Happy Scribe
[00:00:00]

This investigation of the president was corrupt, the FBI and the Department of Justice were politicized and weaponized, and in my opinion, there are only two possibilities. That you were deliberately corrupt or woefully incompetent, and I don't believe you were incompetent. This is done severe damage to the professionals and the honorable men and women at the FBI because law enforcement should not be used as a political weapon and that.

[00:00:32]

Is the legacy you have left? This might be my favorite aspect of the show, I mean, this is what we've been seeing since impeachment all the way back, what was it, eight, nine months ago now is we get the first look and the first talk with Senator Cruz after all of these extraordinarily consequential events. Senator, you have just come from a hearing with former FBI Director James Comey. James Comey is not just a controversial figure, but he has, in your words, either incompetent or worse.

[00:01:11]

Let's, if you wouldn't mind, take us through the hearing. Well, yeah.

[00:01:16]

So he was testifying about his leadership at the FBI and his role in the investigation of President Trump, of his campaign of Michael Flynn, of Carter Page. And I got to say, you know, Comey at this point just blames everything on, oh, mistakes were made. The passive voice was used. Nobody as an actor, it just just happened to happen. O some things were sloppy. And I got to say, I thought too many Republican senators were willing to credit him with, oh, you just didn't know what was going on.

[00:01:52]

Baloney. We know exactly what was going on, KOMY, I believe, bears very direct responsibility for politicizing the FBI, for politicizing DOJ and Obama and Biden used COMI. And use Brennan to turn DOJ, CIA, FBI into political weapons to go after Trump, and I think Comey was was complicit. The hearing today, which I just came from, I spent most of the morning over at the hearing. He's very good at dodging and weaving. He's slippery.

[00:02:30]

He doesn't like to answer a direct question. So, you know, he talked about, well, any time, any time the FBI, as is thought of, as less than competent or honest, that's a problem. And I pointed out that in according the inspector general report, they made 17 material misstatements to the federal court. And he was like, oh, well, yeah, that's competent and honest. And and he said, well, it was honest at least.

[00:03:00]

And I said, well, no one of those was when an FBI lawyer who worked for you fraudulently altered a document from the CIA. He emailed the CIA and said, hey, it's Carter Page, a source for you because he's talking to the Russians. But if he's talking to the Russians on behalf of the CIA, that's very different than if he's running around with Russian agents. CIA said, oh, yeah, he's a source for us.

[00:03:21]

And the FBI lawyer fraudulently altered that that email and added the words is not a source, literally turned it to the opposite of what it said. I mean, I mean, reversed its meaning 180 degrees. And they use that as the basis for a submission to the federal court. Comey being slippery, as he is, said, no, no, no. That's not what the inspector general concluded. And fortunately, I had the IG report right in front of me.

[00:03:49]

So I pulled it over and read the damn quote from the report.

[00:03:52]

And he just he had nothing to say on that.

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I like this dichotomy that you drew between incompetence and corruption. I think even I and I think for so many people who are listening, who don't have the time to go through all of the aspects of what this means for spying on the Trump campaign and the Russian collusion narrative and on and on and on. And it's complicated. It's hard to figure out. It is hard to figure out.

[00:04:19]

And we know that bureaucracies are incompetent a lot of the time. So I think even a lot of us who are pretty conservative will say, OK, maybe we'll give him the benefit of the doubt. But what you're pointing to here is one the language that Comey uses, this passive voice, which he always uses, is designed to push away any sort of guilt. And we can we can read in the report that there was flagrant, intentional dishonesty.

[00:04:44]

You know, a couple of additional observations coming out at the hearing today and at the press all the time makes all these aspersions. Like he said at the hearing, I think the Russians have something on Trump. And mind you, he has no basis. He was leading the FBI. It used to be that that you actually have something based on evidence rather than just making making wild accusations. But but listen, I know James Comey not well, but I've dealt with him for a number of years.

[00:05:12]

I think Comey was deeply, deeply political, a small p political political in the maneuvering. And I think Comey had delusions of grandeur. He worked in the J. Edgar Hoover Building, which is the headquarters of the FBI. And I think he thought he was J. Edgar Hoover. I mean, Hoover famously abused the power of head of the FBI and basically blackmailed people, had, you know, all sorts of incriminating information on lots of players.

