Full transcript: Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States on "Face the Nation".

Here is the complete transcript of an interview with Vice President Kamala Harris, which aired on Sunday, July 10, 2022 on Face the Nation.

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10 July 2022 Sunday 08:19
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Full transcript: Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States on "Face the Nation".

Here is the complete transcript of an interview with Vice President Kamala Harris, which aired on Sunday, July 10, 2022 on Face the Nation.

ROBERT COSTA - Vice President Harris, let us start with the assassination Shinzo Abe, former Japanese Prime Minister. Japan has very strict gun laws and little political violence. How did you react when you heard the news?

VICE PRESIDENT UNITED STATES KAMALA HARRIS: I was stunned for many reasons. The first was the fact that Prime Minister Abe was a close friend of the United States through many administrations. Joe Biden, our President, is fond of him and knows him well. And I met the most recent-past-Prime Minister of Japan. When we reflect on the relationship we have over many years and the shared vision that we have for that area of the globe, as well as the partnership, it was tragic and shocking. It is clear that the Japanese people are in mourning. His career and the popularity of his presidency as well as his leadership really speak to his impact on the country. Let's talk about gun violence in America in terms of its meaning here.

ROBERT COSTA: We just visited Highland Park.

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: Yes. You know, I was there in less than 24 hours of the tragic act of violence. I spent time with first responders, talked to them about their experiences, the tragedy, and made sure I was there. You know what? I was a prosecutor for most of my career. I have seen autopsy photos, prosecuted murder cases, and when you meet first responders and families of victims, it is hard to ignore the real impact gun violence has on communities, families, people who love their community and their family members. Let's get to the assault weapons. Assault weapons are designed to quickly kill many people. It is a weapon for war. It is a weapon of war. If you have ever seen, if I may so be blunt, an autopsy photo to see the effects it has on the human body, and the fact we can't get Congress renew it -- it's certainly not like we're pulling anything out of our hats, we've done this before as a nation -- it's outrageous to renew the assault weapons ban. You can support the Second Amendment. I support it. But we must agree that we shouldn't have weapons of war in the streets of America. It is well-known that a toddler who was only three years old lost his parents in this case. The mayor,- the chief and first responders greeted me at the scene and told me the story. This is what it means for the child's life.

ROBERT COSTA - Why is it that so many mass killers, often young men who have radicalized online, still have legal access to weapons and can get around red flag laws? As in Illinois.

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: These weapons are readily available. We must stop allowing these weapons to be made available to civilians living in areas where they aren't in a war zone. Understanding- I am referring to peace loving communities. These weapons can turn peaceful communities into war zones. Look at the long street that was home to this parade. This is a normal community with small businesses, shops and people sitting on their lawns. But it has become a war zone because of the damage it caused, the chaos it caused, and the crime it has created. The fear that children and people in that community will feel about their vulnerability to weapons such as the one used was likely to last a lifetime. It's wrong.

ROBERT COSTA - Vice President Harris, you were right with President Biden when he issued an executive order -

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: Yes.

ROBERT COSTA --on access to abortion and expanding it.

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: Yes.

ROBERT COSTA --But many Democrats in this nation remain angry at the Supreme Court's recent decision.

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: Yes.

ROBERT COSTA - This was the May statement by Governor Gavin Newsom of California. My party is where the hell are they? He said that Republicans are winning. Let's admit that. Are you right?

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: We- I believe all of us feel a deep sense dread that the United States Supreme Court has taken a constitutional right that was already recognized and stripped it from the women in America. Let's just take a moment to think about it. Our highest court just recognized a constitutional right for women to make their own decisions about their bodies. We now have a situation in which the government can tell anyone living in this country what they can do with their body. Now we are looking at a situation where the government can intervene in one of the most private and intimate decisions someone can make. This is a decision that anyone should be able make with their pastor, their prince, their priests and their loved ones. And now, the government is telling women what she can and can't do. We are all so outraged because this strikes at the core of our democracy, which is about the liberty and freedom that Americans should have. This really gets to the point. And by the way, it doesn't take you to agree with (INAUDIBLE). You don't need to agree that you would like to have an abortion or that you would advocate for your loved one to have one. To agree that the government shouldn't be making that decision for any woman.

ROBERT COSTA: Should Democrats -

VICE PRESIDENT HARIRIS: -You don't have a right to compromise your faith to accept that the government shouldn't be making that decision on behalf of a woman. So that's why, I support letting women make the most intimate decisions. Let them make intimate decisions about what I call home and heart, including contraception. This includes same-sex marriage. Let them decide and let the government not interfere.

ROBERT COSTA - When you look back, did Democrats fail past Democratic presidents and congressional leaders to codify Roe v. Wade in the past five decades.

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: To be honest with you, I believe that we had to have believed. However, we did believe that certain issues were just resolved. Several issues are now settled.

