Missouri Senator Roy Blunt appeared on Meet The Press Sunday. The second term Republican supported the Trump administration’s approach with North Korea and Iran, rejected a bill to protect Special Counsel Mueller and declined to call for Governor Eric Greitens to resign.
Blunt, who’s a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, gave President Trump most of the credit for bringing North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un into talks of denuclearization and peace with South Korea.
He said North Korea has been a central topic of discussion inside the Intelligence Committee for the past two years and acknowledged the North Korean leader is “impetuous”.
Blunt noted a series of U.S. Presidents until now have had little success in curbing the North’s aggression and development of nuclear weapons.
He told Meet The Press moderator Chuck Todd that a drawdown of North Korean weaponization would have to be verified and international economic sanctions against the country, especially from China, would have to continue.
Blunt claimed Kim Jong-un is being transparent about negotiations through newspaper accounts with his own people, which he called a first for the North Korean strongman. He also said the United States should not give up its presence in South Korea while negotiating any peace agreement.
On the subject of Iran, Blunt said that if the United States stays in a deal to stall the country’s nuclear development, it should require three changes called for by French President Emmanuel Macron.
During talks with President Trump last week, Macron said moving forward the deal would have to include three additional elements: Iran’s ballistic missile program, its influence across the Middle East, and what happens after 2025 when the current accord ends.
Blunt said Iran is a “bad actor” and asserted that the United States could impose sanctions on the country that impact it more broadly than its nuclear program.
He dismissed a claim by Todd that the U.S. was sending the world mixed signals by embracing North Korea, a country that murders its own people while it demonizes Iran which does not. Blunt said the United States should focus on keeping countries with bad inclinations from acquiring nuclear weapons.
“We are with Iran right now where we would’ve been with North Korea 15 years ago and it’s foolish to let Iran become another North Korea,” said Blunt. “And we’re not dealing with him Kim Jong-un because we think he’s a good guy.”
Blunt said would vote against a bill passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week which would provide any special counsel with an “expedited review” of their firing.
The measure is designed to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by President Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has said the upper chamber will not take up the legislation.
Blunt said he’s advised the President that it would be unwise to prevent Mueller from completing his investigation, but he thinks the Senate is overstepping its bounds with legislation to protect Mueller.
“There’s a serious question here about how much the legislative branch can manage the executive branch,” said Blunt. “If we want to have our own investigator we could create a law that does that, but we chose not to do that.”
Todd quizzed Blunt for a minute-and-a-half over Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, calling Blunt “about the only Republican” who has been hesitant to call for Greitens to resign. Blunt declined to ask Greitens to resign, saying he had confidence in the legal and legislative processes to draw the proper conclusions.
“The governor ran on the basis that he had a lot bad to say about everybody in politics, but he did get elected,” Blunt said. “And there is a way to deal with these issues that I think is more appropriate than a bunch of politician saying what ought to happen.”
Blunt has made numerous appearances on “Meet The Press” since being reelected to a second term as a Missouri U.S. Senator. He edged out Democratic opponent Jason Kander by 3-percentage points in the 2016 election in which President Trump, a fellow Republican, carried the state by 19 points.
Blunt was a featured guest on Sunday’s program as was former FBI Director James Comey.