The world held its breathe this week when a stray missile crossed into Poland — a NATO country. Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy insisted the missile came from Russia, but other reports claim the opposite. Either way, with a NATO country now directly effected, did the U.S. become close to entering the war? Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), joins Glenn to explain if America was ever close to joining the danger. Plus, Rep. Stewart explains why it wouldn’t make any sense for Vladimir Putin to involve NATO forces right now.
TranscriptBelow is a rush transcript that may contain errors
GLENN: Chris Stewart is a multiple New York Times best-selling author. He is one of the best writers out there. He's a national award-winning author. Also, world record setting Air Force pilot, and the former owner and CEO of a small business. And he is a friend of mine. He is the congressman from Utah's second congressional district. Chris Stewart, welcome to the program.
CHRIS: Hey, Glenn. Nice to see you say, I was a friend of yours. That's great. Thank you.
GLENN: I know. And I expect that check to clear.
Now, listen, here's the thing I want you to talk about. Because you were on the intelligence and the permanent select committee, and you have military background. What the heck happened this week? How close were we to a war with Russia?
CHRIS: Okay. So like often when we speak, Glenn, I have to be careful what I say to you. And I want to speak you know in the realm of information that is publicly available. And there's more than that. It just passes the common sense test. Anyone with average intelligence would be able to conclude, and that is it was very, very dicey in the last ten days or so.
Because one of the most intricate, complicated, and dangerous maneuvers any military force can endeavor to do is an orderly withdrawal.
It's inherently dangerous in the sense, you're weakening your forces as you're trying to hold territory, while the others lead, the -- the area of operations. The fact that you have the river there, which obviously complicates that.
And Vladimir Putin has I think, we conclude there's -- you know there are certain thresholds, that he will not allow to have happen.
One of them is any essential Russian strategic defeat -- one of the results will protect his forces from the humiliating defeat that would alter the outcome of the war, and that's what we were facing this week.
And the good news, ironically, the good news is Russia actually had a very well executed withdrawal, that did not endanger massive numbers to our forces. So Vladimir Putin wasn't faced with that choice.
But it was very, very content, and a moment of uncertainty there, that I think we had our eyes -- our eyes were on it, very carefully.
GLENN: I will tell you, that when I saw the news. Someone came into a studio. I was in between shows. Somebody walked in and said, a missile just landed in Poland. And I said, oh, my gosh.
And we hoped that it was a mistake. And it was a mistake on Ukrainian's side. But Zelinsky is still saying, we don't have the proof that it was us. I mean, is that even possible that he doesn't know?
CHRIS: No. He often says things he has to say, in order to achieve his goals. And you go back to even before the war, he continued to deny, this was ever going to happen. Despite the clear evidence, that it wasn't just possible, it was inevitable. And he had to do that to keep on a brave face for his people. Et cetera. And one of the things we're seeing now, him saying to his people, and his military. You know, we're going to keep going. We're going to defeat every Russian. We're going to chase him out of every region, and Dinesh, Eastern regions of Ukraine, and maybe even Crimea.
So he will say things to rally his people. And rally his military forces. And I think this is an example of that.
Going back to where I started, you apply a common sense test. Becoming increasingly difficult, as we know in the world around us. Because we see that things make no sense at all, and it turns out to be true.
But Vladimir Putin does not want to go to war with NATO right now. I mean, he's in the middle of a catastrophe anyway. And to bring NATO into a war, especially on the western front, around could he have. It would just take a catastrophe, and times it by 100 for him. And not just militarily, but the perception of the world.
So one of the first things you ask yourself. It doesn't make sense. Why would Vladimir Putin do that? And it turns out, he didn't. It turns out, it was almost certainly a Ukrainian missile. And it took us very little time to determine, that it was fired by Ukrainians. It was likely a Russian missile. But it was one provided previous to the war.
And so that's why I think there were some confusion. Again, it just didn't make sense. It turned out not to be true. That Vladimir Putin was actually attacking a NATO country.
GLENN: What do you think of Milley this week saying, we're just going to keep giving them the money?
CHRIS: I don't think Milley is a member of Congress. So Milley doesn't make that decision, does he?
GLENN: Do you think there will be enough of you that will fight for an actual budget and appropriations?
CHRIS: Depends on what you mean by as number of us, as sufficient enough to stop it, I don't know yet. But there's a growing number of us, including those of us with military backgrounds. Those of us who sit on the intelligence in the Armed Services Committee, who will lead on these issues, who have increasing concerns about this.
And I think, Glenn, you and I talked about, an editorial I talked about several months ago. Or several weeks ago. That said, look, have we learned nothing from Iraq or Afghanistan. And if we have learned some of those lessons, we need to apply them here. And the very first thing we need to know, are our goals and Zelinsky's aligned? Because if he says, and he actually means, we're going to continue and press this all the way into Crimea. The United States simply cannot support that goal, without finding ourselves at war with Russia. And offensive operations in Crimea. Vladimir Putin would do that no differently than if we were to attack Moscow.
And Zelinsky certainly knows that. And so we have to first clarify this question.
What are our goals in Ukraine? And if we can agree on those goals, then we will support the effort.
Then second thing, you mentioned, Glenn, where is this money going?