[00:05:41]

And I think Comey look, Comey played a role in 2016 and torpedoing Hillary at the end and then in exonerating Hillary and going back and forth. And I think he was playing politics. And then I think he felt guilty about the role he played in Hillary. And I think he hated Trump and he was perfectly happy to have the FBI be a political weapon. And there needs to be accountability. People need to go to jail for breaking the law.

[00:06:11]

And to date they haven't. And I hope they do.

[00:06:15]

Will they be held to account? I mean, I know they're we're having hearings at the Senate. We're having the investigation from the DOJ into into all the mess that happened. Is there going to be some consequence to all of this or the nefarious players just going to run out the clock?

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Look, I pray they will. I don't know. I think Bill Barr is doing a terrific job. I think if anyone can ensure some accountability, it's bar. That being said, it's been four years and there hasn't been much of any. And, you know, one of the things I asked Comey about is, is he testified under oath and under penalty of perjury that he had never leaked to the press and that he'd never authorized anyone to leaked to the press concerning this.

[00:06:56]

Andrew McCabe, who was his deputy, has publicly stated that he leaked to the press and that Comey authorized him to do so and he knew about it. And so I asked Comey about it. I read read the two statements. I said, look, these are directly contradictory. They can't both be true. So who's telling the truth? And Comey, again, under oath, reiterated that he'd never leaked and never authorized anyone to leak. McCabe's coming before the Judiciary Committee next week.

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And you better believe I'm going to ask him the same thing. One or the other is lying. And doing it in front of the Judiciary Committee is perjury that is punishable by prison term.

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Well, we'll obviously have to cover that next week. You know, I want to get to the debates a little bit. And actually this ties directly in one one line that President Trump came back to last night is he said there was an attempted coup. The previous administration spied on my campaign. They drove up this whole ridiculous narrative. They tried to impeach me over absolutely nothing. And so it's not a minor issue. It's not enough to just say, oh, well, that was a few years ago.

[00:07:58]

We'll move on. You know, this is an issue that gets to the heart of the integrity of our political system. And there was a little bit of a parallel I felt at the debate, which is that it's supposed to be the two people who disagree. Right, Donald Trump and Joe Biden and a neutral moderator. There are supposed to be neutral, non-partisan elements to our government and the moderator, just like a lot of elements of the. Government turned out to be a partisan Democrat weighing in on the side of Joe Biden.

[00:08:26]

Yeah, I think Chris Wallace did an abysmal job. I think he's consistently been a really bad presidential debate moderator because he's biased and he's condescending and he thinks it's all about him. And so you saw, you know, before the debate, he said he wanted to be invisible, but but that disappeared when the debate started where he you know, there was a lot of stomping his foot. And, you know, I'm in charge here. Listen to me.

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It reminded me of South Park, you know, respect my authority.

[00:08:57]

I mean I mean, that was that was Chris Wallace and Kirtman debate. Yeah. Yes. And. But he was also look, a lot of people get confused because Wallace is on Fox News and so they assume he must be a Republican, a right of center.

[00:09:13]

He's a liberal Democrat and he's been in the entire time I've been in the Senate. I've seen Wallace do it over and over again, that that he attacks conservatives, that he carries water for the left. You saw with the questions, you know, one of his questions to Trump was The New York Times hit piece on the taxes, which, you know, conveniently two days before the debate, entirely designed to be the attack on the debate. Now, mind you, The New York Times doesn't actually release the tax documents.

[00:09:42]

So it's purely the Times, his characterization of them. But but Wallace does none of that to Biden.

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Apparently, there are no issues with Biden. Did you know that there are no criticisms of Joe Biden?

[00:09:55]

Lucky guy.

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You know, at times, Wallace's questions were almost like, you know, Mr. Vice President, are you more handsome or brilliant?

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Like light like it was? And his little his laughter, his snide comments, there is zero doubt. For whom Chris Wallace is voting that he is voting for Joe Biden and it's not a good thing for for a moderator now, you know, we were talking about Senate Judiciary Committee a minute ago and how the witnesses testify under penalty of perjury. I think it's a good thing that neither of the candidates last night were testifying under penalty of perjury.

[00:10:34]

There are some exaggerations perhaps in there or worse.

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It was wild and woolly. I don't think there's ever been a debate like this in the history of presidential debates. At times it was ugly. I drew an analogy to the Detroit Pistons basketball team in the 1990s in that there were a lot of hard fouls and missed shots. And, you know, Trump at times was was Bill Laimbeer coming with this massive arm and slamming Joe across the head. Now, Joe was was rabid punching back.

