tv Washington Journal Sean Spicer CSPAN February 9, 2021 3:46am-4:34am EST
participated in the conversation. we welcome to the program sean spicer, former white house press secretary and the host of a show on newsmax. thank you for joining us. sean: good morning. host: how do you approach being a former member of the administration is taking place this week with the second impeachment trial? sean: i have a show every night at newsmax, so i look at it differently, we have been covering it for a while and will cover it tonight.
i look at it from the standpoint of, what are people asking, what are the questions they have, and how can we break it down during that one hour we have every night? host: what are the questions and how do you answer them? sean: i get to ask the questions instead of answering. i inject my own opinion. i think there are a lot of questions in particular with respect to a former president. the constitution is clear about the purpose of impeachment being for removal of office. if someone is no longer in office then you have to question what the purpose of the proceedings themselves is. tonight we will have alan dershowitz on the show and try to break it down from a constitutional perspective. a lot of times we get lost in political arguments and forget to step back and say the constitution is clear about what the purpose of these things are and the procedures by which they will be held.
we get to have a discussion on the show about what the political arguments are and what the constitutional arguments are. the fun part is that you get to look at a lot of the questions that you are getting every day on washington journal and a lot of times that's what i will say. i am hearing a lot about this, can you break it down for people. it's more of that discussion between other experts political and legal to have a better understanding of issues and politics. host: the question is did the president incite the crowd on january 6, what is your take? sean: i think that is not entirely true in the sense that that is not necessarily the question. the fundamental question is, can you impeach somebody who is no longer in office. the second question is, if so, are those impeachable offenses? are they high crimes and
misdemeanors? you have to answer the first question first, are the proceedings relevant for someone who is no longer in office. the constitution clearly says shall be removed from office. if you are no longer in office what is the remedy? host: we will have our conversation with our guest going forward and if you want to ask our guest questions about his thoughts on impeachment, (202) 748-8001 for republicans. (202) 748-8000 for democrats. independents, (202) 748-8002. you can text your thoughts at (202) 748-8003. you have heard several legal scholars say there is a question within the constitution on whether this is capable for the senate to even start this trial. how would you respond to those? sean: it's interesting. i have heard those arguments from leaguers -- legal scholars
that argue that you can do it. there's an interesting argument on their behalf. the constitution says very clearly in article two section four that the officeholder shall be removed from office, that's the exact phrasing, that's the remedy. the question is, if the officeholder is no longer in office then you have to question. i have read some of the briefings and articles and summations that these scholars claim that you can go through the motions. i have yet to have that discussion, because i don't get how you can make the case. we have a system of criminal justice in this country so that if you are guilty of a crime or suspected of a crime you go through that civil process by which if you feel you have been wronged by somebody you can soothe them for civil damages like money or what have you. then we have impeachment which
is a political means of justice so you can remove and officeholder who you feel or someone feels has broken a law or committed high crimes and misdemeanors or treason or all these other things the constitution enumerates. impeachment is a political form of justice. if the president is guilty of criminal acts this is not the appropriate forum to discuss, because there is no other remedy. you cannot impeach somebody and send them to jail or impose a civil fine of $1 million or $100. those are other forms of proceedings. the question is, if the former president was guilty of something this is not the forum to judge him in. host: i suspect you have looked through the house impeachment managers pretrial motion. as far as the incitement part they write this, those who came to the rally looking for a signal from their president found it in his remarks. rather than calm the crowd or
promise to carry on the fight for years to come the overwhelming thrust of the remarks delivered to an armed and angry crowd known to be prepared for violence on his behalf was a militaristic demand that they minus fight the stop at the capitol at the moment. you see statements as far as the evidence that will be brought forth what goes through your mind? as someone who used to work for donald trump? sean: it's interesting because you can cherry pick comments. donald trump said to go to the capital and protest. he talks about doing this. you cover this on c-span all the time, the demonstrations, the protests, the rallies that occurred in washington, d.c. in a pre-covid world if not weekly or multiple times a week some group gathers on the capitol steps on the national mall and other places in washington, d.c. and supreme court steps to highlight an issue or seek redress from the government.
