July 18, 2013

Reps. King, Rush debate Zimmerman verdict

Guests: Rep. Steve King, Rep. Bobby Rush

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 18, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: There is no question that Sanford, Florida has served as the epicenter of controversy surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The fallout from this tragedy has reached each and every corner of America, and that includes Washington, D.C., now particularly following Saturday's acquittal of George Zimmerman.

On Monday, Illinois democrat Luis Gutierrez called on the House Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on the case. He released a statement that read in part, quote, "When any child is gunned down and no one goes to jail it is incumbent on lawmakers at the highest level of government to investigate whether justice has been done." Also this week, the Attorney General of the United States said yet again that his department is investigating whether civil rights charges should be filed against Zimmerman. But beyond hearings and investigations, a number of democratic lawmakers are also calling for new legislation to be pass that they say would prevent future shooting deaths. However, at least one House republican is accusing some on the left of politicizing tragedy for political gain. And he says it all starts way at the top. Here's Iowa Congressman Steve King.


REP. STEVE KING, R-IOWA: My sympathies goes out also to the Martin family and the Zimmerman family for this ordeal that they've been through. But the evidence didn't support prosecution, and the Justice Department engaged in this. The President engaged in this and turned it into a political issue that should have been handled exclusively with the law and order.


HANNITY: Now, of course, the shooting death of Trayvon Martin was an issue lawmakers in Washington have talked about from the moment the tragedy happen. For example, do you remember this?


REP. BOBBY RUSH, D-ILL.: The racial profiling has to stop, Mr. Speaker. Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum. The bible teaches us, Mr. Speaker, and the --

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The member will suspend -- the member will --

RUSH: Show your man --

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The member will suspend --


HANNITY: And joining me now are the two lawmakers you just heard from. Republican Congressman Steve King and democratic Congressman Bobby Rush. Gentlemen, welcome to "Hannity."

RUSH: Thanks for having me.

KING: Thank you very much, Sean.

HANNITY: Congressman Rush, let me start with you. You said in that piece here, racial profiling has to stop. Just because someone wear as hoodie doesn't make them a hoodlum. Do you have any evidence in the Zimmerman case that proves that or suggests that?

RUSH: Well, yes. Trayvon Martin was not a criminal, had not been charged at all with a crime, but yet we all would agree he's a young dead black boy, teenager, who was killed by a guy who did not -- was not a law enforcement officer and did not attempt to arrest him at all. But Trayvon is lying in his grave now. And so --

HANNITY: But -- go ahead. RUSH: He -- he was not a hoodlum. There's no indication. There's not even any accusations that he was a hoodlum. He was an innocent young man leaving a convenience store with a hoodie on and with a snack and a soft drink in his hand, and he's dead.

HANNITY: Congressman Rush, he broke George Zimmerman's nose and he was viewed by an eyewitness ground and pound pounding this guy's head into the cement. I mean, you're saying -- now, I would agree I think there's a misunderstanding but I asked you if you had any evidence that this was about racial profiling and you didn't give me any evidence about that. Do you have any evidence on that case?

RUSH: Well -- well, there is certainly evidence that I would consider had I been on the jury.

HANNITY: What is it?

RUSH: All right. And that evidence is that racial profiling exists in this nation, that there are literally thousands of cases of racial profiling in this --

HANNITY: Do you have any evidence in this case though? Any evidence in this case?

RUSH: In this case, if I had been on the jury or I think any other reasonable person would have been on the jury, then that certainly would have been some of the experiences that I would have utilized in terms of my decision.

HANNITY: Well, let me go to Congressman Steve King. Congressman, there's no evidence of racial profiling. As a matter of fact, the FBI looked in there for 16 months. Even the attorney for Trayvon Martin and the family said this case was not about race, so what do you make of Congressional action on this?

KING: Well, I think there's been a lot that's been ginned up here, that's been focused on race and they held a faux hearing that focused race back about a year ago, I would guess, trying to gin up prosecution on this. I point out that I know of no federal law against profiling. It needs to be a component of good police work. And the argument has been constantly to try to find a little thread of whatever George Zimmerman might have said or thought in his life that could be used against him in this prosecution. We can't be punishing what goes on in somebody's head. We can punish the overt act. We can't punish the thought. And so here in Congress we shouldn't be addressing this.


RUSH: Steve, that is one of the problems. You cannot -- all right. Racial profiling is something that will not -- the evidence has to be a different kind of evidence.

KING: Bobby, you're suggesting then --

RUSH: The mindset of this young -- of Zimmerman was clearly established when he was told by the police who do have some authority to stand down. But he refused to stand down.

HANNITY: Well, Mr. Rush -- Congressman, I've got to stop you there. We've got to be accurate. We're giving out the facts of the case. First the operator said, where is he now. And then I interviewed George Zimmerman. He said as soon as the guy said, we don't need you to follow him, he was going back to the car and then he had a broken nose and then an eyewitness that saw Trayvon beating him. You keep kind of glossing over that fact. Why? Why do you keep glossing over that?

RUSH: Well, the fact is, I'm not glossing over any fact here. The fact is that Trayvon Martin is dead, all right? Trayvon Martin was accosted by George Zimmerman.

