U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, said Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be allowed to finish his job, but the Second District Congressman is worried about revelations into FBI internal conduct.
In a Talk Business & Politics interview, Hill said he can be patient as Mueller’s Russia probe continues. Several members of the House GOP have agreed with President Donald Trump that the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt” or a “hoax” and needs to end.
“I’ve said from the very, very beginning of the appointment of Bob Mueller’s investigation, we need to let Bob Mueller do his job and see where it goes. With that said, we’ve also learned since the summer of 2016, about really bad procedures and bad processes at the FBI,” Hill said.
He said that allegations of domestic spying during the 2016 political campaign “shakes the faith in the American citizens in the FBI.” When asked if the facts that have come from the FBI revelations justifies the surveillance, Hill said, “I don’t know.”
President Trump’s recent Helsinki conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin was a “disappointment,” according to Hill, but he thinks the U.S. government is being extremely tough on Russia.
“I issued my statement immediately after the President’s Helsinki summit press conference and my disappointment in his tone and the statement that he made, he’s walking back. But look, this government collectively — the executive branch and the legislative branch — have never been tougher on Russia than they are today,” Hill said.
He cited increasing funding for NATO, expanding NATO’s mission, sanctions on Russia for Crimea and Syria, urging European partners to be tough, and money for election monitoring as examples. But Hill said the President undercut that message in Helsinki.
“I think in his Helsinki Press Conference he did. And I think he walked it back. And he’s tried to reiterate some of these things that are global policy, related to Russia. Not only in the United States but with our partners in Europe,” he said.
Hill also pushed back on the President’s approach to tariffs, particularly steel tariffs, which he said could have been handled differently.
“I’ve objected to particularly the National Security Steel and Aluminum tariffs across the board. I think using that was a mistake. I think people in the House and the Senate have informed the President they think it’s a mistake,” Hill said.
“There’s a smarter way to do steel and aluminum work and hit the target, which is China. China’s the leading dumper of steel and aluminum,” Hill added. “They chose to go across the board because they wanted to prop up steel and aluminum manufacturers here. They wanted to send a message world-wide, ‘We’re taking this seriously.’ They wanted to stop the potential trend of shipments of dumped Chinese steel through a third country. But I still believe there’s a better way to do it. And I’ve offered that as a suggestion, that we’re still pushing.”
Hill said Congress has the ultimate responsibility on trade.
“It’s a constitutional enumerated power, and I think you’ll see us continue to push back, at particularly on the steel and aluminum tariffs,” he said.
Hill also shared thoughts on the immigration and family reunification efforts of the last month and economic trends. Watch his full interview below.