CNN "CNN Newsroom" - TRANSCRIPT Biden Dogged By Queries On Classified Docs Found On His Properties; Treasury Secy. Warns U.S. Could Default On Debt As Soon As Next Week; Authorities "Finding More Bodies" In Hard-Hit Central Alabama County. Aired 2-2:30p ET


Date: Jan. 13, 2023


CAMEROTA: Thanks, Matt. OK, with us now, Republican Representative Brad Wenstrup of Ohio. He served on the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, thanks so much for being here. Let's just start with that news.


CAMEROTA: You're going to hit the debt ceiling next week, I mean, much sooner -- the debt limit, much sooner than was predicted. So, are you going to vote to raise it?

WENSTRUP: Well, I'm going to expect that we will see what we've seen in the past, Alisyn, where we go to extraordinary measures. But you know, at the end of the day, we always end up paying our bills, but I don't think it's uncalled for, for us to sit and say just as a family may do, say look, we keep increasing our debt, we keep borrowing more money, we've got to make a plan so that we don't keep doing that because it doesn't have a good end. So, hopefully, there'll be reasonable conversations that take -- can take place -- take place across the aisle and we come to something that will work for everybody. But you know, at the end of the day, and I think you've been around this long enough, it always gets paid but it's not a bad idea to try and turn things around so that we don't find ourselves in this situation time after time.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I have seen this before. It does always get paid, but it's not pretty watching how it happens.


CAMEROTA: So, I imagined that might happen again. So, Congressman, I imagine that you were just listening as we were playing how Republicans had a different reaction to Donald Trump's declassified documents being found at Mar-a-Lago versus at President Biden's home and office, and then how Democrats had a different reaction to the classified documents being found at Mar-a-Lago versus President Biden's home. You are speaking out now about the classified documents at President Biden's home and office, and you think the American people deserve to know more about them. Why weren't you as vocal when this was happening with Donald Trump?

WENSTRUP: Well, I wouldn't say that I wasn't vocal. What did I say? I --


CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, I --


CAMEROTA: Yes, the only thing -- the only reason --

WENSTRUP: You know, let me -- let me just spend --

CAMEROTA: Go ahead -- go ahead.

WENSTRUP: No, what I was going to say is I sit on the intelligence committee. And what I had recommended and what we did as members of the intelligence committee, and it was only Republicans that day, when the Mar-a-Lago raid took place, we came out and said if we have a significant national security risk here, then we should be briefed on it.


That's our role. That's our responsibility on the intelligence committee to be kept apprised of national security risks. That's all I said.

CAMEROTA: Right. That's my point.

WENSTRUP: And you know --

CAMEROTA: Hold on, Congressman, that was my point.


CAMEROTA: Because this happened on April 7 with Donald Trump, the National Archives publicly acknowledged that they were having a hard time getting the documents back. And then four months later, when the raid happened, you spoke out about the raid. Basically, you were upset that they had taken those measures. So, that was four months. But now you're speaking out more vocally and quickly about the classified documents at Biden's home and office.

WENSTRUP: Well, I think you're classifying me with other people/ But if you're asking me what I spoke about, I'm saying the same thing in this situation as I said back then. If there's a national security risk, we should be briefed on it for one. I -- and you know why weren't we? Look, a violation is a violation on either side of this. And I've heard some people say, well, depends on the level of the potential damage. the level -- it is the level of the potential damage that I guess some people are concerned about.

I'm concerned, were any of these documents, how revealing are they, and were they breached at all, you know? But you do -- you do have to look at it, Alisyn, and say look at Mar-a-Lago, it was very overt, it was -- it was a massive raid. In the Biden situation, it was more covert, it was quiet. It -- you know, it happened before the election, too and we didn't hear about it. And you hear those questions being asked. Both of these things occurred before the election.

But here's what I -- what I'm concerned about considering what we do in the Intelligence Committee. You know, we go into a secure facility and we make sure we don't leave with anything that's classified. Our staff makes sure. All our documents are numbered. We make sure that all of them are retrieved before we walk out of there.


WENSTRUP: I don't know the situation in the White House. But where are the archives? I want to know the role of the archives in either of these situations because how are people able to just box things up and walk out with them? Because in our situation on the Intelligence Committee on either side of the aisle, it just doesn't happen.


WENSTRUP: It can't happen.

CAMEROTA: Right. So -- I mean --


CAMEROTA: I hear you, and it's --

WENSTRUP: Just to make sure it doesn't happen. Yes.

CAMEROTA: Yes. it sounds like something needs to change because this does seem to be concerning that this has happened. But the National Archives figured it out with the Trump documents, obviously, and they were alerted to it with the Biden documents whether or not that makes a difference.

While we're here, I also want to ask you about what Congressman Matt Gaetz has just announced. So, he has just said that as part of this deal that people didn't know about until last night that he made in order to support Kevin McCarthy becoming speaker that he got an assurance from Kevin McCarthy that he would release all of the security foot -- camera footage from the January 6 insurrection. That's what he wanted Kevin McCarthy to agree to. Do you like that idea and that deal?

WENSTRUP: Well, I think -- I think America should have access, or at least Congress have access to anything that may have been out there from that day even communications that Nancy Pelosi maybe had that day along with everybody who may have been involved. Look, I was involved in the shooting at the baseball field and you know, this was a situation where we were at great risk. And certainly, the balance of power in the United States of America House of Representatives could have been changed that morning if Steve Scalise wasn't there and Capitol Police wasn't there.

So, if we can learn from what was not in place and what needs to be in place to protect our beautiful Capitol, and all of those of us that work there, I would like to do that. I want to do include the events of June 14, 2017, at the baseball field with the January 6 Commission. I went to rules and offered that because I thought it was important that we look at all aspects of how we are protected. And that was voted down and ruled in a partisan fashion. So, you know, I think -- look, a little -- get a little sunshine on everything but I have no idea what Matt Gaetz said to Kevin McCarthy. I'm just speaking from, you know, where I sit.


WENSTRUP: And I think we deserve to know what happened and how we can do better in the future.

CAMEROTA: Yes. But I'm thinking your last point is also an interesting point, which is do you know these ideals at this point that were made with some of the holdouts that Kevin McCarthy struck with them?

WENSTRUP: If there's a one-on-one deal of some type, that is outside of my realm, I have no idea.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Brad Wenstrup, thank you.

WENSTRUP: You're welcome