tv Newsmakers Sen Joe Manchin CSPAN April 14, 2019 6:00pm-6:36pm EDT
>> that is why, when i am president of the united states-- [applause] >> we won't wait. >> west virginia senator joe manchin is our guest on "newsmakers" this week. he is the ranking democratic member of the energy and natural resources committee in the senate, also the appropriations committee, which put him at the table with the attorney general this week, we are going to ask you more about that, and also serves on the armed services and veterans affairs in the senate. thanks for coming in. sen. manchin: thank you for having me. >> two reporters will be asking questions this week. bob cusack returns to us from the hill, editor in chief. hello, bob, burgess everett covers congress for politico, returning to us as well. nice to see you. bob, you are up first. bob: the attorney general created headlines when he said they were spying on the
president's campaign. you supported bill barr for attorney general. do you regret the vote? sen. manchin: it was a terrible statement. i said, mr. barr, the only way you can have any reprieve is to allow us to see the report. we have to start healing the country. you cannot continue to separate and divide with all these theories, because a lot of people are justifying their opinions based on their own facts. let us see the facts and make our determinations. that would go a long way in helping reprieve himself for that horrible statement. i never thought anyone had any question that the russians were involved. i was on intel last year and i saw all the reports and i saw the investigation done. i talked to all the 17 agencies we have on security, and not one of them contradicted the russians actively and aggressively were involved in trying to interfere in our elections. now, they have done that for many years. but not on the scale they did in 2016. the mueller report would help us immensely.
mr. barr should apologize for the statement. bob: do you think he should clarify what he meant? it is a loaded word, "spying." sen. manchin: basically, we never saw anything from either political party other than political rhetoric that goes back and forth. and now we have julian assange, thank god we got him eventually. i'm hoping will bring him back. hopefully that works out. i want to thank the u.k. for helping that to materialize. maybe we can get the facts now, but i would recommend, and i would make sure that secretary barr understands that he is the attorney general for all of us. he doesn't have just one client, he has 330 million clients, and i hope he never forgets back. i was very much concerned about the affordable care act. it devastates my state. how anybody could be for this. when john mccain, god rest his
soul, he was voting not because he liked the bill. he was voting because we talked all day long. i said, john, we've got fixes for this. at that time, we had marie alexander, we had susan collins and bill nelson. we had fixes that would reduce the cost for the private payer. we haven't put any restriction on people getting a card for the first time because we never taught them how to use health care. they never had it before. all of these things here, i went to the president and i said, mr. president, you can fix it. you can be that mr. fix-it president. we will call it trump-repair care. don't throw it out. i asked the attorney general. i said how can you take a , position that you will not support the law of the land? you are attorney general. i do know from back channels and probably from your reporting, basically that he did protest
said he was against it, but i guess it was the bus that calls the shots. >> do you regret your vote for him? would you not have voted for him if he was today? knowing this now? sen. manchin: i would give him clarification on this. i look at the qualifications. if the person is qualified and ethically, and has moral values. the man was definitely qualified. everything we had seen, in his job when he has performed before, there was no ethical violation. he had written a 19-page memo, it made no sense at all what he wanted to jump into that fray. but if you look at his qualifications and performance in the job he had in public service, we had never found any flaws there. i used to confirm people as a state senator and it would say, just look at their qualifications. and i have been very deferential to that. i have voted sometimes as the only democrat, if they are
qualified, and if there are no ethical violations, there is no reason not to. second, if i give them benefit of the doubt, i can come back and hold them accountable. when you report on him, i will hold his feet to the fire. like bernhard coming up. i was clear, i said, there are a lot of concerns about you. i said i will give you the benefit of the doubt because you are very qualified and knowledgeable, and it will hold -- i will hold you accountable. didn'tt like, manchin vote for him. it's not just playing politics. >> you mentioned depending obamacare. sen. manchin: affordable care act. >> most of your party, a third of the caucus, is looking for medicare for all. sen. manchin: it is so aspirational. that's the best word we have in today's political arena. aspirational. we can't even pay for medicare for the some of us who are getting it.
