ABC "This Week" - TRANSCRIPT 'This Week' Transcript 1-29-23: Ben Crump, Sen. Dick Durbin & Rep. Mike Turner


Date: Jan. 29, 2023


RADDATZ: And we're joined now by the new chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Mike Turner.

It's great to see you this morning, Congressman.

REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): Thank you.

RADDATZ: We had Joe Biden find documents and now Mike Pence, even though he told our David Muir back in November he didn't have any classified material. They're all very different from Donald Trump's case. But what's your reaction to the Pence discovery?

TURNER: Well, it's just really astounding because it shows there's really a systemic problem here on the administration handling side of both the vice president's office and the president's office. And as you know, the process of classifying documents is uniquely under the president, and by the Constitution, Supreme Courts ruled that they have the ability to classify and declassify. So, you would think there that the handling of these documents would be even that much more secure.

RADDATZ: And last week, you called President Biden a serial document hoarder and said he would only have classified documents at his residence to show them to somebody.

Do you have the same concerns now about Mike Pence?

TURNER: Well, in all these instances, the concern is that this information would be given to someone else, and would be accessed by someone else. That's why it's classified. That's why it's a grave concern as to the manner in which this is handled.

With Biden -- with President Biden, when he was vice president and also senator, you have him over, you know, a series of decades taking classified documents home, including what we're learning now is his own notes from classified sessions and briefings.

I can't imagine, which is what I said before, I can't imagine a circumstance where anyone would believe that they need to have them in their home, and he clearly was taking them repeatedly on the train and back home and, you know, putting them in boxes in his garage. That -- that repeated action is certainly concerning, but the overall arching --


RADDATZ: Do you have any evidence that it was a repeated accent (ph)?

TURNER: -- that these are classified --

RADDATZ: Sir, do you have any evidence --

TURNER: You know and you reported --


RADDATZ: -- or any facts about the train for instance?

TURNER: What you actually have reported yourself that some of these documents relate back to when he was a senator, and some of these documents relate to -- to the time when he was vice president. That's over several decades and over a great deal of time. And he famously tells us he was on the train going from Washington, D.C. to his house.

We know that he didn't just fly there on their own. He would have had to have taken them. And having done so over a series of decades, certainly, is of concern, because it's a practice.

But the point that you're making which I think is the one we need to focus on is that these classified documents contain information that we don't want anyone else to see, that we don't want anyone else to know because they put at risk our country, they put at risk -- as you reported, a great report, by the way -- about the concerns of classified documents that these actually put people's lives at risk who are working to try to protect our country and to keep our secrets safe.

RADDATZ: And I just want to go back to the train because I certainly didn't report that he did that on the train. Do you think that Mike Pence brought those documents to his home just the same way you're saying that Biden did, or we just don't know?

TURNER: Well, we don't know because -- but what we do know is that the vice president has said that he was not involved in the packing of these, that they were transported to his house after he was vice president. We don't know.

Obviously, the chain of custody in each of these issues is going to be important. It certainly should be part of the Department of Justice's investigation. How did these documents get where they were going, and where we ultimately found them, but also what happened to them in the interim? How did they get into the hands of both the vice president/senator, President Biden, the Vice President Pence and, of course, President Trump? How did they get into their hands and then how did they get to where we ultimately found them?

RADDATZ: And, Congressman, does Congress have a role in reviewing this? Do you think things are overclassified? What -- what would you like to see happen from your end?

TURNER: Right. I think things are overclassified. I mean, there's -- unfortunately, Congress doesn't have the ability to declassify. There are things that I think need to be out in the public discourse.

We certainly saw a shift in policy with respect to Ukraine and Russia where the government declassified information so people could talk about what Russia was doing, and what they were doing in Ukraine. I think it's incredibly important for allies of the United States to openly discuss the information that we have.

But there's one development last week that I think is going to be very important was when Senator Warner and Marco Rubio came together and jointly chastised the Department of Justice for their lack of being forthcoming with the respect to these documents that are being found.

We were told that we were going to have these documents available to us to review. Now, the Attorney General Garland, the Department of Justice is saying they're not going to allow Congress to review these documents.

They have no ability to prevent us. Congress has subpoena power, and its ability to compel the administration is absolute. They don't have an ability to say under the Constitution or a statute, we have an ongoing investigation, therefore, now we can't tell you.

I think it only makes everybody concerned about what are they hiding and why are they trying to keep it from Congress. You're going to see bipartisan, bicameral support to force Attorney General Garland to make these available to Congress so that we can take a look at what happened, what's in these documents, and what does Congress need to do to protect America's secrets?

RADDATZ: OK. Thanks very much for that, Congressman. We appreciate you joining us.