Rep. Waltz: ‘We Should Have A Vote And We Should Have Transparency’

JIM SCIUTTOLet me ask you another question. And this is on U.S. elections and foreign help. You’ve seen the President’s phone call with the Ukrainian president, you’ve seen the President even on the White House lawn saying, “Hey, China, investigate Joe Biden.” In the simplest terms, should a U.S. president of any party ask or seek the help of a foreign country in a U.S. election?

REP. MICHAEL WALTZWell, look, I am not comfortable, if there is a clear-cut quid pro quo, then, yeah, that makes me very uncomfortable and we should take a hard look at that. But, Jim, that’s not how I read this transcript and I think a lot of people are projecting, you know, what happened there. I think you would also call — 

SCIUTTOYou saw the language though –

REP. WALTZHang on, I think you would also call –

SCIUTTOI need a favor though—That was the President’s language.

REP. WALTZ: I think you would also call a clear-cut vote. Let’s take a vote if it’s so clear-cut and that’s what people believe happened, then I hope you would also call on my Democratic colleagues to take a vote up or down. If this is impeachable, if this is a high crime and misdemeanor, treason or bribery and it’s so clear-cut in their mind, then take a vote. But I don’t think it’s that clear, I don’t like asking China who’s an adversary. Let me be clear there, but I do think you could interpret that, I do, as looking into corruption and looking backwards at 2016 at the CrowdStrike server.

SCIUTTOLet me ask you this, sir, because you’re a soldier, a veteran, on what happened with Ukraine. Because the military aid to Ukraine, which is currently under invasion by Russia. Fighting a war that’s killed 13,000 Ukrainians over the last five years, they depend on that aid. The aid was halted before that phone call. By the way, you’re familiar with The Wall Street Journal’s reporting. The White House had to move control of that aid to a political appointee because the career lawyers noted that it would be legally problematic to withhold that aid, which was authorized by an act of Congress. Do you view that, let me ask you, because you say if we’re abandoning allies in Syria, do you view that as abandoning America’s ally in Ukraine for political purposes?

REP. WALTZThis Administration, Jim, unlike the Obama Administration, has sold lethal aid to the Ukrainians with a javelin sale last year and this year.

SCIUTTOBut they withheld the aid, they withheld it.

REP. WALTZAnd, be fair in your reporting, be fair in your reporting. The President has had questions about aid around the world. Northern Triangle countries, Afghanistan, he has repeatedly asked political officials around the world on, ‘is this being used effectively, is it in U.S. interest, and is corruption involved in abusing this aid?’ That has been – he has been clear on that since day one –

SCIUTTOYou accept that explanation?

REP. WALTZYeah, I do accept that explanation.

SCIUTTOEven as the aid was withdrawn?

REP. WALTZAnd political appointees are in charge of aid throughout the State Department and the Defense Department. I don’t even see why that’s an issue you’re asking about.

SCIUTTOWell, it’s an issue because they ask the career lawyers, and the career lawyers as well as career diplomats, Marie Yovanovitch, who is testifying today, Bill Taylor, a long time veteran of the diplomatic corp, they saw a direct connection there. Do you think they were mistaken to see that connection?

REP. WALTZJim, wouldn’t you like to see the transcript of that testimony? I would. I’d like to see Kurt Volker’s testimony. I’d like to see the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community’s testimony, but instead I as a member of Congress can’t even see it. But I’m talking to my colleagues who are in the room and they say it runs completely counter to Adam Schiff’s narrative who is going right to the cameras right after these hearings, but sitting on – I mean shouldn’t for an impeachment hearing – this is a big deal. We should have a vote and we should have transparency. And when I talk to Floridians – I’ve just been in my district for the last few weeks – they’re demanding the same thing. They’re fed up with investigations and they’re asking, ‘what happened to health care, transportation, infrastructure, immigration,’ all of those things.

SCIUTTOFair point, although I do know this Administration at first blocked some of this testimony, so if you’re looking for transparency, I think we can both agree we want it across the board –

REP. WALTZ: Well I think we should follow the historic precedent of Clinton and Nixon and let’s have an up or down vote, and I hope you’re asking that tough question as well.