During President Trump’s speech at the White House in which he thanked his supporters, he singled out Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) as one of the first to call him about the phone transcripts saying, “Sir, I read the transcript. You did nothing wrong. And Mitch, he stayed there right from the beginning; he never changed.”
Scott was interviewed on Fox News Channel on Thursday afternoon by Charles Payne on his thoughts about the acquittal of the President. Here is some of that Q&A:
Payne: We all read the transcripts, and I gotta tell you, I’m not a legal person, but I couldn’t connect the dots [as the Democrats tried to do in their articles of impeachment], there were some funny things done in the meeting, there were some paragraphs shifted around to imply certain things, but if you just read it, it felt like it would have ended there. Are you surprised that the Democrats took it all the way through to its fruition this week?
Scott: I really am. When you read the transcript – I read it four or five times before I had the first conversation with the President – it was clear to me that he was innocent of anything impeachable once you read the transcript. But more importantly, the actual trial phase in the House only amplified his innocence because, if they in fact thought he was guilty, they would have brought him in on the first day of the trial process, not the 71st day of that process. If they really thought he was guilty of something, what they would have done is that they would have allowed him to cross-examine the witnesses that they had. They would have allowed him to present witnesses or evidence that was contradictory to the evidence that they would have had, and if they really thought that he was guilty of something, they would not have played snippets of 13 witnesses in the House. We had 190-plus video clips of 13 witnesses, and they only gave us enough information to lead to their conclusion. That’s amazing.
Payne: And yet, we do have history made where one of your colleagues, Senator Romney, thought there was enough evidence there. What do you think swayed him?
Scott: Honestly, it’s hard to understand anything that happened in the 60 hours of testimony that persuaded him to vote for conviction of the President on either charge. I can’t figure out where he came from. I’ve been asking myself which witness actually him establish the fact pattern that led to guilty. Frankly, of all the witnesses that we heard in the Senate, and all the witnesses in the House, there were only three that had any first-hand knowledge, and all three of them either contradicted each other, confused each other, or led to the collapse of the fact pattern of the other witnesses. Whether it was Vindman’s conclusion that from a policy position he disagreed with the President, or Sondlund’s conclusions that the President told him specifically “no quid pro quo,” I’m not sure how that evidence leads there. If you start with the presumption of guilty, perhaps you get there. If you start with the American form of our legal system – the presumption of innocence – I think it’s impossible to come to the conclusion of guilt.
Payne: Yeah, well, I’m sure one day you two will probably talk about it. You got two shout-outs this week. You also get one at the SOTU, and the media went nuts in the aftermath of that, and I was really disappointed in your colleagues on the Democrat side when you had a young black girl that won a choice award, a former drug addict who’s now a business owner, and a Tuskegee airman – one of the proudest moments I have ever seen in at SOTU address – but Van Jones on CNN got it. He said that President Trump is making inroads into the black community, and that he will win a large amount of votes if the Democrats don’t do anything about it. Do you think he’s right?
Scott: I think he’s 100% right. Van Jones and I probably agree on about 5% of the things philosophically, but in this area, we’re 100% on point. And the fact of the matter is that our president has been working very hard to present himself as the president for all Americans. It’s one of the reasons why his approval rating in the black community is over 30% in the last four polls. But more importantly, what the President has done is he has taken the time to attend a criminal justice reform conversation. He didn’t just help sign the legislation into being, he actually came to South Carolina to an HBCU (historically black college and university) where we had a panel discussion on criminal justice reform. He will be in an opportunity zone conference tomorrow. What the President is doing is not just talking a good game, he’s actually leaving the White House, and he is walking that strong performance in front of the world to see.
What a great interview! To summarize:
- He was surprised that the impeachment matter didn’t end when the transcripts were released (no evidence of impeachable offenses)
- The trial phase in the House only amplified his innocence because, if they in fact thought he was guilty, they would have brought him in on the first day of the trial process to cross-examine his accusers, not on the 71st day of that process
- If the House managers really thought that he was guilty of something, they would not have played 190 snippets of 13 witnesses; they would have played it all
- Scott couldn’t understand how anything that happened in the 60 hours of testimony that persuaded Romney to vote for conviction of the President on either charge
- If you start with the presumption of innocence, it’s impossible to come to the conclusion of guilt; he implies Romney started from the presumption of guilt
- The President has been working very hard as the president for all Americans
- The President was personally involved in criminal justice reform and opportunity zones and is walking the walk
Excellent insights, Senator! He is a president of ALL the people and works hard for us all every day.