ROBERT COSTA - Clearly they weren't.

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS (No. That's right. That's why I believe we live in a very uncertain time. It's easy to see it as another example of voting rights. My parents were involved in the civil rights movement. People marched and fought in broad coalitions of people from all walks of life, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender or creed. To ensure that that principle would be enforced, we passed the Voting rights Act. In 2013, Shelby v. Holder shattered it. Now you can see that there are states all over the country who make it harder for voters to vote. That was what we thought was settled. That was our belief. Now we will examine the question of choice. That was what we thought was settled. My long-standing commitment to civil rights for people to marry and love the person they love was the same-sex marriage. We thought Obergefell had settled the matter. You can read Dobbs. I believe that the privacy right is at risk.

ROBERT COSTA: If--

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: --of being hacked.

ROBERT COASTA: What will the administration do in the months ahead of the election to mitigate all this?

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: Yes.

ROBERT COSTA --to codify Roe in order to attempt to have some of these priorities, through Congress?

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: We have created our government so that there are three coequal branches. The president, Congress, and the court. The court has now taken action. This morning, President Obama issued an executive order describing what the executive branch will do to ensure women can travel unencumbered and that they have access to medication. But Congress must also act as that branch is where we codify, which basically means that we put into law the rights we used to take for granted but have been stripped from women in America. We should not minimize the importance of this, and Congress must act. This is what we've seen before, if you look at the Voting Rights Bill.

ROBERT COSTA : Yes.

VICE PRESIDENT HARIRIS: --Congress passed the Civil Rights Act. Because there was ever any doubt, particularly through the courts and any other system, as to the sanctity these rights were, Congress acted. This is what we should do with Roe, and the principles that underlie Roe.

ROBERT COSTA - Speaking of Congress acting -

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: Yes.

ROBERT COSTA --Some senators suggested that Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh misled the Senate during the confirmation hearings for Roe v. Wade. Some Democrats even called for the impeachment of these justices. Are you convinced they should be impeached

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: Listen, I am speaking from experience as a senator. They were not true to my knowledge. They were not true to me. That's why I voted against. And-

ROBERT COSTA: What now?

VICE PRESIDENT HARIRIS: Now, let's understand that the Supreme Court has allowed states to pass laws. There are 12 states that I believe have passed laws. Twelve of them, for instance, have said that there is no exception to the rule, even for incest or rape. A- For a woman to be able to access an abortion and to undergo this procedure. Recently, a 10-year old child was the victim of a clear sexual assault. She had to endure this kind of violence and injustice, and then travel to another country. This is only in the first two weeks since the decision. Can you see what this will mean? Who- and what other cases will we not learn about? What does all this mean? This means that elections are coming up in 120 days. They'll be about who is elected to Congress. We need a prochoice Congress. You don't have the obligation to support or believe this is the right thing for you or your family. But don't allow the government to make that decision for her family, no matter who she may be. This includes state offices, governors and secretaries of state, as well as attorneys general. It also refers to local races. Who will be your DA? Who will be your sheriff? Enforcing laws to criminalize medical providers and possibly even women who request the service.

ROBERT COASTA: This is a big push all around. The economy is also a major issue for many Americans.

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: Yes.

ROBERT COSTA -A new jobs report was released today. The U.S. added more than 370,000 jobs last month but three quarters still feel the economy is in a bad state, according to a CBS News poll. Do you hear them? Are they correct?

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: It's clear that working people are paying more for gasoline and more for groceries. That is why it is a top priority for our administration to reduce costs. As you all know, we have created the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to allow us to release a million barrels per day of gas and oil in order to lower the price. Prices are falling slowly but surely, we're starting to see. We're doing all we can to reduce the cost of childcare. This includes a $8,000 tax cut that we passed but not one Republican in Senate. This tax cut is for families who have children, so they can get a tax cut on food, medication, and school supplies. Without any support from Congress, we are advocating to lower child care costs. We believe that working families should not have to pay more than 7 per cent of their income for childcare costs. It is one of our top priorities to reduce costs, especially for the working population. There's no question about it.

ROBERT COSTA - Brittney Griner is a basketball star, and she is still held in Russia. Cherelle Griner, her spouse-in-law, was interviewed by President Biden.

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: Yes.

ROBERT COSTA - You reassured her. But what kind of reassurance can you offer now? She has pleaded guilty. Is there a prisoner swap?

VICE PRESIDENT: First of all, Brittany Griner and other Americans are being illegally detained around this world. It is our top priority to bring them home. So you're right. The President, Jake Sullivan, and I have been in touch Brittany Griner and her wife Cherelle Griner to offer support. Although I cannot speak to you about the details of what is happening behind closed doors, I can tell that it is one our top priorities to bring these Americans home.

ROBERT COSTA - How sure are you that she will return home soon?

