Senator John Kennedy (R-GOPe/Tom Donohue’s candidate) responds to Andrew McCabe and the politicization of the FBI under the tenure of James Comey and Deputy McCabe.
[Transcript] MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy who is in New Orleans this morning. Senator, I want to give you a chance to respond to Andy McCabe.
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY (R-Louisiana/@SenJohnKennedy): Let me– let me say first, Margaret, I’m– I’m still in a bit of a stupor at Mayor Hickenlooper’s shame at having once been a capitalist. I can’t. I’ve seen it all now. But I’ll save that for another day. Mister McCabe. Mister McCabe is one of the people responsible for politicizing the premiere law enforcement agency in the history of– of– of the world, the FBI. He’s not the only one. But it’s clear that he and others in 2016, some were for Trump, some were for Clinton. But– but they acted on their political beliefs and they hurt the FBI badly for that. All of them.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We got to–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: Not just Mister McCabe but all of them. We should hang their head in shame and hang their head– put their head in the bag.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator, this needs more conversation. We’re going to take a quick break. I want to talk to you more about this in just a moment.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We continue our conversation now with Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy.
Senator, before we took this break you were responding to Andrew McCabe, the former deputy FBI director who has described himself as a lifelong Republican, but laid out here–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: Mm-Hm.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –his deep concern about the President and his actions.
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: Well, let me– let me say it again. There were and perhaps still are some people at the FBI, one of whom was Mister McCabe, who helped politicize the agency. When– when an FBI agent knocks at your door, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican and whether that makes a difference. And– and Mister McCabe has helped politicize that agency and– and that’s wrong. He– he really– he should be ashamed and he should hide his head in– in a bag. And we– we have got to–
MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you mean politicize?
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: –clean house over there.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Clean house? What do you mean by that?
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: Well, he has– Mister Mc– Mister McCabe– well let me back up and say this, Margaret. I’m talking about people over there who were both for Trump and for Clinton. Now they are entitled to have a personal opinion but they’re not entitled to act on it or leave the– the impression that they acted on it. And– and I think McCabe did that. I think he’s part of a group over there that think they were– they– they think they’re smarter and more virtuous than the American people. And– and I think it hurt the FBI badly. Mister McCabe is also in– at the present time, playing the role of huckster. He’s trying to– to sell a book. And he was fired for lying to his– his fellow FBI agents.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well that–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: Now if you and I lied to the FBI we go to jail. If you– if an FBI agent–
MARGARET BRENNAN: I think– I think Mister McCabe was–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: –like him lies to the FBI–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –dismissed–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: –you get fired.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –just– just short of his ability to actually get his pension. Some would say it was a politically motivated firing of him.
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: He’s lucky– he’s lucky he wasn’t prosecuted, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: For what?
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: And I’m not saying this because McCabe–
MARGARET BRENNAN: For what?
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: –is, obviously, pro-Trump. I think there were–
MARGARET BRENNAN: What would he have been prosecuted for?
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: –people for pro-Clinton. For perjury. For lying to an FBI agent. He did it repeatedly. Now if you and I do that we go to jail.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Are you calling–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: And he– he just got fired. He was lucky.
MARGARET BRENNAN: “And– and so I guess this is a preview of the questioning that we will hear of him before the Senate Judiciary Committee if he is called to testify,” Senator Graham has said. But I want to ask you about, since you sit on that committee–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: Mm-Hm.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –as well. The sentencing we saw this week of a Trump campaign chairman– former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. He was charged with an array of felonies, financial crimes. Federal sentencing guidelines would have had him serving upwards of twenty years. He got forty-seven months. Does the punishment fit the array of crimes?
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: All right. Before I answer your question, let me be clear about Mister McCabe. I don’t care whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat. If you’re at the FBI you’re not supposed to act on it. Mister McCabe did and I believe he’s one bent two by four. Now number two, Mister Manafort–
MARGARET BRENNAN: What. Sorry. Can I just–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: Three points. Number one–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Can I just clarify there you in the past have said, I thought, that you supported the Mueller probe? McCabe had helped to set up some of the special counsel there, specifically, to look at the question of whether the President was–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: I do– I do support–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –a Russian asset.
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: I do support the Mueller probe. I do support the Mueller probe but that doesn’t preclude Mister McCabe from being what he is, a bent two by four. And he hurt the FBI badly and all the people over there who tried to help Clinton or who tried to help Trump, every one of them should have his head in the bag. They hurt the premiere law enforcement agency in all of human history and we’re going to have to spend a lot of time rehabilitating it. The American people don’t trust it as much as I used to. And that’s wrong.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you say you still support the Mueller probe–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: And your politics shouldn’t matter–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –itself. Can you–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –answer the question though on– on Paul Manafort–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: Manafort? Three points.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –because he was charged with an array of felonies–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: Manafort. Number–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –because of the Special Counsel’s case.
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: Number one– number one, I was surprised at his sentence, I thought it would be longer. Number two, as I said in the past, Mister Manafort is a grifter. He used to be a partner with– with Roger Stone. He’s– I’m sorry, Margaret. He’s just a sleazoid. I mean he’s always played at the margins. Number three, you know rather than just be opinionated I’d rather be informed. Judge– Judge Ellis has been on the bench thirty years. I haven’t read the sentencing memos.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: He, obviously, believed four years was enough. I might disagree with him but I’d have to read the sentencing memos first–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Does it trouble you–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: –because there’s a lot of stuff in there that you and I don’t see.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Lastly, does it trouble you that the President admitted that he had discussed a presidential pardon with Michael Cohen? Should he have been discussing that in an investigation–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: It–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –he’s involved in?
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: It– well, as I understand it, at least part of the story, Margaret, is that Cohen and/or his lawyers approached the President and asked for a pardon.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The President said it happened–
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: Now Mister Cohen–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –directly in a direct conversation. That’s what the President said.
SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY: Well, that– that– okay. That– Mister Cohen once again in front of Congress lied then. He said that never happened. And I think with Mister Cohen, given his checkered past, if he’s– if he’s breathing he’s lying. But, yeah, I mean I guess I don’t blame Cohen for asking. It was inappropriate but he shouldn’t have lied to Congress about it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator, good to talk to you today.