimonies we expect to be public this week.

REP. MCCARTHY: Well, the people deserve to know the facts, the truth and accountability. Here we are that the speaker of the House finally admitted yes, she was wrong. There is no due process. What we voted on Thursday is not due process. There's no transparency. Think about what's happening. We had that vote on Thursday. Four days later the Democrats are right back at it in the basement of the Capitol having four more depositions secret that the public can't see. But now with that vote they even have more control. They now made the Intel Committee the impeachment committee. They now control even further about which Republicans could even ask questions. They made Adam Schiff not only a fact witness, but he's the judge, the jury, and the prosecutor. That is unheard of. And if you take what Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House said just last March that impeachment is so divisive to this nation unless it is more compelling and overwhelming or- and bipartisan we should not go forward. Yet Thursday's vote, the only bipartisan vote, was not to move forward was no. Never in our history have we ever moved through with what's such a partisan impeachment movement. This is unheard of. And what they're trying to do- remember what is today November 3rd. We are exactly one year away from Americans going to the polls--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. 

REP. MCCARTHY: -- to vote for the president. They're trying to change the outcome of 2016 and influence the next one.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Republicans will be able to ask questions of witnesses and call their own. Who is it in the public hearings that--

REP. MCCARTHY: No--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --Republicans want to hear from?

REP. MCCARTHY: Well, Margaret, that's not true. If you- if you read what the resolution says, now Adam Schiff controls the time and now they've written it, where only--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Democrats are--

REP. MCCARTHY: a Republican, Devin--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --in the majority. That is the way being in the majority works. Isn't that what you would do?

REP. MCCARTHY: No, that is not what I would do. That is not what we did when we moved for impeachment with Clinton. That's not what Democrats did when they moved with impeachment for Nixon. They actually had witnesses. But what Adam Schiff now has the power to do is tell Devin Nunes, the ranking member, that he cannot have any other member on that committee have time to ask questions. In every committee today, it doesn't matter what the issue is, you can yield your time to another individual, but not now. They want total control. Will the public be able to see what's inside these four new secret depositions in the basement? No. 75 percent. Three quarters--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

REP. MCCARTHY: --of the entire Congress cannot be included.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So who is it--

REP. MCCARTHY: Is that openness? 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Who is it that you want to see? That was the question I asked.

REP. MCCARTHY: Well- well, I think the very first person we should bring, Adam Schiff and his staff. He is the only individual in America, in Congress-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: For a public hearing? 

REP. MCCARTHY: --who knows-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You want to question--

REP. MCCARTHY: Well if he- if he--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --Chairman of the House intelligence committee?

REP. MCCARTHY: Yes, I would. Because he is the only person who knows who this whistleblower is. He refers to himself as a Ken Starr, Ken Starr testified. How many times did he meet with the whistleblower? What did he talk to the whistleblower about? Because when the whistleblower even went to the inspector general he never mentioned that he went with Adam Schiff. Remember what we're talking about today Margaret, the removal of the president of the United States. This should not be taken lightly. We should have all the facts. The public deserves the facts not something that's leaked. We're three weeks since the very first-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right

REP. MCCARTHY: --hearing inside there, the deposition. We still do not have the transcripts. You have members of Congress who just voted--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

REP. MCCARTHY: --to justify what has already happened without ever reading one word of what's gone on--

MARGARET BRENNAN: For the record-- 

REP. MCCARTHY: --that is what is wrong-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --for the record-- 

REP. MCCARTHY: --we need accountability.

MARGARET BRENNAN: For the record the attorney for the whistleblower says he- he has- has his client has not met with Adam Schiff. A member of the committee did talk to the whistleblower about procedural matters. But I spoke to the whistleblower's attorney just last night, Mark Zaid, and he told me that an offer has been made, and this is new, to Republicans to answer questions directly put to the whistleblower by Republicans not going through the Democratic controlled committee, but to answer them in writing under oath, under penalty of perjury. What is your response to that offer? 

REP. MCCARTHY: Well Margaret I have never received that offer and I'm the lead Republican--  

MARGARET BRENNAN: It was submitted to Devin--

REP. MCCARTHY: --in the House, but this is what I'm--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --Nunes, who is the ranking member on House Intelligence.

REP. MCCARTHY: Well, when was it submitted to him because Devin had--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Last night.

REP. MCCARTHY: --not told me about that prior to today. Well, Devin's in California so let's see how they submitted. But first of all, we were talking about the removal of the president of United States. Just as the speaker of the House said in March, it has to be so compelling--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But--

REP. MCCARTHY: --so overwhelming and bipartisan. I think if the whistleblower should come forward in an open hearing and also bring the six people that he talks about inside his complaint that he said talked about other issues as well.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So--

REP. MCCARTHY: Now we have the transcript--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, would you as leader--

REP. MCCARTHY: --so we have more knowledge than the whistleblower.

MARGARET BRENNAN: As- as leader--

REP. MCCARTHY: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --though are you just completely turning down the opportunity to submit questions--

REP MCCARTHY: No.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --in writing? 

REP. MCCARTHY: I would like that--

MARGARET BRENNAN: For you that is not sufficient?

REP. MCCARTHY: No. As an American and that everybody should know and have accountability, you're talking about the removal of the presidency. We watched Adam Schiff lie to the American public that he did not know who the whistleblower was--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So- so, you are open--

REP. MCCARTHY: We watched that the whistleblower--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --open to it? I'm--

REP. MCCARTHY: --did not even check.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --just not clear on that. Are- are you--

REP. MCCARTHY: Well, what- what I'm- what I--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Even to the first--

REP. MCCARTHY: Let me be--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --offer of- of answering questions through writing, but then if Republicans submit their own questions directly, are you open to that? Because it would bypass Adam Schiff.

REP. MCCARTHY: No, let me be very clear Margaret. What I'm open to, when you're talking about the removal of the president of the United States, undoing democracy, undoing what the American public had voted for, I think that individual should come before the committee. He could come down to the basement. But he needs to answer the questions. We need an openness that people understand this. Remember what you're asking. You're going to change the course, the very fabric of democracy today, based upon someone wrote a written question of somebody that wasn't even on the phone call, that had hearsay? Even though we all know what the transcripts said? 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well Mike Pence would become president--

REP. MCCARTHY: Are we really this far that we--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --It wouldn't undo the election results. If the president were removed--

REP. MCCARTHY: Margaret, you--Margaret--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --Mike Pence would become president. 

REP. MCCARTHY: Margaret you're- Margaret you- Margaret you're really saying today on national television, that somebody who was not on a phone call that you had the transcripts of the phone call, 'no big deal' just remove the President of the United States over a phone call?

MARGARET BRENNAN: No, I'm just saying that it wouldn't undo the election--

REP. MCCARTHY: That is the difference of what I fundamentally believe.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --it would put the vice president--

REP. MCCARTHY: Yes, it would undo-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --in the commander in chief's spot. 

REP. MCCARTHY: No. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. 

REP MCCARTHY: President Trump was duly elected as the president United States. And--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

REP. MCCARTHY: --I think democracy is too precious to think that somebody who's not on a phone call, that cannot stand before the American public, and answer the questions, that somehow we would change the course of that? And we're one year away from today. What are they so afraid of? What do they have to hide? Why wouldn't they release one item? If you were a jury member, you have to look at all the information. You don't just get the prosecutor to give you one line from an opening--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

REP. MCCARTHY: --statement. You get cross examinations, you get a due process. None--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

REP. MCCARTHY: --of that is happening here today. We have never gone down this in America and we should stand up and not allow this ever to happen.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Well we have some questions you just laid out there to put to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.