TRANSCRIPTS + FULL EPISODE: Sen. Roy Blunt covers the hidden Trump vote, Sen. Chris Coons stumps for VP Joe Biden

11/01/20 Sen. Roy Blunt covers the hidden Trump vote, Sen. Chris Coons stumps for VP Joe Biden
11/01/20 Sen. Roy Blunt covers the hidden Trump vote, Sen. Chris Coons stumps for VP Joe Biden
Published: Oct. 31, 2020 at 11:38 PM EDT
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Washington, D.C. – Greta Van Susteren interviewed Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) for Gray TV’s “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren” airing Sunday, November 1, 2020. The program will also feature a reporter panel with Bloomberg TV chief Washington correspondent and host of “Sound On” Kevin Cirilli, and Washington Post national political reporter Annie Linskey.

On President Trump’s chances of winning re-election, Sen. Blunt said: “There are lots of reasons to re-elect the President. I think we shouldn’t assume until the election is over that he once again is going to take advantage of that unique way he’s communicated with Americans. It doesn’t show up in polling, but it does show up at the ballot box.”

“If every vote is counted and counted fairly, Joe Biden’s going to win and be the next president of the United States,” said Sen. Coons. But, he said, that the state ballot-related cases before the Supreme Court “confirm my suspicion that Justice Barrett is there to help decide this election for Donald Trump.”

When asked about President Trump’s frequent mentions of the Hunter Biden allegations at his campaign rallies, Sen. Blunt said the President would be “better off” talking about the strength of the economy. “The President can’t carry a story like that all by himself, but he can carry the economic message all by himself. And I think that’s the stronger of the two messages.”

On Congress' inability to pass a coronavirus stimulus plan, Sen. Blunt blamed the Speaker of the House: “I think it’s clear that Speaker Pelosi did not want a deal that might possibly benefit President Trump. And that’s been the whole problem from day one.”

Sen. Coons blamed the Senate Majority Leader: “Mitch McConnell’s priority through this whole Congress has been confirming conservative Republican judges, and now justices, instead of providing needed relief to the American people.”

Interview highlights are below.

Full transcript for Sen. Roy Blunt is here.

Full transcript for Sen. Chris Coons is here.

Sen. Roy Blunt highlights

On President Trump’s chances of winning re-election

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)

I think the President should be re-elected, the regulatory environment, the incredible economic successes that he’d had, what’s happened in the Middle East, but what we’ve done generally to hold our allies to account for doing their part of the job. There are lots of reasons to re-elect the President. I think we shouldn’t assume until the election is over that he once again is going to take advantage of that unique way he’s communicated with Americans. It doesn’t show up in polling, but it does show up at the ballot box.

On whether Republicans can hold the Senate

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)

I think we will. We may be dependent on one or two elections in Georgia after the election to get to the 51 plus votes we need, but I think there’s a likely pathway that gets us there. And it will make a big difference. President Trump re-elected without a Republican Senate would not be the kind of environment that people would want. And frankly, if Biden was elected, I think not having a Senate that gives some rational thought process to the effort on their side to go off the left edge of the world is an important thing to add.

On the Hunter Biden allegations

Greta Van Susteren

Hunter Biden is an issue that President Trump brings up at every rally. Vice President Biden says it’s a distraction, that it’s a smear campaign. Is it a legitimate issue or not? Is it a distraction? Is it real? Is it fair? Tell me what you think.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)

I think it’s legitimate to wonder why so much of the media simply refuses to get to the bottom of it and determine exactly what happened there. But frankly, I think the President would be better off in this final weekend talking about the record-setting, never-before-happened growth in GDP in the last quarter, how he led us to significant economic opportunities space through the first three years in the administration, how he’s prepared to do that again. He gets to decide what he’s going to talk about. I think his strongest argument is the economy and there was never better evidence of the economy roaring back than the highest quarterly growth in GDP ever. Almost twice the previous record, which I think was in 1950.

Greta Van Susteren

You so quickly moved from the issue of Hunter Biden to the President talking about the economy. And I know you’re on Senate Intel, so it sort of makes me think that maybe the Hunter Biden story isn’t... Because that would fall in your lap, because it has to do with China. So, am I to read anything into the fact that the Senate Intelligence Committee doesn’t seem interested in this?

