Transcript: Senator Ted Cruz on "Face the Nation", October 13, 2019

Cruz: Trump should release transcripts of Biden's talks with Ukraine

The following is a transcript of an interview with Senator Ted Cruz that aired Sunday, October 13, 2019, on "Face the Nation"


MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to Face the Nation. We spoke yesterday with Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz. He's the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Hong Kong since pro democracy protests began four months ago. We asked him about the president saying that the situation in Hong Kong was dying down. 

SENATOR TED CRUZ: I'll tell you what's happening here in Hong Kong is inspiring. We've seen over two million people come to the streets standing up for freedom, standing up for democracy and standing up against the oppression of the Chinese communist regime. And I think it is very much in the United States' interest to support the people of Hong Kong. I'm here, I'm dressed in all black standing in solidarity with the protesters.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the protests are not dying out as the president suggested?

SEN. CRUZ: The protests are continuing full force, and I'll tell you something that really illustrates just how powerful the protests are is- is what we've seen happen with the NBA this past week. Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Rockets- my hometown team, I'm a diehard Houston Rockets fan, but- but he tweeted a very benign tweet where he said "Stand for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong," and- and the Chinese communist government, they just about lost it. They got so upset, they ended up boycotting the Rockets. They ended up pulling them off TV in China. They ended up pulling them off the Internet. They ended up canceling all of their sponsorships. And sadly what ended up happening is the NBA as a league began this series of apologies and it was really sad to see an American company and indeed a global sports league like the NBA being dragooned into censoring the free speech of American citizens in the interest of big bucks. It's not complicated why the NBA did that. Television and the Chinese market is worth a whole lot of money, but- but thankfully a whole lot of us across the ideological spectrum- indeed I helped lead a group, a bipartisan group, of members of Congress calling on the NBA to do better to defend free speech--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SEN. CRUZ: --and I'm proud to say I- I think the NBA is doing a better job of defending those free speech rights.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But isn't it really the U.S. government that should be leading the charge on this rather than free enterprise?

SEN. CRUZ: Well- well but- but listen, American businesses shouldn't be in the business of censoring Americans and we've seen this pattern whether it's the NBA afraid of losing a bunch of money in China or whether it's Hollywood censoring out any content that is critical of the Communist government in China. You know it's really an unfortunate dynamic how China uses it- its vast resources to promote censorship. And all of our allies are facing this increased aggressiveness--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Exactly--

SEN. CRUZ: -- of China and we need to stand up. We need defend our shared values.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Exactly. So should those kind of protections be in any kind of trade deal with China?

SEN. CRUZ: Well, listen, a trade deal is- is functionally different. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee just unanimously passed legislation on Hong Kong to pressure- to pressure China to protect the free speech and democratic rights of the people of Hong Kong, that I'm a co-sponsor of that legislation--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SEN. TED CRUZ: --and it was bipartisan. We saw Republicans and Democrats come together.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well you're talking about legislation there, but what actions we've seen the Trump administration take about Muslim minorities who are being put in internment camps in China have been by the State Department--

SEN. CRUZ: Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: -- pretty limited. The Commerce Department blacklisted some companies. How do you stop the Trump administration from using that as a bargaining chip in a trade deal?

SEN. CRUZ: I introduced legislation called the Tiananmen Act to that- that would direct blacklisting the technology companies- the Chinese technology companies that China is using to engage in surveillance, to engage in repression and imprisonment, and torture and murder of up to a million Uighurs, a religious minority. A-And as you noted just this week, the Trump administration announced that they were implementing what is the core of my legislation which is blacklisting those Chinese technology companies that are being used to suppress religious minorities. I think that's a really good step--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Have they assured you--

SEN. CRUZ: It's a positive step-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --that won't be--

SEN. CRUZ: --by the administration.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --in any way considered as a bargaining chip in negotiations?

SEN. CRUZ: Well listen I think we can do both. It's important to get a trade deal with China. I hope we do get a trade deal with China. We have enormous economic concerns, but we can do that at the same time defend our core values.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So China's a- a surveillance state. Is it appropriate for President Trump to be saying--

SEN. CRUZ: Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --China should look into the Biden family? Is that appropriate?

SEN. CRUZ: I- look, of course not. Elections in the U.S. should be decided by- by Americans and it's not the business of- of foreign countries, any foreign countries, to be interfering in our elections.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Even Ukraine? I mean when you're talking about some of this, I mean do you think that- say the president's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who's been talking about China, who's been talking about Ukraine. Do you want to hear him testify about this sort of shadow foreign policy?

SEN. CRUZ: Listen, foreign countries should stay out of American elections. That's true for Russia. That's true for Ukraine. That's true for China. That's true for all of them. It should be the American people deciding elections. I- I don't know what Rudy's been saying. I- I do know though that we should decide our elections. It should be the American people making those decisions.

MARAGRET BRENNAN: And you do want him to testify before your committee?

SEN. CRUZ: I think it'd make a lot of sense for Rudy to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. That's- that's ultimately a question for the committee chairman, Lindsey Graham. But- but I'd like to see Rudy testify. Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the president is often talking about the need to look in to Joe Biden. If he is so concerned, would it be in any way appropriate for him to bring it to his own Justice Department instead of talking about foreign countries looking into his political rival?

SEN. CRUZ: I have long advocated that the Justice Department should enforce the law, should investigate corruption, should investigate violations of law, regardless of party.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But to be clear, you're not calling for the Justice Department to investigate the Biden family?

SEN. CRUZ: Look, I don't- I- I believe the Justice Department should investigate violations of law. If there's credible evidence of a violation of law, yes they should investigate and I'll tell you what I have called for. I think President Trump wisely released the transcript of his conversation with the Ukrainian government. I think that was good because a lot of what the Democrats had been raising, alleging an illegal quid pro quo, was not in fact backed up by the transcript. But I think- I think actually the administration should do the exact same thing for Joe Biden. That it should release the transcripts of Joe Biden's conversations with Ukraine. Use the same standard for President Trump and Joe Biden and let the American people read the transcripts and decide.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Cruz, we will leave it there. Thank you for joining us from Hong Kong. We'll be back in a moment.