Rep. Adam Kinzinger And Guy Talk The Latest On The Ukraine Controversy And Renewed Calls For Impeachment Against President Trump.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger Reacts : "I don't think even if he did use the national power to do that, it doesn't rise to the level of impeachment. But it is highly inappropriate if it was done."
Guy Benson: HAPPY HOUR TIME ON THE GUY BENSON show it's a new week. Thank you for listening. Guy Benson show dot.com I'm in D.C. all week. Feels weird to be home for an entire week in a row. That's Not a thing. Delighted to be in the Tony Snow radio studios again. The Web site Guy Benson show dot.com the podcast. First hour is free every day also available on iTunes. Back on the show one of our favorite guests he's a Republican congressman from the great state of Illinois. Adam Kinzinger is here. Congressman great to have you back.
Rep. Kinzinger: What's up brother. Good to be with you.
Guy Benson: Good to have you here. Let's dive in on foreign policy and then we might go farther afield from there. And there were a number of developments last week involving Iran. I know you've been following this extremely closely and there was what appears to be and what the secretary of state has called an act of war by the regime against Saudi targets. This is on the heels of all the other provocations attacking ships international waters taking down one of our drones funding and fomenting terrorism as they've done for many many years. And I guess I saw the president deployed some troops to Saudi Arabia. There has been no specific military response and I'm just getting frustrated because I'm. On one hand yes skeptical of escalating a possible war with Iran but on the other hand I'm worried about the consequences of letting them on there end to escalate and escalate with impunity. Over and over again with no real consequences outside of sanctions it seems like we're sort of sanctioned out at this point and we've hit our max according to Treasury Secretary on that front. Is there a policy here that you think could bridge that divide and that would be proportional and appropriate.
Rep. Kinzinger : Yeah I agree with you and it's also to an extent it's going to be honest. This red line in Syria of President Obama where you know it's one thing to talk tough as President Obama did as you know as President Trump is for him to not react is it just sends the wrong message.
Rep. Kinzinger: I mean where the United States of America is very patient but we're very capable. You know first thing I want to say is to all the people that are saying we should let Saudi Arabia respond to Iran. I want to be clear about something. That's the best option. If your goal is to get into a wider conflict because the Saudis attacking Iran will immediately turn this to immediately a regional war between Sunni and Shia Arabs. That's how that works when the United States does it. It doesn't have that effect.
Rep. Kinzinger: And I think there's three options here. And I think there has to be a military response because it's going to keep going. The fact is is just look at history.
Rep. Kinzinger: At no point is Iran going to say OK we've done enough. Keep escalating. And it's like a bull you've got to punch him eventually. We have to stop doing that so the three of us.
Guy Benson: So what we what does that look like though a military response. What does a punch back look like. That is not you know an invasion.
Rep. Kinzinger: Yeah I think it's a number of things. So it can be taken out you know certain ships that have been used as radar by Iran. It could be taken out the sites that actually launched this missile attack in Saudi Arabia.
Rep. Kinzinger: It could be taking out an Iranian oilfield all of which will be proportional. But the other thing and I think actually maybe a better option is actually going after arriving in assets in Syria. So if you know every month or so you hear about the Israelis arming IRGC Revolutionary Guard Corps assets in Syria of which there is many I think that's an option too because just like you know Saudi Arabia may not have been our territory. Syria may not be their territory and more fair game but I think we can do this in a way where we're clear that it's proportional in any decision to escalate isn't ours it's theirs at some point though you know everybody likes to blame America first and say we will start escalating. This has been escalating and we've done nothing. So it's not US right now.
Guy Benson: No that's it. And so that's the flip side of this thing and I was mentioning this on the news channel last week it seems like a talking point that has gelled especially on the left but certain elements on the right as well that oh well this is really traced back to President Trump's correct in my view decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal which as an aside was opposed by 60 percent of Congress. No big deal. This was a you know a unilateral presidential decision that Obama made and Trump got us out of it and people are saying well you know Iran wouldn't be doing all this stuff if not for that so we should look in the mirror and I just think that's sort of crazy revisionism.
Rep. Kinzinger: Yeah. I mean look it's always it's the blame America first crowd. And you know that we have the ability if we were just nice people this world would actually all get along. But all you have to do is look before the Iran nuclear deal was even being discussed it what Iran has done. Look at their behavior in the region after the nuclear deal that's when they overthrew the legitimate government of Yemen and emboldened Hutu rebels that's when they proved cartel blanch into Syria and killed a lot of people. That's when the Hezbollah got better arms and on. And if you look before that you know a quarter of American lives that were lost in Iraq were directly or indirectly from Iran.
Rep. Kinzinger: I actually recently declassified what the task force did.
Rep. Kinzinger: But part of my operations in Iraq were actually against Iranians. And then you go back all the way to 1979. So unless President Trump was president in 1979. All right that's an invalid argument.
Guy Benson: Indeed. Meanwhile President Trump on a somewhat related issue.
Guy Benson: Gave what I found to be a rather puzzling answer during a press conference last week on Friday he was talking about ISIS fighters who had been captured. He said we've defeated the caliphate. We have thousands of ISIS fighters. We need help from the Europeans to imprison and detain these people because we can't keep them all in the U.S. or at Guantanamo Bay. For decades it will cost a huge amount of money. And you know so far so good I don't have a problem with those points that he's making it and he said. And they haven't been very helpful in Europe so at some point we might just have to release these ISIS fighters right on the border. And I was like Okay I don't know what that is. But that sounds nuts to me. What. Yeah. What. But okay. So I assume you oppose the idea of just releasing thousands of ISIS and I don't think Trump does as well but he does have a point about OK we went in there a bunch of these guys did get scooped up. They are hardened Islamist militant terrorists. What do we do with them that is some of these guys many of them are in their 20s. Do we just keep them on taxpayer dime for the rest of their natural lives. I mean that also doesn't seem sustainable what do we do here.
