Dan Caplis Show, Cory Gardner, September 16, 2015

Station: KNUS, 710 AM

Show:     Dan Caplis Show

Guests:  Gardner, Cory

Link:      http://dancaplis.podbean.com/

Date:      September 16, 2015


Click Here for Audio


HOST DAN CAPLIS:  And what a privilege to go to the VIP line and welcome to our show, U S Sen. Cory Gardner. And we’re always grateful to speak with the Senator but never more so than today, because so much is coming together regarding this disastrous Iran deal and the opportunity to speak to Sen. Cory Gardner about these three moving pieces right now is absolutely vital. Senator, welcome to 710 KNUS. Good morning!


CAPLIS:  Well, really appreciate your time and obviously with this Iran deal now coming to a head, and Democrats believing they have it in the bag, given what happened in the Senate last week.  I’d like to talk to you about, as I said, three moving pieces on this.  One, as kind of a starting point, so many folks have the fair question right now, why are we here? Why did the Senate agree to a procedure that required, essentially, the Senate to gather two thirds in order to stop this bill, rather than taking the position, “Wait a second! This is a treaty! It should require two thirds to approve it.” So, can you give folks a brief overview of how we got here, the Corker amendment, and why the procedure at the moment is what it is?

GARDNER:  The president never wanted Congressional say or input throughout this entire process. And so he very intentionally created an item that was not considered or deemed a treaty. He very carefully crafted something that was an executive agreement that did not require any input from Congress, at all. In fact, previous members of the previous administration – members of the George W Bush administration, including Sec. Rice – Condoleezza Rice – has said this is not a treaty. And so – and the president, by not acting it like a treaty, created it from the very beginning an end run around the Senate. So there are a lot of people who say, “You should have called it a treaty.” Well, we could call it a treaty and then we would be blocked, and then the president would implement it anyway. And that’s the challenge with the situation. And that’s why we put our – created a bill that gave us a seat at the table, in Corker-Cardin, that had to be signed by the president. As anybody who reads the Constitution knows, in order to become law, something has to be signed by the president. And so we took a process where there was zero Congressional involvement, and at least we created congressional involvement that has now resulted in every single member of the United states Senate being forced to take a position. Fortunately, 42 people took a position in favor of the Iran deal –all partisan Democrats, members of the Democratic Party. And we had 58 bipartisan members of the Senate who voted against the Iran deal.

CAPLIS:  Sen. Cory Gardner, our guest. Sen., was the thought then that there either would not be a good chance to win in court, taking the position that this was actually a treaty, or that it would take too long, or both. Why was the court option not attractive?

GARDNER:  Well, again, I think the court would have taken a very long time to prove that it was a treaty, and the courts may or may not have decided that this was a treaty. In fact, you have, again, like I said, that the previous secretary of state – Condoleezza Rice – saying that it was not a treaty. And so, the president is acting on his own, going to the United Nations, and so we had a choice. Do we make sure we make sure that we have input, that we have say, that we put people on record? And the court would have most likely ruled with the president. And so, that’s the challenge that we are in. And I think we have to go forward, reforming the way that we decide what is a treaty, what is not a treaty, and make clear that you can’t enter into something like this unless it is a treaty. If you read the Federal Register, and you look at the statute that defines what is a treaty, what is not a treaty, I think we have to do a much better job of clarifying what is, so that this cannot happen again.

CAPLIS: Well, and then that brings us to the moment we are in now, where I think many people in America are either outraged or at least upset that, “wait a second! On something this important, the Senate doesn’t even hold a vote?” –because of not  something the founders handed down, but their own procedural rules that say people don’t even have to vote unless they can get 60 votes to even vote. So, I think heads are spinning over that. What do you think right now of the suggestion, do you support the suggestion that the so-called nuclear option be employed, as the Democrats employed it before, and just require an up or down vote, rather than needing 60 to even be able to vote?

GARDNER:  I’m pretty outraged at this. In fact, I have – I think that this has to be an examination. I’ve asked Sen. [Mitch] McConnell if we could change the rules to allow a straight up or down vote – a 51 threshold vote. I think it’s outrageous that 98 people who voted for a process to have a vote, and 42 people can obstruct it. In this instance, I think that this is an outrage and it can’t be left to stand.

