This is a rush transcript from "Life, Liberty and Levin" June 10, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARK LEVIN, HOST: Hello, America. I'm Mark Levin, this is "Life, Liberty & Levin." We have two great guests. We have Congressman Ron DeSantis, how are you, sir?
REP. RON DESANTIS, R-FL.: How are you?
LEVIN: Congressman Lee Zeldin, how are you?
REP. LEE ZELDIN, R-NY: Great.
LEVIN: You both serve on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and I wanted you here to discuss North Korea and some of the other major events that are taking place in the world today, but I want America to know a little bit about you.
Ron DeSantis, you're running for governor in Florida in the Republican primary. You have been serving wonderfully in the U.S. House of Representatives for some period of time. You went to Yale University where you graduated with honors. Then you went to Harvard Law School, you covered both your bases there, you graduated with honors from Yale.
Also, you served in the Navy and you have active duty service. You supported operations, terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. You were deployed to Iraq as an adviser to the US Navy SEAL Commander in support of the SEAL mission in Felucca and Ramadi and the rest of unmarked provinces, and that was 2007 to 2008.
Lee Zeldin, you've represented New York's first congressional district, you were member of the state senate in New York before you became a Congressman, you graduated from State University of New York of Albany, SUNY as we like to call it.
ZELDIN: Or Harvard on the Hudson.
LEVIN: Harvard on the Hudson as you like to call it. Albany Law School, you went to. You were the youngest attorney at the time, 23 years old. You served active duty, military officer, prosecutor, military magistrate while assigned to the Army's Elite 82nd Airborne Division in December 2006.
You were also deployed to Iraq with an infantry battalion, fellow paratroopers in support of operation Iraqi freedom. You are exactly the two men I want to talk to tonight.
And let's start with you, Congressman DeSantis, North Korea. The President is about to have a summit in North Korea, he has moved considerable military assets off the peninsula of Korea. Several ships, submarines, and has put enormous pressure on Korea as well as economic pressure.
How do you think he's doing so far with respect to North Korea?
DESANTIS: I think it's been great. I mean, it kind of reminds me when Reagan came in. We had the Cold War, but throughout the '70s it was detente, all the smart people in Washington, thought communism is here to stay and Reagan is like "No, we win, they lose, that's my policy." So he started the bill, he upped the rhetoric. He was deploying missiles into Europe with some of our allies.
All the people in Washington thought the guy was nuts, this is crazy and look what ended up happening.
Eventually Gorbachev realized that he wasn't going to be able to beat the United States and that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the expiration of the Soviet Union.
Now North Korea isn't as big a problem as the Soviet Union was in the Cold War, but I think it's similar in the sense the last 25 years, everyone in Washington has basically had the same basic posture, "Oh, let's just hope it gets better, don't really do anything, just leave it be."
Obama for eight years did absolutely nothing but let it fester and then, he had the gall to tell President-elect Trump, "Hey, North Korea is going to be a big one, you better take care of it."
So, Trump comes in with really a record of failure, and he bucks a lot of the conventional wisdom in Washington. He's not captive to what people here think about him, and he's willing to chart new territory.
And I think that's what he's done. It's really been a full spectrum pressure campaign. Yes, you mentioned the military. The Treasury Department, what they're doing, the State Department, and his rhetoric upping the rhetoric and he has rattled North Korea, he has rattled Kim Jong Un, but it's still a very tough problem. We've got a long way to go, but I can tell you, we have a much better chance of getting an acceptable outcome because the President decided to take the bull by the horns and exercise leadership.
LEVIN: And yet, Congressman Zeldin, leading up to this point, he's come under enormous criticism from the Democrats, from the left, from some of the media about the way he's handle North Korea. Why is that?
ZELDIN: While his hand was on the Bible, the streets of Washington, D.C. were lined up with people holding up signs that said, "Impeach him now." We have colleagues in Congress, people across America who have pledge to oppose this President on everything and anything. They say you cannot work with the President, because we work with him, you are legitimizing his presidency.
