Rep. McCaul: Biden, Administration Isn't Deterring Putin From Invasion Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Sunday, 06 February 2022 11:09 AM
It's "more likely than not" that Russia will invade Ukraine, as President Joe Biden and his administration have not created any deterrence that will keep that from happening, Rep. Michael McCaul, the ranking Republican member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Sunday.
"The noose is being prepared," the Texas Republican said on ABC's "This Week." "It's around Ukraine as we speak. These are dangerous times – this would be the largest invasion in Europe since World War II."
However, the "deterrence" has not been present to keep an invasion from happening since last March, said McCaul, adding that "Afghanistan was a key moment" because Russian President Vladimir Putin and other adversaries of the United States "saw that as a moment of weakness."
McCaul last week moderated a classified briefing on Capitol Hill, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin leading a briefing for members of the House, and on Sunday, he said he is concerned about the growing closeness between China and Russia.
"The most eerie thing" was seeing China's President Xi Jinping and Putin "hand in hand at the Olympics," said McCaul. "Xi is watching what is happening. If Putin can go into Ukraine with no resistance, certainly Xi will take Taiwan. He's always wanted this."
Iran is also watching, said McCaul, as is North Korea, where leader Kim Jong Un "had two rockets fired off this month that were hypersonics."
But if the United States doesn't stop Putin, "it's possible he could invade Ukraine and claim a victory," McCaul warned. "They held up this $200 million arms package that Congress approved. Now they're saying it's too late. I'm working with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on a bill that will stand up the deterrence where the administration has failed to provide the aid to Ukraine and the sanctions, devastating sanctions, including on Nord Stream 2."
If Russia invades Ukraine and the sanctions are enacted, McCaul said there are several responses Putin could take, and a refugee crisis could ensue.
"That's part of their plan that we've seen in the classified space, an internment camp in Ukraine," said McCaul. "Maybe financially they rely more on China. At the end of the day, you'll see a resistance movement in Ukraine. That's why we're sending them sniper rifles, ammunition. The majority of Ukraine is not pro-Russia anymore. There's a resistance movement there. To prevent this from happening in the first place, stop an invasion rather than waiting until after an attack. After the invasion, we'll give sanctions or we'll give lethal aid."
McCaul also discussed the Republican National Committee's vote to censure GOP Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., for their roles in investigating the events of Jan. 6, 2021 at the Capitol, accusing them of participating in the persecution of people involved in "legitimate political discourse."
The congressman said he does not agree with the censure if it involves the prosecution of those involved in violent acts at the Capitol, as those people "need to be prosecuted."
However, he said his party is seeing the committee investigating Jan. 6 as a "weaponization" of the events by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi."
The RNC, he added, "was referring to the peaceful protesters" with its comments, but when asked if Cheney and Kinzinger should have been censured, replied that he's "not a member of the RNC or privy to the resolution."
However, he said he does think Republicans must get unified if they want to win the majority back in Congress and get the White House back in 2024.
"We have so much to be unified against when it comes to Biden's failed policies," said McCaul.