Rep. Mike Turner Defends Trump’s Russia-NATO Comments: ‘Political Rallies Don’t Really Translate Into Actual Policies’ | Video

The Republican congressman also tells “Meet the Press” he warned of a Russian space weapon because he felt the Biden admin was “sleepwalking into an international crisis”

House Intelligence chair Mike Turner, the Republican representative from Ohio, talked with “Meet the Press” ahead of Sunday’s show following an ominous warning he gave earlier this week of a “serious national security threat,” and the pushback he’s gotten for making that warning public. Subsequent reporting from numerous outlets indicated that he was referring to intelligence about Russia seeking to put a nuclear anti-satellite weapon into space, while the White House said there was no immediate threat.

“I was concerned that it appeared that the administration was sleepwalking into an international crisis,” Turner said on why he went public with his mysterious hint earlier this week. “But it looks like now they’re going to be able to take action.”

NBC’s Kristen Welker highlighted that others expressed concerns he was both causing a panic and jeopardizing national security intelligence. When asked whether his words were responsible, Turner said, “The purpose for our committee, is that when we receive intelligence that the House of Representatives should view, that we have the ability to share it.”

He added that this is supposed to be done in consultation with the office of the director of National Intelligence, which Turner said he did, noting that he received no objections.

“This was not just an action by myself,” Turner said.

Welker cited objections from both Democratic Rep. Jim Himes, who said the news was “not a cause for panic,” and Republican Rep. Andy Ogles. Turner noted that he and Himes had sent a joint letter to fellow House members expressing their concerns about the intelligence itself.

In the letter, according to the Washington Post, they wrote that the Intelligence Committee “has identified an urgent matter with regard to a destabilizing foreign military capability that should be known by all congressional policymakers.”

Ogles characterized Turner’s intent as “not to ensure the safety of our homeland and the American people, but rather to ensure additional funding to Ukraine” and to renew the FISA surveillance program.

“Ukraine funding certainly is important,” Turner responded. “And FISA certainly is important. But this is about Russia and the administration taking action.”

Turner pointed to a New York Times article published Saturday where, he said, “You can see that the administration is beginning to put in place an action plan. And that’s what is important. We need to make certain that we avert what could be an international crisis. I was concerned that it appeared that the administration was sleepwalking into an international crisis. But it looks like now they’re going to be able to take action.”

He credited administration leaders for meeting with leaders from China and India.

The Republican representative also addressed former President Donald Trump’s recent comments on encouraging Russia to do whatever it wants to NATO allies and said, “Donald Trump’s political rallies don’t really translate into Donald Trump’s actual policies.” He added, “If you look at his policies, if you look at his record, he actually increased funding for NATO, increased the European Reassurance Initiative, and in fact for Ukraine, he was the first president to give lethal weapons to Ukraine. So I think his record is strong, and I think that’s what’s important.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Turner said that he believes there is “sufficient support” in both the House and Senate for Ukraine aid, talked about the Republican-led impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden and talked about a possible government shutdown.

Watch the full “Meet the Press” segment in the video above.


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