Vivek Ramaswamy tells Hugh why he would pardon Snowden, Assange, and the creator of “Silk Road”. (2023)


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Foreign Glory America, bonjour, High, Canada, greetings, I'm Hugh, Hewitt inside of Studio North, and it's a great hour coming up Chris Christie at the bottom of the hour for a half hour, I begin, though, with the Vic ramaswamy.

He is of course running for the presidency good morning.

Vivek welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show morning, Hugh.

How are you I'm good, but a move? The bar tells me you're.

A Bengals fan, so I didn't know that and that actually makes you not from Ohio.

That makes you from Kentucky.

Are you a season ticket holder for the Bengals I was born and raised in Cincinnati and used to go there, but I live in Columbus Ohio now so I'm in Ohio State football season, ticket holder, but not a Bengals one anymore? Okay, you know it's all.

It's it's perfectly legitimate to invite journalists to sit with you at the shoe I'm just telling you that up front Vivek um last hour, Josh, Crosshair and I were talking about you behind your back and Josh said he interviewed you for Jewish Insider last week and that you are quote the most anti-ukraine close quote of all the Republican candidates.

What do you think of that description? And do you do you like it? I, wouldn't call myself anti-ukraine I'm all for Ukraine, pursuing a Ukraine first agenda and Poland pursuing a Poland first agenda, but I probably am the most America First of the candidates when it comes to our foreign policy, including as it relates to Ukraine I, do have a clear vision of how to end the Ukraine war on terms that don't just save the U.S money.

I think that's the superficial stance for pulling out of Ukraine, but actually advancing American interests by doing a deal.

That I think has a very good chance of being our last best chance to pull Putin apart from Xi Jinping and dissolve the sino-russian military Alliance.

So, that's, of course, a much deeper discussion.

But to me that's not anti-ukraine, that's pro-america do.

Would you cut off military aid to Ukraine in the course of setting that up, or are you one of those I can solve it in 24 to 48 hour guys, like former president Trump I, would give myself 72 hours uh to sit in a room effectively with Vladimir Putin and the other parties at the table and negotiate a deal, the basic terms of the deal and, of course we would get the best deal we can, but the basic gist is no further ad Ukraine permanent commitment by NATO, not to admit Ukraine, that the U.S would backstop, but in return, Putin exits, his 2001 Treaty of good neighborliness and cooperation with China and the 2022 No.

Limits partnership moves all nuclear weapons out of Kalin and grad the region that borders Poland and also removes any Russian military presence from the Western Hemisphere, including Venezuela and Nicaragua Cuba, and so on and I think that that restores a trilateral international order instead of the bilateral one that we now have, that favors China it also I would restore normal economic relations with Russia Putin does not relish being XI jinping's little brother in that relationship and so in a certain way.


It's the reverse of what Nixon did in 1972 with now.

We did not have trust from Mao Zedong then, just as we should not have trust for Putin now, but we can trust each of them to follow their self-interest.

Mal was brezhne's little brother Nixon pulled him out of that relationship.

Putin's like the new Mal I think we can actually pull them out of their partnership with China and I.

Think that the sino-russian military Alliance is the single greatest military threat and foreign policy threat that the United States faces today, and this is also how we deter war with with Taiwan with China in the context of Taiwan, because XI jinping's bet effectively is that with Russia in his back, that's the largest nuclear stockpile in the world super EMP capabilities, Hypersonic missile capabilities.

He says with that military alliance with China XI jinping's bet- is that the U.S won't want to go to war with two different Allied nuclear superpowers at the same time.

But if Russia is it, is it realistic? Is it realistic for you or president Trump to say 24 hours, 72 hours, these things take a long time.

Nixon's visit to China, as you may or may not know, took months to set up much less years to execute its Vision.

Why this 72-hour talk? It just doesn't work that way.

Well, I think the 72 hours is I think not a hard deadline compared to what we actually need to deliver, but I think that the terms of the deal that I'm coming in with are pretty clear and I have a high degree of confidence.

You- and this is maybe what Buck's the consensus that Putin would see it as being in his self-interest to actually go after it.

If the West restores normal economic relations with Russia, he has less of a relationship and less of a reason to be in that relationship with Xi Jinping.