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: We're going to do everything possible to get her home as soon and as safely as possible. This is certain. This is certain.

ROBERT COTA: The midterm elections are just a few months away. People look to this administration and to the White House to find a strategy for their party. This sentence is complete. Americans should vote for Democrats in November, because:

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: Democracy is on the ballot. Truly. Truly. It's on the ballot if you think about a topic like choice. The right of a woman to decide about her body, and possibly what will happen in the near future regarding issues such as access to and/or making decisions about contraception and same-sex marriage. What is on the ballot? We are currently without Republican support. Elections matter. Elections matter. The outcome of all these issues will depend on who is elected to Congress in the United States. We have more at stake now than ever before in terms of fundamental right and freedom and liberty.

ROBERT COOSTA: I travel around the country as an investigative reporter. When I speak to Black Americans, they talk about voting rights and also discuss police reform.

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: Yes.

ROBERT COSTA - They say that Jayland Walker is now in Ohio two years after George Floyd died.

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: Yes.

ROBERT COSTA - -60 injuries from police officers

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: 60 gunshots.

ROBERT COSTA: And- 60 gunshots-

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: Yes.

ROBERT COSTA - Gun violence still kills Black Americans, according to police officers. However, polls show that Black Americans have less support for this administration. How can you reverse that trend?

VICE PRESIDENT: First, Black Americans and Americans should demand, rightly, that legislation be passed that addresses the issues you mentioned. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was written by me. I strongly believe that accountability should be a part of all systems, even policing.

ROBERT COOSTA: Police reform is stuck.

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: I think we need-you're right. But again, I think that there is a cycle. There is a link between what we are and what we want to see happen, and the power of Congress in making it happen. When it comes down to changing laws, it is about writing and then putting in effect laws that increase accountability and fairness in our system. This includes our criminal justice system as well as our health care delivery system. However, I will also say that we have seen that there has never been a Black woman on the United States Supreme Court. People waited in line for hours in 2020 demanding the same things they wanted to see happen. Ketanji Jackson would sit on the United States Supreme Court. They stated that they wanted to see more support for our top educational institutions, which are called HBCUs and MSIs. These people voted to support these institutions and more than $5 billion was spent. People said they wanted to see the extension of child tax credit. We did, and the child tax credit was extended in the first year. This brought down Black child poverty by 40% and overall child poverty by approximately 40% in America. People asked for a plan to remove lead from pipes. This is especially important for children who are dependent on the pipes for their water supply. We are now on track to repeal all lead from pipes, and paint in the next ten year with the bipartisan infrastructure bill. It was said that, especially during the pandemics, there were extreme differences in how children can be educated. This is based on their ability to access high-speed Internet and whether or not they can afford it. Now, we are on track to make sure that everyone in America has access to high-speed Internet. It will also be affordable. Voters made demands, saying that they want these things from the administration. Many of these demands were met within the first year and a half. It's not impossible to find more work.

ROBERT COSTA - There is speculation on Capitol Hill that President Biden will not run for reelection in 2024. What is your message? What message do you send to those who believe that?

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: Hear President Biden. He plans to run. If he does, I will run alongside him. (laughs). So that's it.

ROBERT COSTA - Another run by the former President Trump could be possible. He's signaling this. This would make it more likely for the president to run.

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: He has done it before. You know, I'm not going to lie. Let's just focus on the issues we have right now. I know this is how the President is focusing. He is focused on completing everything we discussed, including bringing down gas prices, seeing through the issues of getting roads and bridges in America fixed, and focusing on the things we have continued doing under his leadership, which was to strengthen and improve the United States' relationship with the rest of the world. As Vice President, I have traveled around the globe with many issues. I was there at least three times. These leaders and foreign leaders will approach me, and I can count nearly three dozen meetings. They say thank you to President Biden for restoring America's leadership role and partnership on the planet.

ROBERT COSTA - So all signs point to yes.

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: There are many signs that good work has been done but there is still much to be done.

ROBERT COOSTA: Immigration is another issue. Texas Governor Greg Abbott authorized state officials to arrest immigrants and transport them to federal border crossing facilities. He also blamed the federal government for the state's immigration problem. It was, quote, an "invasion." What will the administration do regarding Governor Abbott's decision on the migrant question?

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: If they are really concerned about a problem, I suggest that leaders concentrate on solutions and not on attacks. This includes immigration. Passing a pathway to citizenship, fixing what was, especially under the previous administration, a very broken system. We need to be humane and respectful in our approach to this problem. This includes what we will do to prioritize border security but also how we must create a pathway. If people are truly concerned about finding solutions, they should not be flaming the flames.

ROBERT COSTA - Vice President Harris, we appreciate your time.

VICE PRESIDENT, HARRIS: We are glad you're here. We are grateful. It's a pleasure to be with Bob.

ROBERT COSTA - It's good to be with you.

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