Hugh Hewitt On What's Next For Trump's Agenda
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
For days, House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes has been fighting off calls to recuse himself from his committee's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Walter Jones, a congressman from North Carolina, has become the first Republican to publicly join in calls for Nunes to step aside in this case. All these calls ramped up after it came to light that Nunes secretly visited the White House grounds to examine classified documents with an undisclosed source. Chairman Nunes has so far rejected the idea of recusing himself.
Conservative talk show radio host and commentator Hugh Hewitt is now on the line to talk more about this. Mr. Hewitt, thanks so much for being with us again.
HUGH HEWITT: Good morning, Rachel. How are you?
MARTIN: I'm well. So what's your take? Should Chairman Nunes recuse himself?
HEWITT: No. No. This is a politicized fight that Adam Schiff - who is an acquaintance of mine, and Devin Nunes, who is a longtime friend of mine...
MARTIN: Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat.
HEWITT: ...Adam Schiff, excuse me - has been - they've been having for about a month and a half now. It involves all the politicization of everything in Washington, D.C. And as far as I can see, Chairman Nunes hasn't done anything that requires recusal. And besides, the rules of the House are fairly explicit in the Constitution. They are made by the House. They do not require him to step down. So I think it's a silly, overwrought reaction as everything in the media is today to everything Trump.
MARTIN: Well, then let me just follow up on this in this way because Democrats - largely, I will give you that, that it is mostly Democrats - but they say that this just doesn't look good. The information Nunes apparently got hold of during that secret meeting at the White House was about the possibility that communications from the Trump team during the transition could have been collected incidentally.
And Democrats say this appears to be an example of Nunes giving President Trump cover for his erroneous claims about wiretapping by the previous administration. You don't see it that way, clearly. Where are the holes in that argument then?
HEWITT: Well, Rachel, this goes back to the fact that it is exclusively Democrats except for Walter Jones, who is an idiosyncratic Republican. So it's one Republican thinks that Chairman Nunes ought to step aside. And it goes back to how one views this investigation. There are in my view three different investigations underway.
One by the FBI into whether or not Russia interfered with our election, which they did do, and which I've been saying they've been doing. WikiLeaks is simply a Russian front. And I think people have got to realize it's an FSB GRU Russian front. The second is into whether or not there was collection of intelligence concerning Americans that ought not to have been collected and/or released to journalists or other third parties through illegal leaks. And the third is whether or not members of the Trump circle, transition team or White House are involved in any nefarious activities whatsoever with Russia.
The FBI is looking at one and three. We know that by virtue of explicit statement. And I believe they're looking at number two based upon director Comey's testimony before Congress. Those three investigations are all going forward at the FBI. The Senate investigation is ongoing. And the House investigation is ongoing. I think we all just lay back a little bit and wait and see what happens and depoliticize what is a very serious situation.
MARTIN: In the seconds that remain, I want to ask you about a Wall Street Journal editorial published last week. It called into question the president's credibility. It was a response to these now-debunked claims about the wiretapping. And it says, quote, "two months into his presidency, Mr. Trump's approval rating's at 39 percent. No doubt he considers that fake news. But if he doesn't show more respect for the truth, most Americans may conclude he's a fake president." Does this president have a credibility problem?
HEWITT: I think the president ought to call Director Comey and ask him is anyone in the White House under investigation. If so, they need to leave. But I do not believe he has a credibility problem on whether or not, for example, General Flynn's comments were illegally leaked. I think he's very credible there. He used the term wiretapping. That was wrong. That was incorrect. But we do have a question about surveillance. And we need to look into it.
MARTIN: Hugh Hewitt, thanks so much for your time this morning. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.