Stewart says Trump would be justified walking away from Iran nuclear deal

On Tuesday, President Trump is set to announce his decision about whether to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration. Rep. Chris Stewart says the deal was a bad one, but he hopes the president keeps negotiating with Iran if he decides to scrap the agreement.

“The agreement was fatally flawed,” says Stewart. “We freed billions of dollars for the Iranian regime that they funneled into their military and terrorist organizations. It’s very difficult to defend that agreement.”

But, Stewart says even if Trump does walk away from the deal, he says the U.S. should not walk away from the bargaining table.

“I hope the president will engage with them and try to make some modifications, but I don’t know if he will or not. My primary purpose is to stop them from building nuclear weapons.”

Stewart, in his position on the House Intelligence Committee, has been at the center of one of several investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He says it’s now abundantly clear the Russian government is aiming to sow division in the American electorate ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

But, he says there’s only a limited number of things that the government can do to counteract Russian interference, meaning Americans will have to do better figuring out what is real and what is propaganda.

“This is an organization backed by the Russian government,” says Stewart. “We can try to help the American people be a little more discerning and recognize that things aren’t always what they think they are, but that’s hard to know. It’s a very difficult task. At the end of the day, we have to rely on the judgment of the American people.”

The Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee plan to release thousands of ads from Facebook that have been linked to Russian misinformation efforts in the 2016 elections. Stewart says he agrees with the move, but he doesn’t know if it will add much to our understanding of Russian efforts.

“We know the Russians had these ads, and they run the gamut of issues. I think it will be interesting for people to see them, but I don’t think it will change much,” he says.

Listen to the podcast of our full conversation with Rep. Stewart. He discusses the Iran nuclear deal, Gina Haspel’s nomination to be CIA director and Russian interference in U.S. elections.