This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 28, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: So on Tuesday, a Texas judge denied a second request by former Texas Governor Rick Perry to dismiss the felony indictment against him. Now, this lawsuit stems from Perry's decision to cut off $7.5 million of state funding to Travis County DA Rosemary Lemberg's office after she refused to resign following her DUI arrest and conviction in 2013.
Here now in a ''Hannity'' exclusive is former Texas governor Rick Perry. Governor, good to see you.
RICK PERRY, R-FMR. TEXAS GOV., FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be with you, Sean. Thank you.
HANNITY: All right, look, you're headed to South Carolina, Pennsylvania after you've been in Iowa. And you're going to Iowa a lot. Clearly, you're thinking about a run for the presidency. You haven't announced yet. You got this felony indictment hanging over your head, a second chance to dismiss this denied. Where do you stand with this?
PERRY: Well, I think everything's pretty much going as expected. I mean, I think the judge is being cautious. And you know, what I tell people is I wear this as a badge of honor, standing up for the rule of law and the Constitution.
Every elected executive, whether you're a governor or whatever, if you're an executive branch of your government and some outside group, politically motivated, can come in and file a complaint, and you know, they take it to a-- in my case, one of the most liberal courts in the state, and are able to return an indictment against a sitting governor for doing what is in my constitutional duty-- I mean, clearly, the Constitution is on our side. Clearly, the statutes are on our side. And at the end of the day, we will be well served. And I'm going to stand up for the people of this country and for the rule of law.
HANNITY: What about-- the judge that made the ruling yesterday was a Republican and said that Texas law clearly precludes the trial court from making a pretrial determination regarding the constitutionality of a state penal or criminal procedural statute as the statute applies to the particular defendant.
Where does it go from here? Because now you have an appeals process in terms of this ruling, right, that you can now go to a--
PERRY: Yeah. We immediately appealed. And actually, the judge has allowed-- both of the counts that he talked about, he found errors with them. So he may be able to address this himself. If not, there's an immediate appeal process to the third court of appeals. I'm very confident not only I got a great legal team, but we're the right side of this.
And again, this goes back to a district attorney who actually has oversight of all statewide elected officials in the state of Texas who-- she was almost three times the legal limit drunk driving. And then the way she treated law enforcement-- I mean, literally-- talking about spitting in people's face, she had to have a spit mask put on her because she was abusing the law enforcement individuals who were booking her into jail.
When I saw that video, I did what I think practically any executive would do, where we had 7.5 million state tax dollars going to the office that she oversaw, and I told them clearly that I had lost all confidence that those dollars would be spent appropriately. I think the people even of Travis County had lost confidence on her. And I didn't send the money. I vetoed it, just like I've done in hundreds of other cases where I didn't agree with where the money was going. That's the way the process works, Sean.
HANNITY: Explain how Travis County-- they have a history of these types of political suits. In other words, you're not the only person that has had to-- as a conservative, that has had to deal with Travis County. Explain the history.
PERRY: Yeah, the Public Integrity Unit was created back, I think in the '80s, if my memory serves me correct, to oversee the statewide elected officials, and what have you. As early as the early 1990s, Kay Hutchison, Senator Hutchison was dragged before the district attorney's office here and drug through the mud. Then we saw Tom Delay, whose career was ended, who spent no telling how many--
HANNITY: And exonerated.
PERRY: --millions of dollars defending hisself, and exonerated in the end, after nine years of being pulled through this. So this is a tactic we've seen out of this district attorney's office for multiple times.
And I'm going to stand up to them. I'm going to stand up not only against what I consider to be an abuse from that particular organization, but also stand up for the people of the state of Texas. I mean, the idea that this can happen, that the process of a governor not being able to veto anything they want for any reason-- you have to stand for election. That's the way the processes work, not to let this thing be--
HANNITY: All right--
PERRY: --persecuted (sic) through a prosecution.
HANNITY: Where are you in terms of making the decision whether or not you're going to run for president? You're going to some very obvious states. You're obviously considering it. You've told me you're considering it. Where are you in that process of deciding?
PERRY: Well, we're continuing to travel. We're continuing to put a great team together. We got a lot of volunteers. We were in South Carolina last night, just fabulous crowds out there. And people are really excited about the process. And so we're going to continue traveling. We're going to continue judging the support that's out there. And by the looks of it right now, we're on track to be able to make an announcement, probably May or June timetable would be my guess.
HANNITY: All right, when you go back to the last-- the last primary that we had, you had one bad debate. It became a big issue. There's a story behind that. You really haven't talked a whole lot about it. Tell us what happened.
PERRY: Well, obviously, I was late getting in the process. I had pushed back and had major back surgery six weeks before I'd announced. I knew I had to have that done. And frankly, I'm very open to people about, I didn't do the preparation work prior to 2011 that I should have done.
And I started in late 2012 with a very intensive program of both domestic policy, of foreign policy, of our monetary policy. So when I stand on the stage and debate this next time, you're going to see a person who is very, very well prepared and able to talk across the board about the issues that the president of the United States is going to have to deal with as we go into 2017.
HANNITY: I was with you at the border. That was the meeting that the president should have been at. And I sat through a briefing with you. And we went out there, and we looked at the border in a helicopter. We were out on a boat together, and I got a pretty good feel of how bad things were at the Rio Grande.
What do you think the Republicans should do? They passed the ''cromnibus'' bill. It took away some of the spending authority. And then they said, All right, well, we're going to deal with this in February. Now they're running into an obstacle because they got to fund the Department of Homeland Security, but they still want to defund the president's executive action on immigration. How would you advise them to thread that needle?
PERRY: Well, Michael McCaul, who is probably one of the most knowledgeable people about border security-- he's from Texas. He knows this very, very well. He's the chairman of the committee. I would follow Michael's lead. Put the boots on the ground, the aviation assets. We need to fly drones up and down that border 24/7, with fast response teams to be able to address these individuals.
We know how to secure the border. When you look at what we did down there, we had over 10,000 apprehensions a week in May and June of 2014 when we surged our law enforcement, when we put our Parks and Wildlife, and then after I realized the president was not going to be of assistance at all, we then deployed our National Guard.
In November, from July to November, we saw a 74 percent decrease in the number of apprehensions in that southern region, which is where the bulk of the apprehensions are occurring. So there is a blueprint on how to secure that border. I think Michael McCaul's got the answer to it. Fund it. Get them down there. Secure that border. Then the American people will trust Congress to deal with this immigration issue at that particular point in time. But if they don't secure the border first, Americans are never going to trust Congress to deal with this.
HANNITY: All right, Governor, good to see you. Thank you. Look forward to seeing you out on the campaign trail.
PERRY: Thank you, Sean.
HANNITY: I suspect I'm going to see you there, so thanks for being with us.
PERRY: Yes, sir. So long.
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