CAPLIS:  And, where do you think were going on this, Sen.? And I hear that you support, at this point, if I’m reading you correctly, changing the rule so there can be an up or down vote on this. I think something this vital – heck, Didn’t the Democrats change the rules just over traditional nominations?

GARDNER:  The Democrats broke the rules to change the rules. They broke the rules, I think that’s the big difference. And so, this is something that deserves a vote. It never should have been filibustered in the first place. In fact, that was part of the agreement. That was why we created the structure. It’s an outrage.

CAPLIS:  Sen. Cory Gardner, our guest. And then that brings us to the third prong that is moving right now, and that is all of a sudden Senate leader Mitch McConnell, as you know, suggesting an amendment that would at this point prevents the president from going forward and lifting sanctions unless Iran recognizes Israel’s right to exist and agrees to free American prisoners. Do you support Mitch McConnell in that, and where do you think it’s headed?

GARDNER:  Well, these are two very strong amendments. The first one does exactly what you said – that the sanctions cannot be lifted or released until Iran recognizes the right of Israel to exist. And the Second Amendment would be to require that release of the hostages – the four hostages that are being held by around right now. And those two agreements I very much support McConnell’s efforts to make sure that Iran recognizes Israel’s right to exist and in fact, the very first of this debate, I voted for amendments that required just that. I strongly support release of the American hostages and I believe that that should have been a condition of the negotiations in the first place. But it’s going to be very difficult, I think, for these votes to occur, because you’re going to see 42 people apparently, and who believe that Iran doesn’t need to recognize Israel’s right to exist or that these hostages need to be released as part of the deal.

CAPLIS:  So, Senator, as I understand it, this vote is going to happen. Now, Mitch McConnell is going to force people to vote on these amendments probably Thursday night, is that right? Is there some way the Democrats can outmaneuver Mitch McConnell and avoid having to vote on that?

GARDNER:  I’m a little unclear on the process, if these can be filibustered as well, since they are germane, I would imagine, to the underlying resolution they would assume there would only be 50 vote threshold that would be required on the amendment itself. But we’re trying to dig into Senate procedure right now to see if there’s a way they could filibuster these as well.

CAPLIS:  Which then, if there is a way the Dems can filibuster it so they don’t even have to take a position on this, that would bring us back to this question of so-called nuclear option, of changing the rules to prevent a filibuster. And do you think there’s enough support right now to change the rules to prevent a filibuster on this?

GARDNER:  Well, I think there’s a growing support within the Republican caucus or the conference to do just that. And based on some of the statements yesterday made by people like Majority Leader Harry Reid, he’s talked about his efforts to change that rule in the past as well. So, now again, the difference being they broke the rules to change the rules, this would be a different path.

CAPLIS:  Sen. Cory Gardner, our guest. Again, I’m grateful to have your time on this and I always want to make sure each time we have the opportunity to talk if there’s something you want to get into, you want to say to folks, that you have that opportunity to do that. With everything going on right now, is there something in particular you think folks need to be doing, thinking about, etc.?

GARDNER:  Well, I think reaching out to members of the Colorado delegation is absolutely critical on this just to let them know where you stand and where you feel we ought to be moving forward or not moving forward on this Iran deal, in this case. The bottom line is this: yesterday there was another article in the paper talking about one of the companies that is going to be delisted, or de-sanctioned, as part of the Iran nuclear agreement. This company is controlled by the Ayatollah Khomeini and it’s worth nearly 100 billion dollars. They are de-sanctioned. That is going to be entering into the economy, hitting the stream of commerce, just like the billions of dollars that are released under the other sanctions relief. And we know that in recent days, Iran has stated that they don’t think Israel will exist within the next 25 years. They are refusing any other negotiations with the United States and may have admitted that nothing changes their funding of terrorist activities. This is a bad deal, and I hope people continue to reach out – phone, email – with their member of Congress to let them know that this is a bad deal and state their objections.

CAPLIS:  So obviously, it’s not over yet. They say the Democrats want everybody to believe this is a done deal, “Hey, nothing to see here. Drive on down the highway.”

GARDNER:  It’s not over. In fact, when you hear the rhetoric from people, they talked about how, “Gee, we wish there was an up or down vote on Iran. We don’t want this political filibuster.” The fact is, they control the power to allow this to be an up or down vote. All they have to do is say, “you know what? Two of them can change their minds and allow this up or down vote to occur.” Can the president still veto it? You bet. Will he still veto it? You bet he would. But the fact is, every American deserves to know where their Senator stands.

