FULL EPISODE: 3/28/21 Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito on the migrant surge and mass shootings

Updated: Mar. 27, 2021 at 9:58 PM EDT
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Washington, D.C. – Greta Van Susteren interviewed Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for Gray Television’s “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren,” airing Sunday, March 28, 2021. The program will also feature a discussion with Gray TV White House Correspondent Jon Decker.

Rep. Jeffries defended Biden’s infrastructure plan, calling it “a direction, a vision, and it will be anchored in traditional infrastructure investment, transportation investment, housing, schools, roads, bridges, tunnels, things of that nature,” adding: “And then if there are other policy priorities, that’s to be discussed because we still haven’t settled on the mechanism yet.”

On immigration, Jeffries said, “unless we deal with the root causes of the migration in the Central American Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, we’ll never be able to solve this problem.”

On gun control, Jeffries said:” If we can implement red flag laws and become a part of the interactions that the American people have in this climate of rising gun violence, perhaps that can do a lot of good. And that’s a law that also has bipartisan support.

Sen. Capito, who recently visited the southern border with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as part of a bipartisan delegation of senators, told Van Susteren a facility holding minors in El Paso was “overcrowded” and criticized the administration for not giving access to members of the media, saying “If you’re actively preventing the press from coming in, that is a major red flag.” Capito also expressed concern “about more drugs coming into this country” because border agents have been focusing their efforts on migrants and predicted the administration would be asking for billions of dollars in the coming months to pay for their efforts on the border.

Capito also denounced President Biden’s expected $3 trillion infrastructure bill, calling it a “reshaping of the definition of infrastructure,” “total debt,” and suggesting the Democrats would pay for it with “massive tax hikes.”

Interview highlights are below.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries Highlights

On immigration

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)

Unless we deal with the root causes of the migration in the Central American Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, we’ll never be able to solve this problem.

On the filibuster

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)

Republicans changed the filibuster rule, and they arguably stole two Supreme Court Justices; one by denying Merrick Garland a hearing when he was duly nominated by the President at the time, Barack Obama, and then by jamming Justice Barrett down the throats of the American people who were getting ready to vote just a few days later. This is extraordinary stuff, and now they want to complain about the precedent that could get set if filibuster reform is changed. I think the American people recognize that they have no standing in that regard.

On infrastructure

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)

Whatever the administration continues to put forward, that will present an outline, a direction, a vision, and it will be anchored in traditional infrastructure investment, transportation investment, housing, schools, roads, bridges, tunnels, things of that nature. And then if there are other policy priorities, that’s to be discussed because we still haven’t settled on the mechanism yet.

On gun control

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)

We have to make the red flag law part of the consciousness of the American people, similar to what was done in the aftermath of September 11th. If you see something, say something.

There were family members who apparently were concerned with the behavior of the alleged shooter in Boulder but did not say something. And I think one of the lessons hopefully that we’ll learn is that if we can implement red flag laws and become a part of the interactions that the American people have in this climate of rising gun violence, perhaps that can do a lot of good. And that’s a law that also has bipartisan support.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito Highlights

On immigration and her recent visit to the border

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

What I saw was an overcrowded facility of... a facility that was built for 1,000 adults, and there were 1,100 children there. I saw a workforce that’s just working great in terms of the border doing what they can, but they’re faced with such incredible challenges.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

President Trump worked with Mexico to come up with the Remain in Mexico program as a deterrent for people to come. If you come and file your asylum claim, but you have to wait for it in Mexico, that’s a deterrent. A lot of people just went home.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

The administration this administration totally upended that program, and then you see this enormous amount of people coming.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

If you’ve got border agents who are diverted into trying to apprehend unaccompanied minors that are coming into this country, what are they doing on the drug interdiction? The drug interdiction obviously is secondary to human interdiction. I think that I’m very concerned about more drugs coming into this country, and that affects all of our states.

Greta Van Susteren

We couldn’t get into these facilities where they held children. The press has been kept out ...

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

Well, I addressed that directly with the Secretary because I see that as a major problem. First of all, what do you have to hide? That’s the first thing the American public is thinking to themselves. What does this administration, what are they trying to hide? The circumstances that I saw are very tough. They’re crowded. But remember I mentioned that I thought the children were being well-cared for under that very difficult circumstances, and so I think it would’ve been a perfect opportunity to show a bipartisan group with the Secretary and go into the shelters with the cameras.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

I mean, sunlight transparency’s always the best thing. If you’re actually actively preventing the press from coming in, that is a major red flag. Then you see the frustration of the American public who are questioning what is really going on there and why are they hiding this?

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

Any idea of the price tag this is costing us right now, this influx?

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

Oh, billions of dollars, I’m certain. I, as an appropriator, we haven’t seen an additional request for funding, but I’m certain we will get one in the next two to three months. I think it will be earth-shattering, really. It will have to be enormous to be able to meet this challenge because they’re talking about over 100,000 in May alone, and those are numbers that we’re already breaking through on.

On gun control

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

I have been very strong on Second Amendment. I have a state that’s very strong on Second Amendment. I’ll look and see what’s coming over, but I’m not going to make a... I know what’s coming over from the House is probably way too drastic, so we’ll just see what comes through on the Senate side.

On infrastructure

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

Here’s my problem: $3 trillion social infrastructure on top of this? I mean, this is just a reshaping of the definition of infrastructure, number one, but also reshaping the way that we’ve always addressed these problems, which are together, whether it’s roads, bridges, ports, airports, broadband, whatever we would consider infrastructure.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

Does this country want to provide free community college?

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

That’s part of this bill—Pre-K for every state. I mean, that’s what I’m reading. They haven’t come out with the entire bill yet. I haven’t seen it. But this is what the pre-reports are. These are discussions that we should be having all across the board. You’re really disenfranchising a great part of the country when you don’t include other voices.

Greta Van Susteren

Jobless claims last week were down to 657,000, which is the lowest since the pre-pandemic, but with the thought of a $3 trillion infrastructure bill on the table, where are we going to get the money, and what happens? Who’s paying for this?

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

It’s total debt. Our future generations are paying for this unless the program that the Democrats put forward is massive tax hikes, which I think that’s what they have in mind. I don’t think a time when we’re coming out of a pandemic, coming out of a downturn of an economy is a time to jack people’s tax rates up to when they’re just now getting their businesses back up and running again.

On the filibuster

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

I’m very concerned about this. I hope that Senator Manchin stays strong. He’s certainly a strong individual, so I expect him to in his opposition of breaking the filibuster, but he’s going to be under tremendous pressure, we know that.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

We need to keep the filibuster to remain the institution that is sort of the cooling idea arena from what comes over from the House so we can forge a bipartisan agreement. We did it under tremendous pressure from President Trump to the leader. He kept saying, “Break the filibuster,” to Senator McConnell. We didn’t do it.

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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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