Rep. Chris Stewart criticized President Trump’s decision to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his re-election during a podcast interview last week but scoffed at any allegation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Stewart was a guest on the latest episode of the Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast. He told host Michael Isikoff that Trump was “just wrong” to congratulate Putin on winning an election that was clearly a sham. However, Stewart said the controversy surrounding the phone call was overblown, saying, “You can’t have your head explode every time somebody does something you disagree with.”
Stewart also pushed back against Isikoff when asked about the decision by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee to end their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and their conclusion that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“I’m surprised you want to talk about this,” Stewart said during the interview. “I don’t know anyone else who is thinking about collusion. And if your audience is, they are going to be terribly disappointed. If you have people who are lying awake at night, going, ‘I can’t wait until Donald Trump is impeached for collusion,’ those dudes are going to be waiting a long, long time.”
He added: “We can ride this horse as long as you want. But the evidence is pretty clear that it’s not going to take people to the impeachment of Donald Trump, nor other people around him.”
Stewart dismissed suggestions from Democrats on the panel and others that the investigation by the committee’s Republican majority was incomplete. The panel never interviewed key witnesses such as former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos or former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The Utah Republican said that because such witnesses have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about their contacts with Russians and are now cooperating in the probe being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller, the Intelligence Committee has not had access to them.