Rep. Harris: Releasing Trump’s Ukraine call transcript ‘right thing to do’

Rep. Harris: Releasing Trump’s Ukraine call transcript ‘right thing to do’


WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We turn now for a Republican
perspective on these impeachment calls.
Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland is on
the House Ukraine Caucus, and he joins me
now.
Congressman, thank you very much for being
here.
I wonder if you could just give me your initial
reaction to today’s development, that the
House is going the move forward with an impeachment
inquiry.
REP.
ANDY HARRIS (R-MD): Well, this is nothing
new.
There are dozens, if not over 100 members
of the House who have wanted to try to impeach
this president.
They tried the Mueller investigation.
It didn’t work.
Now they’re going to try this.
You know, I just — look, I just think the
American people need to see the transcripts,
not only of the president’s call, but of Vice
President Biden’s call, where he was holding
up a billion dollars worth of aid to the Ukrainian
government when he was vice president.
Again, his son, earning $50,000 a month.
The average American will want to know, exactly
what did his son do for $50,000 a month while
his father was negotiating with the Ukrainians
over a billion dollars of aid?
The American people need to know the truth.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I would like to touch on
the Bidens’ role in this in just a moment.
But, first off, let’s talk about the president’s
actions.
The president has admitted that he pressured
the president of Ukraine to look into the
Bidens repeatedly, according to some reports,
eight times in one phone call.
The president has also acknowledged that he
withheld aid from Ukraine preceding this phone
call.
Do none of those actions trouble you?
REP.
ANDY HARRIS: Well, let’s put it into perspective.
The Ukrainian government has corrupt oligarchs
in charge of a lot of things in the government,
including the agency that Hunter Biden was
associated with.
And we have heard reports that military procurement
— and a lot of these funds were going to
military procurement — is corrupt in the
Ukraine.
The president is absolutely right to ask the
Ukrainian government to investigate corruption
when it involves hundreds of millions of dollars
of taxpayer money from the United States.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But if it was the president
saying repeatedly, I want you to look into
Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, with the full
knowledge that that could likely be his opponent
in the presidential election, that doesn’t
give you pause?
REP.
ANDY HARRIS: Look, we’re not going to talk
about hypotheticals.
Tomorrow, we will know what the transcript
was.
Let’s talk about it after we know what the
transcript was.
And then let’s urge Vice President Biden to
release the transcripts of his dealings with
the Ukrainians when he was vice president,
because that goes to the heart of the matter.
We’re dealing with a government that it — was
rife with corruption.
And the question is whether we should be sending
hundreds of millions of dollars to that government,
without them taking — taking a position to
stop the corruption in the Ukraine.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Your colleagues across the
aisle say, we need to do this impeachment
inquiry because it gives us more legal tools
and facilitates the investigation that we
feel we are being stonewalled on.
This is the Democrats talking.
Do you believe that this — if you believe
that all the facts should come out, and this
will be a useful process, do you think this
impeachment inquiry could be useful?
REP.
ANDY HARRIS: Look, the facts are going to
come out tomorrow when the transcripts are
released.
The allegation was that the president, in
a phone call with the Ukrainian leader, had
some kind of quid pro quo on an investigation.
We’re going to find out tomorrow.
Let’s talk about it after the American people
hear the transcript.
And then let’s release the transcripts of
the vice president’s dealing with the Ukrainians
involving a billion dollars in foreign aid.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The president has said,
as you are acknowledging, that he will release
the transcript.
The Democrats argue they also need to see
the whistle-blower’s complaint, the person
who either heard this call as it was going
down or read the transcript and said, something
is amiss here.
Would you support the whistle-blower’s complaint
coming forward?
REP.
ANDY HARRIS: Well, we know he didn’t listen
to — he didn’t hear the call, because we
know it was secondhand, his knowledge of the
phone call.
The bottom line is that his complaint was
that the phone call was made and allegations
of what was done in the phone call.
We’re going to know the transcript tomorrow.
That’s the whistle-blower’s allegation.
The president has gone ahead and said, OK,
let’s look at the transcript.
I think it’s the right thing to do.
I applaud the president for doing it.
And then we need to look deeper into what
was going on during the Obama administration
when Vice President Biden was dealing with
Ukraine and his son was earning $50,000 a
month from a corrupt oligarch.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Do you think that, when
the director of national intelligence on Thursday
testifies before the House — he has been
asked repeatedly to give up this whistle-blower’s
complaint.
Do you think that that should come forward?
Should he provide more information about that
particular complaint?
REP.
ANDY HARRIS: Look, my understanding — and,
again, that’s not my area of expertise, but
it’s centered around whether this was urgent.
And the law just says that, if the DNI, the
director of national intelligence, felt it
was urgent, then it needs to be reported to
Congress.
That’s a judgment call.
But, again, tomorrow, we’re going to see the
transcript.
We’re going to know exactly what went on.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The president has hinted
a few times that he thinks the Democrats are
overplaying their hands, that, in the end,
if they go forward with this inquiry, that
it will play to his political benefit.
Do you think that that’s true?
Do you think that the Democrats are overplaying
their hand here?
REP.
ANDY HARRIS: I absolutely agree.
The bottom line is, the American people what
Congress to deal with the problems that Americans
are facing and what they’re concerned about.
And, right now, they’re not really concerned
about the Ukraine.
What they’re concerned about jobs.
They’re worried about the economy.
They’re worried about what’s going on here
in the United States.
And Congress is going to be distracted.
The last time this happened in 1998, the party
that held the impeachment was punished at
the polls.
It’ll be the same way next year.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Representative
Andy Harris of Maryland, thank you very much
for being here.

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