In an interview during Monday's episode of The Hugh Hewitt Show, Republican vice presidential nominee Indiana Gov. Mike Pence gave a preview of what he expects to see happen during tonight's presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Asked if he thought Clinton's use of a private email server would come up during the debate—particularly in light of the FBI's weekend "document dump" late Friday—Pence said he thought "that's all fair game at this or any future debate." The American people, he said, have a right to review her record and her conduct in public life, but he also expects the debate to be "about a whole bunch of issues."
"I think you're going to see in Donald Trump a candidate who's going to continue to focus on the issues that matter most to the American people—national security, economic growth and jobs, the Supreme Court of the United States," he said. "I'm just telling you what, I'm just counting the hours."
Pence, as a former member of Congress, had a security clearance, and as a governor, he's dealt with emergencies. Hewitt asked a couple more questions about Clinton's email server and how it may have compromised national security.
Here's what the governor said:
Well, there's no question that the fact that Hillary Clinton, while she was Secretary of State, had a private server, and actually trafficked in classified information on that server, represented an irresponsible act that placed classified and sensitive information about the United States of America potentially within reach of foreign governments and foreign powers. It's simply no question about that.
The fact that she did that, the reasons for doing that, and the fact that she then used high technology, this BleachBit program to attempt to erase and eradicate those, you know, I'm old enough to remember a president who erased 18 ½ minutes of audio tape and he was run out of Washington, D.C. And here, we have in Hillary Clinton someone who actually used high technology to attempt to erase nearly 18,000 emails.
As I said, that doesn't, that doesn't sound like politics. That sounds like obstruction. And these are all issues the American people ought to be willing to deal with and weigh in their decision ...
I think it just, all of it, the cumulative weight of it, and this story last week that we found out that the President himself had sent emails that had been, had gone to her private server. It just all continues to contribute to the conclusion by the majority of Americans that Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy. And I think all of that, all of that is going to bear upon the decision that we all make as a nation later this fall.
But I do think that at the end of the day, you know, the backdrop of her untrustworthiness, which you know, I continue to hear the pundits say that that's what she's going to try and take on tonight, the American people are still, Hugh, focused on the things that are impacting their families. You know, we began last week with terrorist attacks in New Jersey and New York and Minnesota. We ended the week with five Americans losing their lives in Washington State. We still don't know the motivation for that, but it was someone who was in this country under the law, but was an immigrant from Turkey.
I just think that focusing on security, focusing on economic growth, focusing on, as you do so well, focusing on the fact that the very balance of the Supreme Court and our core Constitutional liberties are literally on the ballot this year, I think are all issues that will come to the fore, and will continue to give great, great momentum behind the campaign of Donald Trump.
Hewitt asked for Pence's advice to Trump on how to deal with the potential of another Clinton coughing fit, should it happen, during tonight's debate. He said the Trump campaign has been praying for their opponent to regain her health.
"We'll, of course, do what we've all done, and that is continue to wish her well and you know, literally, we've prayed for her recovery," he said. "We're glad to see her back out on the campaign trail.
"But you know, all of these things, all these things, I think, in large measure, are not the issue in the debate tonight. The American people are really focused. They're focused on the issues that impact their future—having a president they can trust, having a president who has a vision for a stronger, more prosperous America.
"That's where you're going to see Donald Trump focused tonight, and I've got to tell you, I just think as people see this debate unfold, as they see these two people on the stage, it's going to become more and more clear that Donald Trump is the right choice at the right time to be the 45th president of the United States."
Later in the interview, Pence also noted he played a role in developing Trump's newly revised Supreme Court "short list." The former House Judiciary Committee member also said Trump asked him to provide counsel, should they be elected, when the time comes to nominate federal judges.
"I'm honored to be asked to play that role," he said. "Look, the list speaks for itself. I think the fact that Hugh Hewitt is enthusiastic about the list is a great endorsement. But look, this is a candidate in Donald Trump who is committed to appoint jurists to the Supreme Court and the rest of our federal courts that will uphold the Constitution.
"As you can see from that list, which members of the Federalist Society helped us to develop as well, and gave great input, as did other conservative thought leaders, that Donald Trump is going to keep his word, because this is a time, I think, where with the passing of Justice Scalia, literally the balance of the Court is on the ballot. And that, you know, there may be something altogether fitting about that, that the American people in this election are going to decide the direction of the Supreme Court not for the next four years, but likely for the next 40 years.
"They can rely on the fact, I can assure you, that when Donald Trump is president of the United States, we're going to appoint judges to every level of the court, including our highest court, that will uphold the Constitution."
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