'A conversation about the future of the Senate rules is on the table': Durbin

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is interviewed on "This Week."
8:13 | 09/27/20

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Transcript for 'A conversation about the future of the Senate rules is on the table': Durbin
Let's take those questions to members of the senate judiciary committee, we're going to start with senator dick Durbin. I want to begin where Jon Karl began. You have no procedural silver bullet to take this beyond the election, is that true? That's true, and there have been two Republicans who have spoken out already, senator murkowski and Collins who say they won't support this procedure before this election, if two others decide during the course of the debate, then we could have a different timing and perhaps different outcome. I read a piece by Adam, a top staffer for Harry Reid, they could systemically deny unanimous consent to meet, that's not good enough? I know Adam, I like Adam and respect him, but he's wrong, we could slow it down, perhaps hours, days at the most, but we can't stop the outcome, what we should do is to address this now respectively, but understand the context, George, senator Mitch Mcconnell, who could find no time to attend the negotiating on the coronavirus relief package that we need to put together for the pandemic facing our country, for the unemployed people, for the businesses, senator Mcconnell refused to attend those meetings, didn't have the time to do that. When this vacancy occurred, now we're going hell-bent. And he had to reverse the positioning he took four years ago saying we should wait for the next president to fill the vacancy. As their caucus, they looked down at their shoes and changed their minds, too, we now agree with senator Mcconnell. Some are calling Democrats to boycott the committee proceedings. Several of your colleagues on the screw dish area committee said they won't meet with judge Barrett. Will you meet with her, will you participate in the hearings? I met with every supreme court nominee since I've been in the senate, I will extend that courtesy if she requests it, for at least a socially distanced safe meeting, perhaps over the phone. I want to be respectful, we disagree on some things and in terms of participating in the senate judiciary committee hearing, I'll be there to do my job. I want to ask her point-blank, as I'm sure others will, whether or not her position is that we should end the affordable care act, providing health insurance for 20 million Americans and protections for Americans from one coast to the other with pre-existing conditions. These are fundamental questions, no more important now than at any time. Important at this moment because of the pandemic we face, there are many other questions but let's start with that. So many believe that this is illegitimate process, if it's illegitimate process, why legitimate it with your participation? I have a job to do, George. It's likely that this nominee the Republicans have promised even before her name was announced they would vote for the president's choice, someone who will be on the highest court of the land for the remainder of her life, I take that seriously. Questions I mentioned earlier about the future of health care in the midst of a pandemic and what this would mean for families, she's been pretty explicit in criticizing justice Roberts when it came to the opinion he wrote, but now we have a new question brought to us by the president and that's the legitimacy of the election and whether this president, the first in history, the first in the history of this country who would not declare that he would accept the verdict of the American people on the future leadership in the white house. He said he wants that court to be full, he wants nine members there, oubsly the inference he'll need some supporters. Here's what the president said on that subject. I think it's better if you go before the election, I think this scam that the Democrats are pulling, a scam, a scam will be before the United States supreme court and I think having a 4-4 situation is not a good situation. Given those repeated comments by the president, will you and other Democrats request that judge Barrett recuse herself from any consideration of the election? I certainly wish she would, it would really helps matters. She wants to be fair in addressing this, why, this president has been outspoken and outrageous, to think he would not verdict of the election and that he would make it clear that he's filling this vacancy on the supreme court to make sure it tips his way, if there's any election contest, that's an outrage. No president has ever said that in our nation's history, he said it twice, he said it four years ago and now he's saying the supreme court is part of his plan this time. I think that she should step forward that she would recuse herself from any election contest involving this president. And if she doesn't? Well, the votes will cast ultimately on her nomination, each senator will have to make that decision after they hear her testimony. You mentioned the president's refusal to accept a peaceful transition of power, saying that he would abide by a peaceful transition of power. Last week senator Ted Cruz was on this program and he and others have drawn a moral equivalence between what he said and Hillary Clinton. Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances, because I think this is going to drag out, and eventually I do believe he will win if we don't given a inch and if we are as focused and relentless as the other side is, do you agree with those comments? No, I don't. I disagree with Hillary Clinton. I respect her, I like her, but I think she's just flat-out wrong. The election itself is going to be announced, the winner will be announced at some point, it will take longer with all the paper ballots that are being cast, at some point, I hope my choice Joe Biden is elected president, but if we're going to maintain a democracy, peaceful transition through an election is the only way to do it. Just look at the streets of Belarus today. If you want to see the alternative. We don't need that in America. Whoever the winner is, if it's clear and legal, that should be announced and the other party should concede. Are you convinced it's going to be a fair election? I hope so, George, but we have so much meddling going on here. We have the Russians still at work, the Chinese, perhaps the Iranians and others, we certainly have the conspiracy threeists in this country, and we have what I consider to be corruption of the media, to think that we're broadcasting through social media things which are truly false is really misleading the American people. We need and should have a much better approach to this than we currently do. I worry about the outcome. Finally, if Democrats are successful in November, and you increase your numbers in the senate, your colleague Ed Markey has suggested that if Republicans confirm judge Barrett, you should end the filibuster and expand the supreme court, is that on the table? Well, I can tell you the conversation of the future about the senate rules is on the table and I'm part of it. The reason is this, we have seen under Mitch Mcconnell the destruction, denigration of the United States senate. George, last year in the senate, 2019, we had 22 amendments voted on in the entire year in the United States senate, Mitch Mcconnell has taken the senate and has turned it into something note a dlib ray -- delib ra tif and legislative body. We need to make sure what the procedure is in the future that we get down to business. Senator Mcconnell's approach I think has been failure. Senator Durbin, thank you for your time this morning.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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