we go insolvent in 2026. >> will this become law in the next decade, will this ever happen? sen. manchin: i don't know. i think they come up with all of these, but it is all aspirational. andhave the new green deal, the real green deal, what really needs to be done. the practical side of it. bernie and his medicare for all, i said, bernie, we have basic health care for the first time, we can hold on to that. -- cannot hold onto that. we can help you. we can fix the flaws in it. don't you think we ought to do that before we jump onto another venture, major policy changes? don't you think we are to make -- ought to make sure everybody that has paid into medicare receives it when there are 65 or
older, that they can continue to keep it past 2026 and it not be afraid of losing it? i was born and raised in west virginia. i don't have the luxury of looking at all these. i have to figure out how i can make what is in front of me work, or fix it and make it better. that is what i try to do. >> are you worried about the direction of your party? many say the democratic party has moved left. sen. manchin: i am worried about you all be porting it, giving all the ink and press to the three that's begun about it. >> house freshmen. manchin: yes the house freshmen. there are how many, seven of them? when you look at the people that disagree change the house of the democrats, they were all blue dog democrats, moderate, centrists. they come from areas were they basically have to give and take. a process that they have to work through. they are getting eviscerated. i worry about the perception people have of the democratic party, that it has gone completely off the rails. >> so along those lines, the house democrats have been in control for a few months, not
led certainly by the freshman, -- but led by speaker pelosi. how would you rate her? sen. manchin:she's doing an admirable job. you talk about herding cats. that's a tough one. i think she has been looking at this and trying to be -- there is no impeachment. she knows that. we are not going down that path. there are no votes. she can count. she is a veteran. she is smart. you want to go out and campaign and play games, fine. that doesn't have any traction here. she knows health care has to be fixed, don't throw it out. she knows that attorney general barr should be attorney general for all the people, not just for the white house. she gets all this and she is doing a good job. i liked paul ryan, he was a good man. but he had a hard time operating.
i didn't know paul or kevin as well as i know my buddy before that. it is a tough job over there. reporter: you say that it is perception that you already moving left, but by many metrics, bernie sanders is the front runner, without joe biden in the race yet. are you worried that he would get the nomination, would that be a problem for your party in the election? sen. manchin: i think it would create challenges if a country moves as ittry that has been -- bernie is bernie. you have to give bernie credit. he is who he is. he doesn't try to camouflage anything. he has not fluffed anything up. you can go back 30 years of bernie and he has been preaching the same thing for 30 years. bernie doesn't come only across as being sincere, he is sincere in what he believes. bernie and i had a discussion one-time on education, free education, college. i said, bernie, education is local, primary and secondary is free, our colleges too
expensive. there are a lot of things you can do to make it more tolerable and affordable. i said, bernie, you make college free. i have a son who is almost 40, he would still be in college. he loved it so much, he never left. >> what did he say? sen. manchin: he laughed little bit. here's thenie, difference between me and you. in west virginia, we need the best and brightest. we need to attract smart people to the market. sometimes we can't attract them. but if they knew they could offset -- i would say this, anybody who gets a stafford loan, all the kids whose parents have planned for a college education, that is a lot of people, i said bernie, we have don't have to pay for everybody. a lot of people have won scholarships and need a little help. and there is that big swath that has nobody. that didn't have the nurturing at home.
they are smart. we all knew smart kids in school who never had a chance. let us say every kid truly knew they had a pathway forward and it could be paid for. if they did this -- you get a stafford loan, guaranteed, federal loan. you take a full load and you graduate on time. then you go into a selected area. so you know before you go to your classes where we have shortages and we will pay. and we will pay 100%, 75% of your education, and it depends on need. they will have earned it. i said, bernie, i have always found that if someone has earned something, it has more value than something we give to them. that is a different philosophy we have. i think there are more people in my lane -- let me help you, let me show you how you can afford this, how you can better yourself and pay for it, or a portion of it. if you don't want it, then you have to hold off on it. reporter: you have left the door open for possibly supporting president trump in 2020. sen. manchin: i just said i represent the state of west
virginia. i look at all the values we have. i will support the best person i think represents my state and who i think is best for the country. so i take both of those extremely important and in consideration when they make the determination. i don't close the door on anything. reporter: is there any chance you could support bernie sanders for president? sen. manchin: i wouldn't take anything off the table and depending on what their final policies are. right now, to say i will or won't, we only have got what, 15 in, there is room for 5 or 10 more. reporter: you were quick to defend joe biden when he was embroiled in the stories about inappropriate contact. did you contact him before that, or did you just naturally leap to his defense? sen. manchin: i didn't leap to
his defense. reporter: he went onto tv and defended him. sen. manchin: it is what it is. he asked me a question, said, i have been around joe and known him for a long time. i have never seen joe put himself up on someone other than he thought they needed encouragement, he thought they needed encouragement and comforting. i had never seen that. reporter: do you hope he gets into the race, would you consider some supporting him? sen. manchin: i hope it gets into the race. i would consider supporting everybody. i know. mayor pete came to me when he wanted to be the head of the democratic party. remember that? he campaigned, and i gave him an entree to everybody. all the delegates. everybody thought the world of pete. it just wasn't his time for that. he might look on that as a blessing. [laughter] anyway, there are a lot of good people out there. kamala harris is a friend of mine. i know them all.