They are delegitimizing themselves and they are disrespecting the oath that they took to represent their constituents and their country in doing so. And if they reflect on some of what they have said, there are people who -- when you see Nancy Pelosi, when she was making remarks after President Trump said that the summit was off, and she was celebrating it and mocking it as if this was a good thing for Kim Jong Un.
So, the President has opposition where he can do no right by, but fortunately the American people are standing with him, and we want him to be successful that includes by the way, there are people who didn't vote for Donald Trump who want him to be successful in North Korea and they are actually rooting for him. They want us to support him, and I really do hope that we are able to see peace on the Korean peninsula, that we are able to see a denuclearized North Korea.
Kim Jong Un who is known to be homicidal, not suicidal, I think has realized that Donald Trump is -- when Donald Trump tweeted out and said fire and fury. The fact is, if North Korea attacked the United States, they would be met with fire and fury and the military option became real and that's why a whole lot of other things became real as well.
LEVIN: Now as for Kim Jong Un, do we know much about him? You fellows sit on this very, very important committee. Do members of Congress know much about him?
ZELDIN: North Korea is, you could say, the toughest country on the globe to collect intel on. Kim Jong Un is one that, as I mentioned, he has proven to be homicidal, but he wants to stay in power, wants to stay alive, so that certainly is something that is, I think important to leverage in understanding that we can achieve our results by utilizing that and letting him know that maybe taking on his regime is a possibility if he doesn't, not only stop the bad behavior, but also engage in the denuclearization to that next level.
I think as far as the country goes, what's very different than Iran, Iran you had millions of Iranians that will take the streets, they want to overthrow the government. North Korea, a lot of people, they don't believe their problems are because of Kim Jong Un, but it's in spite of his best efforts in pursuing a better path for the North Koreans, so I think he has more support from his people.
And I also believe that economically though that the sanctions that were ramped up in 2017, we had unanimous vote, thankfully we were able even to get China, even Russia voted for effectively coming off over one-third of North Korean exports in August of 2017.
I think economically, they need this. They need the summit, they need this agreement more than I think a lot of Americans and people around the world even realize, and that's a good thing for getting the results we're looking for.
LEVIN: Congressman DeSantis, do you really think that Kim Jong Un, the third generation of the Stalinist regime is prepared to completely denuclearize North Korea? Do you think there's a way, if he says he will, to really ensure that he does?
I mean we've had the agreements with North Korea over the last, well, since his grandfather, but really in the last 30 years or so, going back to Reagan and every other President, I remember the days when South Korea actually had 100 nuclear warheads, ours, we removed them because under George Bush 41, North Korea said, "Okay, you denuclearize and we will not build nukes."
Well, now we have and they have nukes and South Korea doesn't. So, I know they can't be trusted, but is there really any way to make sure they follow through?
DESANTIS: I know that from the President, the Secretary of State, the National Security Adviser, they all are very mindful of the history that you sketched out. They are not interested in repeating some of the dog and pony shows that we've seen in the past and it will need to be up-front verification of denuclearization, if they want any type of economic -- it's kind of like what we wanted with the inverse of the Iran deal.
I mean, the Iran deal was, give them $150 billion up-front, airlift them in $1.7 billion in cash and then hope they follow through with their promises about their nuclear program. Of course, we don't have the ability to check their military site, so that is not what you want to do, and if that is what they end up going down the road, that will be a mistake.
But I think the question I think that Kim -- he does want to stay in power, but how does he perceive what he needs to do to stay in power? I'm not sure he's as rational in that frame of the analysis, I think in terms of his ideology, it's remain in power.
One of the problems we are going to face is Gaddafi was worried that having a nuclear program made his regime less stable because they saw that the United States was serious about weapons of mass destruction, so he gave up his program.
Obama comes in -- six, seven years later and helps take the guy out. So that sends a signal to people like Kim Jong Un, "Well, gee, why would I want to do a deal with the United States, if they're going to end up just pulling the rug out from under me later?" And that's why Trump has said, "Look, we will do protection because I think Obama's policy there really did damage to our denuclearization efforts not just with North Korea but for other countries."
