FULL EPISODE: 2/14/21 Trump acquitted. Sen. Rand Paul & Rep. Brendan Boyle react

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)  spoke with the Kentucky Chapter of the Federalists Society about some...
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) spoke with the Kentucky Chapter of the Federalists Society about some things he's never shied away from before: liberty and constitutionality.(Source: Michael Flynn, WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Feb. 13, 2021 at 11:46 PM EST
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Washington, D.C. – Greta Van Susteren interviewed Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), and Gray Television White House Correspondent Jon Decker for Gray TV’s “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren” airing Sunday, February 14, 2021.

Sen. Paul told Van Susteren a conviction of President Trump by the Senate would set a precedent for criminalizing political speech. “If we lower the standard that any politician [who] says, “Go fight, let your voices be heard,” is somehow culpable for that, I think what we’ll have is people on both sides of the aisle … culpable for the bad behavior of a lot of people out of there.”

When asked about Amb. Nikki Haley’s recent comments distancing herself from Donald Trump, and whether the GOP as a whole was doing the same, Paul answered: “Parties are always evolving.”

On why he doesn’t wear a mask on the Senate floor, Sen. Paul said: “There’s probably no safer place on the planet than the Senate floor. They have all been vaccinated and I’ve already had it. Could you imagine somewhere on some planet that I could get it again? … So I think we should put this into perspective and not be crazy.”

“The unique aspect of this case is so much of the information is already public,” said Rep. Boyle of the Senate impeachment trial. “So I think that most of us can make up our mind regardless of the Senate trial. I do believe that Donald Trump should be convicted. I mean, if we’re not going to impeach and convict on inciting an insurrection against another branch of government, then essentially we’re saying impeachment is meaningless.”

On his introduction of a resolution to criminally prosecute former President Trump, Boyle said: “I really want to know what Donald Trump was doing or not doing during that afternoon, during the five hours in which Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, many others were reaching out to the White House ... The only way you can really get to that is through a criminal investigation.”

Sen. Paul and Rep. Boyle interview highlights are below.

Sen. Rand Paul Highlights

On Donald Trump’s action on Jan. 6 and the Senate impeachment trial

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

I wasn’t in favor of the argument that Congress should overturn the election and I voted against not seating the electors from the states. I think that the electoral college and the states oversee elections. It’s an important part of the electoral college that states get to make these decisions, and it isn’t really the congressional prerogative to overturn them, so I disagree with the president on the substance of the debate, but I think it’s very important, as we look at speech and language and particularly political speech, that we not criminalize speech.

I think if we lower the standard that any politician says, “Go fight, let your voices be heard,” is somehow culpable for that, I think what we’ll have is people on both sides of the aisle so culpable that they’re culpable for the bad behavior of a lot of people out of there.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

The example I’ve used is Chuck Schumer in front of the Supreme Court saying Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, “there’s a world you’ve unleashed and you’re going to pay for it. You won’t know what hit you if you don’t change your decisions.” He was actually rebuked by Chief Justice Roberts over that. But no one suggested that Schumer be impeached or removed from office for that intemperate and inflammatory language. I think we have to be very careful that we want to have a standard, and by all means, people can criticize the president for his debate and for what happened and for all of that, and I have, but the thing is, that’s different from actually criminalizing political speech. I think it’s a bad idea.

Greta Van Susteren

Was it good leadership or was he stoking a fire?

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

The thing is, is that, once again, if we’re going to do this we have to look at both sides equally. Jamie Raskin is the leader of the House management team, the Democrats who are trying to impeach the president. In 2017, he stood on the floor and did exactly what Donald Trump asked for. He tried to overturn the election by voting against certifying the electors from Florida. Barbara Boxer did the same thing. If it’s intemperate and it’s bad and President Trump shouldn’t have done it, that’s fine. I can agree with that. But the thing is, it shouldn’t just be about one side, because Democrats have also come forward and try to de-certify elections, and that’s what I object to mostly about this, is it becomes this one side, “Oh, Donald Trump is so bad because he did this.” And everybody says, “Let’s look away. Nothing to see here.” The Democrats have done exactly the same thing.