Do we know these weapons are going where they're supposed to be going? By the way, are we funding nonessential military operations, like Ukrainian. The retirement accounts for Ukrainian officials.
I mean, that has simply got to stop as well. We have to identify where this money, and how this money is being spent.
GLENN: Let me switch topics.
The Republicans have laid out the Biden investigation. They were very clear. This is not about Hunter Biden. This is about Joe Biden.
The evidence seems to be overwhelming. You can't -- you can impeach. But you won't -- you won't get the Congress to you know vote for impeachment in the Senate.
And convict him of that. Most likely.
What is -- what do you think is happening here? How is this going to be perceived?
For the first time, Brock, what's his name? David Brock is leaving Media Matters, and he's going into a new Shell company that is going to be coordinating the pushback on the Republicans.
They are -- they are marshaling their forces like crazy. Like only Democrats do. What do you think is coming?
CHRIS: Well, they're marshaling their forces, because they know a catastrophe is coming. And that is, the truth is finally going to be revealed. And it will be revealed in such a way, that it can't be ignored.
You know, Glenn as effective as people like yourself are, in announcing and stating whether it's obviously true, it doesn't have the same weight as when an official committee of Congress, reaches certain conclusions.
It's harder for the media to ignore that. This isn't just about some business dealings with big companies in Ukraine and China.
Of course, China is our primary focus.
These are actual evidence of fraud. There's actual evidence of conspiracy. And with companies that are directly tied to the communist leadership, and Communist Party, in China.
And -- and we're finally going to have a chance, to investigate in that subpoena, and to understand these allegations. There's one thing I would caution. And I actually -- I -- I have a conclusion, that might surprise you. We should caution ourselves, in the sense, we won't necessarily impeach.
What we should say is, we'll investigate and find the truth.
And then if that truth compels, we should proceed with that.
GLENN: I agree.
CHRIS: I think the evidence of this is potentially so overwhelming. That I don't think it's possible, that the Senate doesn't actually convict.
I think it's possible, that the evidence is so overwhelming. That they may have no choice.
Now, again, let's see. Let's do the investigation. And let's see where we are.
But I think it's -- this is opening up a can of words. This is something way more substantial for the administration. Than just an inconvenience for them.
GLENN: Chris, I don't know if you know, anything about this happen.
I haven't looked into it. I haven't had time yet today. The Klamath River. They are getting rid of the four dams, on the Klamath River for the salmon. This is not the same river.
This is Washington, Oregon, California.
This is not the four dams. That they wanted to get rid of, on the Snake River. Right?
I didn't know we were trying to get rid of eight dams. I just know we were trying to get rid of four, apparently.
Do you know anything about the Klamath River Dam?
CHRIS: Well, I know a little bit. I don't know if I know enough to go into national radio.
GLENN: All right.
CHRIS: I will say this though, what you indicated is true. And also, it shows, just the insanity of the radical environmentalists who are in the middle of a drought, in the entire western United States. They think the solution is to drain the dams. They're trying to do the same thing here in Utah with the lake -- it just literally makes no sense in the middle of a drought. When water is precious, anyway, in a region where you know wars are fought over water, as the old saying goes. Yeah. Let's go drain dams. Because we know that will help. Again, it just simply makes no sense.
GLENN: Real quick, the EPA has held up major oil refinery, during the oil crisis. They're -- you know they're shutting everything down.
And they're not letting us redesign or rebuild or anything. According to the EPA.
Can Congress actually get anything done to actually relieve the American people of some of this nonsense, by themselves?
RICHARD: Well, I think there's only one avenue to do that. And that's through the appropriations process. Which you mentioned I sit on the house committee. I also sit on the Appropriations Committee.
And there's good news and bad news there. We can compel some of these things by tying it to government funding.
The bad news is, it's only a one-year solution. It's not a permanent solution. Because it's tied to language, which only funds the government for that year. So that's as long as language can apply.
And the second thing is that you run the risk of having, either the Senate or the president, veto or reject that funding mechanism, because of some of that language. And then you have to fight through the government checkout. So we're going to have some victory on those things, Glenn.
We will be able to insert language, whether it's with the EPA.
Another example, defunding 87,000 IRS agents.
I think that's one of the very first things we're going to take on. But we're going to do it through defunding again, through appropriations. And I challenge the president to shut down the government because he wants to adjust by having 87,000 IRS agents, who are going to come after any small business owner.
You don't need 87,000 agents to go after Jeff Bezos. That's clearly looking at middle-class Americans. Middle income Americans. And business owners.
GLENN: Oh, yeah.
CHRIS: So I think we could have some success. I think we will have some success on some of the EPA and oil and gas businesses. The absurdity of the president shutting down domestic oil production. And then turning to the oil and gas producers, and blaming them, and talking about their greed over the price of gas. I mean, does he gaslight the American people, to the extent that he just assumes every one of them is stupid?
We know what's happened here. And I think we will have a little bit of success on that, but the challenge is you have Schumer still running the Senate. We have to work our language through him.
GLENN: I know. All right. Chris, thank you for everything you do.
Congressman Chris Stewart, and have a great Thanksgiving, sir. God bless.
CHRIS: Thank you, sir. You too.
GLENN: You bet.