LEVIN: Congressman Zeldin, it's still a genocidal police state, they have got these gulags with tens of thousands of people in them. They execute people willy-nilly, people are starving to death there. Is that a country we want to protect?
In other words, if the deal is, "Look, we'll take out our nukes, but help feed us, help support us and make sure you don't think about removing this regime." Is that a deal we want to make?
ZELDIN: I think everything needs to be on the table, learning lessons from our negotiation with Iran and as Ron was just pointing out with regards to the verification regime; with regards to the Iran deal being failing flood for what's in it. Also, it was failing flood for what wasn't in it and we didn't deal with all of Iran's other bad, nefarious, illegal terrorist activities.
North Korea, in learning the lessons on the verification front, Barack Obama said, "This deal is not built on trust, it's built on verification," referring to Iran. The verification regime was outlined in a secret side deal between the IAEA and Iran that even Secretary Kerry when he came to testify before us, admitted that he still hadn't read then.
But we did learn that they collect some of their own soil samples, they inspect some of their nuclear sites. Now, the leverage that brought the Iranians to the table to leverage that is bringing to the North Koreans to the table is that they want money, they want to be able to do business with their neighbors and others around the world.
We need to not only be talking to the North Koreans about that pursuit of a denuclearized, peaceful Korea. We have to be talking about all the other bad activities that North Korea engages in.
We should be talking about cyber warfare that the North Koreans are engaged in. The list goes on, and I think it would be a mistake for us not to have that dialogue now when it's possible that a year or two, when we want to deal with some of these other issues, maybe the leverage isn't there and the North Koreans aren't at the table.
LEVIN: China -- China is not going to sit there and just watch all this. China is invested in North Korea. China is invested in the nuclear program. They wouldn't even have a nuclear program, but for China and despite the sanctions, China still cheats. We've seen the satellite pictures with the oil freighters on the high seas and so forth.
What's China's deal here? What do they want to get out of this?
DESANTIS: I think our interests and China's interests are not aligned in this respect. China is making a play for dominance in the Pacific. I mean, we see what they're doing in the South China Sea. Obviously, we've seen what they've been doing with intellectual property theft, with cyber attacks.
I mean, it's interesting, the media here is so concerned about the Russia hacking of a Democrat Party e-mail. China hacked millions of our personnel files for Federal employees including people involved with national security. That's a massive cyber attack and yet it was a one-day story because it didn't fit the media's narrative.
So, China is not somebody -- I mean, they are our competitor at best and it's somebody that we're going to continue to have to deal with. Now, Trump instinctively is tough on China. I mean, he's been tough on China rhetorically for decades now, so what I want to see is we have this issue with the ZTE phone company. There's kind of some of these side negotiations going on. How does that play into the overall North Korea situation, and it very well may be that some of those negotiations are kind of a prelude to getting China to be a little more productive than how they've been with North Korea.
LEVIN: Does North Korea answer to China?
ZELDIN: I think so. I can't think of any option that deals with the North Korean issue that doesn't involve China. If we came up with top 14 different ways, different plans of how tackle this situation with North Korea involves China, and I believe that China's influence is helpful in getting the North Koreans to the table to engage in better behavior, to possibly enter into a deal where they're denuclearizing themselves.
I think for the North Koreans, that is one that can potentially be a good thing in reverse while China might be, they have their own selfish goals. We have ours, South Korea has theirs, Japan has theirs.
For the North Koreans to know that they have a neighbor that wants to do business with them and they can smell, they could see the prosperity that has been so elusive for them, that relationship, if leveraged the right way is actually a good thing, and if it's ignored, actually, I don't think there's any way that we're going to achieve the results we're looking for.
One other thing that I would point out is that the President -- and he has good people around him. Mike Pompeo is the Secretary of State, and John Bolton, now as the National Security Adviser, President Trump is not going to get played, and I think that it's important up-front to make sure that the North Koreans are willing to get the results we're looking for.