this happens regularly. the question is if you can find these comments and make one case or another. there is clearly in the impeachment managers brief they are making the case that while you look at these elements of the president's speech they point to ask. his defenders will point to parts of his speech where he told them to make their voices heard and protest at the capital which is a time-honored tradition in america. i think either side can cherry pick a speech and pick out things they like. the thing that is interesting to me and the president's -- donald trump pasta fenders, rand paul brought it up. and you look at the comments from the last cycle that congresswoman maxine waters made where she said you get in the face of trump officials, when you see them make a crowd. when you look at eric holder who said when we go --
those are actions that did discuss violence. i question whether or not the democrat impeachment managers that will make this case are not going to be careful that some words of their own colleagues don't get thrown back into their faces. if you are going to say the president is guilty for telling people to do this, what do you say to your colleagues who incited violence and told people to get in people's faces. it's a very interesting path they are going down, because it will set an interesting precedent for what is permissible in terms of free speech. host: sean spicer of the trump administration and a host on news masks. you can ask him questions. our first call from eleanor in bedford, massachusetts on the republican line. you are on will sean spicer. caller: good morning.
i am trying to ask a question that is probably for years with all this horror going on. when i was a little girl i was told the devil made me do it. then trump made me do it. i wonder who the terrible behavior of the american people will blame next. it was the out -- i'm shocked, i'm ashamed, i'm ashamed that they did it and nobody stopped them. nobody stopped them from doing that. i can imagine -- i can't imagine the horror he and his family are suffering. host: eleanor from massachusetts. sean: there is no question when you look at the media coverage of donald trump and how we have seen the first three weeks of the biden administration is different.
the press corps is in line and there is a vitriolic feeling among members of the press corps towards donald trump. this is something that on the right we have dealt with forever and it got amplified to a degree i had never witnessed by donald trump. host: from ricky in michigan, on the democrats line. go ahead. caller: how are you doing. mr. spicer, i watched donald trump ever since he was elected. even when the bus thing that happened, i heard the things that he said. just like he incited that crowd to go down to the capital and he told them that he will be bound there and he jumped on his
-- jumped on his helicopter and went back to the white house and was watching it. you want to talk about black lives matter, at least nobody got killed in black lives matter. you know something, qanon, white nationalists, i heard trump say out of his own mouth, so how are you going to say "he's not getting the right coverage" when fox news was saying everything he was saying. host: ricky, we will let our guest respond. sean: i'm sorry, my audio must have dropped out. ricky, i'm sorry, i did not hear what you said aside from the first part when you said that you have been paying attention donald trump. host: he mentioned various statements by donald trump over the years and related to what he said on january 6 as far as this
was a pattern happening up until january 6. as far as the president starting what happened on january 6. sean: the president's comments were a pattern? host: he made a statement that he has heard donald trump make similar statements over the years, relating it to what he said on january 6. is there a pattern there of this type of speech that donald trump expressed? are you there? can you hear us, mr. spicer? we will see what we can arrange as far as the audio issue on that side. we will try one more time, mr. spicer, are you there? [no audio] mr. spicer, can you hear us? sean: i can hear you now. host: let's go to oakdale, new york.
