This partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, August 2, 2001 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House.

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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Welcome to HANNITY & COLMES. I'm Alan Colmes.

Coming up: Was an environmental regulation to blame for a tragic fire in Washington state? We'll have an update.

And then: Why are North Carolina residents throwing tea bags at the legislature? We'll tell you.

And then: Should the recently passed tax cut become permanent?

And later: What is this, "Footloose"? Well, some schools are banning a type of dancing, but is it really harmful to kids?

But first, leading our debate across America this Thursday: Congressman Gary Condit came under fire yesterday from fellow California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, who said he could never regain his credibility and she could not forgive him for lying to her, though she corrected herself today, saying she could forgive him but remains concerned that he violated the public trust.

And in an exclusive interview with Fox News today, Vice President Dick Cheney weighed in on this controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY HOST, FOX NEWS: Have you been surprised that members of Congress have not been more outspoken not about Chandra Levy but just about the revelations about his prior behavior?

RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's a -- I think a reluctance on the part of members of Congress to criticize a colleague. There's a bit of a tradition up there, and it's -- generally, it's adhered to. And there's 435 members of the House. Each of them got 

elected, just like every other.

You could look at those 435 members and judge some of them not to be especially competent, perhaps, or maybe unethical sometimes in their conduct. But members are very cautious to judge another, partly because the Constitution says the way you get to be a member of that body is you get elected by the voters. That's the only test.

And once you've passed that test, then they're generally going to be very careful before they start pointing fingers at somebody, especially when, in this particular case, of course, what you have is his admission that he was carrying on an affair with this young woman, but there's no allegation and certainly no evidence to indicate that anything other than that happened.

COLMES: Meanwhile, Condit plans to spend the congressional recess at a retreat with his two adult children, but has not decided whether or not he'll meet with constituents. Should he?

Joining us now in Los Angeles, Fox News political analyst Susan Estrich. Here in New York, constitutional attorney Ann Coulter.

Ann, was Dick Cheney too easy on Gary Condit just now? He's saying the same thing that congressional Democrats and Republicans are saying, and the conservatives are saying, "Come on. Let's" -- you know, Barr's saying he should resign. Was Dick Cheney too good to him, too kind to him?

ANN COULTER, CONSTITUTIONAL ATTORNEY: No, I think the vice president can't show open contempt for members of Congress.

COLMES: Oh, but members of Congress can...

COULTER: The way I could, for example.

COLMES: Like you do for liberals. But what -- of course, you would never do that toward me. But other members of Congress -- can and should they show open contempt for their colleagues in Congress?

COULTER: Cheney makes a good point that they have no control over who is a member of Congress. It is chosen by -- the members of Congress are chosen by their constituents, and they're...

COLMES: Right.

COULTER: ... extremely limited in -- in taking any sort of disciplinary...

COLMES: But the Republican members of Congress...

COULTER: ... action.

COLMES: ... have been blasted -- Democrats have been blasted -- mostly Democrats blasted...

COULTER: Right.

COLMES: ... for not standing up and saying to Condit, "You should resign." What about Dick Cheney's comments, which seem very mild?

COULTER: Not only that, but he -- I'm not sure if it was just in that clip there, but he also opposed what I think is just a great idea, having a specific, you know, bright-line rule, since there's so much confusion on Capitol Hill...

COLMES: Right.

COULTER: ... "No sleeping with interns." But of course, you know, Cheney can't come out for that because it's a joke! It's...

COLMES: Well...

COULTER: How about -- no -- no lying...

COLMES: Well, you don't want government regulations saying who sleeps with whom.

COULTER: And now that Condit's led the way...

COLMES: Yeah.

COULTER: ... perhaps they can each have their own polygraph machine so they can tell when they are lying.

COLMES: Yeah. I'm glad you...

COULTER: You know, right there...

COLMES: ... come prepared with written material.

COULTER: ... in the office.

COLMES: That's very good.

Susan Estrich, what about this? Dick Cheney almost gave Condit a pass, it seems, in those comments made earlier today to Tony Snow.