we'll see what comes down. reporter: >> have you spoken to biden recently? sen. manchin: i spoke to him the other day. i went to the funeral. i know all the pain he suffered over the years. reporter: does see talk to you about the presidential race? sen. manchin: he did. i told him, joe, be you. they can't change you. the people that know you and let you know you because you are who you are. the people that no joe biden joe , biden is a type of person in our generation, touchy-feely was something that we just all did. i told people when i was a young -- i was a young child, one time, in family, hugging and kissing, that was how you greet, men, girls, everybody. it's what we did. one time, a cousin of mine i knew was a relation, i didn't greet him that way because i didn't know him, and i got reprimanded.
and i'm thinking, whew, never making that mistake again. when he walked through our door, -- we walked through our door, you get hugged and kissed, no matter who you were! i put joe in that category. reporter: speaking of friends, you are friends with senator susan collins. she has been with you, leaders on the no-labels group. she is up for reelection in 2020. would you support her? sen. manchin: i would campaign for her. reporter: you would campaign for her? sen. manchin: if she wanted me to, i would campaign for susan collins. for america to lose someone like susan collins, it would be a shame. reporter: she may take you up on that. sen. manchin: if she does, i will be happy to do that. do you think your party would be happy? [laughter] sen. manchin: it is not about party. chuck schumer is my friend. i think the world of him. i really do. we are able to talk and we understand each other.
we are able to get into it sometimes, but we always walk away as friends. he knows the way i feel about people. i say, if i can go home and explain it, i'll vote for it. if you have been around long enough, i just say, listen, it is the right thing to do. susan collins is the right person to be in the senate. >> are you disappointed by the current dynamics in the senate? sen. manchin: very much disappointed. it is not what i expected, what i thought, what i heard about. it is not. there is so much good that can be done. and here is the shame about it. i don't have anybody in the senate that i don't consider my friend, democrat or republican, 99 of them. i hang out with them, i like them all, i can talk to anybody. one of the senators said to me the other day, you don't talk to
me. -- one of the senator said to me, the other day, they don't talk to me. i said, why, is it because you are republican? or is it because you are talking to them back out reporter: wouldn't that be a loss to them? sen. manchin: i am getting to the end of my career. do i want to end my career where i can be the most effective? i am looking at everything and doing it in a methodical way. it is about my family. i have been doing this 37 years. i have been through a lot of tough campaigns but nothing like i have been through this last one. i think i owe it to my family. but i am concerned about my state. our state deserves full-time representation, somebody who is basically going to be there and look at the problems we have, infrastructure, economic challenges we have, health care, all those things. broadband high-speed, opioid addiction. these are things we have to tackle. i have always said this, i don't think the federal government should be our provider, and i don't think state government should be the provider to the people of the state. they should be a partner.
a good partnership works when it is given take both ways. -- give and take both ways. but if someone expects someone else to do it all for them i guarantee you, you will , not get off the couch to do anything for yourself. we have a responsibility to help those who can't help themselves. i take a little different approach to this. i can't help the person who can't get out of bed. i take a different approach to this. reporter: president trump has nominated herman cain to the federal reserve board. there have been four women have made accusations of sexual misconduct. could you support herman cain? sen. manchin: i don't think i can. i don't think he is qualified for the position. the allegations are very troublesome. but let us look at the qualifications. is he qualified to sit and make those determinations? i don't know his background is enough to do that. and the other person he is considering also. reporter: stephen moore. what about him? sen. manchin: again, i don't think so. the president knows, you give me somebody qualified, no problem
with me. no ethical violations, no problem with me. a combination of those two, we have a problem. reporter: the president campaigned against you in the senate race. i know that there were some early moves to rejuvenate your relationship with him. what is the state of your relationship with the president? sen. manchin: the best relationship in the world i have ever been involved in. i can get him on a phone call in 10 minutes. come over and have lunch or something, we go over. we talk about things. we talk about immigration. take the 2013. the all-inclusive immigration bill. it fixes everything. guess what, don't worry about money, we put $46 billion to secure the border. nothing to worry about there. and also, we give people a pathway. the people who desire to have the quality of life and are willing to pay the price to get in the back of the line. you want to keep them. you know how to get rid of the
bad ones, and if you don't secure the border, you can't keep them out. reporter: would you say you are an ally? sen. manchin: i don't know about an ally. i say, mr. president, i can give you good honest reading on what is going on, call me. we have talked about sensitive stuff. i said, this whole asylum situation we are talking about here, you're talking about taking money away from the countries that we basically give foreign aid to. can't you switch that foreign aid to where we can go down into these embassies and have safe houses in safe places for people that truly need protection? we do that, basically, domestic violence in this country. can't we do that for those countries? we can determine who qualifies for asylum. we can give them safe passage to america, that really should have it and warrant it and need it, and stop this illicit trade going on that you have been harping about. we can do this. so we have some good conversations sometimes, and he likes it.