LEVIN: We're going to expand on this in a minute. Don't forget to check us out on LevinTV, go to crtv.com, crtv.com. You can check us out every week night where I do LevinTV or give us a call at 844-LEVIN TV. We'll be right back.
Welcome back. Congressman DeSantis, what does China want to get out of this? I mean, I go back and forth. Do they really want the peninsula denuclearized? Maybe? Because maybe they think the young fellow is a little out of control and they can't control him completely, and maybe it creates problems for their geopolitical agenda?
On the other hand, I look at China, they're enormously aggressive. They're aggressive geopolitically, economically, militarily with the phony islands that they've built. They have now militarized. They threaten the Philippines, they've threatened Japan, they obviously are always threatening Taiwan. They even threatened Vietnam. Vietnam is looking to us for some help.
You look at cyber warfare. They're stealing us blind on our technology through a multiple of methodologies that they're using and so forth. They are making alliances with our enemies like Iran. They have a very tight alliance now with Russia. So, what does China want to get out of our discussions with North Korea, do you think?
DESANTIS: Well, look, North Korea in many ways provides a buffer for them against US influence, against Japanese influence. I mean, North Korea and that regime particularly a nuclearized North Korea is not as good for kind of the good guys in the region.
It's not as good for the United States, it's not as good for South Korea, not as good for Japan. Our whole -- all of our allies in the Pacific do not want to see a nuclearized North Korea.
So, in that respect, it ain't the best thing in the world, but I think China understands the nature of the regime, but at the same time, it's not clear to me that a denuclearized Korean peninsula is necessarily something that China views is in its best interest if it is hell-bent, which I think it is, on really expanding its power throughout the region.
LEVIN: Congressman Zeldin, what do you say to people who say, "Well, yes, they can give up their nukes in North Korea because they have this relationship with China that has nukes, and China will just expand its umbrella to cover North Korea?"
ZELDIN: The North Koreans have a path here that not only will they be safer economically, but they will also be safer with their national security and what they view as existential threats to their nation.
I think that that could be part of North Korea's calculation in deciding to denuclearize is understanding that there are people around them in this new path forward for their nation that they will be safer, they'll be more secure.
I think that they've also -- here in our country and we've heard Secretary Mattis say that our national debt is a national security concern.
I think in North Korea, their economic problems, at this point, they're viewing that too as a national security concern. Yes, you have developed more nuclear capability than you used to have, but what do you have to show for it? What are you going to do with it that is non-nuclear, that's peaceful, that's going to lead to prosperity?
So, I think that there is not just -- and it goes hand in hand, I think that there's a path forward for North Korea where they're safer economically, they're safer with regards to what they might view as existential threats to the physical security of their country, too.
LEVIN: But in a way, I can't imagine China wants us to have a relatively - - I won't say close relationship, quasi working relationship with North Korea because it really doesn't serve China's purpose because they are right there on China's border, China is expanding.
China is trying to influence our alliances, and so that's why I don't trust China. Am I wrong about that?
ZELDIN: I think that China has an important role to play in helping rebuild North Korea because very consistent with President Trump's approach to foreign policy is that we have a goal of negotiating concessions as it relates to a nuclear program and bringing the Korean peninsula together, but President Trump isn't looking to sit down at that table and all of a sudden assume all of the huge infrastructure costs and what it is going to take to rebuild their nation that's been devastated.
LEVIN: So, let's about South Korea and Japan kicking in money to help?
ZELDIN: I think it's certainly important for more nations in that region to be taking a leadership role. We see it in other challenges that we face. The Middle East and elsewhere, where nations in that region of the country taking on a leadership role and rebuilding their region and working with their neighbors and not making it the United States' responsibility to fix it for them.
LEVIN: Congressman DeSantis, this isn't a piece in our time moment, is it? Where they say, "Okay, we'll denuclearize. We want tens of billions of dollars. We don't care where it comes from." It comes from American allies, America, China, whatever it is?