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)

No. No. You shouldn’t read anything into that. I think this is a story that if it does develop, it’s gonna develop over time. There’s not been enough immediate interest in looking at it. The President can’t carry a story like that all by himself, but he can carry the economic message all by himself. And I think that’s the stronger of the two messages, but I’m not giving him advice on the campaign trail every day. If I was, it would be talk to the people about what we’re going to do, how you’re going to be able to do it better than anybody else. And you’ve got plenty of evidence to prove that important case on the economy [inaudible}.

On election Interference

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)

The difference in what happened this year and what happened four years ago is the administration worked hard to develop relationships with all the state election authorities and the big election authorities within the states to secure their voting system, to monitor their registration system.

President Trump did create not just a defensive authority, but an offensive authority where you could go in and make them pay a price. We did that after the 2018 elections, prices were paid. I can’t talk about it, but they were paid and they’re being paid this time, too.

On Covid stimulus talks

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)

I think it’s clear that Speaker Pelosi did not want a deal that might possibly benefit President Trump. And that’s been the whole problem from day one.

And she just has refused to come to the table and come up with an agreement that could get the votes in the Senate, the Republicans and Democrats, and would get a presidential signature. I think anybody that’s watching this closely can’t really blame either the White House or the Senate for not trying to get the deal that worked for the COVID relief, not every single problem the Speaker could think of that she’d like to solve."

I’m incredibly frustrated we didn’t get this done, and the American people should be too. But the President has worked diligently to get this done, not too focused on a number, but focused on policy. People ought to be thinking about that between now and Tuesday and looking at the Republicans on the ballot, Senate, and House who are working hard to get to a final conclusion. And if you do that, we’re going to have a good election day on Tuesday."

Sen. Chris Coons highlights

On COVID stimulus

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)

Well, let’s be clear. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the House passed a big comprehensive bill four months ago. And the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin was negotiating well and making real progress with Speaker Pelosi. It was Majority Leader McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, who put a big spike in that wheel just two weeks ago, saying that the Senate would not take it up. And just yesterday, he said again, that Majority Leader McConnell doesn’t think we’ll get a package done before the end of this year. What I hear from Delawareans, what I think all politicians who are now home running for re-election here, is that it’s long overdue. We didn’t get it done because the Republicans in the Senate were much more focused on confirming now Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)

Majority Leader McConnell knows how to negotiate something that will get passed in the Senate and what he presented wasn’t that. It included a get out of jail free card for every employer in America. Liability relief is what he called it, but it didn’t respect whether you were an employer who treated your customers and your employers with responsibility and provided a safe workplace, or whether you were reckless and irresponsible. That’s why a lot of Democrats, myself including, wouldn’t vote for it. He knew that before he even put it on the floor and we needed a bigger and bolder relief package. Mitch McConnell’s priority through this whole Congress has been confirming conservative Republican judges and now justices, instead of providing needed relief to the American people.

On Justice Barrett and the election

Greta Van Susteren

You mentioned Justice Barrett who has now been confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. Are you telling me with a 100% certainty if the shoe were on the other foot, if you had a Democratic Senate and a Democratic president that the Democrats would have not done the same thing, getting their candidate onto the court before the election? With 100% certainty, you wouldn’t have done the same?

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)

Greta, I can’t imagine that we would have nominated a justice and had them confirm just eight days before a presidential election if we had also done what Republicans did four years ago and insisted on no confirmation for 10 months before an election. And frankly, one of the things that upset me the most about now Justice Barrett was she refuses to recuse herself from election cases. Don’t listen to me about the importance of this. Listen to President Trump, who over and over has said he wanted his allies in Congress and the Senate to rush through now Justice Barrett so she could help decide the election. And there’ve been four cases just in the last week that went to the Supreme Court. If every vote is counted and counted fairly, Joe Biden’s going to win and be the next president of the United States. But these cases confirm my suspicion that Justice Barrett is there to help decide this election for Donald Trump.

Greta Van Susteren

All right there. But two cases in the last week out of Pennsylvania, she didn’t participate in either one. I don’t know what she’s doing going forward, but is it fair to say that she’s not going to recuse herself and isn’t it true that judges don’t just recuse themself on everything, it’s when they feel that they have an appreciable bias?