Rep. Kinzinger: Yeah that's right.
Rep. Kinzinger: And you know I think part of it is we've we struggled with this since the beginning of the war on terror which is what do we do with people that don't fall under the Geneva Convention which terrorists do not because they don't fight for a country and they don't fight uniform and there's any number of reasons we still treat them according to the Geneva Convention and in some cases better.
Rep. Kinzinger: But that's what it puts into the question in terms of the you know how do you treat them on a justice side. I think we're ultimately going to have to do military tribunals. I think ultimately in areas where we can send these people back where a country will take them and try them in their courts with their justice system that's another opportunity especially Iraq for instance I mean they they have some pretty pretty good justice I think for these guys if that came down to it.
Rep. Kinzinger: So I think we have to look for areas that way and those which is what's basically left in Gitmo right now are those that basically did not have a home and are among the worst and most hardened of criminals that you just can't release anywhere because nobody will take them.
Rep. Kinzinger: And in that case yeah I mean it's it's unfortunately going to be part of what we have to do which is you know either have a decision to release them or to house them forever or you know you put them in federal courts and what happens if they actually get us on a technicality or something. So it's all a big concern but the president needs to not say stuff like that because you know I mean I just put it through the what would what would I do if Obama said at present. And I would be very upset with it. So I'd be pretty upset.
Rep. Kinzinger: What about when President Trump says that as well.
Guy Benson: Let's stick with that prism for a moment and look at the Ukraine controversy. We don't know what was said how it was said it does seem like the president has confirmed that there was a discussion with the president of Ukraine where he was urging Ukraine to look into corruption including this allegation about the Bidens you know I guess his his lawyer his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was dispatched along these same lines. And it does seem like a lot of the people who said the Russia stuff was all a smoking gun and it was gonna be impeachment tomorrow. They've moved on to this thing. This also does strike me as concerning as well how do we keep this in perspective as a member of Congress who you know your colleagues on the other side of the aisle might start moving more towards the I word it seems like Pelosi is now open to that on this on this topic as someone who might have to take a vote on impeachment for example. How are you thinking about this story separate from the whole Russia saga.
Rep. Kinzinger: So the question is Is it high crimes and misdemeanors. That's number one. Number two is highly inappropriate. So number two it's absolutely highly inappropriate. What President Trump did and I don't care about the Biden arguments. I you know that's important and we need to get to the bottom of it. But at the same time I think the vice president Vice President Biden's comments were based on trying to get this guy fired because he wasn't going after you know the oligarch for instance that his son worked for and everything else that's separate. And if there's any impropriety propriety there we need to know. But never should a president of the United States ever use the natural power instruments to basically help himself in a political race. And so there's a lot we don't know and that's why I hope the transcript of the call is released. I don't think even if he did use the national power to do that, it doesn't rise to the level of impeachment. But it is highly inappropriate if it was done and we have to again put it through the what would we say if Obama did it filter. You know if Obama had had asked Ukraine to investigate when a Trump sons for instance. What would we be saying. We just need the president to hear from the people around him know sometimes and listen to it because look he's going to get himself in real trouble if he's not careful. So I hope this transcripts released so. I could see either way but in terms of just I don't see this rising the level of teachers but it absolutely needs to be called out as wrong and not defended.
Guy Benson: Last question it's on policy and it has an intersection with politics as well you are one of the Republican members in the House who at least signaled some openness to some modest additional steps on gun regulation or gun restrictions talking about background checks and that sort of thing we talked about it on this show a number of weeks ago and I know you got some blowback on the right.
Guy Benson: I don't know if you're gonna get any credit on the left but I think something that's a reality and I wonder how this has affected your thinking if at all when you have numerous Democrats running for president coming out and endorsing so-called mandatory buybacks which is confistation and they're talking about effectively national gun registries when they're looking at background checks. A lot of the slippery slope folks on the Second Amendment side say OK. Even if we are open to some of this stuff that Kinzinger is talking about here the Democrats telling us that our conspiracy theory is in fact very much true. They want background checks to create a registry and they want to confiscate guns. Does that make it much more difficult for you just on a suspicion level to go along with anything that might seem like a compromise because the other side is telegraphing very explicitly what they would like to do.
Rep. Kinzinger: Yeah. You know I think it's going to make it hard to get anything done. That's for sure. You know my view on it is I'm not. I believe the slippery slope conspiracy. I mean I do. And so when I came to the decision I mean I'm. I'm not calling for banning assault rifles that would be a pretty you know a big step. I'm not saying that but what I'm saying those areas where we can't make a difference. That's not violating the Constitution we should. And so even with the slippery slope argument my view and how I take a position on politics is regardless what the other side wants to do what's the right thing to do. And let's see what the right thing to do is. We have to guard against the slippery slope. And so you know my concern though is if nothing is done at all and this scourge continues that you're going to have people massively turn against the Second Amendment in the long run which is a big concern for me.
Rep. Kinzinger: And then secondly we do have to have the talk about the spiritual and mental health issue in this country. That's the real depth of this. And we have to have that conversation. Why is it that a whole generation of young men are so broken that they'll go to something like this. That that's not the whole generation that somewhat.
Guy Benson: Congressman Adam Kinzinger a Republican of Illinois always thoughtful always informed. Congressman thank you very much.
Rep. Kinzinger: You bet Good seeing you.
Guy Benson: We will roll along here all the happy hour it's the Guy Benson show. Stay with us.