'I will support the president' on Senate trial and witnesses: Sen. Ron Johnson

Following the House impeachment of President Donald Trump, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is interviewed on "This Week."
7:42 | 12/22/19

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Transcript for 'I will support the president' on Senate trial and witnesses: Sen. Ron Johnson
For more on this, we're joined by senators on each side of the aisle who will determine the president's fate, and we'll start with Republican senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Good morning, senator. Good morning, Martha. Merry Christmas. Thanks very much. Same to you. You said earlier this month that you think the consensus in the senate would be to let the house make its case, the white house make its case, and then put forward a motion to vote without witnesses. Is that still what you see happening? I think so. That's, you know, just general discussion within the conference. The case is pretty thin that the house is sending over to us, if they ever send it over to us. Pretty thin from my standpoint, so what both sides have a fair chance of making their case, and then we should take a vote. So you believe there are 51 votes in the senate for the quick trial with no witnesses. Is that something moderate Republicans will support? Again, I can't speak for anybody else, but I'm just saying the scuttlebutt inside the conference would seem to support that I would think. And you have criticized speaker Pelosi for not immediately transmitting articles of impeachment to the senate to try to get leverage with the senate to hear from key witnesses like Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton. Why shouldn't you be willing to call witnesses? Again, I'm not sure I have criticized her. I think it's just kind of bizarre they had to rush to this impeachment vote, and then all of a sudden, she's sitting on it. I don't think the senate should be making the case the house should have made in their my guess is they weren't able to make the case. As I said, the charges are pretty thin gruel. I don't see anything impeachable in that. It's just not the job of the senate to make the case that the house should have made in their impeachment clause or in their articles of impeachment. Senator, our new "Washington post" poll shows 71% of the voters believe the president should allow his top aides to this is something the president advocated for. Just listen. When it's fair and it will be fair in the senate, I would love to have Mike Pompeo. I would love to have Mick. I would love to have Rick Perry, and many other people testify, but I don't want them to testify when this is a total fix. And he's talking about the senate. So if it is really what the president wants, if it is what a large majority of Republicans want, why not do it? Well, again, I have said repeatedly that I will support the president in the type of trial he wants, and the types of witnesses he wants to bring, but again, I also think it would be totally appropriate to have the house put on their case, the president put on his case, and then decide what we're going to do after that point. And why do you think it would be messy and unproductive to have witnesses or change anything? That's something you have also said. Well, first of all, I have been conducting oversight into related matters since literally March, 2015. My committee's work started with the Hillary Clinton email scandal, the FBI's investigation of that. That in many respects morphed into the whole Russian collusion with the trump campaign hoax. We just held a hearing with Michael Horowitz last week. There's an awful lot of troubling problems with what happened inside those investigations. A lot of damage being done to our democracy right now, Martha, is what we're now talking about. So we can obsess on this impeachment. We can obsess on the trial, be you what I'm trying to do is I'm trying to get the American people the truth of what all happens. Something very strange is happening. You have got 40%, 45% of the American public that support the president, and support is strengthening, and 40%, 45% obviously, he's not their cup of tea. Let's put it that way. 10% to 12% of the American people in the middle are asking, what is pulling off? I'm trying to answer those questions. Let's go to some new questions. There are new emails released by the Pentagon on Friday after the senate for public integrity asked for them. That shows it was about 90 minutes after president trump held that phone call on July 25th with the president of Ukraine that white house budget office ordered the Pentagon to suspend all military aid that had already been allocated to Ukraine, and that a budget official told the Pentagon to keep quiet because it was a very sensitive matter. Does that concern you? As I have said repeatedly, the president has been very consistent in the explanation he gave to me in terms of why he had reservations about Ukraine. The generalized, endemic corruption, and president zelensky won on an anti-corruption platform, and the fact that Europe doesn't do what the president thinks they should do to help out Ukraine, a country in its own backyard. Senator, I know you have said this before, but these are new emails. Those are legitimate concerns, and the new emails don't shed any new light on that. The president was concerned about whether or not Americans' hard earned taxpayer dollars should be spent into a country where there have been proven cases of corruption. Russian president Vladimir Putin -- speaking of Russia -- dismissed the impeachment case against president trump, accuses Democrats of using absolutely invented reasons to try to remove him, and this comes on the heels of a "Washington post" story that says, many of trump's advisers think Putin himself -- Putin himself helped spur the idea that Ukraine, not Russia interfered in the 2016 Al qurashi -- election saying, after meeting privately with Vladimir Putin at the group of 20 summit in Hamburg, trump insisted that Ukraine worked to defeat him. One former senior white house official said trump even stated so explicitly at one point saying, he knew Ukraine was the real culprit because "Putin told what is your reaction to that? Do you have concerns that Putin is influencing president trump's opinion on Ukraine? I have no doubt that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. My committee held hearings two years before that about Russians' interference in the European elections. They basically tried to form a coup in Montenegro. This is what Russia does. We need to anticipate it, and we need to do everything we can to guard against it. Is president trump guarding against that? Listen. After 2016, we're doing Putin's work for him. Democrats and the media, you're carrying the water for this false Russia hoax. Look at the disruption. Look at how distracted we all are based on a completely false narrative of trump campaign's collusion with Russia. There are serious questions of what happened during the FBI app investigation of that. There are serious questions about some actors with the DNC working with people in Ukraine. There are many unswered questions. They are legitimate questions. I'm trying to get to the bottom of those things so the American public knows if there was wrongdoing. They need to know that. If there was no wrongdoing, we need to know that as well so we can move beyond. We have serious issues facing this nation. We thank you for joining us this morning, senator Johnson. And have a merry Christmas.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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