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Interview with J.D. Hayworth, Bob Barr

Aired November 20, 2001 - 19:30   ET


TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: In the war on terrorism, is President Bush grabbing too much power? Is he doing too much alone, without the consent of Congress?


REPRESENTATIVE NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA: What he's doing is almost a usurpation of the system of checks and balances.



Good evening and welcome to CROSSFIRE. America will never be the same. The presidency probably won't be either. To fight terror, President Bush says he needs sweeping new powers. The president plans to cut the nuclear arsenal, reorganize the INS, and put suspected terrorists before military tribunals -- and he plans to do it all without asking permission from other branches of government.

Civil libertarians are furious. Today, the daughter of former Attorney General Robert Kennedy announced that her father -- who approved the wire taps of Martin Luther King and once worked for Joe McCarthy -- would be appalled by the president's disregard for civil liberties.

Some members of Congress are upset, too, and not necessarily the members you would expect. Which leads us to this evening's CROSSFIRE.

On the left tonight, from Atlanta, Republican Bob Barr. And on the right, from Phoenix, also Republican J.D. Hayworth. And sitting in for the globetrotting Bill Press, one of our favorites here on CROSSFIRE, Peter Fenn.

CARLSON; Bob Barr. Welcome and congratulations for joining forces with the ACLU. I know they're pleased. Let -- let's take a look at some of the reasons you're upset. You sent a letter to Chairman Sensenbrenner of the House Judiciary Committee asking for hearings on some of these orders that President Bush has put through.

And I was struck in reading the letter that you raise no substantive issues with the orders themselves. Instead, your complaint appears to be entirely about power, and the power that the president is taking from Congress. You say, "the administration is on its own and without consenting with the Congress enacting sweeping additional changes et cetera, et cetera. " But that seems to be the nub of your complaint, that the president didn't ask permission and it's taking power from you. Is that a real complaint or is that just a war over turf?

REPRESENTATIVE ROBERT BARR, (R) GEORGIA: Well, it's a real complaint, but it isn't a total of the concern that I have as a former prosecutor, as a member of Congress and as a United States citizen. The primary complaint that I have -- and the reason for which I think we ought to have hearings -- is what the president and this administration are proposing, why they're proposing it -- whether it's necessary -- and where this will lead us.

For one thing, Tucker, this is not necessary. In every instance in modern history in which we have dealt with cases involving terrorist acts committed on this country's soil, our court system has proved itself fully adequate -- not perfect, perhaps -- but fully adequate to handle these. Why in heaven's name, where we have a system that works and works very well, and is the example that every other nation on the globe turns to in terms of a description and a definition of justice, are we willing to throw that all out the window for no good reason?

CARLSON: Well, we'll -- we'll get to the merits of military tribunals in a moment, and I can't wait. But let's first talk about the -- the sum of the things the president has done.

I mean, the fact is, in some of these cases -- reorganizing the INS, for instance, or his talks with Russian President Putin -- he felt like he needed to act. And clearly he felt -- I think with some reason -- that Congress would just take too long.

I mean, you're not exactly Federal Express over there. It took two months to get an airline bill through, and that was lightning speed by your standards up on the Hill. If the president needs to act, why can't he just act?

BARR: One of the reasons that we took some additional time was because the president asked us to take some additional time and to get it right rather than rush something through and then have to pick up the pieces or repair it later on. We may have a cumbersome system of checks and balances, but having that system of checks and balances, Tucker, is extremely important to protect the fabric of our very society.



FENN: Glad to have you here. I have to admit I never thought that I'd be playing "Kumbayah" with Bob Barr here, and agreeing with him on these issues.

But let's -- let's talk a little about the military tribunals. The president has put forward this proposal for secret trials at the very same time that our State Department in its human rights report -- its annual report -- is condemning those very same kinds of trials on terrorism countries like Peru.

Now is there a double standard here? Is it OK for the United States but not OK for other countries?

HAYWORTH: The United States in its sovereign right as a combatant in an unparalleled type of war has to take extraordinary measures. Not only are these historic -- extraordinary measures warranted by this new type of war, there is historical precedent. Our Constitution allows it. Common sense demands it.

