CNN "The Situation Room" - TRANSCRIPT Sources Say, Biden Legal Team Finds Classified Documents At Second Location; Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Foes-Turned-Backers Rewarded With Top Committee Posts; FAA System Outage Causes Massive Flight Disruptions Across U.S.; Powerful Conservative Accused Of Sexual Assault; Items Found At Trash Facility Being Tested For Links To Missing Woman. Aired 6-7p ET


Date: Jan. 11, 2023


Let's get to more on all of this. Joining us now Republican Congressman, Chris Stewart of Utah. Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

I want to get to the news coming out of Capitol Hill in a moment. But, first, as you heard, President Biden's legal team has found another batch of classified government records in a second location. So, what questions does this raise?

REP. CHRIS STEWART (R-UT): Well, I mean, it's unfortunate. It's obviously not good. These are classified not only top secret but in some cases, Wolf, apparently even SCI, special compartmented of information, which is the highest security classification there can be.

And it is ironic obviously that President Biden is very, very aggressive, very harsh in his criticizing against former President Trump, and because of that you've got a lot of people, at least some are saying, when are they raid the university and his offices there?

But, Wolf, I'm going to be consistent on this.


When we had this information released about President Trump and classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, I said, let's let the investigation develop. Let's see what the evidence indicates. And I would say the same thing here. Let's let the evidence come forward. Let's see what the investigation says.

But, Wolf, one other thing, there was a time when people were saying, there were nuclear codes there and nuclear secrets, and I said I find that astonishingly unlikely. And I think the same thing is probably true with President Biden's documents. They may be classified but I really doubt there's something there that would endanger national security.

Now, maybe we'll find something and be surprised but, again, I would be very, very surprised if that's the case.

BLITZER: But if it is top secret, SCI, and you've been a member of the intelligence committee, you've read those kinds of documents, are you concerned that they could be providing to some person who doesn't have a classification, doesn't have any security clearances to go ahead and potentially get that kind of information?

STEWART: Yes, of course, I'm not minimizing that at all. I'm just trying to reemphasize the point about let's let the investigation come forward. But SCI is -- that, generally, it's not just the information but it's how we got the information that is very concerning.

And so, again, we're going to have to see what the investigators -- what they tell us. And I was listening to the previous segment. I think the president would be smart to call for a special counsel to investigate this and take that responsibility and make sure the American people know that he's serious about (INAUDIBLE).

BLITZER: So, do you think there should be a special counsel to investigate all of this?

STEWART: I think it would probably be to everyone's benefit, if there was.

BLITZER: Let's see. We've got Lindsey Graham, your Republican colleague, is calling for a special counsel as well.

Let's get back to today's business where you are up on Capitol Hill, Congressman. You've called the dissenters in your party who oppose McCarthy's speakership egotistical. Does it frustrate you to see some of those members being given very prominent committee assignments today?

STEWART: Well, we had a lot of emotion last week, and there were some of them. And, by the way, many of them are friends of mine. They are people I genuinely respect and I think they were actually trying to do something good for the conference and good for the country.

But there were a few who clearly, at some point, this wasn't any longer about rules and how Congress is going to govern itself, it was really about some of them and some of their aspirations. And when that happened, then many in the conference get very frustrated and kind of angry.

So, I would hope that they would not be rewarded for that. But, Wolf, the key here is that many of those individuals, whether on the freedom caucus or others, we should involve them in these committees. If they're involved with appropriations, for example, like I am, where we're writing these bills and going through that process, then they're far more likely to support the language and the legislation once it actually gets to the floor.

That's Kevin's point in trying to do this, involve everyone regardless of their ideological background or regardless of where they are within the Republican Party, whether they're moderate or whether they're very to the right, involve all of us, and then, once again, we'll have much more likelihood and much more likely that we would have support from everyone when were on the floor. Because, as you know, Wolf, you lose three or four seats, or both, you lose just a handful of votes and you can't move the legislation forward. Much, much better to get everyone involve while we're writing the legislation than to put it on the floor and then hope everyone will support it.

BLITZER: All right. Congressman, thank you, as usual, for joining us, Congressman Chris Stewart of Utah.

STEWART: Thank you.