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CNN "Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees" - Transcript: Interview with Rep. Denny Heck


Date: Dec. 26, 2019


Joining us now, someone who heard his share of course of impeachment testimony as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Washington Democratic Congressman Denny Heck.

Sir, good to have you with us.

I'm --

REP. DENNY HECK (D-WA): Thank you, Erica, and happy New Year.

HILL: Thank you. And to you as well.

I'm curious, Congressman. Just to get your take, what do you make of all of the tweets aimed at Speaker Pelosi, the attacks on Speaker Pelosi from the president in the last 24 hours?

HECK: Well, same old same old, Erica. When I was first elected, I made a personal pledge. I asked my constituents whom I referred to as the bosses., is to hold me accountable for two standards. I said look, if I ever violate either of these two standards, I want you to let know.

The first of which is, if I ever resort to ad hominem or name-calling, you call me out on it. And secondly, hold me accountable for always looking for common ground, even for people with whom I disagree greatly.

The president has violated my first standard repeatedly, almost hourly since he took office. And I'm not going to resort to the same. It seems to be his instinct.

As I've said I think the year before, he's basically got four plays -- deny, attack, play the victim, or change the subject by invoking some outrageous statement.

HILL: When we talk about Speaker Pelosi withholding the articles of impeachment, are you concerned? Are you hearing from the bosses at home, are you concerned at all that this may backfire?

HECK: So let's look at the antecedent here, the precedent, the most recent precedent, Erica. Back in 1998, the articles of impeachment were actually passed on December 19th, but not transmitted to the Senate until January 6.

So we're not even actually coloring outside the lines yet in terms of recent history. I think that she is waiting to see exactly what the ground rules will be, because as before in 1998, the articles of impeachment were transmitted simultaneously with the floor managers. And it's hard to understand or determine what kind of floor managers you want to send into this impeachment trial if you don't know what the ground rules are.

Let me give some color to that. So if they do allow witness, which I think is the most outstanding question here, witnesses or documents, then you might want somebody that has more prosecutorial experience. If they do not, then you might want somebody who has more investigation experience and presentation experience and do it on the basis of the two reports that my committee, the intelligence committee and the judiciary committee produce.

So it's a little hard to determine who it is you want to send over there until you know how it's going to be conducted.

HILL: Well, but you can -- but to your point you know what each of those scenarios would entail. So if you're Speaker Pelosi, aren't the odds pretty good that you already have your list made in these various scenarios?


So you know once those rules roll out, here's what we've got, these are my managers?

HECK: Many are called, few are chosen. I think the list of people among my House Democratic colleagues who would like to participate in this is longer than my arm. And oh, by the way, I'm not among them.

And so, I think she has to sort through quite a bit. And I think she is waiting to see this settle down a little bit in terms of what is it the Senate is going to do. How are they going to proceed?

Can Senator McConnell get past his statement on camera where he basically violated the oath that he is required to take under Senate rules to pledge himself to impartiality? Can he pivot away from that and establish and outlook that gives her confidence about how this will proceed?

HILL: We will be watching to see what happens. Thanks for letting us know, though, where you stand.

Congressman Heck, always good to speak with you, sir. Thank you.

HECK: Thank you.