The world changed September 11th. It does not mean that we cast aside our principles. Quite the contrary. If it was good enough for George Washington, if it was good enough for Abraham Lincoln, if it was good enough for Franklin Roosevelt, it should be good enough in this new type of war with President George W. Bush.

We need these military tribunals, and what you bring up with the State Department and Peru is a red herring.

FENN: I don't think it's a red herring when you criticize something that -- that you're going to do yourself.

But let me -- let's go a key point here that you just made about needing these tribunals. And I have to admit that I agree with Congressman Barr on this. If you look at the facts about New York, Mary Jo White has indicted 10 criminals, including Osama Bin Laden. She's had four convictions.

She has convicted the man who was coming across the Canadian border to blow up the airport in Los Angeles. Her record is stellar. She has all the information on this. We could put them to trial right there in New York.

Why do we have to go to a secret court where lawyers' rights to represent their clients are denied? What's the point? Why create a system like this when we don't need it?

HAYWORTH: Hold on a second, Peter. Let's go back and understand what this military tribunal would do.

First of all, it would be for non-citizens. You mentioned what has gone on in court in New York. Let's not forget the fact that one of the presiding judges to this day has a bodyguard dealing with the first bombing of the World Trade Center.

I'll tell you, in terms of trial by jury, we would have to supply protection. And even more disturbing, during a war, exposing our sources and methods. It was precisely because of holding those trials during the light of day that Osama Bin Laden realized exactly what we knew about him and felt he could act with impunity. And indeed, sadly, despite the triumphs of our court system in a free society, it helped in part to sow the seeds of September 11th.

CARLSON; Now, Bob Barr, you and your pals at the ACLU, Alan Dershowitz and Mike Dukakis and all the people who were upset about these military tribunals act as if their purpose is to nab ordinary people off the streets in Dubuque or Atlanta and try them in secret.

In fact, these are for trying terrorists, foreign terrorists. But why should I go on? Listen to the Attorney General John Ashcroft explain why these are vital in the war on terrorism. This is John Ashcroft.


JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Can you imagine the spectacle of capturing a soldier terrorist in Afghanistan, bringing them back with a publicly-paid-for, high-profile, flamboyant defense lawyer on television, making it the Osama network, sending signals to the terrorists around the country? That's not really what our judicial system is about.


CARLSON; Now, maybe the ACLU would disagree, but I think the rest of Americans would say that's not what the judicial system is about. And you?

BARR: Well, first of all, the -- the fine folks at the ACLU that I've worked with on a number of issues -- and including a number on which I think you've agreed with us, such as Laura Murphy -- have a very, very high regard and deep understanding of our Constitution.

And they would know, for example, that if somebody cites the example of Abraham Lincoln, they would know that he was chastised very severely by the Supreme Court for spending the write of habeas corpus unconstitutionally.

What the attorney general, Mr. Ashcroft here, is talking about is not what I'm talking about. And it's -- it's obfuscating things.

We are not talking about having any objection to taking a terrorist who is overseas fighting with our forces or whom we have captured or somehow come into custody with, and bringing them back here for trial. That is not what we are talking about.

What we are talking about here is suspending the rules of habeus corpus, suspending rules of trial by jury, suspending a whole range of civil liberties for crimes committed in this country, and that is something that we should not do lightly.

HAYWORTH: But Bob...

BARR: It has not been done lightly in the past. When a former president such as president Lincoln tried it he was rebuked by the Supreme Court and we ought not to allow it in this case either.

HAYWORTH: Bob, as Mr. Justice Jackson pointed out, this Constitution is not a suicide pact. And you -- you bring up the whole notion of the revocation of the writ of habeus corpus. It exists in the Constitution. Article One, Section Nine, Paragraph Two. You and I agree that the Constitution is a document of limited and specified powers. Now you may have a question as to how it was implemented in the Civil War, but the fact is President Lincoln acted to preserve the union.