DESANTIS: No, I mean, I think President Trump is not interested in the same old charades that we've seen time and time again for years with North Korea and obviously, in other instances, and so, if there's going to be an agreement, it's going to be -- they're going to have to do this first and we're going to have to be able to verify it, and that's just the ball game, and if Kim -- look, if Kim is understanding that all this pressure is bringing bear to him because of this program that he's clinging to, perhaps that may be a reason for him to say, "You know what? I may actually solidify myself in power if I can do this," but it's not going to be where we're giving them money and hoping that they follow through. That is just totally off the table.
LEVIN: Let me ask you about this, I am a little confused by something. On the one hand, China is stealing our technology to build up its economy, and certainly the military. They have committed acts of cyber warfare against us, they are developing weapons that have as their purpose to attack us or to neutralize our most sophisticated weapons.
They've been very aggressive geopolitically including in the South China Sea and in the East China Sea. In other ways, they have been very, very provocative, and yet, on the other hand, we rely on them to help us with North Korea.
In the end, who wins out here? China?
ZELDIN: I think that China will, I think everybody ends up winning out if we're successful here. I mean, North Korea will be stronger. South Korea will be stronger. Japan, China and the United States, that's one of the great things about this entire conversation and all the prospects that are possible right now. Nothing is certain.
And I think that for China specifically, it's a complex situation, but we haven't really stood up for ourselves as a nation in pushing back on all of the complexities of that relationship. So President Trump wants to -- he is showing an ability to look multi-dimensionally at the relationship with China.
We understand that there isn't a good option that doesn't involve China, so we are working with them on North Korea, but at the same time, we're trying to fix a trade imbalance. We're pushing back on patent infringement and other ways the products may be coming to market where ideas are being stolen from great American entrepreneurs and companies.
So, we have a challenge of having to look at this multi-dimensionally, but the President is showing that he is up to it, and I think China will respect us more for it.
I think these nations like China and North Korea and Iran and elsewhere, they respect us when we are being strong, and when we are weak, they're watching us being weak to other nations, they smell on it and they prey upon it.
LEVIN: We'll be right back.
LEVIN: Congressmen, you've both have mentioned Iran, I mean, that hangs over us like a dark cloud. And really, it's an example of what not to do, right? So, let's talk about this briefly.
We had this Iran deal, it skirted the treaty provision of the United States Senate, and one of the reasons we have this treaty provision of the United States Senate is so you can't skirt Congress and so-called side deals have to be made available, and Hamilton said that, "You know, we want the full body politic involved in the treaty," and so we get into these debates what's a deal, what's a treaty?
We know this, if it involves nuclear weapons and ICBMS and billions of dollars, that involves a treaty. That's not a deal. There's been some information released in the past week that indicates that some of the testimony that was given by the Obama administration officials was flat-out dishonest about money moving from Iran through our banks. Can you explain that a little bit and tell us why this is a big deal?
ZELDIN: There was a statement and a position made by the Obama administration that they would not allow Iran access to our financial markets and before, during and after the negotiations on so many different aspects of the negotiation and the JCPOA, the Obama administration was dishonest, as you mentioned as part of your comment about the treaty.
Secretary Kerry when he came to testify in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, when he was in front of us last Congress, he saying that the reason why they didn't present it to the Congress as a treaty is it wouldn't have passed. That's your legal definition? Is you wouldn't have gotten it passed?
They said that you know, that sanctions relief was going to be phased in over time based on compliance. The Iranians say sanctions relief is immediate, no suspension. We said we would get access to the military sites, while Iran was saying it, in no uncertain terms, you will not access our military sites, they said it before, during and after the negotiation.
As far as the -- and they also said there wasn't a ransom when we had to pay money on pallets of cash at the same moment as releasing our American hostages and one more is when they embarrassed our 10 navy sailors, Secretary Kerry's words in response were, "Thank you." Not even pushing back and giving them a hard time for it, and actually used it as an example of how this is proving that we have better relations the way they released our sailors.
So, what we've learned over the course of the week that once again they were dishonest in a new aspect and that we did allow them to have access to the dollar, to our markets and once again, we have more evidence that the American public were being fed lies. It was being orchestrated at the White House.