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)

That’s right. And the reason as I raised in her confirmation hearing that there is an appreciable bias as it were in this instance, it’s not because of anything Judge Barrett did, but because of what President Trump said repeatedly and publicly casting doubt on the legitimacy of the election, casting doubt on whether or not he’s going to accept a peaceful transfer of power. And most importantly saying that the reason he was pressing for this unprecedented rushing of a partisan nominee was to help decide the election in his favor. That’s why she should be recusing herself from these cases.

On the President’s record on COVID

Greta Van Susteren

Part of the president’s approach on the coronavirus private program called Operation Warp Speed in which we started to get actual doses of these different vaccines that we’re hopeful will be efficient and effective. Do you not support that and think that was a wise thing for him to do or not?

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)

Of course I supported and voted for funding the early acquisition of significant numbers, millions of doses so that once we’ve got proof that there is a safe and effective vaccine, we can deliver it to America’s most vulnerable, our frontline workers and those who are in nursing facilities and gradually to the entire American population. But because I support that doesn’t mean I respect or even accept the ways in which President Trump has made unscientific, unsound and inappropriate promises, criticisms.

He challenged Dr. Fauci and Dr. Redfield at every turn. He’s refused to accept the advice of public health leaders, both in how he’s conducted his campaign rallies and in how he’s conducted himself as president. And he has told the American people that we’re rounding the corner, that there’s a vaccine coming any day now when that simply isn’t true. Just yesterday, we had the worst all time count of new infections from this COVID-19 pandemic. President Trump has ignored science, misled the American people, and frankly does not deserve re-election because of his record in failing to keep the American people safe.

On the Hunter Biden allegations

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)

Greta, there’s nothing for him [Joe Biden] to answer. Investigation after investigation by the press and by two Republican led committees of the Senate have concluded there’s nothing there. Joe Biden did nothing inappropriate as vice president. And frankly, this baseless smear, this attack on his family is exactly the sort of reason most Americans are tired of politics. They want to see us solve their problems, not see people running for president attacking each other’s families. Joe Biden has focused on the American family and on dealing with the challenges facing our middle class while Donald Trump and his campaign, folks like Rudy Giuliani right at his hand have thrown more and more mud at Joe Biden’s family. There is nothing to these charges.

Greta Van Susteren

Former Lieutenant Bobulinski who was a partner to Hunter Biden recently gave an interview, is he lying?

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)

He’s certainly exaggerating. I haven’t watched his recent interview so I frankly don’t know everything he’s saying, but I’m clear that Joe Biden did nothing wrong as vice president and this is a distraction. Donald Trump can’t win by running on his record of leadership on how he’s responded to this pandemic, how he’s brought our country together, and how he’s going to get us out of this recession and this mess. So he is distracting us. He, as a former reality TV star, is a master of distraction. And Rudy Giuliani, who I will remind you, recently President Trump was cautioned by our intelligence community that Rudy Giuliani is pedaling Russian disinformation. What he is doing is simply trying to distract us. He is not leading us into a better reality. He is trying to distract us from the reality that he’s created as president by mishandling this pandemic.

On Pennsylvania and Justice Barrett

Greta Van Susteren

Do you think Pennsylvania is the key to this race? Is that where we’re all our eyes should be on Tuesday? Is that the linchpin to this?

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)

I’m spending the weekend campaigning largely in Southeastern Pennsylvania, as well as in my home state of Delaware, because Pennsylvania is so central to this election. We may not know the final results of the Pennsylvania election until several days later, but it’s exactly why I was so upset that the Republican majority insisted on jamming through now Justice Barrett, because she may end up being the deciding vote that determines whether every vote in Pennsylvania is fairly counted.

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About Greta Van Susteren:

Greta Van Susteren is the Chief Political Analyst for Gray Media and host of Full Court Press. Ms. Van Susteren is a veteran of Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN. Her prime-time Fox News Channel Show, “On the Record,” was number 1 in its time slot for 14 1⁄2 years. Before joining Fox News, she hosted CNN’s prime-time news and analysis program, “The Point with Greta Van Susteren,” and co-hosted the network’s daily legal analysis show, “Burden of Proof.” Her legal analysis for CNN’s coverage of Election 2000 earned her the American Bar Association’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Journalism. She continues to host the weekly 30-minute program “Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren” on Voice of America, which broadcasts exclusively outside of the United States.

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