The fact is that Benjamin Franklin and others at our Constitutional Convention -- quite correctly -- put into that document the ability to suspend the writ of habeus corpus, because they realized that anything could happen and you had to preserve order and that is why it exists.

And we are facing extraordinary circumstances today. September 11. Understand the magnitude of that attack and what may yet happen on American soil.


CARLSON; Well, let's see -- Bob Barr, let me ask you about that for a moment here.

BARR: Yes, sir.

CARLSON; I think one of the things that puzzles people like me about people like you and Alan Dershowitz is there seems to be no recognition that we are in a new era.

And I want to read to you a direct quote from the order President Bush gave creating military tribunals. It brings home why we need them now. I'm going to read this to you. "I have determined," said the president, "that an extraordinary emergency exists for national defense purposes, that this emergency constitutes an urgent and compelling government interest, and that issuance of this order is necessary to meet the emergency."

This is not creeping big government that I know you're against, I'm certainly against. This is a response -- a specific response to a national emergency.

BARR: No, it's not creeping big government. That isn't my concern. It's -- it's massive suspension of civil liberties in a way that has never been done before in our country. It is very, very serious.

And I go back to my original point. In every single case in modern history where we have had to deal with acts of terrorism committed on our soil, our court system has proven itself fully adequate to address them.

Amd if we simply now say that well, we don't want to declare war because we don't want to quite go that far and yet we are facing extraordinary circumstances and we have to suspend civil liberties, we are trying to have our cake and eat it too.

If my good friend J.D. is so -- believes that this is such an extraordinary circumstance, why didn't he and others support our declaration of war, which would have made this issue much clearer than it is now?

CARLSON: Well, let me...

HAYWARD: Because historical precedent demands the commander in chief to ask for a declaration of war. He did not, but I'm happy to support that. I'm also happy to support our commander in chief in a time of war. This is an extraordinary new circumstance.

FENN: J.D., listen, let me ask you this question. This is a very rarely-used thing, military courts of justice in a situation like this. Do you think that if it is not necessary, if we don't need it, if we can use our court system, that we -- that we should do that instead of denying people the right to their own lawyer, instead of having these things in secret? Shouldn't we go ahead and try people first with our system?

Because if we don't do that, we are going to send a clear message: if you get a hostage overseas, if a plane crashes -- a reconnaisance plane -- if two women are caught in Afghanistan and you want to try them, try them in a military court. That's not a good message to sent all over the world, is it?

HAYWORTH: No, the good message to send is the preservation of our Constitution. It is not a suicide pact. We must act in our national interest. And you correctly pointed out, Peter, that it is not an if/then. It is not automatic that our commander in chief will call for these military tribunals.

However -- and I certainly hope that we search and destroy all remnants of al Qaeda, thereby rendering this a moot point.

FENN: I agree with that.

HAYWORTH: But at the same time, I must point -- at the same time I must point out that we should have the latitude in this extraordinary time to move against al Qaeda and other non-citizens commensurate with maintaining our national security.

CARLSON; OK. Well, we will talk a lot more about the rights and role of non-citizens when we return. Also, the president has been cutting deals on his own with foreign leaders. Congress doesn't like it. Should he be able to? We will talk about it. We'll be right back on CROSSFIRE.



KERRY KENNEDY CUOMO, ROBERT KENNEDY'S DAUGHTER: Cara, if anyone tries to tell you that this is the type of justice system your grandpa embraced, you just don't believe it.


FENN: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. I'm Peter Fenn, sitting in for that noted and distinguished author Bill Press, who is on his book tour. That was Robert Kennedy's daughter Kerry, who wasn't shy about expressing herself on military tribunals and civil liberties. Neither are our guests tonight.

Tucker and I are joined by two Congressman, Republican Bob Barr from Georgia -- who says some of the Bush initiatives are disturbing and is calling for Congressional hearings -- and Republican J.D. Hayworth from Arizona, who thinks the president should get all the tools he wants to fight the war on terrorism.