[00:11:07]

And I mean, it was at times that it almost became Jerry Springer.

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And I expected someone to grab a chair and like, throw it at the other was disappointing.

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I felt I have to say it was it was obviously a two on one debate, Wallace and Biden against Trump to begin with. But I think a lot of people were dispirited because you felt on the substance, Trump had much more than Joe Biden, even even on the attacks. Joe Biden's attacks were just to to call Trump a clown and a racist and tell him to shut up, man, and come on, man. But it was so childish.

[00:11:44]

And I understand maybe the president's strategy was to Offut Biden a little bit, but I felt there were too many interruptions. I felt that was counterproductive. It was just dispiriting, I felt for both camps. What do you think the the the upshot of it is going to be for both campaigns? And how do you think that they can do better next time?

[00:12:03]

Yeah, look, I don't think the debate moved many votes last night. I think the people that came in supporting Trump left supporting Trump, the people who came in supporting Biden left supporting Biden. I don't think there were a whole lot of undecided voters whose whose views were changed. Both candidates had good moments in the debate. Trump I think his best moment was when he called out Biden and he explained that Biden is supporting shutting down the economy, shutting down small businesses, shutting down restaurants, destroying jobs, shutting down schools.

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And Trump contrasted that says he wants people to open, go back to work, go back to school. That was really important.

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And Biden didn't have a good response to that. Biden was trying to run away from his positions.

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I thought that was was was a very positive exchange.

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I also thought Trump was particularly good when on law enforcement, you know, Joe made reference to being supported by law enforcement. And Trump said, really name one name one law enforcement organization in all of America supporting you. And Joe just kind of blinked wide eyed and had no idea. And then, of course, Chris Wallace jumped in and bailed Joe out. Wallace should have shut up and stayed out of it right then. And Trump. Should have been quiet, yeah, and pressed it it's.

[00:13:24]

One very powerful thing in in a negotiation in an interview is silence, silence, people hate silence.

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People want to fill silence with with space. And you know the question Trump asked, name one law enforcement agency in the entire country that has supported you. I think if Trump had just simply looked at him and waited and there had been two, three, four or five, six seconds of silence as violent, Biden had no answer. It would have been really powerful. That being said, the point was made.

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Nonetheless, the point was made.

[00:13:59]

And it was too bad that Chris Wallace jumped in. I mean, obviously, I guess that was what he was there for, was to go in and help the Democrat. But there is this basic rule in politics I don't need to tell you this, which is that when your opponent is is destroying himself, don't get in the way if there's no reason to interrupt that.

[00:14:18]

Well, and and by the way, another another quick example. You know, Joe Biden, he tried a couple of times to run away from some positions of the left. He pretended he didn't support packing the court or actually technically, he said he wouldn't answer that question, which means, yes, he supports packing the court.

[00:14:35]

He did help himself, I think, when he when he came out strongly and said that he opposed defunding the police, although I think both Wallace and Trump should have pressed back on him hard. And I thought it was interesting that he ran away from the Green New Deal and said, I don't support the green New Deal. If Wallace were actually being a fair and impartial moderator. The natural follow up question to that is what aspects of the Green New Deal do you not support your running mate as a co-sponsor of it?

[00:15:06]

I mean, there was no substance. So he was able to say, no, no, no, no, I don't I don't support that, but with no details. And he wasn't pressed one iota.

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And the first question of the debate actually is what we were talking about on the last episode. The first topic dominated the beginning was the Supreme Court. And it was on this issue of court packing. It was on other other aspects of the Supreme Court. Coincidentally, you happen to have a book out on this subject, one vote away. But I do think it kind of vindicates what we were saying on the previous episode, which is that however it is today, I don't have her.

[00:15:43]

It came to be the Supreme Court is the dominant issue in the presidential elections now.

[00:15:50]

I think that's right. It was the number one question in the debate. The book One Vote Away, it came out yesterday. It's actually done done really well. We did a podcast yesterday and we asked folks thank you for going going online to Amazon or wherever and buying it. We've been in the top ten national best sellers on Amazon, actually, right now on on Amazon's best seller list for political conservatism and liberalism, which is sort of an odd odd list if you're, I guess, a righty or lefty.