On the Nikki Haley interview and whether the GOP is abandoning Trump

Greta Van Susteren

Looking into 2024, I don’t know if you intend to put your hat back in the ring, but we hear rumors that Ambassador Nikki Haley might want to put her hat in the ring, but she has recently been quoted in Politico saying that President Trump went down a path he should not have and we should not have followed him and we should not have listened to him and we can’t let that happen again, which suggests to me that she doesn’t think he’s a main player in the Republican Party anymore. Your thoughts on what she said.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

I think political parties are empty vessels unless we infuse them with value. Parties are always evolving. I want the Republican Party to be the party of limited government, balanced budgets, low taxes, low regulation, a foreign policy that doesn’t mettle in every civil war around the world. That will be debated in 2024.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

While I’ve been one of his steadfast supporters when I think it’s partisan, when the attacks have been partisan on philosophy and issues and ideas seeding the electors, I was on the other side of it. I think a lot of people confused my position, but I want my position to be clear. I’ve always been for the same thing and I’ve stood up to President Trump when he was wrong, but also supported him when there have been what I considered to be partisan attacks.

On the COVID relief bill

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

There is no free money, there is no savings account in Washington, there’s no rainy day account. It’s not like I can waltz over to the Federal Reserve and open this big safe door and say, “Aha, I found all their money. I’m going to give free money to everyone.” No, it’s a wrong-headed notion. It was wrong under Trump, it’s wrong under Biden, it’s wrong under the Democrats, and that is to pass out free money. It shouldn’t be, “Well, we’re going to do two trillion, and the Republicans are conservative, they want to do one trillion.” Neither of those proposals are conservative.

On why he doesn’t wear a mask in the Senate chamber

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

There’s probably no safer place on the planet than the Senate floor. They have all been vaccinated and I’ve already had it. Could you imagine somewhere on some planet that I could get it again? Yeah. But 25 million people have had it, and there’s not more than a handful that they are saying may have had it again. The people who end up having it again because they’ve got some built up immunity have very mild cases. I had a very mild case to begin with. So I think we should put this into perspective and not be crazy. But is it deadly? Yes. I have a staff member who just survived nine days on a ventilator. I know it can be deadly. But the thing is, we should not discount immunity that you get from vaccines or discount immunity you get from having it, and we should let individuals make the decision.

There was a study out of Stanford in the last month that showed, they looked at 10 different countries, they looked at mask mandates and all these crowd consultings the government wants to do, not any evidence that any of the mandates have worked.

On the reopening of schools

Greta Van Susteren

What are your thoughts about opening schools and specifically about President Biden’s proposals?

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

We’ve got teenage suicides up. We’ve got kids not learning anything. My heart goes out to poor families whose parents didn’t go to college who have to work hard with their hands all day and they can’t teach their kids. How terrible it is. And no scientific evidence. These people say, “We’re going to follow the science,” until they disagree with the science. One, they want to say you got to wear a mask after you’re vaccinated. That’s not following the science. And two, they want to say, “Oh, we’re not going to send your kids back to school until we pass the Green New Deal.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

The Teacher’s Union in California wants the Green New Deal passed before they’ll go back and teach your kids in school. I’d say get new teachers if they’re unwilling to teach. No evidence that there’s any surge with kids going back to school, and if there is a surge in your school, close that school down. We’re not using any common sense.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

We’ve got the people in Washington feeding us such cockamamie nonsense that no one’s going to really look at the facts. The kids need to be back in school.

Rep. Brendan Boyle Highlights

On the Senate impeachment trial

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.)

The unique aspect of this case is so much of the information is already public. I mean, almost all of the evidence that has been presented is based on public video, public audio, and public reporting. So I think that most of us can make up our mind regardless of the Senate trial. I do believe that Donald Trump should be convicted. I mean, if we’re not going to impeach and convict on inciting an insurrection against another branch of government, then essentially we’re saying impeachment is meaningless.

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.)

