U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., took to the national airwaves on Monday to weigh in on U.S. Attorney General William Barr received a report from Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and to pitch a new congressional caucus that he helped launch.
Waltz appeared on CNN’s “New Day” with John Berman on Monday to weigh in on those topics and the freshman congressman said he hoped that the report would be made public.
“I think Attorney General Barr made it clear in his report that he is working to make it public – that, number one, he’s working through Grand Jury rules and number two, through national security concerns, to make it public. I voted unanimously with every other member to make it public, and I think that’s something we should do,” Waltz said before calling the investigaton a “win for democracy.”
“I’m a combat veteran,” Waltz noted. “I’ve served all over the world in some pretty difficult locations, and I think this is really a win for democracy. There was so much hand-wringing and breathless reporting on a dictatorship and would rule of law prevail. And I think it has prevailed. The American system has prevailed, and we can’t take for granted that this doesn’t happen all over the world. Where a head of state is hit with very, very serious allegations, bordering on treason, frankly, and we have another part of our government do a full investigation. But now we have to accept the findings of those investigations.
“At the end of the day I do think, as Americans, we need to take a step back, and this is a big win for our democracy,” he added. “I have always said let’s let the investigation play out, but that applies on both sides. How many people up until yesterday are still calling for impeachment, are still saying there’s collusion, are pounding the table that it absolutely happened? And yet now, we have a report that everyone put so much faith into and now you’re watching people pivot away from it and start looking toward other things. Mind you, to your point, before the full report is even made public. They’re already kind of dismissing it.
“To the second point, I think it’s worth noting how thorough this investigation was. I didn’t even fully realize it. Nineteen attorneys, over 40 FBI agents, analysts, accountants, 2,800 subpoenas, 500 witnesses, 13 countries that we reached out to, and, of course, over two years of investigations. So at some point, enough is enough. We have to accept the findings, and I think as a country, we need to move on,” Waltz continued.
“So there’s two key pieces there from a national security perspective. One, look, our democracy and the heart of our democracy, our electoral system, is absolutely under assault – not just by the Russians but by other state actors such as the Chinese as well,” Waltz said. “And they are doing it in two ways: one, a misinformation campaign where through social media and other mechanisms… and just trying to foment discord in our democracy. And then secondly, there’s a government-funded, government-directed hacking campaign to expose misleading and… embarrassing information on the part of the different candidates. That absolutely has to be stopped. I call on the Trump Administration to call it out. I will say, and I will give credit… I’ve been personally briefed on what the intelligence community and Defense Department did in 2018 and is continuing to do heading into 2020. They deserve a lot of credit. We did not have the same issues in 18, and I think we’re going to be in good shape going into 2020, but we’re absolutely under attack.”
Waltz also used his time on CNN to showcase his efforts to helped launch a congressional caucus consisting of veterans.
Earlier this month, Waltz helped found the For Country Caucus. The new caucus will be co-chaired by U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., and U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif. Waltz and U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Penn., will serve as vice chairs.
“So, look, where do we go, going forward from here? And I think everyone needs to decide,” Waltz said. “I think the Democrats need to decide. Are they going to spend the next few years tearing down this president or are we going to spend it governing? I co-founded along with two Democrats and another Republican a caucus called For Country. We’re about mission. We’re about country. We’re all combat veterans. I can tell you the enemies’ bullets could care less about political party, about race, religion, creed. They only care if you’re an American or not. That’s the ethos we’re bringing. We still disagree on a lot of issues, but how do we get to a point where we can have a beer at night, so to speak, find common ground and move the country forward. That’s what this caucus is all about and what I ran on and what every veteran and every member should be about. We put our lives on the line for this country from day one and we should be about for country not necessarily for party.”
A graduate of VMI, Waltz served in the Army Special Forces in Afghanistan and is now the first Green Beret ever elected to Congress. He worked in George W. Bush’s administration, including as an advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney. Since then, Waltz has made the rounds on cable TV including as a Fox News contributor but he has also made appearances on CNN, MSNBC, PBS and other channels. In November, Waltz won an open congressional seat representing parts of Northeast and Central Florida, replacing Republican Ron DeSantis who was elected governor.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.