david, go ahead. caller: mr. spicer, i watch your show on the -- all the time and i like it a lot. i wish you would get a few more people like rush limbaugh or glenn beck. i believe that donald trump has been tormented by the democrat party. i don't think they had evidence on the first impeachment. they had transcripts, everything was given to them. there was no impeachment in the senate. adam schiff and jerry nadler blewitt because adam schiff never testified. i don't believe donald trump incited a riot by saying they should peacefully march down to
the capital. i believe that when they didn't allow the police to stop black lives matter, a lot of the people that owned those businesses were horrified financially, scared of seeing all these people, and the police were told to stand down. host: ok, thanks. sean: a lot to break down. thank you for watching the show. i appreciate it. i would love to get rush limbaugh on, he is dealing with some personal and health issues. i appreciate you watching. democrats made it clear on the day donald trump was inaugurated they were going to impeach him. they were searching for a reason to impeach him. if you look at the process of the second impeachment, there
was a seven hour floor discussion in the house of representatives. there were no hearings or witnesses, which was unprecedented. they did it in seven hours. for those folks who watch washington journal and c-span regularly, you know washington does not do anything in a day. the idea that they jammed this through without a hearing or any witnesses shows this was not a serious process. they know what they were doing. they talked about how important the impeachment was because donald trump needed to get out of office so quick. nancy pelosi did not send the articles to the senate. the process is political, impeachment is a political process. the idea that they had these altruistic motives and care deeply about the nation, it was clearly about their hatred of president trump and their vindictiveness against president
trump. you had a cooperative media that played into it and allowed all of the indiscretions in terms of not following the president and not allowing witnesses or any kind of hearing to occur in the judiciary committee in the house. they allow that to be overlooked because it fit into the greater good the media saw going after president trump. when trump and his allies call this a sham it's for their reasons. it was held until the timing was somewhat agreeable with president biden, because they wanted to enact political revenge. regardless of where you sit on the spectrum in terms of liking donald trump or not you should be concerned about the process in the senate. this is creating a precedent where the other party can impeach a person they don't like on the others and and jam it through without due process. if that does not concern you in
a few years when republicans turn it on the democrats and they will you can't complain. we saw this back in the 80's with how bourque was treated when he was nominated for the supreme court. republican started to enact revenge. the democrat senate leader harry reid change the filibuster rule for certain nominees in the senate. then republicans use the same system to jam through supreme court justices. when you change the system, when you change the precedent generally it comes back to bite you in the future. democrats are going to regret how they have used this process. host: the previous caller talked about a pattern of speech from the president leading up to january 6, parallels between what he said on the sixth and things he said over the years.
is that a fair case? sean: sure. you can always look at somebody's speech and comments and say, did they create pattern , where they inappropriate? of course. there is a difference between doing that and saying that was not helpful or good and whether it had a direct correlation on the events that occurred. there is a difference between telling people to commit an act, and when you read through the brief the impeachment managers in the house are bringing to the senate they make it very clear that what occurred on the mall that day from the president's -- from trump speech to what happened in the capital and when you look at the forensic data that occurred in terms of one people breach the capital, donald trump was speaking.
if that is their case it doesn't seem to add up. if you want to make the case that over the course of three to six months he led to something, that is more of a challenging case to make. when you take what the caller from michigan said and the gentleman who just spoke, you can make a case that the democrats failure to call out violence with the rioting and looting that occurred over the summer is also bad behavior that should face punishment. when you walked through downtown in d.c. or many major cities in the u.s. and see that instruction of violence that occurred and the lack of outrage that was coming from the left, it seems to me that if you go down a path where you talk about what somebody did or did not say you are creating a dangerous precedent. host: from california on the democrats line, stephanie. caller: good morning, c-span.