SUSAN ESTRICH, USC PROFESSOR, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: I think Dick Cheney is remarkably honest and straightforward. I mean, his point is basically, if we start this game, where does it stop? I mean, first of all -- and I've been very critical of Gary Condit because I think what he did 

really wrong and bad and awful has when the police came to him the first time, he didn't tell all and cooperate in every way he could that might have thrown some light on this investigation.

But the fact that he's had a lot of affairs or who he's had the affairs with is not the stuff most members of Congress can put a mirror up to themselves. And you know, you start judging him, who's next?

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Susan, welcome back to the program. And you have been critical...

ESTRICH: Thanks.

HANNITY: ... but I didn't hear the words "resign," but we're not going to get into that tonight. I want to ask you a question about the news media. I want to ask about this Web site, WeTip. They don't tape. They don't trace their calls. Operators are bound by secrecy. They're not allowed to even reveal to the police the sex of the caller. And -- and this is -- this means this is at a dead end, doesn't it? I mean, that that is the only thing the media has to really go on is a tip from a source like that?

ESTRICH: I think what's happened in this investigation is that they've gotten nowhere. I mean, I don't think anybody is saying otherwise, are they, Sean?

HANNITY: Yeah.

ESTRICH: I mean, you know, some people are saying they devoted too much resources to getting nowhere, and some people are saying they devoted too few resources to getting nowhere. And some people are saying it's Gary Condit's fault they got nowhere. But in any event, they've got a lot of information, but it isn't taking them anywhere.

HANNITY: Ann Coulter, I -- this -- this may be reaching here a little bit because you're not going to be shy in your criticism of Mr. Condit. I found this Abbe Lowell in a "Los Angeles Daily Journal," which is a legal newspaper, said he hasn't seen his children since this started. He wants to get with them on the upcoming congressional break. And I'm trying to think -- this has gone on for 94 days, and he hasn't seen his children, hasn't spoken to them. You add the affairs on top of it, and what kind of man is this? I mean, are we allowed to ask that question about the type of people we send to Washington?

COULTER: Yes. And I mean, in -- in further response to how there really hasn't been much criticism on Capitol Hill of him -- and he seems to be strange in a lot of ways. I mean, I'd be interested to see how often he saw his children before this began. I can't imagine how much time he had...

HANNITY: Right.

COULTER: ... given all of the affairs he was having.

HANNITY: Right.

COULTER: Though he was spending time with people his children's age.

(LAUGHTER)

ESTRICH: They might have been friends.

COULTER: But you know, you listen to the morning shock jocks, the FM radio stations, and they have more morals than these congressmen do. I mean, they don't hesitate to criticize Gary Condit. They don't hesitate to come up with some really hilarious parodies of Gary Condit. And meanwhile, you know, you hear these congressmen -- "Oh, we can't criticize our colleagues, can't criticize our colleagues." So you know, Dick Cheney is -- is accurate in his description of why they're doing this, but I think that is -- is not...

HANNITY: Right.

COULTER: I still criticize them for it.

COLMES: We're going to -- you criticize someone? We're going to take a quick break. More of our debate right after this.

And coming up: Did government red tape cause the deaths of four Washington firefighters?

And then later: Are your children doing this on the dance floor? Find out.

More HANNITY & COLMES coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: Welcome back to HANNITY & COLMES. I'm Sean Hannity.

Still to come tonight: Is a tax revolt in the works? We'll tell you about three states and what's going on there.

Now we get back to our debate.

Susan Estrich, we got a recess in Congress coming up. He's going to go back to his district. Most people still have not heard the voice of Gary Condit. Should he go to his constituents? Should he have a town hall meeting? Will he speak? Will Democrats advise him to do that?

ESTRICH: Really, it depends what you think the end game is, Sean. If you think the end game is that he's got to resign, which I think the end game probably is, to be perfectly...

HANNITY: Yeah.

ESTRICH: ... honest, then there's no point to having a spectacle for the news media of his constituents taking him on and him apologizing...