but then, when i leave the room, somebody else jumps in, and then they trump me. sen. manchin: i get trumped sometimes by trump. reporter: we were talking about your state before -- 42 points, he won the state. now that has been more than two years since the election, is he more popular or less popular? did they raise issues like health care? sen. manchin: i won on health care. they spent $25 million against me. they threw the whole enchilada at me. first time in the history of the united states of america that wanted r 43 or d4 e3. the 43. d43. i am not looked upon as
being partisan. i really am not. people have known me long enough to make sense. i called the guy and new he was the best of the best. i wanted him to be the chairman. he said, you know i am a republican? i said, does that other you? -- does that bother you? it doesn't bother me. he is the best of the best. i took him. he did a tremendous job. reporter: that race took a toll on you. sen. manchin: it took a toll, yes. it was nasty. people don't even know me. money was coming all over to beat me. we have never lost in r40. i have people tell me how tough an r16 is212, impossible. i say, i can beat an long. you can't rest on your laurels. people knew me well enough, new it was not true. new i was not controlled by anyone. i am a west virginia democrat. i like every west virginia
republican and i try to work with them. i have a lot of west virginia republicans who feel the same way. they are not washington republicans. reporter: have you had republicans try to convert you? sen. manchni: every time they made me. reporter: have you talked about -- to mitch mcconnell about him? -- it? sen. manchin: i did. reporter: was he serious? sen. manchin: i'm extremely serious. he goes at me and throws me that enchilada. i said health care, taxes. we are so far apart on these things those are basic locks of human life. we are different on that. a different approach. i am proud and truly a proud compassionate conservative. a compassionate political person. i look at the compassion that should be put in every decision.
capitalism. i am a compassionate capitalist. i believe you should be rewarded. i believe it should not be 400 times as much as the other guy that helps you get there. reporter: we have one minute left. i wish this was a half hour longer. reporter: you are governor, there is a subpoena into green briar. do you think he is going to be in legal turmoil? sen. manchin: i don't know any thing about that. reporter: let me close on an issue. you talked about the opioid crisis. you are saying the law needs to be changed to give be a more authority. what was the holdup? there was a big article about that. it narrowed it down to where they could go after them.
benedict swat. the language has changed. one word brought it down to here. a real pigeonhole. we have 9 million pills coming through in a town of 400 people. i have asked him. they can reverse this. we are trying to reverse the spirit the dea has got to do its job. we should be putting labels on this. it will kill you. they are putting out stuff that was basically never administered outside of the hospital and now is on the street. it is awful if you see what it is doing. we haven't seen how this is going to escalate. wait for the next 10 years, the children have been living in and around opioid addiction. that is the fallout. you are seeing the front end of it now. you are not seeing the residual.
what's going to happen. it will be devastating if we don't jump in and do something. thank you for having me. >> bob is the chief editor of the hill. our conversation with senator joe manchin of west virginia. i don't know what to start. he said most of america is in his lane, moderate to conservative democrat. is he right? if that is the case, what is happening with his own party and the candidates they are fronting? reporter: there are polls that show the liberal wing of the democratic party is not the majority of people who identify as democrats. i think that is what he saying. it is hard to say whether that means he is confident bernie sanders is not going to get the nomination. they will nominate a more centrist candidate. or whether he is saying we do not need to nominate bernie sanders. he was ambiguous on that point
but i think the point was we don't want to nominate an ultraleft candidate. >> he was measured about all the candidates in the race. on another network, he called joe biden formidable and seasoned. that is a strong endorsement. what are centrists doing to help support maybe moving the party more in that direction? reporter: they clearly do talk. i can see manchin supporting biden. specialty has a good lunch and he is doing well in the polls as he is doing now. senator feinstein has indicated she would endorse former senator biden. there is real concern in democratic party among the centrists about where the party is headed. this talk of socialism , that republicans love to talk about. the green new deal, medicare for all. they have been embraced by the
left and also embraced by the right. you will see a lot of commercials going into >> what 2020. about the long explanation about joe biden and the me too movement? part of it is that joe manchin is a lot like joe biden. i asked him about this last week. he put his arm on me to demonstrate how he views retail politics. i have seen him in west virginia, i have covered him in the capital. he is going to put his arm around you while he talks. he is similar to joe biden. there is a generational divide in politics. i think people like joe manchin don't think there's anything wrong with that. reporter: everything in politics is relationships. they go back a long time. joe biden is finding out who his friends are and who are his enemies. his rivals have given him no slack. i think this talk about joe slack.