so much to unpack. donald trump did say we are going to go violently to take back the capital, and you have to fight like hell, because you are going to lose your country if you don't fight like hell. the media did not show the entire tape and they stopped before he said those words, but he did say those words. i'm sure it will be shown during the impeachment hearing. donald trump has abused his power and should have been impeached in the first hearing. robert mueller being a republican, he said he couldn't do it. we can't go back and forth. trying to equate the insurrection, trying to take the government over with people who are marching for their civil-rights is plain old
idiotic. just tell the truth about what is happening. host: we will let him respond to the questions. go ahead. sean: i think that marching for your civil-rights is something that is a time-honored tradition in this country and that is very welcome. there's a big difference between marching for civil rights and marching to stand up for other things that take place in our capital and around the country all the time are the beauty of america, they are protected under the first amendment and should be celebrated. there's a difference between that and anything that crosses the line in terms of violence, looting, destruction of property. i don't condone any of that. i've said from day one that violence is never acceptable. i don't think anybody should ever cross the line when you are trying to express your concerns,
your grievances and set i would never under any circumstances condone any behavior that crosses the line into looting, destruction of property, violence of any sort. the one comment that you did make, robert mueller, i don't think democrats thought -- to suggest that somehow because he has worked for a republican i think democrats were pleased with robert mueller during his selection as he did his work in the government. they spent millions of dollars going after donald trump and came up empty-handed. to claim that it was covered up because mueller was a republican does not fit the narrative. host: we have a viewer off of to better who asks "was the president required to hold the invasion of the capital?" sean: was he required -- once that situation got out of hand
the more that the president could have done at the time to make it very clear that if you are a trump supporter this is not acceptable. once that breach occurred at the capital i think every single possible person that had a voice should and could have continued to call out any of that behavior. could he have done more? sure. host: let's go to stacey in minnesota on the republican line. caller: i have a twofold. i'm a republican that believes that this impeachment is very constitutional due to the fact that they impeached him while he was in office for something he did in office, and like the past caller said, this is a build up over four years of the incitement. now, he did this, he was impeached while he was in office
, it was mitch mcconnell that refused to bring it to the floor come of that's why it was delayed. regardless of what the outcome will be, if donald trump is put back in the position to be able to run again we will continue to lose our stance in the world and this country will be totally divided on democracy and that is what this is about. he tried to interrupt the democratic democracy of this country. the other aspect, spicer, you keep saying that this will set an unprecedented and bite them in the but. this is going to set a precedent that no matter who is in office if you are messing up, if you are fighting with our democracy, if you are interrupting the people's choice, then you face
impeachment. host: thank you, caller. sean: first of all, that's just not true with respect to the articles of impeachment being sent to the senate. nancy pelosi held onto those, that's a fact. there is video of her and other folks walking them over to the senate not too long ago. it was clearly not within days of passing, they held them for a while. that is not true. secondly, my point is just to say if the democrats go down this path, i would bet that we will have it come back and bite them when a republican house and/or senate has a president of the opposite party and they utilize it as a political tool. the president was impeached in the house while he was -- donald trump was impeached in the house
while he was in office. the difference with respect to the senate is this is when you would get convicted with the penalty being removal from office. that's the difference. who knows what would've happened had nancy pelosi sent articles of impeachment, what leader mcconnell would have done. we don't know because she chose not to do that. host: from our democrats line, germantown, maryland, sharon. caller: a couple of commentary mr. spicer, you have polished your lies. you lied from the get-go and lied through your little speaking tour, all of you lied about it. your man doesn't even know what a constitution is, so why don't you stop that crap? are you still getting $15,000 a month and are you still under the nda? you are a disgrace. host: going to stop you there.
sean: [laughter] i think she had a lot of coffee. host: you can respond if you wish. sean: i don't know what to respond to. i am doing just great, thank you for asking. i appreciate you saying i'm doing a better job. host: what's it like to work for a conservative outlet like yours after january sixth? did things change? six the echo -- for newsmax and one american news are things changing as far as how they are perceived and do you think you are being picked on? sean: we are doing fantastic, the ratings have gone through the roof. we have more people tuning into
newsmax and on cable. the beauty of newsmax is that we are on almost every cable outlet . traditional cable viewers can watch us. if you are a cable cut or you can go to youtube and watch the newsmax channel or download our app. if you have the internet you can watch newsmax and we are seeing web traffic go crazy. when i look at the criticism that comes from places like cnn it's almost like a badge of honor. we know that we are continuing to build up market share and as the color from michigan mentioned, we provide an outlet for people to come and listen to a great discussion about what is happening in politics that they are probably not getting on places like cnn and msnbc. people have no problem with msnbc or the left-wing views on
cnn. when something like newsmax lies -- threatens the media establishment that's a big problem for them. i love doing the show and i love having guests. the interesting thing in terms of being describe the way you mention is that we have had democrats on the show. it's a great discussion every night at 6:00. for people who want to criticize the show or the network i would encourage them to tune in and take a look. if you have a problem let me know. i think every night we break down issues facing washington in a straightforward and insightful day. host: he wrote this just after the events of january 6. "we reached this precipice because millions of americans have had a fire hose of falsehoods plastered into their brain for months on end, they believe that the election has been stolen and because they have been told that by donald trump and online provocateurs
and political entrepreneurs have cultivated and reinforced conspiracy theories about the election and god knows what else." what reaction would you have the echo -- to that? sean: it's interesting because there are a lot of concerns about elections. those that change their rules without procedure being followed like a court making a decision to extend voting time. we saw a story come out in time magazine friday about the coordination that occurred between labor unions and other left-wing groups to ensure that all of this could occur. part of the problem is people like that reporter who dismissed the concerns people have about the legitimacy of why the voting rules were changed in the lead up to the election without going through the normal process,
without going through state legislatures. it's funny to me these people on the left tend to dismiss all the folks on the right as having illegitimate views and concerns about how government is operating. i think that's why you are seeing the growth and the viewership of places like newsmax rise because people are tired of a left-wing media trying to tell them what to think. it's not just what they cover but it's what they don't cover. host: have you heard the criticism about networks like years and that it's the information you provide that led up to january 60 echo what is the response? sean: i have not heard that line. i have heard a lot of critique about the network from places like cnn or msnbc.