He also does not enjoy being that little brother in the relationship I think we're working with the within a window where we can actually get that deal done even after that so-called No Limits partnership was signed.

Putin still sent a signal by actually sending weapons both to India and to Vietnam, both of whom share a border with China Northwest Northeast China still close to the ocean, because Putin's blocking the way preventing them from laying the rails and building a railroad.

So I think there are now cracks in that armor Kingston that armor This is Our Moment to actually pull Russia apart from China, but China's come into Russia's Aid in the context of Ukraine, precisely because of their No Limits partnership.

So what did you make in Ukraine I would do it promptly? What did you make of secretary blinken's trip to Beijing last week? Weak fundamental weakness? I mean he was I, think it was embarrassing for the United States to see the level of sliding that we experienced- and this is part of a broader pattern.

We've seen over the last year year and a half of China slowly testing the United States a Chinese spy balloon that flew over half the United States.

If that were a Russian spy balloon, no doubt we would have shot it down instantly and ratcheted up sanctions on Russia.

The reason we didn't do it for the Chinese spy balloon is that we're dependent on China for our modern way of life.

Biden then referred to that as a silly balloon.

Well guess what we now learned that a silly spy base is popping up in Cuba silly incidents of aggression in the South, China, Sea, well, I think that this is no longer silly anymore.

Blinken is behaving like he's supplicating like much of the West, much of the modern West commercially supplicates to China and I think the fundamental reason: why is that we don't have the spine to take any risk when it comes to the economic Reliance on China? So this is a little bit different than Trump.

You is yep.

What do you make of the uyghurs, and should they be in every sentence that every candidate talks about China I think they should I think that this is one of the great human rights atrocities of our time.

I think, arguably, the greatest human rights atrocity committed by a major Nation since the Third Reich of Germany and I, don't say that lightly.

Here you have a million religious minorities enslaved in concentration camps, subject to force, sterilization communist indoctrination and worse, as reported by Adrian Zen's, a great German journalist.

Who did this work a couple of years ago.

I'll tell you this.

We on one hand talk about fighting for democracy selectively, yet one of our largest trade partners, with whom we're in a supplicating relationship, is committing the largest scale human rights atrocities that juxtaposition can't go unnoticed, and so I'm not just saying this, because I'm standing up for the uyghurs, I'm saying it, because it's evidence of what this CCP that's in control actually represents.

This is the true threat that we Face.

We have to open our eyes up and see it and act accordingly to think on the time scales of History, instead of quarterly earnings reports to to actually declare economic independence from China and who I think I'm the only candidate that has an actual Clear Vision of how to accomplish that in a way that does not incur great economic damage here in the United States.

But that's we're gonna have to muster up the courage to do and I'm running to deliver it.

I, don't know if you saw access this morning, Vivek Ram is funny, but Larry Fink is backing away from ESG he's apologizing for his involvement in ESG says he wants conscientious capitalism.

What do you make of his about face, and do you believe him? What conscientious capitalism is the new ESG? They tried to change last year, their ESG funds to use the word sustainability instead, so they're, very good at changing acronyms, but the reason I don't believe him is that I know they're going to be unable to do it.

Here's why Calpers New York Pension funds Etc? They have required financial institutions like BlackRock to enter Arrangements, including most asset managers that have signed BlackRock included the climate action hundred plus Network.

That's a 68 trillion dollar plus represent a network of asset managers signing on to an institution founded by Calpers, one of the largest Pension funds in the US and the world.

That requires adopting certain commitments as a condition for managing that state-sponsored money.

Those are what Pension funds are.

So the reason what's really happening here is it's not the Invisible Hand of the free market that gives you ESG.

It's the invisible Fist of the government lurking behind the scene, saying you don't get to manage government money such as State Pension, Fund money.

Unless you adopt those commitments so they'll, which is the name, would you be willing? Would you be willing to debate Larry Fink if he would agree absolutely I? Have a policy Hue I have a talk to everyone policy, I'm running to lead a nation.

You can't hide from debate to the contrary.

I'll take him up on that debate.

If he's willing to do it, a Vivek, our alma mater, has a Supreme Court decision coming down this week.