[00:16:21]

The book is right now number one. And I got to say, I think verdict listeners, you guys are a huge part of why that is. Thank you. That really it makes a difference. And I think I think you'll find the book really interesting and informative and helpful, hopefully for the same reason that you find verdict helpful. Right.

[00:16:43]

Well, it's actually I think it would be a good contrast to the debate, which is that I am professionally obligated to watch every minute of that debate. And if I were not professionally obligated to do it, I would not have a I didn't feel it was productive. It was difficult often to watch and listen to. But it's different when you're talking about the book. You actually do leave. I'm not I'm not just shilling for your book. I really am enjoying it, because for this reason, you leave with actual information so you can say, OK, this is this is ammo I can use, frankly, when I'm having these debates with my friends and I'm at the water cooler or I'm wherever at a dinner party.

[00:17:21]

Well, and you know, the debate last night, the first question actually, Wallace asked a good first question. It was a neutral moderator question where he said, Mr. President, your position on the Supreme Court vacancy is as follows. Vice President Biden, your position is as follows. And he fairly neutrally characterized both sides. And he said, tell us why, why you're right. And then so he just teed up the issue and then let them engage.

[00:17:45]

That was actually a pretty good beginning. It was it was not as biased as some of his later questions. I got to say, the president's response. He essentially said, well, I'm president and I got elected, so I get to nominate and we won and I wish. I wish the president had focused on why it matters, why the Supreme Court matters, what's at stake. I wish the president had focused on the issues really at the core of the book One Vote Away that he talked about free speech or religious liberty or the Second Amendment.

[00:18:26]

You know, when I was a college debater, we used to think all the time when you were in an opposition of of focusing on harms. In fact, you know, I would say harms, harms, harms. How does it impact you and a little bit of the back and forth between Trump and Biden? It was about them. And I really think it would have been more effective for it to be about you at home if you're the soccer mom at home watching this debate.

[00:18:55]

OK, yes, people elected the president. And by the way, Biden had a huge created a huge opening because he came and said, well, the American people deserve to have a say. They get to vote on a president, they get to vote on the Senate, and they deserve to have a say. That was his reason why we shouldn't vote on him. And Trump had a natural response of, you know what, Joe is absolutely right.

[00:19:18]

The American people deserve to have a say. And they did. They elected me in 2016. I told them what kind of justice I was going to appoint. They elected a Republican Senate. They told him what kind of justice we were going to confirm. And Joe, there's a reason the American people that they want free speech, they don't want the government prohibiting you criticizing politicians. They want religious liberty. They want to be able to worship. They want the Second Amendment.

[00:19:44]

And, Joe, your justices would take away Second Amendment rights from Americans. It was a great opportunity that Joe kind of stuck his chin out there and and asked to be clobbered not. In a personal attack, but really a substantive. Your vision for America is not what what the American people want, and it's not how they voted in twenty fourteen in the Senate, in twenty sixteen in the Senate and the presidency or in twenty eighteen in the Senate.

[00:20:14]

That's a great insight. I mean, I saw that missed opportunity there. I felt you could have hit it. But I like the framing that you've just described, which is it's not about me, it's about you. And don't forget, that was a huge help to President Trump in the general election in 2016 when Hillary's slogan was I'm with her and he said, forget that I'm with you completely, that ISIS, I'm with you. And in the spirit of that, as a matter of fact, I do want to get to some mailbag questions from you, not senator, but you out there.

[00:20:42]

And this this does relate to the debate. This question is from Brandon. What changes could be made to make the debates more effective or I'll add, listenable?

[00:20:57]

Look, at some level, it's impossible if the two are going to yell at each other. President Trump in particular want like is looking for a brawl. I actually think he would be better off sort of ratcheting down a little bit and engaging in a more more of a conversation and discussion. But I think it would be benefited from having moderators. I think rather than pretending people are unbiased, we ought to just admit. So I'd have a Republican moderator, a Democratic moderator.

[00:21:32]

I'd have a yeah. You know, how about have Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow moderated debate together and everyone will know which hat they're wearing or, you know, or Mark Levin or or Rush Limbaugh or Michael Knowles or Ben Shapiro.

[00:21:48]

I mean I mean, can you imagine Ben moderating a debate and. Fine. Get some whatever smart lefty get lefty Ben Shapiro and Chris Hayes. That would actually be an interesting debate. Now everyone gets that that Shapiro would ask questions. He's coming from a perspective and Hayes is coming from a perspective and they would ask questions to advance their perspectives. I think that actually be a more honest debate. Yeah. And interesting debate because it would expose the weaknesses of both sides and help people make make an intelligent decision.

