Welcome back to the show. Thank you.
Thanks for having me back. It has been a few years
since you’ve been here, and it is safe to say
a few things have happened -A few?
-since you have been here. -Yes. -Yes,
life has changed dramatically -for congressional Democrats,
specifically. -Yes. -Let’s talk about the news
of the day, Iran. -Yes. This is one of those stories where many people
are speculating as to what Trump’s
true intentions were. -Right.
-A lot of people are also saying that this could be America
getting into another war -Mm-hmm. -where a president
just does it on his own with no congressional approval,
as is supposed to happen. What do you make of that, especially seeing as the
Trump administration says: No, this is technically linked
to 9/11 and everything
that has happened before. -It’s not a new war.
-Who knows? The problem is,
is that the president has lied more than 10,000 times
since he’s been in office. So how can we believe
anything that is said from the administration? One minute you say
there was an imminent threat, but you can’t tell anybody
what the threat was. You know, they bring
members of Congress in for a top secret briefing,
and they tell us all the goods– they don’t even have it planned. So we really don’t know
what went on, and that’s what makes it
so scary. Right. When you…
when you look at the situation as it stands now, it looks like
America may be in a position where… there could be
another war brewing. -More troops are now headed to
the Middle East. -Exactly. Yes. Democrats have drafted a bill,
trying to limit the powers that a president has
in going to war. Do you think these… this
same law would have been drafted if it were
a Democratic president? Yes. Actually, President Obama
asked us to draft the law, because the last time
a president was given permission to go to war,
it was with Iraq. So that permission is years old. -Right. -President Obama
asked us to do it, but we didn’t do it. Huh. Why do you think that was? Well, I think that there was
a lot of differences. Remember, the Republicans
were in control. But in January of last year,
the Democrats took over. So I do believe that when we go
back in session tomorrow, that before the week is over
we will actually vote on a new resolution, the War
Powers Act is what it’s called. And I believe
we’ll vote on it again, and we will definitely try
to limit this president. You know, he didn’t even know
who Soleimani was a few months ago. He thought he was Kurdish,
you know? And-and remember now,
he was the one that was involved
in helping us get rid of ISIS -out of Iraq.
-Right. But I think… but I think,
in Trump’s defense, though, I think, first of all,
the clip that’s going around was from 2015,
before he was president, and he didn’t… yes, he
didn’t know who Soleimani was. -He said… -I don’t think
he knew two weeks ago. -You genuinely don’t think so?
-I really don’t. Because you know
he doesn’t read. But then let me ask you… -I can’t dispute that.
-Right. -I can’t dispute that, but…
-(cheering and applause) But, then,
l-let me ask you honestly. Who do you… who do you think
is more to blame? The president
who made this decision or the generals who
presented him with the decision that was so crazy that even they
were shocked by it? Well, I… I agree with you. They should’ve
never presented that, but there are people
in his administration, like the Secretary of State, who have been wanting
to go to-to war with Iran -for a long time.
-Right. So I think
this was just the excuse. You know, I’ve been
to that base. The Green Zone. I’ve been to that, um,
that, uh, embassy. -Yes. -And the idea
that that was overrun was huge. It means that the Iraqi military
kind of said, “Have at it, guys.” When they… when they, uh,
had all the protests -and were burning the embassy
down. -Right, right, right. It is an interesting time
for-for the U.S. in the world, the way America
approaches the world and the way the world
is approaching America. It’s also interesting
for the U.S. because impeachment
is still a hot topic despite the new year. Many people would argue that Democrats
and Nancy Pelosi specifically withholding the articles of…
of impeachment from the Senate shows that this
was a partisan move. -Why not…
-Oh, yeah. Why not send the articles
of impeachment through? Why not have
the process continue considering that the Democrats
said that this process has to take place
as quickly as possible? Right. Well, I’m sure that
we will be sending them over. You remember
we voted on impeachment right before
both houses recessed. -Mm-hmm.
-I’m sure we will do it. But I know that Speaker Pelosi wants there to be
a legitimate trial. Can you imagine
the foreman of a jury going into the courtroom
and telling the judge, “Hey, Judge.
I’m meeting with the defendant. -We’re on the same page”?
-Right. That’s what Mitch McConnell did. -But-but… -And so
what the Speaker wants to see -is a legitimate trial.
A process. -Mm-hmm. But is there a legitimacy
to this trial? Because it-it isn’t
the same thing as a criminal trial. I mean, that’s-that’s the quirk
of American law is that it’s not
a criminal trial. They can say
that they’re unbiased. They’re not really a jury. It’s-it’s an interesting process
where Senate… You know, Mitch McConnell has
the most power in this process. So, do you…
do you think it makes sense for them to give you the veneer
of-of being neutral, or would you rather
they just say, “No, we’re going with Trump
regardless of what happens”? Well, I actually think if they brought
some witnesses forward that some of those senators
might develop the courage needed to do what they know is right. -Interesting.