it is left-leaning organizations that i think are threatened by the rise of places like newsmax that give people an opportunity to discuss issues that won't get hurt on other outlets. there is a shut out and when you look at who covers what and what they don't cover and what voices they bring to prominence it's amazing to me. when you see the growth of a channel, an organization like newsmax, it's not just our broadcast, but what we do online. that growth is because these outlets are distrusted. look at the pew research poll of trust in the media, it to plummet. these folks are trying to figure out what is going on in america and continue to talk to each other and dismiss voices that might be on the right.
this mainstream media cabal mainly in washington, d.c., l.a., and new york city got the 2016 election wrong and instead of trying to figure out the concerns around the country they double down going into the next election. we have a very divided nation and you have a media that is resting on the left and not acknowledging the right. host: on our independent line from new york, kareem. caller: good morning. i take issue with mr. spicer's representation of the media. you are the very person who stood there, i believe it was the first press conference for donald trump who lied about the crowd size. that set the tone for the rest of his presidency. donald trump's presidency -- don't get me wrong, the media does a lot wrong, but donald trump's presidency is one of the
major reasons there is no trust in media. you lied to the media and try to make those lies into reality by constantly putting them into people's heads. these are verifiable, provable lies. this is what the trump presidency did to the country and there is a lot of blame to be taken and you are a big part of that problem. caller: i would say i -- sean: i have made mistakes, i've been open and honest about the mistakes i made. i wrote an entire book that you are free to read or download that talks about my first day in particular and other mistakes i made. i will own up to the things i screwed up. one of the things i tell people all the time is, as a person and a professional when you make mistakes you hopefully grow by learning what you did wrong and trying to do better next time. to turn around and to blame the media's low approval on the
trump presidency dismisses the problems that occurred. i have been doing this for 25 years in terms of working with the media. they have been left-leaning, liberal and dismissive of the right for decades. this is not a new phenomenon. host: from evansville, indiana on the republican line, this is keith. caller: good morning. my comment is that whenever nancy pelosi tore up the state of the union address i think that started the divisiveness between our government officials and then turned around and called our sitting president a traitor. i don't care who is the president, you stand behind whoever the people elected. the laws with passing all them ballots out and changing the rules, that has people mad and they need to figure out before
this new election what the rules are going to be and stick to them or this is going to be bad. that is just what i hear from talking to people around my town , that they need to set the rules and follow them. sean: there are two issues. one is, you can look back, and this is the problem. you can look back and talk about the comments that harry reid made about george bush or other nominees on the republican side. you can talk about nancy pelosi ripping up a piece of paper, and the media as she walked out of the chamber not making a big deal out of it. i think it was rude. when you look at the tit for tat you can go back pretty far in our country to realize that this divisiveness has been going on for a while.