Uh the affirmative action case involving Harvard.

Do you as I hope that they lose and lose badly and that all reference to race is forbidden and actionable in any college situation as a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, absolutely 100? That is the outcome that I optimistically expect and certainly hope for and here I hope.

That's just a first step to really eviscerating race-based preferences and quota systems in every sphere of American life.

I've said as U.S president I would rescind Executive Order 11246 signed by Lyndon Johnson.

That created similar race-based preferences in the economy for anybody who's doing business with the federal government that constitutes 20 percent of the U.S Workforce covered by it.

I'd say that I would rescind that executive order so that we can restore meritocracy across the American economy and I'm glad that's going to start I hope with college admissions with the pending Supreme Court case that we're expecting to hear Harvard should lose for good reason and restore Merit again.

I agree.

They think we um I was doing research to prepare for the interview today and I saw someone on Twitter saying you are the only candidate for president to openly state that he would free Ross, Albrecht, Edward, Snowden and Julian Assange I have not seen you say that is that a correct statement of your views yeah, my my walls falling out behind me.

So don't don't mind that um? Yes, it is.

It is a correct statement from from my vantage point, I think that Julian Assange, let's start with the I, think he's the easiest of the cases he was actually somebody who was punished for publishing information leaked by government officials, including Chelsea Manning, who had her sentence commuted by President Obama, because she's, a member of a favored political class, she's trans I, don't believe in two standards of Justice I.

Really don't Hugh I think that we have one standard of Justice for All Americans.

Much of what the D.C press Corps does on a given day involves printing leaked information from government officials and whistleblowers.

Yet Julian Assange was a member of a disfavored political class at the time.

That's why he was ultimately punished.

So now I think we do have two standards of Justice in the country.

One of the things I'm going to do as U.S president is to fix that to address it by actually applying the same standard of Justice, regardless of your political persuasion, not one for antifa and conservatives who are labeled domestic terrorists if they show up at school board meetings, not one for Trump, not one for Biden, not one for Julian Assange, not one for Chelsea Manning.

That's right! That's not a republican! It's an interview, not a debate.

I want to remind my audience that Ross Albrecht tell us about your position on Ross, Albrecht yeah, so look I've studied up on his case.

I think I met his mother twice.

Actually the first time I met his mother was months ago.

She actually invigorated my interest in getting into the details on this he's a guy who has served or will have served, certainly by October of this year over 10 years in prison.

I think it is an unfair standard that we use for him for running a platform when much of Silicon Valley Snapchat.

Let's just take that as an example, much of the fentanyl that youth access across this country come from actually fentanyl poisoning through Percocet and other drugs that are illegally sold via Snapchat the platform that doesn't mean that Evan Spiegel or somebody else who's.

The executive at Snapchat is a drug dealer, but it does mean that the platform that's being used is something that we have to examine as a society for how we're looking at how kids in this case are purchasing drugs or fentanyl.

Well, I think that Ross Albrecht I think there was a lot in that case that smelled rotten to me, including the initial supposed allegations of murder For Hire, but which the government didn't actually charge in the end.

I think it reeks of a certain kind of selective prosecution, which is the number one thing that I care about restoring Justice around you is I, do not believe in selective prosecution for certain classes over others, while leaving others protected.

The guy has served 10 years, no doubt if he had done a plea deal and there have been conflicting media reports on this as to whether or not he was offered one ten years would have been about what he would have served.

I think that that's sufficient for applying a dual standard of Justice, no I think that he also deserves a commutation of sentence.

In that case it wouldn't be a pardon, but it would be commuting his sentence, Edward Snowden, yes, so this is a tough case, but where I come down, is look I, think that once we have learned the level of corruption that our government actually has engaged in in repeatedly lying to the public in a certain form, it's a form of selective prosecution to not actually prosecute the government actors who broke the law, but simply to prosecute the one-act government actor.

Who did expose it by technically violating a law of a different kind here again, I think that Edward Snowden part of what made his acts heroic and I would go so far as to say that I disagreed with them at the time.

But there's a certain heroism in it at the same time is that he took a risk that he didn't have to take in order to actually expose to the public what the public did not already know and change that would not have happened in terms of delivering accountability of the government if he hadn't taken that risk part of what makes that risk admirable Rosa Parks long ago, is the willingness to Bear punishment.