HANNITY: Right.

ESTRICH: ... and the whole thing.

HANNITY: Susan, I got to tell you something.

ESTRICH: He might as well go home and tell his wife and his two -- his children are adult children -- tell them, you know...

HANNITY: "It's over."

ESTRICH: ... gather family around and then issue a statement and say, "I'm heading for the hills," and then go off and hope that people leave him alone.

HANNITY: On this very program, I remember turning to my good liberal partner here, Alan Colmes...

COULTER: Satan!

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY: Oh, be nice! Be nice.

COLMES: "Good liberal" is not an oxymoron.

HANNITY: Be nice. And -- and I said, "No way he can survive," talking about Bill Clinton.

ESTRICH: Oh.

HANNITY: When we found out he had sex with an intern...

ESTRICH: Oh, no!

HANNITY: ... lied...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: I said no -- you thought...

ESTRICH: Oh, I knew he would survive.

HANNITY: Well, if -- what's the difference...

ESTRICH: Well, Gary Condit is no Bill Clinton. Look, this girl disappeared. This isn't just sex, OK? What's got people angry, I think, bottom line -- certainly, what I would criticize him for -- is not simply that he had sex with an intern, albeit an intern in someone else's office, Ann -- let's not forget that little distinction the boys'll be sure to press...

COULTER: That's right!

(LAUGHTER)

ESTRICH: Right? I mean, let's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- But it was that she had disappeared. The police come to him. The family says, "Help. Our daughter is missing." And what does this guy do? He covers...

HANNITY: Susan...

ESTRICH: ... his rear end.

COULTER: But what...

HANNITY: You know what? That's absolutely -- but...

COULTER: What's the dynamic -- if I could ask -- I mean, I would be surprised if he resigned. For one thing, it starts to make him look guilty if he suddenly resigns now, but also, I just don't see what the dynamic is. I mean, no Democrats are calling on him to resign. I think he may not run again.

HANNITY: He looks guilty when he doesn't speak to the press, either, Ann.

ESTRICH: Oh, I...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: ... so I don't think that's the...

COULTER: I don't see the dynamic of how it comes about, where he suddenly resigns.

ESTRICH: I don't know. We'll see. I think if you can't go out in public, you can't be a politician. It's sort of an essential sort of element of the job. Maybe if you're president, you can hide for a while.

COLMES: Well, maybe he should choose to go out in public and say a few things...

ESTRICH: Well, but if he...

COLMES: ... and talk to his constituents.

ESTRICH: ... I think he'd be...

COULTER: Or just...

ESTRICH: ... chopped liver, don't you?

COLMES: Well, it all depends what he's got to say. Now, Ann...

COULTER: Or just not run again.

COLMES: ... let me ask this. If all it was was -- I say "all it was," I don't mean to diminish adultery...

HANNITY: Right.

COLMES: ... or an affair. I think that's wrong.

ESTRICH: All "they" were.

COLMES: But if all he did was have affairs, that would not be the end of his career, right?

COULTER: If he got...

COLMES: Maybe you think it should be, but it wouldn't be.

COULTER: If he got caught like this, and lying about it -- I mean, if they suddenly -- if Chandra Levy appeared alive...

COLMES: Yeah.

COULTER: ... you know, tomorrow, I think he still would not have a good chance of...

COLMES: But if it was just a matter of...

COULTER: ... reelection.

COLMES: ... adultery -- I'm not condoning adultery, but if that's what it was, that would not be the end. It's a matter of...

COULTER: No, I think it would be.

ESTRICH: But Alan...

COULTER: I mean, it probably wouldn't come to light, but if everything...

COLMES: But that's not the issue.

COULTER: ... that's happened up to this point...

COLMES: Susan, it's the issue of him not talking to the authorities...

ESTRICH: Right.

COLMES: ... for a long time.

COULTER: Well, OK. That's the...

COLMES: Withholding...

ESTRICH: That's the...

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: How else would you find out, though? So yeah.

