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Transcript: House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Turner on

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Transcript: House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Turner on

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The following is a transcript of an interview with House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Mike Turner, Republican of Ohio, that aired on “Face the Nation” on Oct. 15, 2023.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Turner, who joins us from Dayton. Good morning to you. 

REP. MIKE TURNER: Good morning, Margaret.  

MARGARET BRENNAN: We heard the National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan say that the request to Congress will be significantly higher than $2 billion in terms of aid for Ukraine and for Israel. What can you tell us about what is needed?

REP. TURNER: Well, I met with him and members of the National Security Council with my counterpart, Jim Himes, at the end of last week, and they’re talking in terms of a quad of really a of a need of a national security package. And that is certainly the border, additional funds there for border control, the border barrier, the wall that the administration has now said needs to go forward in areas. Ukraine. Obviously, now that we’re dealing with this- this crisis with Israel, bolstering our support for them, and then also looking in the southeast as to what we might be able to do to support Taiwan. As they’re putting those together so that we don’t piecemeal this and we look at this as an overall national security package. It’ll give us a better understanding of the ability to have a debate as to what’s needed for the United States.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Don’t piecemeal this, you said, so you support bundling all of those things together? Do you think your fellow Republicans will support that?

REP. TURNER: You know, at this point, Margaret, we’re having a hard time keeping the House floor open, I don’t want to have to keep trying to bring people in and convince them to vote for, you know, minor pieces of overall security bills that we know are going to have to come to the House floor over the next- this year and next.

MARGARET BRENNAN  

Well, to that point, because of course, Congress is paralyzed until a Speaker is chosen. Do you know how long it will take before Republicans can select a speaker so you can do this important business?

REP. TURNER: No, and this really is the tragedy. As you know, Kevin McCarthy was fired because he had sought a bipartisan solution to keep the government open and those who wanted to close down the government instead they closed down the House of Representatives with the aides of Democrats. You know, this was a- this is a very bad deal for America. It certainly was a bad deal for Hakeem Jeffries, as he got all the Democrats to vote with less than- the vote was less than 4% of Republican votes to take down a Speaker who was working for bipartisanship. It’s gonna be hard for them in the future to come- if they want to work in bipartisanship when they fired the guy that was sitting there for doing so.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But so in the past, you’ve supported Jim Jordan. He doesn’t have the votes right now to become speaker. Kevin McCarthy acknowledged as much on- on another network this morning.

REP. TURNER: Right, and he’s working to do so. Kevin, when he first came out of conference, where you’re nominated to be speaker, also did not have enough votes to be like speaker- actually he didn’t have enough votes when he first got to the House floor. And then the coalition formed that elected him. Jordan is working right now to put that coalition together to get to 217.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So do the allegations that he turned a blind eye to sexual assault at Ohio University cause any problems for you or the allegations that he had knowledge of Donald Trump’s attempts on January 6, then leading up to it to stop the election certification? 

REP. TURNER: Well first Margaret, the allegations at Ohio State, there’s not one person who’s ever said that they have knowledge of Jim Jordan having any knowledge. And what occurred at Ohio State wasn’t even under Jim Jordan. He was not like the head coach. This was not something that he had responsibility for. So those that are making accusations are making, you know, just presumptions of what he would have had to have known. But it- there’s no one I mean mind you, this was years ago, no one who has come forward at all ever, and ever said that there was actual knowledge of Jim Jordan’s part. Of course, he condemns what occurred there. With respect to Donald Trump, I-you know, that’s a mess that’s going to continue going on- on the issue of January 6, and Americans are gonna be able to have that debate as we go forward in this next election cycle.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So no- no pause on your point- part for Jim Jordan. Do you think that there is an alternate here where Republicans work with Democrats to find a mutually acceptable speaker?

REP. TURNER: Well, you know I- that would not be my preference since Hakeem Jeffries walked away from the opportunity to do that, when- when Kevin McCarthy was on the floor. You know, the vote on the floor was, should the Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, be removed. And every Democrat, 208 of them, voted to remove Kevin McCarthy. So, at this point, I would prefer there to be a Republican solution, because when- when they rejected bipartisanship, it’s kind of hard to then go back to it. But we have a lot of people on the bench. I think Jim Jordan will be an excellent speaker. I think he’ll be able to get to 217. If not, we have other leaders in the House. And certainly, if there is a need if the radical, you know, almost just handful of people in the Republican side, make it unable- to make it for us unable to be able to return to general work on the House, then I think obviously, there will be a deal we’ll have to be done.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Wow. I want to also ask you about a comment you made on this program recently. You were talking about classified documents mishandled by the current president. And you said that when it came to Biden and Trump, they’re both “equally egregious” with equal classification issues. This past week, President Biden was interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Herr, will there be legal consequences? Will your committee do anything to act on this? And what exactly do you mean equally egregious?

REP. TURNER: Well, when you look at the documents, both the classification level and the subject matter, both sides, Trump and Biden’s documents, if they had been released in the public or gotten into the hands of nefarious parties, would be damaging to the United States national security. When I look at those documents, there are documents on both sides, equally egregious, that would have negative consequences to our means, methods, techniques and- and our allies. Now, in this instance, I think President Biden needs the same consequences that they pursue with- with President Trump. The actions are the same. And in this instance, if you think you’re getting leak– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: — Indictment? 

REP. TURNER: If you’re getting leak after leak after leak on the Trump documents, you’re hearing nothing on the Biden documents. So you’re continuing to see the inequality that comes out of the Justice Department. As there’s silence on the other side with respect to Biden’s- and by the way, he was a- he was a serial classified document hoarder. I reviewed documents that were from all the time that he’s been in government. This really is a very serious breach by President Biden.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Just to be clear here, though, are you saying that President Biden had top secret and TS/SCI classification level documents in his personal home?

REP. TURNER: That’s- that’s- that’s public already, Margaret. But that is- so I’m not confirming something that- that people don’t already know. That is correct.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. So I think you’re saying that he should be indicted, when you say treated the same?

REP. TURNER: I think they need to be treated exactly the same. Now they’re continuing their investigation with- with President Biden. I don’t think if President Biden, in the end, has been found to violate the law, and I believe from what I’ve seen that he has, that he should be treated any differently than Donald Trump. Why would- why would he? Just because he’s president or because he’s a Democrat. And that’s how the Department of Justice has been acting. They need to be treated the same.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But have you seen evidence of a crime? It sounds like that’s what you are saying.

REP. TURNER: I have seen evidence of the fact that classified documents of some of the highest levels have been mishandled by President Biden. Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mike Turner. We will stay tuned to watch what happens with your party in the coming days and stay in touch. We’ll be back in a moment.

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