He already has that's also why I would ensure that he was afraid, wait, wait, wait.

Did you just compare Rosa Parks to Edward Snowden, no I did not, but I did compare the aspect of their willingness to take a risk in order for, at the time, breaking a rule that at the time was punishable.

Yes, some people have to take a risk.

That's part of what drives progress in the country, and so it was progress, a very different kinds, but yes did Edward Snowden contribute to us making progress in delivering accountability to a part of the National Security establishment that wasn't previously held accountable.

Absolutely he did.

What about Airmen to Shara I'd have to like I said: I took a long time to get to my position on Edward Snowden as well as Ross Albrecht, I'm gonna I'm in the process of doing that, one by one for a number of other cases that I'm in the process of studying you, but one of the things you and I have said.

Since the first time we spoke I'm not going to give you an answer off the cuff everything I'm with Ross Albrecht, with Edward Snowden with Julian Assange.

That's after careful study and consideration that I've arrived at my position, but what I can tell you is we will have a list of day, one pardons by the time I take office to say that we have one standard of Justice in the United States that does not apply selectively, based on your political beliefs or whether or not you're, a member of a disfavored political class and actually one thing I have in today's Wall Street Journal you'll.

Note Hugh is my also commitment to repeal the Espionage Act in this country.

This is one of the most Un-American statutes ever passed, designed to stifle political dissent during World, War One.

So for me, it's not just about the pardons I'm, also going to actually roll back some of the toxic law laws like the Espionage Act, which, by the way, is being used to charge president Trump in the federal case, I've committed to actually repeal the Espionage Act and also to instruct the U.S Department of Justice not to enforce it.

In the meantime, I lay out the history of that in today's Wall Street Journal, editorial and I think that's a big part of how I'm seeing this a little bit differently on the scales of History, rather than just political tug of war.

As we might see in the present yeah.

My audience will know that I just disagree with everything.

You've said, but I am curious.

Are you familiar with Robert, Hansen and John Walker? Are those cases familiar to you they're old cases yeah so at a high level that I know the names but I have not yet gone into depth in the study? Well, they're, both dead that I have some of them.

They're both dead, but one of the Walker conspirators is not Jerry Whitworth and he's still in jail and I hope he dies there, like the other.

People did because Traders are Traders, but we disagree.

We talked about the Triad the last time and you went back and did your your studying now that we you're up to speed on some national security stuff.

How do you value the Triad in terms of prioritizing money for each of the three parts of it? I think it's important I think the prioritization is going to be is going to change over time where we are today versus where we were before, but I.

Think the redundancies in protecting ourselves against nuclear war is absolutely a priority today, as it was in the past.

The threat presents itself a little bit differently.

Today, though, Hugh I think that sino-russian Alliance in a world with hypersonic missile capabilities in a world with also super EMP capabilities, I think that that threat presents itself in a different way than it did during the last Cold War, which is why I go back to saying how do we go to the address the root cause of the main military threat that we Face pull apart, Russia from China? It's the reverse of what Nixon did in 72.

I think we have an opportunity to do it.

Nobody in either major political party is even talking about it.


That's a loop I'm focused on the three parts of the Triad and we've got to figure out, which one gets the most money and which one gets the least.

Have you done that math, yet I have not done the math of which one gets the most and which one gets the least and I think that also those aren't going to be fixed over time.

Hugh I am biased towards actually thinking more heavily about the underfunding of the U.S Navy, and also the divest to invest program which I think is actually resulted in under investment in our Naval capabilities, as well as our shipbuilding capabilities, but I think that's going to actually be dynamic.

It's going to change.

It's not going to be the same answer today that it will even be five years from now, but I do think that it's important that we have those redundancies to protect the United States against nuclear threats.

I'm going to make my third pass at this and then move on we've got the B21.

We've got Minutemen, which are old and we've got the Columbia class, which of those three do you think, needs the most money, the fastest, probably the Minuteman, all right uh.

Let me go to the 15 to 20 million people who are in the country without permission they're here illegally.

