Mandy Connell Show, Mike Coffman, November 26, 2013

Station:   KHOW, 630 AM

Show:      Mandy Connell Show

Guests:    Coffman


Date:       November 26, 2013

Topics:     Israel, Iran, Nuclear Agreement, Sanctions, “Prosecutorial Discretion,” Nuclear Weapons, Constitutional Crisis, Uranium Enrichment, Nuclear Power, United Nations Security Council, Secretary of State John Kerry,

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HOST MANDY CONNELL:  I wanted to talk to you today about the deal that has been struck by Secretary of State John Kerry as well as other nations around the world, all of the five permanent members of the [U.N.] Security Council that have struck a deal with Iran, that will give –.  And I think the best way to sort of encapsulate it — and if I’m wrong, please correct me.  They have six months to kind of get their act together and prove their intent.  And in the meantime we’re going to relieve about $8 billion worth of sanctions  on Iran.

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE MIKE COFFMAN:  Well, it’s certainly the easing of sanctions.  That’s one part of it, in exchange for, say for a five or six month period, where we can negotiate with the Iranians a longer term deal.  What they will do in exchange for that, is to suspend –not terminate,  but suspend the further development of their nuclear weapons program.  And so, let me tell you who wasn’t at the table, and that’s important to note:  our closest ally in the region, Israel, and our closest Arab ally in the region, Saudi Arabia, who are both opposed to this agreement.  And so, what it does, in effect, is it really throws a life line – an economic life line  to the Iranian regime, who the country has suffered under these economic sanctions.    They’ve been working.  And what we need to do is toughen sanctions, not weaken sanctions.  And what we need to do is really put the Iranian regime in a position where their choice is either the stability of the country – of keeping it from collapsing –the economy collapsing, you know, or certainly yielding their right to enrich uranium and to produce these weapons.

CONNELL:  So, are you looking for a complete shutdown of their nuclear program.  What, in a perfect world would you like to see?

COFFMAN:  Oh, I think [inaudible] termination  — not of their nuclear – certainly they have the right to produce energy for peaceful purposes.  But we know, and I think the international community is aware, that they are engaged in a program to produce nuclear weapons through enriching uranium.  So that is the concern, that that has to be terminated.

CONNELL:  There’s – I don’t trust the Iranians, okay.  […]  What about the assertion that we are going to send inspectors in, the U.N. is going to send inspectors in, and everything is going to be looked at so carefully, and everything is going to be open and completely available to these inspectors at any time.  Is there any chance that you believe that that will be done on – you know, for lack of a better word, on the up and up?

COFFMAN:  Yeah, I wouldn’t have confidence in that.  But more importantly, what this agreement does, is it gives the Tehran regime breathing space by virtue of relaxing the sanctions, not for – and I’m all for terminating the sanctions if there is an agreement to terminate their program and if in fact we can have a robust inspection plan.  But to me – but I think this really goes to the advantage of Iran because they get important breathing space, because the stability of this country – their country is threatened right not due of these sanctions –


COFFMAN:  And so, they get the opportunity to stabilize their country’s economy, in exchange for not ending their nuclear weapons program  but merely delaying it for six months.   And so, if there isn’t an agreement on those six months, then we’ve really put them at a much better position.

CONNELL:  Let’s talk about Israel for a second, because you mentioned the fact that there were several significant players in the middle east—Israel, Saudi Arabia– that were not involved in this, and wouldn’t it be weird if we had some sort of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” sort of happenings between Israel and Saudi Arabia and other nations that are concerned about a nuclear Iran?

COFFMAN:  Well, Israel and Saudi Arabia have equal concerns about Iran developing a nuclear weapon–the stability of the Persian Gulf in terms of Saudi Arabia’s stability, the entire region in terms of Israel. There is no question  in my view that you should never go forward with an agreement without our partners in the region being signatories to the agreement.  And so, if Netanyahu said tomorrow, that,“I think this a good deal,”  boy,  I’d really take a closer look at it.  But Netanyahu is not saying that – the prime minister of Israel.


COFFMAN:  He’s saying that this is an historic mistake.  Those are very strong words.  And so, last time I think that the president said something where Netanyahu openly opposed him was, he said that Israel ought to return to the ‘68 borders. Well, I think those are untenable in terms of defending.  And Netanyahu spoke up and said that ain’t going to happen. And the president backed down.  But this time, the president is not backing down.  And what the president – obviously I think he should go back to Congress to – uh, these sanctions are in statute.  But I know that this president will do and is really, I think, abusive interpretation of the Constitution is to use quote unquote his prosecutorial discretion in terms of the executive and their requirement to enforce laws and not enforce certain laws like certain elements of the sanctions that had been imposed, you know, as part of that agreement.  I certainly think that’s wrong, and I think that’s certainly a separate issue, worthy of discussion, that I think this country is in a Constitutional crisis because of this President’s ability or abuse of waving the so-called magic wand of this prosecutorial discretion, and basically creating law by not enforcing existing law, creating new law by not enforcing existing law, without going through Congress, a co-equal branch of government.

CONNELL: […] One of my great frustrations with the Republicans DC is that there does not seem to be a concerted effort to push back against these exact Constitutional abuses that you are talking about. Is this something that comes up in the Caucus about if there’s any strategy. There has to be some way to tell the President of the United States that he cannot just on a whim choose to enforce or not enforce pieces of legislation that have been created by the Congress.

COFFMAN: My office is engaged in the legal research right now of how do we take on the Administration It appears right now that we may have to do it, that I may have to do it, or somebody may have to do it, as an individual, outside of Congress, to litigate on one of these issues, the constitutionality. And I think you can litigate on one of them and establish a precedent that impacts all of them.  I mean, this president has overturned the 1996 Welfare Reform, by simply saying that through executive order that some of the requirements that states were supposed to do – or are supposed to do, under the Welfare Reform Act – you know, the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, you know, passed by the Congress, signed by president Clinton, were discretionary to the state governors, or to the states, which is not true.  That’s not in sta–.  The statute does not provide for discretion.  There are work requirements that are associated with Welfare Reform that are not discretionary.

CONNELL:  Right.

COFFMAN:  And yet, this president did that through executive order.  He’s done – you know, the Obamacare, which you’ve been discussing – you know, you had a great discussion so far this morning on Obamacare.  He has taken key parts of Obamacare and merely deferred them for political reasons after this election:  the employer mandate, a number of other issues in Obamacare, where, you know, I certainly don’t see where he has the discretion to do that in the law, and without going through–  back to Congress to amend the law.  So, I mean, I just – it’s gotten totally out of control.  And if it is allowed to continue, it will really erode the founding principles of this country, constitutionally, in terms of that Congress of the United states and the executive branch being co-equal branches of government.

CONNELL:  [Referencing the filibuster action taken by Democrats last week in the U.S. Senate, saying it is an unconstitutional power grab.  And how the Democrats are short sighted in not acknowledging that they will not always be in the majority, and how “eventually, at some point, your guy isn’t going to be in charge anymore.”]

COFFMAN:  Well, I think it’s stunning to – I mean, the United States Senate, designed by our founding fathers of the Constitution, was set up to be the more deliberative body, that it would in fact, given that cloture rule was to require bipartisanship, that not one party simply have a monopoly of power.  And I think that when people complain, the president you often hear of more liberal commentators complain about the gridlock in Washington D.C., or the inability for bipartisanship to occur, and they try to blame Republicans – oh my gosh!  Look at this!  This negates the requirement for bipartisanship by doing away with that 60 vote requirement to bring those nominations via the executive branch to the floor of the Senate.  So, you know, it is certainly disappointing.