They had a White House-taxpayer-funded fiction writer, this guy, Ben Rhodes. I mean, he is at the White House using these different levers of the media and the American public to pull the wool over our eyes and try to get us to think that this was a good deal, and they were, as we're learning once more, they just weren't telling the truth in too many aspects.
LEVIN: Congressman, this latest disclosure, basically they were trying to launder their currency which is worthless through our banks to get exchange for American dollars and apparently the Obama administration was pressuring some of our banks which were resisting because they said, "Well, in the deal, it says we're not supposed to do this sort of thing," and same with some of the European banks, and as Congressman Zeldin says, there were constant representations that, "No, we weren't going to do this sort of thing," they did do this sort of thing. What's are the consequences for this? They just lie and then they get away with it? And off they go. They go on TV trashing the Trump administration for everything?
DESANTIS: Wow, the Iran deal, talk about the plunder and deceit. I mean, really, I mean, massive amounts of money going there and it was built on a pack of lies. I mean, there's just no doubt about it. What can we do going forward? Well, one thing we did do in 2016, is we elected a new President who pledged that he was going to get rid of the Iran deal and President Trump has followed through on that.
The people who complained about, "Oh, he violated the terms of the deal." It was never ratified as a treaty, as you say, heck, it wasn't even in statute. They literally didn't even get a majority of Congress for anything in that deal, it was an agreement effectively between Barack Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei and that means that a new President can come in and they can change the policy as they see fit.
So, it was totally constitutional and lawful for Trump to do what he did. And so, I think that's been a big part of it, but more and more has been exposed. I mean, Netanyahu with the Israeli intelligence heist that they did. One of the reasons we are so concerned about the side deals initially when we were debating this in 2015 is because if you don't know what their previous military dimensions were of their nuclear program, it's awfully hard to judge what they're doing going forward.
They did not produce those agreements between Iran and the IAEA which was in violation of the Corker-Cardin, which was a dumb law, but still, it required that. They didn't even do that. And now, we know there was a good reason why they didn't do that because there was a robust nuclear pursuit leading up to this deal.
So, I think the President did the right thing. They are just going to be incumbent for Congress, shut off the money to the Ayatollahs and the IRGC. If you're shutting off the money and you're working to open social networks in the Iranian society, that society does not really want to be governed by totalitarian Islamists.
I mean, they are much more western looking. Middle class, they had for decades. So, I think the more we can connect people and expand social networks there, I do think that this regime's days are numbered, and the more success we have in choking off the money and opening up the networks means their demise will be met quicker.
LEVIN: It looks like the economic sanctions are working, they were working before Obama stepped. In looks like they're working now. I want to ask you, fellows, this question when we come back. The Democrats put out a list of demands that they expect to be met in the negotiations such as they are with the North Koreans.
I don't remember them putting out a list of demands for Barack Obama when it comes to Iran. So, we know they're hypocrites. We know what they're up to, unfortunately in a major issue like this dealing with nukes. My question is, if the President comes up with a deal and it's a significant deal, and it involves nukes and it involves the United States making some concessions and so forth, will we demand that it be treated as a treaty?
I mean, I assume it will depend what it is because now it's just theoretical. And should we? And should we allow both political parties to take a position on this so the American people know and shouldn't every aspect of it be vetted so the American people should know, even if it's a hostile press and a hostile Democratic Party no matter what he does.
When we return, I'd like you to answer that question. Remember, every week night, you can watch LevinTV, you can watch me every week night, just go to crtv.com, crtv.com or call 844-LEVIN-TV. We'll get you all signed up and ready to go. We'll be right back.
I'm here with Congressman Lee Zeldin and Congressman Ron DeSantis, candidate for governor, candidate for the election to the House of Representatives. Let me start with you, Congressman Zeldin. So, my question was, okay, we get this deal. Depending on what the deal is, if it's a significant deal that involves significant actions by the United States, it could well be a treaty. You have a problem with that?