What would you do with them? So look I think that as humanely and respectfully as possible, we cannot Grant amnesty.

We have to return people to where they came from, but for people who have demonstrably made a commitment to this country to show themselves to otherwise be law-abiding citizens, but for their act of Crossing illegally to make contributions to this country.

We need to have for a subset of them, an opportunity for them to become legal immigrants to this country, but I think that, because we stand on the rule of law, you because that's part of what it means to be an American.

We have to stand by that commitment where there are immigrants who aim to this come to this country legally, many of whom aren't able to get in.

We have to follow one standard for everybody.

Same thing, I, say at home, I say applies to our meritocratic immigration policy as well.

I always say regularization, not amnesty meaning.

You can stay if you're a good uh law-abiding person, but if you're not you're gone but 15 to 20 million people, we can't do Case by case adjudications.

Can we I think we I think that's.

The only standard we have to apply here is that, if you're in this country illegally I stand by it that you have to go and be returned to, whichever country you came from but be given an opportunity to re-enter the country on the same terms that anybody else who's looking to enter the country can come in.

So how you're prepared based immigration you're a tech guy I want to close with the FTC lawsuit against Amazon I, always tell people I own Amazon, so I've got a conflict.

I work for the Washington Post Bezos owns the Washington Post I.

Think the FTC thing is the stupidest thing.

I've seen our government do in a long time.

What did you think about it? So look I think that they're effectively throwing spaghetti against a wall here.

I have I've been critical of Amazon in a lot of different contexts, but again I do think that this is the use of a particular mode of expressing frustration against a company and a sort of political virtue, signaling really to the base of the democratic party, rather than something that's actually grounded on standards that are evenly applied to other companies.

I think that much is clear here.

Ambassador O'brien always tells me if we lose our Tech Edge to China we're screwed and we have to approach our big tech company issues.

With that in mind, do you agree with him on that I agreed in spirit I.

Do think that that can be a lazy sort of argument to allow for a lot of corporate welfare to technology companies here in the United States who actually are protected from competition, including from upstarts in the name of arguments like the one that we've made there so I think a lot of what I see, for example, even with the rising AI policies that are being lobbied for by the leading AI producers of AI protocols is another example of usually large companies making these Arguments.

For combinations of Regulation and corporate welfare, and one of the popular arguments you frequently hear is competitiveness with China I think there's truth to it, but we got to be careful not to fall for that, which is really just an argument for crony capitalism and corporate welfare of different kinds.

Of course, I'm out of time, I want to make sure people know it's right if they want to make a contribution.

Vivek.Com, it's, v-I-v-e-k, uh.

Are you over forty thousand we're over 50 000., so we're good, so you're going to be on the debate stage um? What do you think the format should be I think the format should be everybody's given equal time.

I think there should be an opportunity for candidates to be able to address each other directly.

I think the American people don't want to see and don't deserve to see a staged one by one.

Serial speeches I think we need to take the gloves off have at it push each other on our respective policy differences.

That's going to make the Republican Party stronger, I! Think that's going to make the nation stronger um.

What do you want me to ask Chris Christie, you know I'll, ask Chris Christie I'm, actually, here's what I would say is one of his criticisms of President Trump he's been very critical, is Vengeance and grievance.

We got to let it go and move past that I'd ask him if that applies, 360 Degrees around the board, whether that's personal Vengeance or grievance, whatever Direction my path is: how do we move forward as a country and the question for him that I'd have respectfully not asking this on the debate stage as well? Is how do you avoid personal tug of war? Let's get beyond the personal tug of war and mudslinging in One, Direction or another and ask ourselves what do we actually stand for as a movement forget the who? What do we stand for? Why do we stand for it? What's our vision of what it means to be an American? How do we start running to something? That's what I will ask him that right after the break the vague, please please keep coming back.

Remember when you've got that empty seat at the shoe journalists are allowed to accompany you, if they're doing so, to observe you watching an Ohio State game just saying by the way, last question Ryan day or Urban, Meyer who's, the better coach, you know, I would say I mean depends on who you like better versus the better Coach, but Urban Meyer is a pretty darn good coach.

The controversy follows Vivek wherever he goes.

Thank you.

Vivek have a great day.

Thank you.

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