Transcript: Representative Will Hurd on "Face the Nation," October 20, 2019

Hurd calls impeachment probe an "oversight investigation"

The following is a transcript of an interview with Representative Will Hurd that aired Sunday, October 20, 2019, on "Face the Nation."


MARGARET BRENNAN: We are bringing now into the conversation your friend Texas Republican Congressman Will Hurd. He joins us this morning from San Antonio. Good morning to you, Congressman. Let's- let's start on that point of discrepancy between the two of you. Congressman Himes said there is nothing being withheld from the minority. You signed a letter with eight other Republicans saying yes, there is information being withheld from you.

REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD: Well Margaret, it's always a pleasure to be with you on a Sunday morning talking about important issues and- and I want to confirm one fact. Jim Himes and I are indeed friends and we have worked together. That may shock a- a lot of the American people that Republicans and- and Democrats actually work together. Here- here's why I signed that letter. My- my issue is not necessarily with the information we're getting in advance because Congressman Himes is right. Sometimes those documents are given at midnight before the hearing. My concern is with the information that the committee has access to after these depositions are done. As a member of the committee, I was only able to get access to the transcript of the Ambassador Volker interview a couple of days ago and that interview had been conducted almost three weeks prior. You know, why haven't we gotten access to all the text messages that Ambassador Volker has sent over? I haven't been able to review that. These depositions have been going on for 10 or- or 12 hours a day and you're not able to sit in all of them. So I want to know why hasn't that information been made available to you, Margaret? And I appreciate you asking the question about when some of this stuff is going to be made available because I think the press and the Fourth Estate plays an important check and balance in this and- and I would say, you know, this is also not an impeachment inquiry. These are just regular- these are just reg- regular oversight hearings. And why are we doing this in the Intelligence Committee? You know this is- when it- when it started this was a whistleblower, whose identity we should be protected. I was one of the few Republicans that said the whistleblower allegations were significant and serious enough that we should investigate. Even--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So--

REP. HURD: --Chairman Schiff has said this- this- that we shouldn't have the whistle blower in front of the committee so why is- why is the intel committee doing this when the intel committee should be looking at the intelligence we had on Turkey before they moved in to Syria where we should be calling intelligence professionals to come in and tell us, you know, how are we going to be prepared to fight a resurgent ISIS which is going to happen--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I do want to ask you--

REP. HURD: --after this. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: I do want to ask you about Syria but just to be clear, you are permitted to sit in on those depositions. You just have not--

REP. HURD: Well--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --chosen to, correct? 

REP. HURD: For- for sure. I- I've- I've sat--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

REP. HURD: --in a lot of them, but I haven't also gotten the information after it was over. Those are all being transcribed. The evidence that is given in those meetings has not been made fully available to- to Republicans and there's issues like Republican staff is being limited from being in some of these hearings when the majority staff is able to have more and- and having staff in those- those interviews are- are super important.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think that there was, if not a quid pro quo, an understanding or a perception of one between the White House and Ukraine?

REP. HURD: That- that's a good question and to me that's the heart of this- this- this matter. And what was the- you know, if there was a quid pro quo, what was it for? Was it for investigation of the previous election? Or was it to get dirt on- in- it for- for 2020? And what we haven't heard yet- we haven't heard from any Ukrainian official that felt like there was this arrangement. We haven't even had an- a Ukrainian official tell a State Department official that their- that they felt like their arms were being twisted. I would have thought based on some of the State Department officials that we've met- that we've interviewed so far, that you would even get an inkling of that was happening. When I was in the CIA, I participated in, you know, diplomacy as well. And this is very often that a- the country you're posted to, in this case let's say Ukraine, if they hear something, they're going to go to their contacts at the embassy and say, "hey what does this actually mean?" And we haven't gotten any whiff of that when it comes to this- to this issue. I also want to know who did Rudy Giuliani actually talk to. We know he's- we know for a fact he's talked to two Ukrainians. The former--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you'd like him--

REP. HURD: --AG--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --to come before the committee and answer questions- 

REP. HURD: Oh, for sure--

MARGARET BRENNAN: -from Republicans too? 

REP. HURD: I think- I think- I think--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay--

REP. HURD: --having Rudy- Mayor Giuliani come and testify is important.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to get to Syria because I know you--

REP. HURD: Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --feel strongly about this and do agree with Leader McConnell who said it was a "grave mistake" for the president to have pulled out of Syria. Is Congress just completely powerless here to limit- limit the damage that you see?

REP. HURD: Our- we have some restrictions, it's always easier to compel an administration to stop doing something than it is to- to begin something. I think what we could be doing now is bringing in some of the- the heads of the military, the heads of the intelligence service, the heads of our humanitarian organizations to talk about what are we going to do to- to prevent ISIS from becoming resurgent, to prevent ISIS from doing some coming back into that region. How are we going to be prepared for the humanitarian crisis, which is already happening and that's why I think the- the leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, was- was correct in saying that this is indeed a "grave mistake." ISIS is going to come back. We know that there is about 30 thousand ISIS fighters that are throughout that region. We know the leader of ISIS is still around. And now in- instead of saying this is a peace deal, unfortunately and I still- I still haven't seen all the details but what I'm learning, it looks more like terms of surrender than a peace deal. And--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Should--

REP. HURD: --unfortunately, our- our- our enemies and our adversaries like Iran, Russia, Turkey, they're playing chess and unfortunately--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

REP. HURD: --this administration is playing checkers.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Quickly, yes or no. Should President Erdogan of Turkey come to the White House next month?

REP. HURD: That's- that's a tough question. I think--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

REP. HURD: You know- yeah it's a tough question.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Alright, that's not a yes or no, but we'll give you time. Thank you, Congressman. I got to leave it there.