biden and the touchiness, if we are still talking out of the summer, that is a problem. >> one of the things we are going to be talking about is his support for susan collins. republican of maine, including his willingness to campaign for her. how is his party going to receive that? reporter: they won't like it, because maine is a blue tilting state. they don't have a ton of pickup opportunities if they want to take the senate back. it is hard to see a path if you can't beat susan collins. if you have the democrats' most moderate senator endorsing the republicans' most moderate senator, it is not necessarily helpful for the campaign. they don't really have a candidate yet, so that is part of the reason why he is willing to step out and election is 1.5 years way so it is easier to say that now. reporter: collins is a centrist. angus king, her colleague from maine, is a centrist.
king actually endorsed her in 2014 but has said, she has not officially launched yet. joe manchin went further. they have known each other a long time. they both backed kavanaugh for the supreme court. that is why she is going to be a target. she has had competitive races before, but she has done quite well in her senate contests. at some point, they are going to have a candidate. maybe we'll see him go up there. >> i want to switch gears. thursday afternoon, everyone is awaiting the mueller report from the justice department. what do you anticipate? reporter: i think republicans would say this as well. there is going to be material that does not make the trump campaign or president look super great. at the same time, as long as what the attorney general put out is essentially a correct summary of the report, the ramifications may just be several news cycles.
maybe some more oversight hearings but no impeachment. the question is why mueller did not make a decision on obstruction of justice. we don't know what the pros and cons really are. there is going to be negative information for trump in the short term, but in the long term it will be more of a problem for , democrats. some may say, we need to pick up where mueller left off. others will say, no, let's not. we need to move to the agenda. it will set this town on fire for a little bit. >> thank you very much for being here. interesting conversation. >> thanks so much. >> barbara bush had finally had enough. there were not in the white house and she did need to bite her tongue anymore. that she took offense at it.
at her doorrs were asking questions when it was not true. it was designed to get nancy reagan some heartburn. reagan, andt nancy don't you ever call me again. she hung up. a," usak on "q and today washington burial chief susan page on her biography of barbara bush, "the matriarch." at the beginning, she said she would never see her diaries. >> her diaries are kept at the bush library. they are not available for public view. until 35 years after her death. and thought that she was unlikely to let her see her diaries. at the end of her pick interview, she said, you can see my diaries. that was an incredible gift. at 8:00 eastern on
c-span's "q&a." monday, c-span's road to the white house covers continues with democratic presidential candidate and technology entrepreneur andrew yang holding a campaign rally at the lincoln memorial in washington. live coverage starts at 6 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> democratic presidential candidate julian castro will meet with members of the asian and latino coalition in des moines, iowa. watch live monday at 8:00 p.m. online at c-span, c-span.org, and listen live on the free c-span radio app. monday night, on the "communicators," from the state of the net conference in washington dc, we speak with daphne keller of stanford law school on speech restrictions on media platforms are you -- platforms. >> anytime a company goes into a
country that is a lucrative market and that is now going to have leverage over some of the platforms, you are running the risk that that country is going to tell you to censor things or tell you to endanger users privacy or turned data over to the police. that happens with countries all over the world. it's not unique to china. >> watch "the communicators," on c-span2. >> i think it is important on this day, that we continue to offer the people of colorado, the people of littleton, the families involved, the knowledge that all of america cares for them and is praying for them. >> 20 years ago, the columbine high school shooting was one of the deadliest high school shootings in american history. on thursday at 8 p.m. eastern, we will look back on the
shooting and provide some reflection on the tragedy. >> at that time, columbine had never happened. neither the parents know the school counselor looked at the of a paper as something that was indicative of the possibility of some real deterioration. >> watch our special on the 1999, but high school shooting thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. next, south bend, indiana mayor who -- pete buddha judge announces he is running for president in 2020. he was elected as mayor in 2011 at age 29, making him the youngest mayor of a u.s. city with at least 100,000 residents. he is the first prominent openly gay presidential candidate. [applause]
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