Top GOP member on House Intel calls for more support for Ukraine | New policies

By NOMAAN MERCHANT, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday called on President Joe Biden’s administration to boost military and intelligence support for Ukraine.

“I think the administration should actively arm Ukraine so they can defend themselves,” Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio said in an interview. “They want to defend themselves. We must give them every opportunity to do so. “

Washington has committed more than $2 billion in military aid to Ukraine since 2014, when Russia seized Crimea and backed an insurgency in the eastern region known as Donbass. In December, Congress increased security assistance to Ukraine to $300 million for 2022, including at least $75 million specifically for weapons.

Russia now has troops massed near Ukraine, raising fears in the West that it is planning another invasion as it pushes its demand that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO. The Biden administration has rejected Russia’s request and is expected to provide additional military aid to Ukraine in the coming weeks.

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Republicans and some Democrats have pushed Biden to move faster to provide Ukraine with lethal aid. Some lawmakers also want the United States to impose sanctions on Russia before any possible invasion.

US and Russian diplomats are holding several meetings in Europe this week aimed at resolving the crisis.

Turner replaces Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican who left Congress to become the head of former President Donald Trump’s new social media company. When Nunes was president, the committee launched a controversial investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

After California Representative Adam Schiff took over the presidency, the committee conducted the inquiry into Trump’s first impeachment on allegations that he abused his power by pushing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate Biden while withholding military aid to Kiev. Nunes has become one of Trump’s staunchest defenders.

Those investigations cast a national eye on the normally secretive intelligence committee and put a strain on what members said was a quiet, behind-closed-doors bipartisanship on many other issues.

“Not only do we need to focus on our external adversaries and national security, we need to ensure that this information is used in a way that helps us make better decisions in Congress,” Turner said.

The committee will remain in the spotlight if the GOP returns to the House this fall. Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy has already promised to kick Schiff and fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell off the panel. Turner said Wednesday that any decision on the composition of the committee would be McCarthy’s “sole decision”.

Turner’s call for stronger US action abroad puts him at odds with some Republicans who take a more isolationist approach. In a widely shared interview in November, Turner argued with Fox News host Tucker Carlson after Carlson asked why the US should help Ukraine and suggested troops be sent to the US border instead. -Mexican to prevent immigrants from entering the country illegally.

“Apparently you need a little education on Ukraine,” Turner told the host.

On Wednesday, Turner said he wanted the committee to do more to educate Americans about what he called “close-to-peer adversaries” like China and Russia.

“One of the reasons Russia might enter Ukraine is that it sees the United States as weak,” he said. “When the United States is weak…it’s not just that the United States itself is in danger. Our allies are in danger, which of course inevitably puts us in danger.

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