'It is weird' that Giuliani went to Ukraine: GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz

House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Matt Gaetz, D-Fla., joins George Stephanopoulos on "This Week."
6:25 | 12/08/19

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Transcript for 'It is weird' that Giuliani went to Ukraine: GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz
Congressman Lofgren, thanks for joining us this morning. Thank you. We are joined now by the congressman from Florida, Matt Gaetz. Congressman Gaetz, first, our condolences to your entire community in the wake of this shooting. Let me ask you the same question I just asked congresswoman Lofgren. Do you think it's time to rethink the United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia? Well, George, thank you for your condolences. The military is not a feature of my community. It is the defining characteristic of my community and I've dealt with killed in action down range active duty suicide but there is a special kind of grief when the bravest most patriotic Americans are putting themselves in harm's way to train people from other countries to be able to protect and defend their own country and then they kill us for it. This isn't the first time my community has experienced that type of grief and it is deeply, deeply painful. Of course, what happened in Pensacola has to inform on our ongoing relationship with Saudi Arabia. That is the message I directly delivered to the Saudi ambassador when she called to offer her condolences. There are Saudis that are currently with us that are being investigated and I made the point as clearly as I possibly could that we want no interference from the kingdom as it relates to Saudis that we have and if there are Saudis that we do not have that may have been involved in any way in the planning, inspiration, financing or execution of this, that we expect Saudi intelligence to work with our government to find the people accountable and hold them responsible and I was given every assurance from the ambassador that would occur. Do you think the president has been tough enough with Saudi Arabia, has delivered the message in the same way you have? I'm grateful for the president for being so on top of this. We've been communicating regularly, and I can tell you that what you saw from secretary Esper in terms of ordering a review of this program is a consequence of the president's leadership. We need to have a review of this program, and it's my belief that as secretary Esper is looking at the record keeping, the accounting for these Saudi nationals in our country, the continuous observance and monitoring of their activities to ensure there's not radicalization. While that's going on we should pause this program. We should not be taking new incoming Saudi students unless we're absolutely confident in our vetting process. Let's move on to impeachment. You just heard congresswoman Lofgren discussing Rudy Giuliani's trip to Ukraine this week, a trip that you said was weird. You're not the only one. Dan Eberhart, a strong supporter of president trump, donor to president trump said the fact that Giuliani's back in Ukraine is like a murder suspect returning to the crime scene to live stream themselves moon dancing. It's brazen on a galactic level. You heard congressman Lofgren saying it could be more examples of abuse of power by the president. I would never compare mayor Giuliani to a murder suspect. Let's remember this is the guy who took down the mob in the '90s and who was out there leading a lot of the city of new York during the terrible events of 9/11. I think he gets the benefit of the doubt that he's not akin to a murder suspect but it's weird he's over there and grateful very soon after I made those comments on CNN, the president put out a statement that said that Rudy Giuliani does want to come into congress and explain his role, explain what he's been up to and I believe that the president urging mayor Giuliani to provide that clarity to the congress will be helpful in resolving what seems to be odd having him over there at this time. Well, mayor Giuliani said he's actually representing the president while he's over there and, of course, it's the president who's blocked his top witnesses with direct evidence from coming to the congress. You believe that Rudy Giuliani, Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo should all come testify now. I believe that Rudy Giuliani is indicated that he wants to so I think that's a moot point. As it relates to the other members of the executive branch the president has to make decisions not only for him but for the presidency. I think it would be to the president's advantage to have people testify who could exculpate him but we want to preserve an executive branch where there are out of the box strategy sessions where people come up with crazy ideas and reject those ideas and hone them and if everyone is always worried from now going forward that if you suggest something to the president or you're engaging in conversations about an upcoming challenge, that that's going to be read out to the public verbatim. So I know it's a tough balance. They'll say the president abused his power by soliciting foreign interference in the election and so that the investigation of Joe Biden -- even your witness this week, even professor Turley said that the president's phone call was not appropriate. It was not perfect. Can you explain to the American people why you think it's okay for the president of the united States to ask a foreign nation to investigate a political opponent and withhold a white house meeting at the same time? I reject the premise of the question and that's what the president was doing. I think the president was acting on a sincere longly held view and skepticism of foreign aid and acting on concern about Ukraine being the third most corrupt country in the world and reflecting concern about this Biden connection to burisma and remember it was George Kent, a witness called by the Democrats who came forward and said we were so worried about burisma that our own embassy had to pull out of a public/private partnership they were engaged in. But what is so dizzying, George, is the evolving standard for impeachment from Democrats. Through most of 2019 Nancy Pelosi said she opposed impeachment not because the Mueller facts weren't strong enough in her view but because it wasn't bipartisan. She set the standard of bipartisanship for impeachment. The only thing that's changed now is that we're moving into an election year and she's willing to pursue a partisan impeachment and you look back to 1998, Jerry Nadler, our chairman, was saying it was ripping votes asunder to pursue a partisan impeachment and no impeachment would be legitimate if it was primarily supported by one party and opposed by another. This impeachment is exclusively supported by Democrats in congress. It's not just Democrats can't persuade people like me who support the president. They can't even persuade Republicans like will herd who are critics of the president to support this impeachment so they continue to move the goalpost and Zoe Lofgren who is one of the nicest in congress compared the impeachment in 1998 as fascism, George, fascism. I don't think history looks kindly on the '98 impeachment and I don't think it will look kindly on the inevitable impeachment of the president today. Congressman Gaetz, thanks for your time this morning.

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

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