this is continuing to escalate and be amplified. the question is when and how does it stop or do we go forward trying to do this? so far i don't see any signs aside from the president saying unity. at some point the action has to mirror the words. i don't see that happening anytime soon unfortunately. host: go ahead. sean: i'm done. host: there was a story earlier this month about mike lindell who was on the newsmax program, he brought up voter fraud issues and an anchor walked across the -- walked off of the set. there are lawsuits as far as dominion. does this concern you in terms of how your network operates? sean: as far as how my network operates? the network is clear that when issues of voter fraud get brought up newsmax will make it
clear that newsmax has not seen any evidence of that. no evidence of voter fraud and states its position clearly on air as was done in that instance. host: mary in willard, ohio on the republican line. caller: yes, hello, thank you for taking my call. commenting on the impeachment trial and things going forward. i was a voter in 2016, first time in my life i ever voted. i also voted in 2020. i voted for trump, i did it because of the things he has done for the country. not putting anyone else down. in my judgment of the political standpoint of it, i believe that there is going to be, especially in this administration, is going to be people who can and those
who cannot. they are going to do what they want and be allowed to get by with it and others are not. for them impeaching trump, i don't think there was an insurrection at all. he campaigned talking about what he could not do for the country. i don't believe his words were telling anyone to go to the capital and kill anybody or tear up anything. i also think that if we take a look at it all, and i am not putting biden down, but all the executive orders he has already proposed, he is already -- should he be impeached? host: we will let our guest
respond. sean: with respect to what she said at the end, there was an interview on abc when then vice president biden was a candidate talking about how the trump executive orders made him appear as a dictator and talking about the fact that you have to work through congress to change the laws. we have seen over 40 executive orders and actions at the gate. it's interesting that you see talk of doing one thing during the campaign then doing another. he gets a pass because he is pushing back against trump and people like what he is doing. host: from indiana, you are on with our guests. caller: thank you, c-span. hi, sean. i have a lot of things -- you have allied from the beginning for trump, that's why
you lied. you and, there are 199 congressman that are going to probably let him get away with this like they did the last time . they had no oversight. when can they do something with this president. they keep saying they can't do anything because he is the president right now, donald trump. they say they can't impeach him now because he is not the president, and they said before he couldn't be impeached when he was the president, so what the hell? host: thank you for the call, mr. spicer, go ahead. sean: they did impeach him in the house. this is going over to the senate where he would face removal from
office. i don't think she understands the process that well. host: let me ask this, because you held the job what do you think of the current performance of jen psaki? sean: i think she is doing a great job. when i was coming in to be press secretary and run the communications team for the trump white house, she and her team were gracious and kind. my concern is more with how the media is dealing -- raising issues or not. that first big press conference they did not talk about immigration or the keystone pipeline. it's what they did not talk about and the kid gloves. i have a lot of respect for jen. i know how difficult that job is. i appreciate her service to the country and my issue is more with how the media is conducting themselves then her and her team and i wish her well.
host: have you had any conversations with president biden recently echo -- with donald trump recently ? sean: i have not spoken to donald trump in a few weeks. host: this is from vicksburg, indiana on the independent line. go ahead with your question or comment. caller: i just want to remind mr. spicer who was talking about the rule change to voting in pennsylvania that he said they should have been done under normal late -- the situation was far from normal with covid, and i think that they had to move the way they did just so people could vote. thank you. sean: respectfully, i would argue that our country has faced challenges in the past, wars and pandemics.
that is just not how the country works. you don't get to say because situations are adverse we can change the rules on how to vote and not go through the state legislative process. that is not how our system of government is meant to work. i don't think you can change it because the circumstances are not the best. when you look at dr. fauci who said that voting in person under the proper precautions of social distancing and mask wearing would have been fine it undermines the case. the bottom line is there was time for pennsylvania if they wanted to go through the proper systems. they did not end a judge changed when ballots can be cast and the means by which they could do it. that is not how the system is supposed to work. if you side with that then you should be able to understand as i keep referring to over and over, donald trump said what circumstances and laws can you change going forward?
if you can say that a state court can change a rule because of a global pandemic then you are going to see a court start to change a lot of laws depending on the circumstances they think are appropriate. i don't like that system of government. we have a circumstances they think are appropriate. host: sean spicer, the host of "spicer and company"