State Politics

U.S. Sen. Jim Risch gives extensive, and contentious, interview on German TV

Idaho Sen. Jim Risch comments on Trump-Russia conversation

Idaho Sen. Jim Risch made the TV news rounds in May 2017, telling newscasters that President Trump was well within legal and moral rights to disclose classified information to Russian officials.
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Idaho Sen. Jim Risch made the TV news rounds in May 2017, telling newscasters that President Trump was well within legal and moral rights to disclose classified information to Russian officials.

Idaho U.S. Sen. Jim Risch just returned from Germany where he attended the Munich Security Conference, where he did a nearly 30-minute interview with German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

This is the first time Risch has attended the conference in his new role as chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The interview covered NATO, North Korea, Venezuela and other contentious global issues.

When asked about the trans-Atlantic divide, Risch said he has no reason to believe President Donald J. Trump is going to withdraw from NATO.

“I am chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, and I am here to tell you we are committed to NATO,” the senator said. “We are going to continue to be committed to NATO. There is no feeling in the United States of America that we want to withdraw from NATO. Just the opposite.”

When asked if Trump declaring a national emergency over the southern border wall is an abuse of power, Risch responded, “No.”

“Do you have a national emergency?” the reporter, Tim Sebastian, asked.

“Clearly,” Risch responded.

“The national emergency is that Mr. Trump’s poll ratings are falling. Isn’t it? That, in truth, is the only national emergency,” Sebastian queried.

“I don’t think that is the case,” Risch responded. “His polling has been up and down just like everybody else. Look, we resolve this through elections.”

During the interview, Risch challenged Sebastian several times, saying he was there for an interview, not a debate.

“I came here to do an interview with you, and I want to do an interview with you,” Risch told Sebastian, “but I don’t want to debate. I don’t do these in Washington, D.C., and I am not going to do it here.”

Risch was in Boise on Thursday to speak at a Boise Metro Chamber event.

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Idaho Statesman investigative reporter Cynthia Sewell was named Idaho Press Club reporter of the year in 2017 and 2008. A University of Oregon graduate, she joined the Statesman in 2005. Her family has lived in Idaho since the mid-1800s.
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