ZELDIN: No. I would like to see what it is. I believe that the Iran deal should have been submitted as a treaty, that we're on track to, if this is negotiated, it would be a treaty. Now, learning our lessons from Iran, we should ask for a signature. We didn't even ask the Iranians to sign the JCPOA, but more than just presenting a signature, you present it to Congress and I would be shocked. It doesn't that we would have a unanimous vote, but the idea that these congressional Democrats, that enough of them are so much against this President, that they're willing to take this down, and the consequences of what that means to American national security with our service members who are deployed in a harm's way, the consequence of that region for our economy, present the treaty on its merits, let it be debated, let it be vetted and let it be passed.
LEVIN: You agree?
DESANTIS: I think it just depends if it's obligating us to do something to change our laws, to have commitments vis-a-vis other countries, then that's something that should be submitted to the United States Senate for ratification as a treaty.
And the thing is, it does make it harder to get it across the finish line, but if you actually get it across the finish line, it's going stick, and it's going to be difficult to repeal that at that point, so it's actually much more -- the founders understood that was the way to do it, and I think, had Obama tried that on, the deal was so bad it would have been ratified, maybe it would have actually forced them to stop giving so many dog gone concessions because they'd have an eye on eventually getting the Senate to ratify it, so I don't think Trump is going to want to submit anything to the Senate that he is not proud of.
And so I think he's going to drive a real hard bargain.
LEVIN: You agree?
ZELDIN: Yes, absolutely. I think if we were vetting out the Iran deal as a treaty, then our questions about the verification regime would have gone answered. But they, through August recess, if you remember at 2015 as that was going through the process, they racked up enough votes in the Senate to ensure that you would be able to survive the Iran nuclear agreement review act, that Corker-Cardin bill.
Once they got through with enough votes in that August recess, the accountability stopped. The transparency stopped, the answering of questions that we needed answers to. That's why you had to rely on the AP to tell us that Iran is collecting its own soil samples.
We, as members of Congress are being told that this deal is not built on trust, it's built on verification, and not only are you not going to tell us what a verification regime is, you don't know yourself?
John Kerry as the Secretary of State said to our Committee that he hadn't read the side deals between the IAEA and Iran?
If the Trump administration and anyone who has to go to committee of jurisdiction and it involves the Treasury Department, it involves the Energy Department, this is more than just the State Department.
If they know that they had to come testify before Congress and answer the questions to ensure that this passes, then through the process, as Ron just said, they will be working towards ensuring that we have not just the right agreement, but also the answers to those questions so they're not embarrassing themselves and they're not tanking their own deal.
LEVIN: And don't the American people have a right to know what's in the deals too? You know, our representatives need to know. I mean, you're funding some of these things, or whatever, but isn't that the whole point of the treaty provision. The whole body politic has a right to know, our representatives have a right to know. The Senate, you need a super majority to pass it.
What they did on the Iran deal is they flipped it on its head. The Corker- Cardin deal was that you needed a super majority in Congress to stop the Obama deal, and as it turns out, you didn't even know what you were voting on because you didn't get all the information on the side deals and this information that comes out today where, they were absolutely deceiving Congress, which is, they were pressing banks in America and overseas to basically launder that Iranian currency to help the Iranian economy, even though they told you guys they weren't going to do that.
DESANTIS: The founders, from them watching down on the Iran debate, they were all rolling over in their graves. That is exactly what they didn't want in terms of how to conduct American foreign policy. And not just in terms of the substance of it, obviously, that would have been problematic to them.
But just the accountability factor and what it is, it is actually something that can truly be said to represent the will of the American people, and the fact is the Iran deal did not represent the will of the American people. All they need to do in the Senate was get 41 votes to filibuster the resolution of disapproval. I mean, how nuts is that? So it was absolutely not the right way to go, and yes, for North Korea, the American people have a right to know what the country is committing to and what that requires of our nation.
LEVIN: We'll be right back.
Congressmen DeSantis and Zeldin, you both had a big role in pressing this government, even before Trump was elected, to follow what Congress said should be done, which is move the Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The President campaigns on it, he actually does it, then he's attacked for, it even though Congress -- it's the law, even though he did it.
