March 31, 2022

Risch on Fox News: Putin is Losing, But Ukrainians Need More, Quicker

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today joined John Roberts and Sandra Smith on America Reports to discuss Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine and its impact on Americans.

To watch the full interview on YouTube, click here.

To download the full interview on Google Drive, click here. 

On China’s support of Russia:

“In the foreign relations lane that I operate in, there aren’t very many things that I can say with absolute certainty. But I can tell you with absolute certainty that China will do whatever is best for China. They don’t care about Russia or anyone else. Why are they doing this? Obviously they’re doing this because they think that they will be next in line for some sanctions.”

“The Russians and the Chinese have had a relationship for 100 years. They’re both autocracies, and when you have autocrats that run a country, they are brethren and they think and act alike.”

On Putin’s claim that his advisors misled him:

“I think it’s Putin lying to himself. He knows what’s going on. He watches Fox News. He watches CNN. He has access to the internet. He’s not relying totally on the advisors that he has to tell him what’s going on. You’d have to be a complete idiot to not know what is going on on the battlefield in Ukraine. Everybody in the world knows what’s going on – he's losing.”

On why it was wrong for Biden to say Putin cannot remain in power:

“You can think that – a lot of people think that – but you just don’t articulate it. Because number one, it becomes very personal with the leader of the country. And number two, they all of the sudden realize this is existential for them. And when people are in that position, they do bad and crazy things. That's just not something that should have been said.”

On whether the U.S. is providing enough support to Ukraine:

“[Ukrainians] need more and they need it quicker... So no, I’m not satisfied. I met with Ukrainian members of parliament last night, some of them, and they obviously are pressing us to do the same.”

“[Ukrainians] are fighting for the independence and the sovereignty of their country. They are going to give their children and grandchildren something that people can't buy, and that is the freedoms that we as Americans enjoy.”

On the administration blaming skyrocketing oil and gas prices on the crisis in Ukraine:

“Prices were up way over a dollar before there was even any talk about a Ukrainian crisis. The [administration has] to own that. I appreciate they are starting to realize how important this is to the American people. I wish they had done so some time ago. I watched them sign the shut-down of the XL pipeline within an hour after he took the oath of office – that was 700,000 barrels a day. If that was open and operating right now, just think where we would be. They own a good share of this, and they’re not going to get away with it.”

“Energy security is absolutely critical for national defense and for the kind of life that we want to live… When the world is going through 100 million barrels a day, this is not going to change overnight. And it needs to be done, but it needs to be done reasonably and over a period of time that is acceptable, that all of us can live with.”

These remarks have been lightly edited for clarity. A full transcript can be found below:

“In the foreign relations lane that I operate in, there aren’t very many things that I can say with absolute certainty. But I can tell you with absolute certainty that China will do whatever is best for China. They don’t care about Russia or anyone else. Why are they doing this? Obviously they’re doing this because they think that they will be next in line for some sanctions – it’s natural.

“The Russians and the Chinese have had a relationship for 100 years. They’re both autocracies, and when you have autocrats that run a country, they are brethren and they think and act alike. Their relationship has been going on for a long time.”

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“I hear people saying that all the time. I think probably somebody is lying to somebody, but I think it’s Putin lying to himself. He knows what’s going on. He watches Fox News. He watches CNN. He has access to the internet. He’s not relying totally on the advisors that he has to tell him what’s going on. You’d have to be a complete idiot to not know what is going on on the battlefield in Ukraine. Everybody in the world knows what’s going on – he's losing. And the same thing with what’s going on at home [in Russia]. We all get reports here about the horrible conditions in Russia with the banks shut down, the stock market shut down, all of the businesses shut down, particularly American businesses. He knows that. What he's going to do about it, that's a different question.”

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“Cat's out of the bag. I think people who don’t work in the foreign relations lane would say ‘hey what’s wrong with what he said?’ Well what he said was a clear rendition of ‘we want regime change.’ You don't do that – for a lot of reasons. You can think that – a lot of people think that – but you just don’t articulate it. Because number one, it becomes very personal with the leader of the country. And number two, they all of the sudden realize this is existential for them. And when people are in that position, they do bad and crazy things. That's just not something that should have been said. And you saw the eruption around the world on that. It was a gaffe. The White House has tried to walk it back, but you can't put a bullet back in the gun.”

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“I've been on the side since the beginning of this that they need more and they need it quicker, and they needed it some time ago. So no, I’m not satisfied. I met with Ukrainian members of parliament last night, some of them, and they obviously are pressing us to do the same. I sympathize. These people are going through what we went through in 1776. They are fighting for the independence and the sovereignty of their country. They are going to give their children and grandchildren something that people can't buy, and that is the freedoms that we as Americans enjoy and a lot of other people in the world enjoy.”

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“No question about that. The American people are not as gullible as the Russian people are. Certainly, at the very edge of that, there’s some price increase responsible for that. But look, prices were up way over a dollar before there was even any talk about a Ukrainian crisis. They have to own that. I appreciate they are starting to realize how important this is to the American people. I wish they had done so some time ago. I watched them sign the shut-down of the XL pipeline within an hour after he took the oath of office – that was 700,000 barrels a day. If that was open and operating right now, just think where we would be. They own a good share of this, and they’re not going to get away with it.”

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“People know this. Energy security is absolutely critical for national defense and for the kind of life that we want to live. It's foolish the direction they have been going. Everybody wants the air cleaned up, everybody wants green things. But when the world is going through 100 million barrels a day, this is not going to change overnight. And it needs to be done, but it needs to be done reasonably and over a period of time that is acceptable, that all of us can live with.”

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