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CNN "Anderson Cooper 360" - Transcript: Rep. Denny Heck (D- WA) is Interviewed About the Impeachment Probe

Interview

Date: Nov. 22, 2019

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Denny Heck who serves on the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, thanks so much for being with us.

You know, President Trump has long said this claim that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.

Are you surprised to see your Republican colleagues especially those with an intelligence background, especially those who were presumably were briefed by the intelligence community get on board with this lie?

REP. DENNY HECK (D-WA): John, at times, I can't tell if they're self- deluded or that cynical. But I vacillate between those two. It's got to be one or the other because the facts are what they are.

They all seem to have remembered that old expression about the big lie, if you tell a big lie enough and keep repeating it, and people will come to believe it. But here's what I said, is what they should consult is the more enduring wisdom that is often quoted by President Abraham Lincoln. You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. Facts matter, John.

BERMAN: This briefing that "The New York Times" reported CNN reporting that members of Congress were briefed by the intelligence committee that this is a Russian effort to blame Ukraine.

Were you aware of these intelligence briefings?

HECK: Yes.

BERMAN: And were they convincing and should they have been convincing to the Republican members who were also briefed?

HECK: It's no longer arguable, John. This is all a fiction that is being propagated by them as a part of the big lie theory. They're going to tell this big lie and they're going to repeat it until enough people believe it that it will help provide them for a defense for President Trump for his misdeeds.

That's what this is about. That's what the motivation is or they're just incredibly, as I suggested, self-deluded.

BERMAN: Let's talk about the next week of your life, Congressman. We understand that the house intelligence committee which you're a member of will spend the next week drafting this report which will go to the Judiciary Committee laying out what you have found as part of this inquiry. Will it stick to the testimony that you heard, what we all heard in the public hearings or will there be more we haven't seen?

HECK: Well, John, just to be clear the next week of my life is going to involve an awful lot of giving of thanks for the many blessings and sleep because the fact is it's been an incredibly long and arduous two weeks. Our able staff is in the process as you and I speak of drafting the report which will then be shared with the members and have an opportunity to review it at that point. And I am presuming but it has not yet been confirmed we will take it

up the week we get back and mark it up and the Intelligence Committee, which is a term that means we'll vote upon it.

BERMAN: The president said in an interview today that he doesn't expect to be impeached and White House officials in background briefings were claiming they didn't think that the president was going to be impeached.

Do you believe that's wishful thinking at this point?

HECK: So we have to clarify our terms here. For somebody to be impeached means for the House to pass it.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: That's what I mean. That's what I mean. That's all I mean.

I mean that the House will vote to impeach the president. The president said he did not think the House would vote to impeach him and White House officials are suggesting the same thing. And my question to you is, are they deluded?

[20:25:01]

HECK: Well, TBD. The fact of the matter is, we haven't written the report yet. And there are a lot of members of the House who while many were paying close attention to the exceedingly dramatic events of the last two weeks, others were busy at work on their legislative business, so they're going to have to digest all this. We will transition this to the Judiciary Committee at some point in the near future where they will be responsible for crafting articles of impeachment should they decide to do that.

And in the meantime, John, let's not forget there can be other developments. Obviously, today, Ambassador Bolton felt as though he had an irresistible urge to tease the public through his Twitter account that he had information. I have called upon Ambassador Bolton time and time again, do your patriotic duty, come forward just like three other people who work for you did, Colonel Vindman, Dr. Hill and Tim Morrison.

Do what they did. Have the courage to put country first.

BERMAN: So far, it's just a tease, though.

Congressman Heck, thank you for being with us. We'll join you next week in giving thanks. Wish I could join you in getting some sleep. Appreciate you being with us tonight.

HECK: Thank you, John.

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