ICYMI: McConnell on ‘PBS News Hour’

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) joined Judy Woodruff this evening on PBS News Hour. Click here to watch the full interview or see below for the highlights:

On support for Ukraine:

“The president really needs to step up his game. He has frequently done the right thing but never soon enough. We now know where we are, the Russians are in the country. We need to do everything we can to give them the tools to fight with. Many of these tools are in the hands of eastern European NATO allies who are anxious to help, and it appears, for example, in the case of the soviet era MIGS in Poland, that the administration is actually discouraging some of our Eastern NATO allies from doing everything they want to do. We ought to encourage them to send everything to the Ukrainians that would be helpful to them.

“We have provided loan guarantees, in the package that passed last week, to give those countries new, American equipment to upgrade the systems that they sent into Ukraine so that their own defense is not diminished by their helping their Ukrainian neighbors…

“The Ukrainians need help, they need it now. Particularly they need the kind of weapon systems that go after not only helicopters, but higher-flying planes, those systems are nearby in eastern NATO countries. They want to help them and we ought to be facilitating it rather than discouraging it.”

On Russian sanctions:

“I hope we're doing everything we can to shut down the accounts of the oligarchs and others who are involved with the Putin Administration and, squeezing Russia as tightly as we can in every single way…The whole point of sanctions is squeeze the Russians, the enablers present with Putin, the oligarchs that surround him, and, really, I'd like to see us go further and squeeze the whole country. Because if we sanctioned their energy exports, they would be out of business."

On Vladimir Putin:

“I think Vladimir Putin has done a lot to unify NATO. It has been remarkable to see the Finns and the Swedes potentially deciding to become NATO members. We'll see but public opinion has shifted dramatically there. You've had a total change in Germany with direct shipment of weapons, with their increasing their defense budget... But, I think fear of the Russians is the primary reason we have the most unified NATO we've ever had and Putin certainly didn't anticipate that.


“I think Putin has wanted Ukraine a long time. He was waiting for an opportunity where he thought America was in retreat. Pulling back from the rest of the world. There was a vivid picture of the evacuation of Afghanistan for everybody in the world to see that America was coming home and pulling in our horns. And, not inclined to take the forward position we have in the past. It was like a green light to Vladimir Putin. He wanted to do this a long time. This is the perfect time to try to take back Ukraine.” 

On Judge Jackson’s Nomination to the Supreme Court:

“One of the concerns that I and many of us have is the integrity of the Court itself. When I met with Judge Jackson, I tried to suggest to her, in the nicest possible way, that she might want to mirror the comments of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer in opposition to court packing and to term limits for the Supreme Court. Both Justice Ginsburg and Justice Breyer have been outstanding in beating back the voices of the left attacking the Supreme Court by suggesting that it be packed or term-limited.

“She decided not to take a position on that. I wish she had. I don't think that signals anything at all about how she might rule in a particular case, but simply the integrity of the Court it itself. That was disappointing.

“I think she is a very intelligent, clearly qualified nominee. The issue always is are you a judicial activist or do you believe in the quaint notion Justice Scalia always reminded us of, that the job of the Judge is to follow the law.”

“I haven't announced how I'm going to vote. The hearings are next week. They will be thoroughly respectable. Quite different from the way the Democrats created Clarence Thomas. Quite different from the way the Democrats treated Brett Kavanaugh.”