Transcript: Rep. Mike Turner on "Face the Nation," Aug. 21, 2022
The following is a transcript of an interview with GOP Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio that aired Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022, on "Face the Nation."
ED O'KEEFE: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I'm Ed O'Keefe in this morning for Margaret Brennan. We turn now to the FBI search at former President Trump's Florida resort. Ohio Congressman Mike Turner is the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee and he joins us this morning from Dayton, Ohio. Congressman, great to have you with us. Thank you for being here. This past week, a Florida federal judge asked the Justice Department to prepare a redacted version of the aff- of the affidavit that set off the FBI operation at the former president's home, signaling he may be willing to release it as early as this coming week. But affidavits aren't usually made public during an investigation so as to not impede the investigation. I'm curious what level of disclosure would satisfy the demand for the release of the affidavit, in your view?
REP. MIKE TURNER: Well, this is very revealing because the court has already made a ruling that they believe, and remember, the court knows what's in the affidavit. The portions of the affidavit can be released to the public. Now, what's important about this affidavit is it will give us the information to understand how did the FBI justify a raiding Mar-a-Lago and spending 9 hours in the president's house when we know the former president's home, they had other options besides just raiding the house. They could have gone in and asked for the subpoena to be enforced. And the mystery sort of here deepens, because we know Attorney General Garland himself has taken responsibility, said he approved it. And the American public want the attorney general focused on issues like human and drug smuggling at the border. They- Chinese espionage, out of control crime in our cities. But if it's- if you're going to turn to this, if you're going to turn to the former president and Mar-a-Lago, they want to make certain that this is to the highest level, there's an imminent national security threat. And this affidavit will tell us, did they even allege so? Because in their document, trying to keep the affidavit sealed, they didn't even allege that there was a national security threat.
ED O'KEEFE: We should point out there's a poll out this morning at another news organization that finds almost six in ten Americans actually support continuing this investigation. So while there may be other big issues, there's certainly wide public interest in this one. You're an attorney, though. Why would releasing any information in this affidavit make sense and assure the former president not only a fair investigation by the Justice Department, but potentially, if it gets to that, a fair trial?
REP. TURNER: Well, I think- and you're- you're citing polls and there are lots of polls out there, by the way. The polls also indicate that people want to make certain that- that if this is an imminent national security threat, that it's pursued. But also, they want to make certain that you don't have abuse of discretion here. And what our concern is from our committee is there's an- an allegation of classified documents that falls within our jurisdiction. And show us what you found, because the affidavit is going to have them tell publicly now what they told the court they were going to go find. Show us what you found. It certainly won't affect the investigation. We deal with classified documents and information all the time. Show us what it is that you went into the president's residence, spent 9 hours at former President Trump's residence. What is it that was at an imminent national security threat that you didn't just go to court and ask the court to- to order that the documents be delivered to them? Why did they spend- I just think of the resources of 30 agents that spent 9 hours in the preparation for that when we have real imminent national security threats like Chinese espionage, the border, issues that- things that are going on in Ukraine. To take these resources and apply them here, certainly the American public wants to make certain this is not an abuse of discretion.
ED O'KEEFE: Well, I'm- I'm curious, since you're a member of the Intelligence Committee, what use could a former president have for classified or top secret information once he's left office? Why- why bring it home with him to Florida?
REP. TURNER: Well, I don't know. I mean, you have to ask him. But certainly, we all know that every former president has access to their documents. It's how they write their memoirs. They don't have, you know, great recall of everything that's occurred in their administration. And we don't know that they were classified. We know, according to the FBI documents, that they were- they were identified as marked classified. You have, of course, the former president saying that he declassified them himself. But I think what's important here about this abuse of discretion, we have evidence of the FBI abusing that discretion and of misconduct on behalf of the FBI. The FBI, you know, we had an attorney for the FBI that actually was convicted of doctoring an email to obtain a warrant against- against Trump. There's Trump's organization- you have the- the FBI using the Russia dossier, which has been proven to be debunked as evidence under a warrant that they submitted. Both- all of which CBS has reported, and I have them up on my website, your own stories of these abuses of discretion. And the other question that we have is- is just recently there was a raid on Project Veritas, which is a news organization, to supposedly retrieve President Biden's daughter's diary. Now, that's not certainly an imminent national security threat. It might be embarrassing to the president, but it's not something you'd see them do for an ordinary citizens. There are real questions as to what is the FBI doing here? It's the- it's you know, the rank and file FBI agents, everybody agrees, you know, we support them. We have great faith in them. But the leadership of the FBI, when they undertake a raid against the current president's political rival, you have to ask these questions.
ED O'KEEFE: Real quick, are you aware of any standing order from President Trump that he might have had, a standing order, to declassify documents he took from the Oval Office to the White House residence while he was in office?
REP. TURNER: I have never served in the White House. I would never have any knowledge of anything that occurred.
ED O'KEEFE: Okay. So the Intelligence Committee wouldn't know whether the president had a standing order?
REP. TURNER: Whether Biden does, whether anybody does- what is there to declassify. In fact, we weren't even notified when President Biden declassified all the information concerning the hunt for Zawahiri. And I was very surprised the detail that they made public there. Very concerning as to how it might inform al Qaeda and the future people that we're trying to target.
ED O'KEEFE: Two quick—
REP. TURNER: I had no, no advance knowledge or notice when they did that.
ED O'KEEFE: Okay, two quick questions for you on the future. You want to be the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee next year?
REP. TURNER: Well, I think that certainly my work on the Intelligence Committee is about national security and focusing on national security, and that's going to continue to be my focus.
ED O'KEEFE: Give us a sense, then, of what you would investigate if you were head of the Intelligence Committee and Republicans take control of the House.
REP. TURNER: Well, you know, as I said from the beginning, is what I think we want Attorney General Garland to be focusing on instead of Mar-a-Lago, is Chinese espionage certainly furthering? How do we assist Ukraine in fighting Russia aggression? Looking at ways that we look at what's going on at the border with human and drug smuggling and how it's affecting our families. And, of course, there's always the issue of the spiraling crime that's occurring in- in our cities. And how can we impact that? How can we ensure that we have the right tools and information about any foreign influence that might be impacting that?
ED O'KEEFE: And as a Republican in Ohio, what does J.D. Vance, who in some polls is trailing right now, have to do to win that Senate race and hold the seat for Republicans?
REP. TURNER: Yeah, he has to make the case and I think he's doing that. He's campaigning very hard. And, you know, you- you should have him on.
ED O'KEEFE: We'd love to. In fact, we've asked and so far we haven't heard back. But if he's listening, J.D. Vance, we'd love to have you. Mike Turner, we loved having you. We'll see you soon here in Washington. And we'll be back in a moment.
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