ESTRICH: But there's a difference. I don't -- I don't condone adultery, and I think it's piggish and disgusting when, you know, guys like this abuse their public power and make themselves attractive to young 

women...

COLMES: But rightfully or wrongfully, that doesn't end a career.

ESTRICH: That's sexual autonomy.

COULTER: It has ended careers!

ESTRICH: That doesn't end careers.

COULTER: No, I'm -- 

(CROSSTALK)

ESTRICH: I mean, look at President Clinton. He's in Harlem, laughing.

COULTER: Dan Crane...

ESTRICH: Some could be.

COULTER: What's his name, Belman (sic), Congressman Belman...

COLMES: It doesn't have to.

COULTER: Every -- every congressman I can think of...

COLMES: It didn't end Henry Hyde's career or...

ESTRICH: There are a lot of...

COULTER: But he didn't get caught...

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: We've had other...

COULTER: No, but the Republicans were out -- and to get back at Clinton were outed, you know, like 10, 20 years after the affair had taken place! Yes, people do bad things in their lives, but when it comes to light when the man is a member of Congress, it historically has ruined careers. And I don't think Gary Condit has a chance of reelection if Chandra does appear on this show tomorrow night.

COLMES: Well...

ESTRICH: See, that's his best shot right now is that what's keeping congressman quiet is they don't want to do what Ann is suggesting. They don't want to sit in judgment on the sexual...

COLMES: Because some of them...

ESTRICH: ... ethics of their colleagues.

COLMES: ... may be guilty of the very same things, both Republicans...

ESTRICH: Some of them?

COLMES: ... and Democrats. And that's why they're being quiet.

ESTRICH: Just a few! Yes. Democrats and Republicans...

COULTER: Well, then I think that's right, and I think...

ESTRICH: ... have much to hide.

COULTER: ... that it's the assumption of why they're being quiet, which is why I think it's rather embarrassing that they are being so quiet! I mean, are there any guys on Capitol Hill...

COLMES: But Dick Cheney -- you just saw what...

COULTER: ... who aren't having affairs?

COLMES: ... Dick Cheney told Tony Snow. He's not calling for -- he's being (UNINTELLIGIBLE) "We got to wait till we get" -- he's being very rational.

COULTER: No! He is just...

COLMES: He's saying, "Let's wait till we get"...

COULTER: ... explaining what's going on!

COLMES: ... "all the information."

COULTER: And I think his analysis is accurate.

COLMES: We could also find out -- information could come in, Susan, and we could find out that he had nothing to do with it, he wasn't involved.

ESTRICH: I'd still think he's a jerk.

COULTER: And the...

(CROSSTALK)

ESTRICH: I mean, I still think there's no way for this particular guy, and that's why I think he doesn't survive back in his district because this is not a hard...

COULTER: If I could also...

ESTRICH: ... point for people to get.

COULTER: ... say I think...

ESTRICH: The girl was missing, and he was lying. And that's the problem.

COULTER: Along with Cheney, I do highly approve of Condit and Clinton becoming the face of the Democratic Party.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTER: I think it's should be clear that the Democratic Party stands for adultery, abortion...

COLMES: Oh, Ann!

COULTER: ... lying...

ESTRICH: Oh!

COULTER: ... sexual harassment...

COLMES: There you go again!

ESTRICH: No!

COLMES: There you go again.

ESTRICH: There she goes!

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: ... up to the Democrats!

HANNITY: On that -- on that bipartisan note...

COULTER: Over to you, Susan!

HANNITY: ... we'll end this segment.

ESTRICH: Nice to see you, Ann.

HANNITY: Thank you, Susan. Good to see you.

COULTER: Bye, Susan!

HANNITY: We'll take a break.

And coming up tonight: Did firefighters die because of the Endangered Species Act? We'll tell you about a terrible story. We'll update a story from yesterday straight ahead.

And a little later: Would you take to the streets to protest tax hikes? It's happening in three states. You'll meet one man leading the effort straight ahead.

 

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