-You know what they could do? What if they got together and decided to have
a secret ballot? If they did a secret ballot, I think Trump would be out
of there in 24 hours. I mean,
the reason why the Republican… The reason why the senators
who know better are going to defend him is because they’re afraid
he’s gonna tweet. They’re afraid he’s gonna go and
have a rally in their district. So you think if the senators
voted in secret to im… to impeach Trump, to charge him, then you think that they
would vote against Donald Trump? I do,
and several of the former… You know, Jeff Flake,
Senator Flake said he thought that a lot of people
would vote against him to kick him out if they could
do it on a secret ballot. But they’re all afraid,
and I think that’s shameful. Let’s move now to your work. (applause) Let’s move now to your work within the Congressional
Black Caucus. -Yes. -America’s
in a really interesting place, gearing up
for the 2020 election. Democrats are
in an interesting place, where you have
more candidates than ever and yet, at the same time,
less representation than ever, as we look at it now. Um, some are saying
that the party doesn’t represent
its constituents. Others are saying
that this is just a byproduct of the way the race was run. Where do you think
the Democratic Party stands? Is it too many ideas
under one tent? Or do you think people
can coalesce behind one idea? Oh, I think
people are so concerned about getting this guy
out of office. I mean, I would like for it
to be before November. But if not, it absolutely has
to be by November. And I believe that
we will coalesce. I really do. And I think the thing
about Democrats is we are very diverse. You look at my colleagues
on the other side of the aisle– look at it sometimes–
they all look the same. -(laughing)
-We… (chuckling) -They do. (chuckles)
-(applause) But don’t you think–
but don’t you think that makes it easier
for them to work as a unit? -Absolutely. -Because if you
look at the Republican Party, yes, they do look the same, but
they also have the same ideas. -So they go, “This is
what we’re voting for. -Right. We’ll vote for Trump. We’ll–”
you know, as they said in 2016– “hold our noses
and make the decision.” Democrats have,
as many have called, either a purity test or
ideologies that are different. -Ocasio-Cortez even said
recently -Uh-huh. she would not be
in the same party as Joe Biden if it weren’t
a two-party system. Do you think those divisions
can be healed when it’s time to have
one Democratic candidate? I absolutely do. And I believe that my colleague
will be right there, too. Because if we have a choice, it might not be
your favorite choice as to who wins the nomination. But look at what’s at risk:
the Supreme Court, the federal judges, all of
the agencies that he appointed. Cabinet secretaries, too, so they would go in
and destroy the agencies. -Mm-hmm.
-There’s too much at risk. So, the Congressional
Black Caucus, we’re bringing leaders together
from around the country in a few weeks to talk about
2020 is the do-or-die year. If we get it wrong,
we are gonna screw up this place for the next two generations. And you talk about our standing
in the world– people laugh at us.
I know you know that. -I-I sit on Foreign Affairs. I
go around the world. -(chuckles) How can I say anything about
corruption in another country? How can I tell
an African leader, “Oh, don’t appoint your son”? He’s got his son.
He’s got his daughter. -He’s got his whole family
there. -Right. He goes and plays golf. Every time he goes
and plays golf, we pay for it. He’s made a truckload of money
since he’s been president. When you look
at black voters then, as the Congressional
Black Caucus, how do you address some
of the unique concerns that many black voters in
America have, where they say– many say, “Hey, I haven’t seen
my life change that much. “I-I don’t see
the effectiveness of my vote. “I don’t understand, you know,
why I need to come out and vote. I don’t even know if I’m
just being used as a pawn.” -Yeah. -It feels like black
voters in America get recognized when it’s voting time, and then, for the rest of the term,
they’re just on the back burner. How would that change,
or do you think there are certain ways you could address
the black vote in America? I absolutely think– and I think
it’s our responsibility. It is my responsibility. I mean, one of the reasons
why we’re coming together and doing this summit
in a couple of weeks is because we want to make
sure people understand the differences that
the Black Caucus has made! A lot of times, I think
one of our weaknesses as the Black Caucus is we
really haven’t spent the time telling people these are
the things that we got done. We got $40 million for
historically black caucuses– I mean black colleges. We’ve been able to do
all of these things. So, it’s my responsibility
as a member of congress to make sure that people
understand this is why you vote. You vote, number one,
because you don’t want bad things to happen,
but, number two, because you can
actually get things done. Criminal justice reform. About 20,000 people have
been released from prison because of the work that we did,
and it was led by the Black Caucus, even though Trump tries
to take credit for it. But we have a lot of legislation that we’ve been able
to accomplish. But it’s our job to make sure
that people know that. -You’re working…
-(applause, cheering) You’re working now on a, on
a really interesting project, and that is working on America’s
relationship with Africa. Yes. And specifically Africa’s image. Yes. Why is that important
and what are you trying to do? Oh, it’s…
it’s so important to me to change the way our country
views the continent of Africa. And I actually think that we
kind of look at Africa like we do inner-city America,
you know? All the problems, you know. Uh, needing help all the time. And I joke and say that people
in the United States think Africa is a country
the size of Texas. I mean, so it’s important to me
to educate people that Africa’s a continent
with 50-plus countries. You can fit the United States
in there three times. And we need to view Africa
as a partner; an opportunity–
the rest of the world does. We need to do business
with the continent of Africa, and not just look at Africa
from the point of view of foreign aid–
as a matter of fact, I like the slogan
that’s used in Africa: “Trade, not aid.” So, we’re gonna be taking
a delegation over to the opening of the African
Union, uh, in February. And then in, in August, uh,
Speaker Pelosi led a delegation with the
Congressional Black Caucus to go to Ghana,
because you know, last year, was the 400th anniversary from
our arrival on the continent. (audience cheering) -It’s an exciting time.
-It is. Especially for you and your job. I’m excited to see what happens. Thank you so much
for being on the show. -Thanks for having me.
-Wonderful to see you again. Congresswoman Karen Bass,
everybody!