CAPLIS:  No, I think you’re absolutely right. This is such a vital issue, which leads us to the question of the other senator from Colorado, Michael Bennett. Did he ever allow you to sit down and speak with him on this, try and – try to persuade him. I was personally very surprised that he voted the way he did it. If nothing else, it puts him at great political jeopardy in Colorado. But did you guys ever have the chance to sit down and talk about it?

GARDNER:  Just as with any other major issue, we do have the opportunity to at least visit about this and other issues. And, you know, I respect where the Senator stands on this. But again, I think my vote went a different direction.

CAPLIS:  Yeah, and personally, I think he should be defeated for an array of reasons, but this reason alone would be enough. And I’m paraphrasing that I saw some comments attributed to you favorable to George Brauchler as a Senate candidate, which I was glad to see, because I think George would be a great candidate. But in terms of timing, you’ve done one of the toughest things in America. You run a successful U.S. Senate race. In terms of timing when would you think candidates need to get in?  Is there some deadline out there by which they need to get in if they’re going to be able to mount a full effort

GARDNER:  You know, I didn’t announced last year until March 2014. That was about eight or nine months before November, depending on which month you count, which month you don’t count. But that’s probably, at the very extreme on the late and, or almost too late end. I think getting into a race in the — you know, July, you know, the year before was probably too early, or August. So, I think sometime between now and that March date — actually probably sometime between now and January is that sweet spot. Look, any candidate knows when they announce, that there opening up to start taking incoming fire. And by waiting, getting the team in place, by getting the structure in place, they can really hit the ground running and avoid unnecessarily time being left to basically – as a sitting duck, so to speak, and taking fire. So, I’m not as concerned about him getting in now as others, maybe. But I do think October presents a very good time for somebody who wants to get in the race.

CAPLIS:  […] Oh, before I let you go. Planned Parenthood – the funding of Planned Parenthood, government shutdown, where do you stand on that

GARDNER:  Look, I want to make sure that we do what we can to investigate Planned Parenthood. I don’t think the federal government ought to be in the business of funding them when we can turn around and put that money into community health clinics around the state to do a better job providing more access for women and men around Colorado. I don’t think shutting down the government is a good idea. In fact, people who are budget experts will show you that the money actually doesn’t stop because the money follows the individual through certain other government entitlement programs. And so it wouldn’t even stop the flow of funding from the government to Planned Parenthood. So there’s a different way to do it, a better way to do it. And I think that as the investigations continue we have to pursue those options.

CAPLIS:  Are you going to be watching the debate tonight?

GARDNER:  I am going to be watching the debates tonight. I think you’ll see a continuation of the themes we saw in the first debate. But there may be a few more sharper edged barbs being traded amongst the participants.

CAPLIS:  Now, be honest with us.  You’re going to have a Coors Light, right?  You’re going to have a bag of popcorn.  I mean, this is going to be enormously entertaining.

GARDNER:  It is going to be, and it’s good.  You know, the last debate was one of the most highly watched political events in a very long time.  I think it’s good for the American people to see this, to share these ideas.  And if you’re Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, you’re already losing to three of the people who will be on the stage tonight.  And I don’t even know if they polled anybody else.  It may be more, if that were the case.

CAPLIS:  Mmm.  And I’ve got to tell you, I said this before on the day you were elected.  I said this before you were elected.  I can absolutely picture the day, sometime relatively soon, you’re going to be up on that stage. So, I think it will be very interesting to watch this through your eyes.

GARDNER:  [laughs]

CAPLIS:  But, how would you deal with Donald Trump?  Say you were up on that debate stage tonight, and Trump is domg the Trump thing, and he’s coming after Cory Gardner.  How do you deal with that?

GARDNER:  I think details matter.  I think laying out a plam, laying out how you would do it, and being very precise in the words that you use to lay out a plan for the economy, for taxes, for national defense.  I think Hugh Hewitt did a very good job  the other day of sort of talking about particulars.  You know, I think the question he asked was, you know, name some leaders of terrorist organizations around the world.  And I think that kind of specificity showed both an understanding of the big issues facing this country, but also shows somebody in prime time ready to lead. Now, I think that’s what we need.  We need somebody prime time, who’s ready to lead, who’s capable of leading in this country, and we’ll start seeing more of that over the next several months, as these debates continue.