HANNITY: But there's no evidence of, that sir. There's no evidence. Mr. Congressman, there's no evidence.

RUSH: An armed man -- Trayvon Martin -- there is evidence that he's dead.

HANNITY: We know that.

RUSH: There's evidence that George Zimmerman had a gun on him. There's evidence that George Zimmerman did in fact confront him, OK?

HANNITY: What's the evidence that he confronted him?

RUSH: Other than that, because there had to be some interaction, all right? Trayvon Martin didn't have George Zimmerman on his mind.

HANNITY: But there's evidence --

RUSH: George Zimmerman has Trayvon Martin on his mind.

HANNITY: Congressman, we're running out of time. With all due respect.

RUSH: George Zimmerman has Trayvon Martin on his mind.

HANNITY: Congressman, with all due respect, an eyewitness in this case placed Trayvon Martin beating the daylights out of Zimmerman and we hear these pleas, these cries, these screams for help.

RUSH: That's conjecture.

HANNITY: Not conjecture, an eyewitness.

RUSH: I have seen -- let me say this. If Trayvon Martin was strong enough to pound the man, all right? Then George Zimmerman would have -- the bruises, the cuts, the scratches on.

HANNITY: Congressman King.

RUSH: .him would have been much more severe.

KING: I'm ready any time, Sean.

HANNITY: Congressman King.

KING: Yes. Well, what I think about this is that the facts that we saw and I think you and I saw the same facts, Sean, and you dug into this more deeply than anybody else in the media, but as I watched this move forward said a decision by the jury and I contemplated the thought of a conviction of George Zimmerman and if you take the facts presented on the case, they were in an altercation, and from what I see it, it appears that Trayvon Martin did assault George Zimmerman.

That's the best thing we've got for testimony because really in the end nobody saw that initial action. And if someone has you down on the ground and they're threatening to kill you and say that they're going to end your life and you pull a gun out of your holster and you shoot to defend your life, you make a decision after George Zimmerman had been convicted, then you'll have to wonder if you defend yourself if you'll going go to prison for life.


RUSH: Sean, no one knows what happens prior to them being on the ground. Nobody knows that, so don't just assume that because you have a witness that said that after they were on the ground, they looked out and they saw Trayvon -- Trayvon, a young 17-year-old man, probably got the best of him, but that --

HANNITY: But he had a broken nose, so we know how he got on the ground.

RUSH: Well, we don't know how the nose was broken.

HANNITY: We don't know how the nose was broken?

RUSH: No. No one has testified yet how his nose was broken.

HANNITY: You think he broke it himself?

RUSH: Well, he could have broken it when he first surrounded Trayvon and grabbed Trayvon. He could have hit Trayvon's shoulder.

HANNITY: He could have hit his shoulder and that's how he broke his nose.

RUSH: He could have broke his nose on the sidewalk.

HANNITY: He fell down and broke his nose.

RUSH: Anywhere. He might have broken his nose even before he met Trayvon.

HANNITY: Even before he met Trayvon.

RUSH: Nobody knows how he broke his nose.

KING: Sean, the jury has rejected all of these arguments that Mr. Rush is giving right now. They've rejected them all. (CROSSTALK) And where this discussion now needs to go now is George Zimmerman going to be subjected to double jeopardy by the Justice Department that is appearing to continue to politicize this case. They sent people down from the Justice Department to Florida to gin up demonstrations, to try to bring about a prosecution of George Zimmerman. We should not politicize the law and justice system in this country. It needs to be objective and it needs to be detached and it should not be part projected the double jeopardy because of a political move here.

HANNITY: All right. Gentlemen, we're going to have to leave it here.

RUSH: Let me say just this. If Trayvon Martin had been a young white man, white teenager and George Zimmerman had been a black man, George Zimmerman would be in jail today.

HANNITY: Let me ask you a question. Does it matter to you, Congressman Rush --

RUSH: No doubt about it, no doubt about it. No doubt about it.

HANNITY: Does it matter to you, Congressman rush, that there's a mountain of evidence that shows that that George Zimmerman, he tutored minority children, black children for free in his spare time, he took a black woman to his prom? He stood out for a black homeless man against the Sanford police. In other words, there's no evidence of any racial animosity in this man's heart. Why do you ignore that?

RUSH: There is because this man -- it came out of his mouth.

HANNITY: What came out of his mouth? What?

RUSH: He stereotyped.

HANNITY: What did he say?

RUSH: This is what ratio stereotype is all about. He stereotyped Trayvon Martin.

HANNITY: What did he say?

RUSH: Because Trayvon Martin was a young black man with a hood on and all of a sudden, he stereotyped him. He said, these guys, they always get away.

HANNITY: All right. We got to go. All right. Thank you.

RUSH: Sean, they always get away.

HANNITY: Thank you both.

KING: Let me close with this, Sean. If I could just get this piece in.

HANNITY: Real quick.

KING: What happened was, a young Hispanic man shot a black man in self-defense, was tried by a jury of women and somehow Bobby Rush thinks it's a white man's fault.

HANNITY: All right. We got to go. Gentlemen, we're out of time. I have to go.

RUSH: Thank you.

HANNITY: Gentlemen, thank you both.

KING: Thanks, Sean.

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