The following is a transcript of an interview with GOP Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio that aired Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, on “Face the Nation.”
MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to Ohio Congressman Mike Turner, he is expected to head up the House Intelligence Committee. Good morning to you.
REP. MIKE TURNER: Good morning Margaret, thank you for having me.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So we have this development in regard to the further materials that were found at President Biden’s Delaware home. What is your reaction? And what does it signify to you that no one realized that this classified material was missing, some of it dating back to his Senate years?
REP. TURNER: This is really incredible. And as you know, congratulations to you, we would not know anything about this if it hadn’t been that CBS had broken this story. The White House nor the Department of Justice had shared any of the information with the public. And this really is one matter, we wouldn’t have this issue if it hadn’t been for Biden’s Attorney General did- making the decision to raid former President Trump’s house looking for- for classified documents that were being held there. What’s amazing about all this is it takes us to the question of why were these documents here? Well, now that we learned that some of these go back to his Senate time, you know, clearly he’s- he’s become a serial classified document hoarder. Why did he have these? Who did he show them to? I mean, the only reason you can think of as to why anyone would take classified documents out of a classified space at home is to- is to show them to somebody. Who did he show them to? This is going to be crucial, I think, to the special counsel’s investigation, is why did the president have these documents? Who did he show them to him? And is it connected to the Biden family businesses?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you know, the differences of course, too. I want to talk about the Biden situation. But just to clarify, when you reference President Trump, there were 300 classified documents, there was a warrant, there was refusal to comply in terms of handing things over and the White House and the president’s lawyer are pointing out that in the case of Biden, he granted permission, and this was consensual for the DOJ to come in and search. Does the fact that the Justice Department conducted the search signify anything more to you and do you have any insight into the sensitivity of the documents?
REP. TURNER: Sure, absolutely. I think this looks more like a cover up than an investigation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you have any facts to back up your- your allegations that he was hoarding things in terms of intention to take classified material versus it’s been characterized that it was somehow accidental? Do you have any insight into what these materials were?
REP. TURNER: Well, they didn’t fly to his home without him. They went on a train with him from the- his Senate offices and then in boxes that he was in charge of. The chain of custody here is going to be important, because we know that these were in Joe Biden’s hands and Joe Biden’s control, then ended up behind his Corvette in his garage and in his office, that he did not control and also throughout his house, so the special counsel is gonna have to deal with the issue of what was the chain of custody? Who had these? Why did he take them to begin with? When did he get them? When was he handed these documents? And what did he do with them? And this is a real critical question to all this, why did he have these documents to begin with? And that is why the special counsel’s work is going to be really important, because I can think of no reason why the president should have taken home, as a senator or as vice president, any classified documents that clearly have no protection. They’re available and open to anybody.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You have also before this development asked for a briefing from the Director of National Intelligence. You set a deadline of Thursday, do you have any further reason to believe they will meet that deadline, that you will get any insight into these materials?
REP. TURNER: Well we’ll have to see, but what’s critical here–
MARGARET BRENNAN: They haven’t responded?
REP. TURNER: –And this is very important, this is what’s very important to all of this, Margaret, and that is the FBI and the national archivists were working completely independent of the intelligence community, or the Department of Defense. They claim this was all an issue of national security, but they did not speak to anyone who’s involved in national security.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So no response yet from the intelligence community?
REP. TURNER: I have not received a response, no.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. I also want to ask you what leadership looks like with Republicans in charge. You are also on House Oversight.
REP. TURNER: Right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Of the 26 Republican members on the committee, 19 of them denied the results of the 2020 election. Your colleagues now include Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, Scott Perry. They all played critical roles in – in the former president’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. Do you have any concerns about working with these lawmakers? I mean, you’re very much a centrist.
REP. TURNER: Well, you know, even on the Democrat side, there’s been a number of people who objected to President Bush’s reelection and voted against certifying his election.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I am asking about you, your party, and your colleagues.
REP. TURNER: There’s a long history of both sides, having raised issues, including, you recall, the- Al Gore taking President Bush’s election all the way to the Supreme Court.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You are not an election denier by CBS standards just to be clear.
REP. TURNER: I am not, and I work with both sides of the aisle, and there are election deniers on both sides of the aisle.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You are comfortable with all those individuals I just rattled off and the fact that the majority of the Republicans on this committee denied the election results. Is that what you are saying?
REP TURNER: What I’m comfortable with is -the electorate are very smart. And these people have been sent to Congress to represent their districts and to be part of the congressional debate-
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
REP TURNER: -to lead us to what’s going to be bipartisan, bicameral resolutions. We have a split government right now, Republicans control the House, the Senate is controlled by the Democrats, you have a Democrat president. We’re going to have a lot of debate and discussions. And I think this is going to be a very fruitful period for- for Congress and for our country, because it’s going to have to be bipartisan, bicameral, and I believe that the president in opening negotiations with Republicans is beginning to start that process.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What is actually possible in this bipartisan, bicameral situation? What can you actually get legislation through on?
REP. TURNER: Depending on what the pending- what the president’s willing to do, I think it’s unlimited. Right? We have really tough issues right now. We have out of control inflation. We have an open border and record people crossing our border.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What about gun control?
REP. TURNER: We have -we have the issue of Russia, and certainly in Ukraine, and certainly China, I think we’re going to have a number of issues that we’re going to have to deal with.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, Congressman Turner, we have to leave it there today.
REP. TURNER: Thank you, Margaret.
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