You were in Israel. What did you see in Israel when you there were when the embassy was opened in Jerusalem?
DESANTIS: Well, it was an act of a friendly nation paying respects to an ally. It's their capital. It's been their capital for thousands of years, going back to Biblical times and so the President doing that fulfilled, as you said, longstanding US Law, I think it has implications beyond Israel because it showed leadership where other Presidents have not been willing to lead and take the heat and I think you will see beneficial aspects of our foreign policy beyond those borders, and so I think when you're leading with purpose and conviction, good things happen, hey, let's recognize the Golan Heights, Israeli sovereignty there, we're on a roll, get this done, absolutely.
LEVIN: So, he recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He moves the embassy like you said he would, he kills the Iran deal which is a disastrous deal, like he said he would, and the left is attacking him for not only doing what he said, but many of them actually voted to move the embassy, Schumer and others, and when it comes to the Iran deal, the left doesn't even know exactly what's in the Iran deal, but they back it regardless. What do you make of what the President did?
ZELDIN: He is not only fulfilling his own campaign promises, but the campaign promises of Presidents in the past, and most importantly it is just the right thing to do, because as Ron just said, it is Israel's capital. And we are standing strong shoulder to shoulder with our nation's, if not our nation's greatest allies, you have a beacon of freedom and democracy in a very dark region of world and we are standing with them.
And leadership showed the next day with Guatemala moving their embassy and Paraguay and now, other countries are talking about moving their embassies, so the President did the right thing and what the American people may not realize is that the streets were lined up with signs that were pro-USA, pro-Trump, five-story tall signs on the side of buildings, pro-USA and pro- Trump.
LEVIN: They love Trump in Israel, don't they?
ZELDIN: There were thousands upon thousands, you were there, we all saw this firsthand. Thousands upon thousands of kids, grade school kids holding Israeli flags and American flags and they were cheering, they were clapping and they were chanting, it was all good and that once again, we are treating Israel like Israel, Iran like Iran.
LEVIN: What message do you think North Korea took out of this?
ZELDIN: That there's a new sheriff in town. That Barack Obama is not the President of the United States and President Trump is not only willing to stand up to adversaries and treat them as adversaries and be strong, but also build stronger relationships with friends when you acting like a good world citizen, when you are working with us, we'll work with you, and it will be better for both countries.
LEVIN: What do you think North Korea saw?
DESANTIS: They saw a strong President. We had a weak President for eight years, and even the other Presidents before him, they all made the same commitment before Obama, they didn't follow through on it. This President did that and as you said, he cancels the Iran deal. That is a sign of strength, and especially in that region and in rogue regimes, the strong horse is who they respect. The President is a strong horse.
LEVIN: We'll be right back. Final question, the North Korean Summit with the President. Successful or not?
DESANTIS: Donald Trump wrote "The Art of the Deal." Kim Jong Un, if he wasn't descended from that lineage, he'd probably be in somebody's basement eating Cheetos and playing video games, so I like our President's chances here. I don't think Kim Jong Un -- I think he has met his match here and I think the President will have a successful summit, or if it is not in the cards, he is going to tell Kim-Jong un to go pound sand.
ZELDIN: Yes, I agree completely. If the stars are aligned for a great summit, I believe that Kim-Jong un needs to make these concessions and I really do have faith that we are prepared for it. We are going in any way where all the work was done in advance, that we are not going to get rolled at that table the same way that Barack Obama got rolled with Iran.
LEVIN: I agree with you both because this President is quite wily when it comes to negotiations, and he's got a great team now with Pompeo and Bolton and others.
So, I think it will work out well. We still need to see what comes out of this because he won't be President forever. You are going to try and figure out how -- whatever it is you are doing, how you enforce it on future Presidents who might be of the left so, I agree with you.
It's been a great pleasure having both of you. Thank you for your service to your country before you were in Congress. Thank you for your service now. Good luck on your reelection. Good luck on your race for governor.
And I will see you next time on "Life, Liberty, & Levin."
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