GOP Rep. Mike Turner: Russian propaganda is 'being uttered on the House floor'

GOP Rep. Mike Turner: Russian propaganda is 'being uttered on the House floor'

GOP Rep. Mike Turner said Sunday that Russian propaganda has taken hold among some of his House Republican colleagues and is even "being uttered on the House floor."

"We see directly coming from Russia ... communications that are anti-Ukraine and pro-Russia messages, some of which we even hear being uttered on the House floor," Turner, chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union."

"There are members of Congress today who still incorrectly say that this conflict between Russia and Ukraine is over NATO, which of course it is not," he added.

Turner's office did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for clarification about which members of Congress he was referring to.

His comments come on the heels of remarks House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul made this week about how Russian propaganda has taken root among the GOP.

McCaul, a Texas Republican, told Puck News that he thinks "Russian propaganda has made its way into the United States, unfortunately, and it’s infected a good chunk of my party’s base."

Turner and McCaul each tied Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin, to other authoritarian leaders, including President Xi Jinping of China and Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea.

"[The propaganda] makes it more difficult for us to really see this as an authoritarian versus democracy battle, which is what it is," Turner told CNN, adding, "President Xi of China, Vladimir Putin himself have identified as such."

McCaul described explaining to colleagues that the threat of Russian propaganda is similar to threats made by other U.S. adversaries.

"I have to explain to them what’s at stake, why Ukraine is in our national security interest," he said. "By the way, you don’t like Communist China? Well, guess what? They’re aligned [with Russia], along with the ayatollah [of Iran]. So when you explain it that way, they kind of start understanding it."

The committee chairs' remarks about Russian propaganda came as they spoke about the need for Congress to approve more military aid to Ukraine.

"Ukraine needs our help and assistance now, and this is a very critical time for the U.S. Congress to step up and provide that aid," Turner told CNN.

The House in recent months has stalled on efforts to pass Ukraine aid, with Speaker Mike Johnson refusing to put an aid package the Senate passed in February that would provide resources to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan on the House floor.

Last week, Rep. Don Bacon said on NBC News' "Meet the Press" that he had commitments from Johnson and McCaul that they would allow a bipartisan Ukraine military aid package to advance to a vote.

Rep. French Hill echoed this point on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday morning, saying he believes Johnson will bring Ukraine aid to the floor "immediately after completing the work on [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] and FISA's extension — that deadline of April 19 makes it a priority for the first few days we're back."

"I believe he's fully committed to bringing it up to the floor immediately thereafter," Hill added.

But Bacon, R-Neb., also warned that Johnson could face a vote to oust him from the speakership if he moves forward with Ukraine aid.

On Sunday, Turner downplayed the notion that Johnson's position was at risk over Ukraine aid.

"I don't think he's at any risk," Turner said. "I think that what people have been referring to as the 'chaos caucus,' those individuals who are seeking attention for themselves and trying to stop all of the important work in Congress, are now seen as merely disruptive."

Democrats have signaled that they could join several Republicans in helping to save Johnson's speakership if a motion to vacate, such as the one filed by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene just before the House left for a two-week Easter recess, were brought to a vote.

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