GOP lawmaker defends Turner from colleague's criticism

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Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) defended House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) Thursday in the wake of a fellow House Republican saying Turner’s call to declassify a national security threat occurred with “reckless disregard.”

“We didn’t feel like the White House was responding to what we knew as the threat on the Intelligence Committee. And we want to have some type of reaction,” Wenstrup said during a Thursday interview.

Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) wrote in a letter that Turner’s Wednesday statement in which he called on the Biden administration to declassify information relating to “a national security threat” was made “to ensure additional funding for Ukraine and passage of an unreformed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).”

“I never heard that mentioned, one time, as we discussed this issue in the Intelligence Committee,” Wenstrup, a member of the Intelligence Committee, said about Ogles’s claim in an interview on “The Hill on NewsNation” with host Blake Burman. 

“Not one time, I didn’t hear one member talk about that,” Wenstrup continued. “And you know, Mr. Ogles, he’s got the responsibility as a member of Congress, I hope that he went and read what the threat was, but he can have his opinion and he might have a motive for his opinion.”

The threat was later revealed to be the development of an anti-satellite weapon by Russia, which Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) said was known about by Congress for “weeks” on Thursday.

“This is a matter that we’ve known about for a few weeks. We requested a meeting with the president. I did, we did in writing in January,” Johnson said at a press conference.

In his letter, Ogles said that Turner’s act of putting out the statement “constituted poor judgment at a minimum and a complete breach of trust influenced by the pursuit of a political agenda at the maximum.”

“As the Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence is solely appointed by the Speaker and under your direct purview, should the Chairman retain his post, you have a duty and an obligation to reassure this body (Congress) and the American people that the processes of the Intelligence Committee have not been corrupted by the very institutions they are charged with monitoring,” Ogles wrote.

“The Hill” show on NewsNation airs Monday to Friday at 6 p.m. EST.

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