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KPBS Midday Edition

Issa On His Race For Congress, Refugees, Climate Change

Darrell Issa at KPBS, Oct. 12, 2016.
Brooke Ruth
Darrell Issa at KPBS, Oct. 12, 2016.

Issa Discusses His Race For Congress On Midday Edition
Issa Discusses His Race For CongressGUESTS:Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista

The 49th Congressional District in North County is a competitive race. We will hear from Congressman Darrell Issa and Doug Applegate. This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh . It's Wednesday, October 12. Our top story, before last June's primary no one expected the 49th Congressional District in North County to be in play this year. Republican Congressman Darrell is a has represented the district for 16 years and has won reelection. His high-profile investigations and support for Donald Trump seem to have created a viable challenger in first time politician, democrat Doug Applegate. I spoke with Congressman Issa and retired Colonel Doug Applegate about the race. First, Darrell Issa. After the videotape that we are familiar with and which Donald Trump makes vulgar and predatory comments toward women, will you still vote for him? I will not vote for Hillary Clinton. I've read the classified leaks that she was responsible for. I'm in a conundrum. I was very clearly with Marco Rubio, I campaigned for him for five months in nine different primary states. He was my candidate. The system did not give us Marco Rubio in the system on the other side gave us Hillary Clinton. I do not respect her honesty sufficient enough to vote for her. There are only two people, realistically. Do you still want to see Donald Trump as president? I want to see Mike Pence as vice President and Rudi Giuliani as Secretary of State. Chris Christie as Attorney General. I want to see a reform team. That's what we do as voters, we think we pick a president, we really pick a team. Even in Congress, you pick the individual based on the touristic -- characteristics, you are also choosing power or divided government. Voters have been picking disproportionately divided government, almost every time they get completely united government they generally rethink it. If you feel so strongly about not coming out and saying I'm voting for Donald Trump. I said I want to see Mike Pence. I will vote for that ticket. Until last year, you chart the house committee on Government oversight and Reform, you launched a series of investigations into the Obama administration. If you Google is an investigation you get phrases like never ending, wasteful, witchhunt. It is amazing how liberal papers can get their Google searches to the top. If you look back -- I hear your question, I'm giving you an answer. When you do a Google search and you talk about that, let's see how many of those are progressive groups that didn't like it. If you look at mineral management service and to go back you will find out in the Bush administration, Mike Pence subcommittee was investigating a failed organization. Why question to you is, if you, looking back would you do anything different about this investigations? Yes. I would do more. I did over 2000 investigations. Many ended with a letter that went out an answer or question. And included the IRS, where the Inspector General was working hand-in-hand doing his investigation and covered great deal. The fact is, for a decade under two administrations, I was at the center of thoughts of investigations. You need to understand when President Bush was in office and we were investigating the mineral management service, we kept investigating. When we published our subcommittee report, it said mineral management service is dysfunctional. It cannot do its three jobs. Those three jobs were collect money, right contacts and ensure safety of federal lands. Mineral management service doesn't exist anymore, because the Bush administration didn't pay any attention to it even though our report was scathing and our hearings were scaling. There were many scandals, if you will. When the Gulf of Mexico filled with all -- oil after the "Deepwater Horizon" blew up only hours after it was given a clean bill of health, minimum -- mineral management service was needed to be gotten rid of. They did not hold the private sector responsible to be safe. What I do less investigations, no. A major issue in the 49th district is what's to be done about the nuclear waste at the former senator no free -- San Onofre power plant. We need to have the government keep its promise, under Harry Reid and this administration they killed Yucca, they tore up the agreement. The potential site -- No. It was a site selected and billions spent on preparing it. They decided to see the science would never be good enough. I'm a San Diego, I drive past San Onofre every day. I know that San Onofre, sitting on the edge of the ocean is not the right place to have the left over materials for 10 years or 10,000, which is how long it would have to sit. Was Yucca better than San Onofre and it was. We have interim storage sites including one in Texas, that are asking to be allowed to accept them. We have willing taker, we are clearly a willing sender, we need to get through the red tape and have an interim site. If you win reelection and Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, how will you work with the president that you have call the criminal? I said she has done criminal acts and she has. The reality is, if she's elected she will be our president and we will work with her. I've done that with Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and I work with Joe Biden throughout this administration. One frustration was, Joe Biden want to do go to Capitol Hill and work on legislation and have the kind of compromise that is win-win. He was there. This administration has not led with somebody to do that. Hillary Clinton has an advantage, she served well as a center -- Senator, she and I were sworn in on the same day. We were there on 9/11 together, we were there for each and every one of those events including a joint session of Congress and New York. I think we have a lot of shared history and think if we are both elected, we will deal with putting behind us, the mistakes of the past. Some of them Hillary will have to say that it needs to be done differently. Congressman Darrell Issa, thank you very much.

For the first time since 2002, the 49th Congressional District is at the center of a fiercely contested political contest.

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Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, has represented the district for 16 years and has easily won re-election. But his high-profile investigations and support for Donald Trump seem to have created a viable challenger in Doug Applegate, a first-time politician and retired Marine colonel.

RELATED: Issa In Surprisingly Close Race With Applegate

Issa, who represented the 48th Congressional for two years before redistricting landed him in the 49th, is well known in Congress, most notably for chairing multiple hearings into the attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi, the IRS and the Drug Enforcement Administration's "Fast and Furious" incident.

The 49th Congressional District includes Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista and San Clemente.

Issa joined KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday. Hear Midday Edition's interview with Applegate here.

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INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

On his support for Donald Trump

I will not vote for Hillary Clinton. I’ve read the classified leaks that she was responsible for… I’m in a conundrum. I was very clearly with Marco Rubio. I campaigned for him for more than five months… he was my candidate but the system did not give us Marco Rubio. And the system on the other side gave us Hillary Clinton. And I do not respect her honesty sufficient to vote for her.

I want to see Mike Pence as vice president. I want to see maybe Rudy Giuliani as secretary of state. Chris Christie as attorney general. I want to see a reform team.

On the refugee crisis

Let's talk about refugees in general. We have more than 20 nations that are dysfunctional right now because of ISIS. We have a situation with the failed state that's been a failed state for a long time called Haiti. We have economic refugees around the world. America needs to figure out and properly allocate what our role is.

And I'll give you the answer on Syria because I've been there many times... we have a nation of over 10 million people in Syria... you're talking about millions of (dislocated) people, so whether we take 2,000 or 10,000 or 20,000 — I personally want us to put those dollars and effort not toward taking a handful of people who are basically economic refugees but disproportionately figure out how to help them where they are.

On the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

I'm a San Diegan and I drive past San Onofre every day and I know that San Onofre, sitting there on the edge of the ocean is not the right place to have the leftover material for 10 years or 10,000 — which is how long it'd have to sit.

On climate change

Your question is climate change and my answer is we need a plan for sustainable ecology. And we needed it since the '60s... the fact is we have a carbon consumption problem and measuring how much and how long is one way to look at it from a climate change standpoint but it's also a depleting resource... so yes, I want to make sure that we convert to sustainable energy. One of the challenges is, what's the fastest way to get sustainable energy.

If Hillary Clinton is elected president

The reality is, if she's elected, we'll work with her. I've done that with Barack Obama, I've done that with Bill Clinton. The fact is, I'm not in the executive branch... I'm in Congress and Congress' job is very different.

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