Welcome back, gentlemen. J.D., there is a lot of concern about civil liberties and civil rights right now. The other thing that the president has done, as you know, is he said that it -- it may be OK to tap the phones and the conversations between lawyers and -- and their clients.

He said it's -- it's all right to hold people for it appears now sometimes unlimited periods of time. Right now we are getting into a situation where we have serious racial profiling going on when it comes to picking people up in this country.

Now, I think a lot is -- is understood about unusual circumstances and we -- we've got to use unusual means. But, you know, we said that back in World War II. We said that during the time of the Japanese internment camps, and that was, I think, one of the blackest periods and I think you'll agree -- there are some of them in Arizona -- in our country's history. What are we going to say to our grandkids? Are we going to say -- when they come to us in 20, 30 years? Are they going to say to us, how could you do this? How could you subvert the Constitution's basic rights?

HAYWORTH: Peter, first of all I don't mean to be alarmist, but let's make sure our grandchildren can come to us with those questions.

I don't believe anyone is going to sit here tonight and try to defend the internment camps for Japanese Americans. I can recall being at -- at a dinner for a libertarian think tank and someone expressing, you know, us civil libertarians had a real problem with Lincoln during the Civil War.

Believe me, Peter, I hope we have the luxury of regret. But right now, what is first and foremost is the survival of this republic and we must take any and all responsible steps to preserve our republic and maintain public safety and deal with the scourge of these unlawful combatants -- not only non-citizens, people who come here to do us harm.

FENN: Let's take a look at that question of immigrants, people who come here. Some have even suggested that we should put a hold on student visas.

HAYWORTH: I'd go further than that, Peter. What we ought to do is have a wartime moritorium on immigration until we figure out what's going on. The immigration reform caucus -- we held a hearing last week, and if you heard what former Border Patrol agents, what INS agents tell us today, you would understand the old maxim "When you've dug a hole for yourself, stop digging." This is an extraordinary time in our history.

FENN: It is extraordinary, J.D., but is it so extraordinary that you deny student visas? Is that what you're suggesting here, that we should (UNINTELLIGIBLE) student visas?

HAYWORTH: Let me tell you what's going on. Let me tell you clearly what is transpiring. We have a group of people who have come here under the guise of being students who in fact are not students. Take a look at the perpetrators, the animals, of September 11th and what they did to this country. Those who posed as students, those who came here to do us harm.

There are others who are here. Let us suffer no delusions. There are people here even now, and we have to take extraordinary steps in this extraordinary time.

CARLSON; Amen. Bob Barr getting stirred up by J.D. Hayworth here. A quick news recap for the past couple of weeks. Our president meets with the russian president, comes away with a -- an agreement -- a verbal one, anyway -- that would cause dramatic, historic reductions in the nuclear arsenal in Russia and also in the United States.

You would think this news would be greeted with -- with awe and shouts of joy from the Hill, but no. Members of Congress are mad because Bush did it essentially on a freelance basis. There's no treaty for them to sign off on. Do they have any reason to be in a huff over this? The president has this remarkable achievement and they're mad? It's all about power.

BARR: Well, I don't -- I don't think that that's a real issue. I think that the president in this instance, as commander in chief, can deal with leaders of foreign nations in -- in ways that he believes appropriate as long as there is not a law or in this case a treaty that prohibits him from doing it. I think that that is entirely appropriate. It's very, very different from suspending the writ of habeus corpus and denying civil liberties to people in this country.

CARLSON; Let's talk about something else that members of Congress are apparently grouchy about. I think you're one of them.

BARR: I'm never grouchy, Tucker.

CARLSON; I know -- I know you're not, Congressman. But limiting intelligence to members, restricting the flow of information that members of Congress members get, secret information.

Now, right after September 11th there were briefings. Many members of Congress, people on the intelligence committee got briefings and at least one of them blabbed classified information he learned at one of those briefings in public. Now, now many members of Congress -- and we're grateful you're one of them -- go on television frequently. Why should the administration, which is after all conducting a war, trust members of Congress with secrets like this that could affect the war? BARR: Well, I think you raise a very good point, and I would hasten to add that the person that blabbed to the media was not a member of the House, it was a member of the United States Senate, the other body.

