CNN "The Situation Room" - TRANSCRIPT Classified Documents From Biden's Time As Vice President Discovered In Private Office; Tonight, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Facing First Major Test As Speaker; Prince Harry Drops Royal Bombshells In New Book; Key Panel To Meet To Select Committee Assignments As Part Of McCarthy's Deal. Aired 6-7p ET


Date: Jan. 10, 2023


Let's discuss what's going on with Republican Congressman Warren Davidson of Ohio.

Congressman, thanks once again for joining us. I want to discuss what's going on on Capitol Hill in a second. But,

first, on the classified documents found in President Biden's former private office here in Washington, we just heard the president say that he takes classified information very seriously. Are you satisfied with his response so far? Do you have confidence in the U.S. Justice Department's investigation?

REP. WARREN DAVIDSON (R-OH): Well, first and foremost, the attorney general should have a clear standard. It should be the same standard for what we are talking about with President Trump or President Biden, or anyone else, and clearly we should take classified material seriously. That's why we classify it.

And so, you know, I was interviewed with Pamela Brown on CNN shortly after the Mar-a-Lago raid, and I felt I was excessive. Here, I think the way that this was discovered, clearly, he has an attorney that seems to have done the right thing here. So, I do look forward to seeing what happens, and I hope we have a clear and even standard clearly perceived by the public to be even-handed as well.

BLITZER: But you understand the differences between the way that the former president and his team to handle the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, as opposed to the way that the current president and his legal team have handled the classified documents found in his private office.

DAVIDSON: I understand has been characterized, but I also understand the history of the Presidential Records Act. Frankly, there's nothing incredibly unique about how the presidential records act has been handled by the Trump administration versus the Biden administration, the Bush administration, the Obama administration. There's been ongoing allegations about people doing inappropriate things with records, which produced the Presidential Records Act in the first place.

So, I think that that dialogue should stay constructive, instead of being escalated in a way that was broadly perceived as partisan. I think that wasn't healthy for the system of justice in our country.

BLITZER: Let's turn to Speaker McCarthy right now. Should he be more transparent with your own caucus, and with the American public for that manner, about the deals that he made with members to become the speaker of the House?

DAVIDSON: I think he was very transparent, and frankly the night that he was working to get the votes, Friday night, we had meetings across the conference broken down, whether it was in the whip's office or elsewhere. Every single member ended up in those meetings, but was socialized across the whole range of actions within the conference.

So I think that people broadly understand the framework of what was being dealt with here. In the official rules package, which is what the conference actually votes on, there's really only one formal change, which moved it from five members on a motion to vacate the chair into one member prior to even January 3rd's first votes. BLITZER: Before you, I let you go, Congressman, as you know, your

colleague Republican Congressman George Santos of New York is facing an ethics complaint after admitting that he lied about parts of his resume during his campaign, lying about his own background. First of all, do you trust him? Can you work with him?

DAVIDSON: Well, he certainly hasn't earned my trust. If you look at his background, if the kinds of lies that he told don't merit an ethics commission, it will really make everybody scratch their heads. But, frankly, broadly, I think that I was pleased as you highlighted, or Melanie did, that some of our colleagues were removed from intel committees, because we do take classified information seriously. I think that's an important level of discipline, and it would make everybody scratch their heads to say that there was some sort of failure to recognize what George Santos has done.

BLITZER: Should Congressman Santos be given any committee assignments?

DAVIDSON: Yeah, that will be interesting to see where the dialogue goes. First and foremost, I think it would be hard to understand why there wouldn't be an ethics investigation into how he was elected and certainly the kind of scrutiny my colleague Marjorie Taylor Greene and remarked that she acknowledged this is what I said, this is what I didn't say. Nevertheless, Democrats on a partisan basis, stripped her of committees. I think the party should decide who has committee assignments from our party.

BLITZER: Congressman Warren Davidson of Ohio, thank you very much again for joining us.