When Donald Trump turned and directed the crowd to march on the Capitol, something, by the way, that was not part of the original plan. In their permit, they never talked about a march, peaceful or otherwise, on the Capitol. It was Donald Trump repeatedly who brought that up in his speech.… And I had Donald Trump’s speech on in my office. And at a couple points when he said that, I remember thinking to myself, “Uh oh, this is going to be real trouble the way he’s riling them up and then saying, ‘We’re going to go March on the Capitol.’” So I do think there is only one reasonable way to decipher his intent in this situation.

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.)

What’s different here is of course he, as Liz Cheney so eloquently put it, he invited the mob, he assembled the mob, he incited of the mob. And then that mob went and physically attacked hundreds of police officers as well as others. So I do think that... I mean, I watched the video that defense assembled kind of their hit reel. I think people understand the difference between rhetoric in a speech using the word fight not literally, versus something quite different, which is sicking a group of people on those of us who were attempting to carry out our Constitutional duty.”

On his resolution to criminally prosecute Donald Trump

Greta Van Susteren

You have introduced a resolution to criminally prosecute Trump by the Department of Justice. Do you still want President Trump, former President Trump criminally prosecuted?

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.)

Just to be clear, of course there’d be an investigation that would have to go forward. Then it would be the determination of prosecutors as to whether or not the evidence merits a charge.

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.)

One thing this trial hasn’t gotten to just because of the limited powers of impeachment, I really want to know what Donald Trump was doing or not doing during that afternoon, during the five hours in which Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, many others were reaching out to the White House, begging the president to send in the National Guard, begging him to call off his followers, this riotous mob. And he was refusing to act. I really want to know what was going on and what he was doing and not doing. The only way you can really get to that is through a criminal investigation.

On the COVID relief bill

Greta Van Susteren

What is going directly to the American families?

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.)

First, obviously, the direct stimulus payments, the fact that it will now fill up to the $2,000. So the $1,400 on top of the $600 that went out right between Christmas and New Years. The over $100 billion so that we can finally safely reopen our schools. As any parent will tell you, that has been a major concern that if you have kids who are school age, it has really impacted so many, especially women who have dropped out of the workforce because of kids being at home.

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.)

The fact that we’re extending the unemployment insurance or another about six months or so.

An overwhelming majority of Americans support this, including a majority of Republicans, according to three different polls that were recently taken. The other place where we’re getting widespread support is among economists. We are seeing centrist economists, progressive economists, and even some conservative economists come out in favor of this package.

On the $15 minimum wage

Greta Van Susteren

Speaker Pelosi said this week that the $15 minimum wage will be in this bill. Do you believe that to be true, that that will be voted on?

Greta Van Susteren

Yeah, I do. I mean, I serve on the Ways and Means Committee as well as Budget. I look forward to voting for that. I am also cognizant though, of the challenges we will have in the Senate. I believe there are now two Democratic senators who’ve come out in opposition of that. So I think it remains to be seen whether or not that will be in the final package that passes both the House and Senate. But I am confident that it will pass the House.

Greta Van Susteren

Congressional Budget Office. They have also said that the $15 minimum wage will eliminate 1.4 million jobs, but it will lift 900,000 people out of poverty. How do you reconcile that? I mean, how do you explain that?

Greta Van Susteren

I have great respect for CBO and they are truly nonpartisan. I do wish there were some other things that they took into account of their considerations. If you look at the analysis from Brookings, for example, they have found something quite different. But your overall question, I think is a valid one. What do you do when the trade-off is some job losses? I think there’ll be fewer than what CBO is projecting, but you’re also lifting a tremendous greater number out of poverty. For me, I go back to the examples, Greta, of the 1990s, when Bill Clinton raised the minimum wage. You didn’t see the unemployment rate go up. In fact, you saw it continue to drop. And again, under George W. Bush and when Democrats first controlled Congress about a dozen years ago, that was the last time we raised the minimum wage. And you also saw the unemployment rate, not go up, but go down. So just in my lifetime or our lifetime over the last 25 years, the two examples of raising the minimum wage did not see any increase in unemployment.

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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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