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CNN "Erin Burnett Outfront" - Transcript: Interview with Senator Amy Klobuchar



BURNETT: Tonight, the Department of Homeland Security defending President Trump's firing of a top official charged with keeping U.S. elections safe and secure. A DH official telling CNN that Chris Krebs had no authority to discuss election fraud, which is kind of shocking because Krebs' whole job is to police fraud and he put out a statement saying it was the safest election in American history.


The statement, you know, described the 2020 election as the most secure, right? That's exactly what it said. Directly contradicting and angering the president.

OUTFRONT now, Senator Amy Klobuchar, the top Democrat on the Rules Committee which has oversight over federal elections.

So, Senator Klobuchar, you know Krebs. You've worked closely with him through the Rules Committee. You've described as firing as a, quote, gut punch to our democracy. DHS now defending that move.

Your response?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): I just literally just read the response and you're watching my reaction in real-time. I'm shocked. You know why?

He has been briefing senators of both parties together, for a year, two years on this, including when the White House stopped the briefings. I have been in the rooms with senators, where he has explained their actions to limit fraud to basically let the public know what's going on, to stop this information, both from foreign governments.

So, for them to say suddenly, oh, he went too far when he's had a rumor -- control section of their website for months, is absolutely absurd. And this is a guy that should be given a medal. He -- one of his duties was to make sure we didn't have foreign interference in our election. There were obviously attempts, and he and many other hardworking people that he supervised, thousands of people, make sure that didn't happen.

And he has been commended by Republican senator, you know, the likes of Ben Sasse and Richard Burr, Rob Portman, and just the day since he was fired.

BURNETT: Yeah. So, Senator Lindsey Graham says he is not concerned with the state the president won. But he is looking into states that President-elect Biden won. Now, ethics experts, I'm sorry, are calling on the Senate Ethics

Committee to investigate Graham's conversation, specifically last week with the Georgia secretary of state, right, which is secretary of state said that, you know, that Graham was suggesting legally cast ballots be thrown out. Again, he's only having these conversations with states that Trump barely lost, as opposed those ones he barely won.

Do you support an ethics committee investigation, Senator?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I don't have all the evidence, but I'm very concerned about this. I can tell you the ethics committee does look at these things, and sometimes they take action and sometimes they don't. I don't understand why Senator Graham is calling secretaries of states in other states.

I don't know where else he called, would I do know is that George Secretary of State, who is a Republican who is willing to stand up and call it out for what it was, and he's simply allowing people to do their jobs. And we're going to see the result.


KLOBUCHAR: So, for me, as I look at the future of our country and the democracy, this is Erin from my vantage point, as a lead Democrat on the Rules Committee that receives the Electoral College votes, this is all about getting those Georgia results in, which I understand are going to be this week.

Arizona, it's done.


KLOBUCHAR: Lawsuits have been found frivolous, and it is time for Donald Trump to concede this election.

BURNETT: So many of your Republican colleagues have remained silent, not all but most. As the president continues to, you know, in all caps say that he won the election and it was marred by fraud. And it wasn't. And they know this. And those are the facts.

But he keeps saying this kind of thing, and either you have -- some people going out and, you know, amplifying it, and others in their silence acquiescing to it. And that's how we get a new poll like we've got today from Monmouth University. Seventy percent of Republicans, that's 55 point million who just voted believe President-elect Biden won because of fraud.

I find that heartbreaking, right, because it's not true. And that's a lot of people. What's your reaction to that?

KLOBUCHAR: It is. That people have to stand up, and you saw some of it during the election, when people like former Governor Kasich, and Cindy McCain, Republicans who went all in to support Joe Biden, and now, you're seeing people like Mitt Romney and Susan Collins and Sasse and others, and world leaders from across the globe basically congratulating Joe Biden, Kamala Harris on their victory.

So, I do think that we have to make sure that we acknowledge that there are people who have stood up and that's going to become more and more important as this goes on. You also still have, you have Joe Biden's reaction to all this which I think has been spot on, saying, hey, I know it's hard to lose an election, I'll give you a chance, you give me a chance to the Trump voters.


KLOBUCHAR: That he wants to end the grim era of demonization, that this shouldn't be a partisan moment, it should be an American moment.


KLOBUCHAR: That is starting to sink in, and I wouldn't be surprised -- I'm not really surprised by this because Donald Trump has been commanding, you know, he lives in the White House, spending all day on Twitter.


KLOBUCHAR: That's what he seems to do well people are dying.


But, eventually, people will come all around. Not everyone, but a number of them.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Senator. Thank you very much.