I think the administration -- which is charged by law with protecting intelligence sources and methods -- has an obligation to do so. And if they brief members of Congress from the House or the Senate, Republican or Democrat, and they disclose that, then they are poisoning the well for the rest of us and I think they ought not to conduct those kinds of briefings until those members that -- that have shown themselves irresponsible either -- either are not part of the briefings or until specific security measures are implemented.

FENN: J.D., I've got a question for you about this impending imperial presidency that we are now seemingly engaged in here. You folks up on the Hill have just passed a stimulus package which would give $25 billion to the largest corporations.

My question to you is, have you used these current crisis as an excuse to give $1.4 billion to -- to IBM, $833 million for GM, $671 million to General Electric? Even the "Wall Street Journal," J.D., calls this "chock full of corporate goodies." I mean, what are you doing here?

HAYWORTH: It's very interesting, Peter. It took you all of about -- about 25 minutes before you went back to the classic mantra.

In terms of economic security, I think it's important -- what you're talking about is the corporate alternative minimum tax. That doesn't just affect the biggest companies on wall street, it affects the smallest corporations on Main Street.

And I know it's a hard concept to understand, Peter. Stick with me through this. Businesses create jobs. At a time when unemployment is running rampant, in a provision with the alternative minimum tax that is not a retroactive type of giveaway but more of the taking of money in a situation and credits that one day would be redeemable.

It's important to have money in the hands of businesses and the hands of individuals to fuel the economy and then actually more receipts that come to the federal government in terms of taxation.

FENN: I just -- let me just quickly correct one thing, J.D. Sorry to interrupt. But this is retroactive to 1985...

HAYWORTH: No, it's not. It's retroactive (UNINTELLIGIBLE) since 1986.

FENN: Well, wait just one second. Six -- well, excuse me. "85, '86. $6.4 billion dollars go to 14 companies. Now that to me is -- is big money for the big guys...

HAYWORTH: How many jobs...

FENN: ...and not for the 150,000 workers who were laid off by the airlines.

HAYWORTH: I know you believe that -- I know you believe that government, Peter -- I know you believe that government should be both the employer of first and last resort, but how many jobs do you think we are talking about here? How many layoffs? How could we add to the economic vitality? Don't you think when we have the bizarre (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...


HAYWORTH: And I don't blame you for not understanding the tax code, it's pretty complicated, but the fact is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) business create jobs.

CARLSON; I hate to cut you off when I agree with every single word. Now, I could listen to that all day, because of course you're right.

HAYWORTH: Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON: But we are out of time, sadly. Congressman Hayworth, Congressman Barr, thank you both very much. Peter Fenn and I will be back in just a moment and we will explain -- I will, anyway -- why this is all fundamentally about Bill Clinton. So stay tuned. We will be right back.


CARLSON; Peter, let me inflict my theory on you. This is all about Bill Clinton. He abused his office in order to save his job and hide his girlfriend. We are wary of presidents wielding power ever since.

But here comes this president wielding power to save Western civilization, and some people -- otherwise sensible people like Bob Barr -- they are too spooked by Bill Clinton to recognize it.

FENN: Geez, I knew you had to bring up Clinton. And -- and just because barr is really (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

CARLSON: Because it's true.

FENN: This is about civil liberties. This is about people's rights. You know what I think? We just renamed the -- the Justice Department the Robert F. Kennedy building. I think it's about time we renamed the J. Edgar Hoover building for a civil libertarian. You got any thoughts, ideas?

CARLSON; You're not calling -- I hope you're not calling Bobby Kennedy a civil libertarian.

FENN: J. Edgar Hoover absolutely...

CARLSON: The person who bugged Martin Luther King's hotel room?

FENN: Come on. CARLSON: Give me a break.

FENN: From the left, I'm Peter Fenn. And good night from CROSSFIRE.

CARLSON; And from the right I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again tomorrow night for yet another edition of CROSSFIRE. See you then.




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