[00:22:18]

Absolutely.

[00:22:19]

I totally agree. This idea of when can we get back to a perfectly balanced, neutral, objective press that probably never existed, that I think is missing the point. Let's just be honest about it. And that way you get to some fairness. Now, this this question is going to come from the opposite end of watching or listening to last night's debate for Margot.

[00:22:38]

What does Senator Cruz do for fun to take a break from politics? Play basketball, I love hoops of the past, played two hours of hoops yesterday, play two hours of hoops two days ago, I can barely walk because I turned 50 in a couple of months. So four to five hours of hoops is a bit too much. I like playing tennis. I love movies.

[00:23:05]

I'm I used to go to the movies at least once a week. I mean, I love being in the big movie theater.

[00:23:17]

Play with my kids, I mean, the girls are nine and 12, so, so free time at home is family time. We play games. I love to play games, play poker, play backgammon with Catherine.

[00:23:32]

She likes backgammon. And we play Monopoly. Play dominoes, dominoes, this is a Cuban favorite, so every Thanksgiving and Christmas, the family will get around. Cubans, by the way, play double nine double sixes. And and my college and law school roommate guy named David Panton is Jamaican in Jamaica. They play a lot of dominoes as well. They play double sixes. And David came came to visit the house a couple of months ago when when Heidi was out of town.

[00:24:03]

And so we just had kind of a boys weekend hanging out. And a couple other guys came over and we played dominoes at the dining room table. And and that particular time, David's a very good dominoes player. I happened to win that particular night. And so I called up my dad. My dad is a very good dominoes players, too.

[00:24:22]

And I called up and I said, Dad and my father knows David really well. And I said, Dad, you really need to to comfort David right now. And actually, I want to ask you to pray for him because, you know, he just flew all the way to Houston and he just got got humiliated at Dominos.

[00:24:41]

And and he he's hurting. And so Dad and I have him on FaceTime.

[00:24:45]

And I said, you know, Dad, I'm asking you to to commiserate. And my father had just finished playing dominoes with my cousin, and my dad happened to have one, too. And so my father was having he said, you know what, we ought to get David Marino together. And they can commiserate on on on what it's like to to to need to study dominos more.

[00:25:06]

So it was not we weren't showing a whole lot of compassion at that moment.

[00:25:10]

Senator, I've got to tell you, while I'm picturing you playing dominoes at the table, all I'm picturing is you guys lining them all up and then you push one down and they oh, that's I don't know how to play dominoes. That's all I know how to do with them. But it creates a much funnier image. I noticed you left one thing off the list, which is my favorite hobby that that we've ever done together. The cigars. Where are the cigars?

[00:25:31]

It doesn't make the top ten.

[00:25:33]

So when I play poker, I love to smoke cigars. OK, all right. A funny Heidi story. When Heidi and I were engaged, I used to host a regular poker night and my buddies would come over at the dining room table and we'd play poker and we'd smoke cigars sitting at the dining room table. And they were like, man, your girlfriend or your fiancee is amazing. Like, I can't believe she let you smoke inside. And I'm just like, yeah, wow.

[00:26:02]

That's you know what? I'm you know, that's that's just how cool it is. Amazing.

[00:26:06]

And we got married May 27th, two thousand one. We're coming up on our 20th anniversary. We literally get back from the honeymoon. I'm getting rid of host poker game. She says, get the damn cigars outside. You're never to smoke it inside again. And I never have. It's been 20 years since I've been able to smoke a cigar inside. So, so.

[00:26:26]

So sometimes the engagement rules are different from the marriage rules.

[00:26:31]

And I could see that it's sort of it changes like that, I suppose. I suppose marriage is about sacrifice. Good, though, to be able to take a moment to relax, even if you have to do it outside now to have a little bit of fun because a lot to celebrate. Congratulations on the book going so far up up the list. And be sure for everyone to go out there and get a copy of one vote away. I promise it will be a substantive distraction from all the madness that you're going to be getting in the media for the for the next couple of months of the presidential cycle.

[00:27:02]

We're going to be back forgetting about our relaxation, where we back talking about all of that. Obviously, a lot coming up. But in the meantime, I'm Michael Noles. This is a verdict with Ted Cruz.