Ohio Rep. Turner: Perry Charges Are a 'Very Bad Precedent'

Sunday, 17 Aug 2014 01:37 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The indictments against Texas Gov. Rick Perry on felony charges of abuse of power and coercion are a "political attack" and a "bad precedent," Ohio Republican Rep. Michael Turner said Sunday during a panel discussion on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"I think everyone sees that this is the criminalization of just the legislative function," Turner told show host Andrea Mitchell. "You do that, you weaken democracy. This is certainly a political attack, and this is very bad precedent."

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Perry on Sunday told "Fox News Sunday" he would make the same decision again to withhold funding from Travis County District Attorny Rosemary Lehmberg's office, after she was arrested for driving while intoxicated and videoed inside a police station.

"This is not the way we settle differences — political differences — in this country," Perry said of the indictment in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." "You don't do it with indictments. We settle our political differences at the ballot box."

Turner did not address, in response to a question from Mitchell, about whether the indictment will eventually hurt Perry's potential run for the 2016 Republican nomination, except to criticize the political nature of the indictment. Lehmberg is a Democrat, and many people from both political parties are criticizing her office's actions as being made in retribution for Perry's funding veto and for political reasons.

Turner sat in a panel on Sunday's show that included Anne Gearan, diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post; Jason Riley, a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board and author of "Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed;" and Jane Harman, the president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and a former Democratic congresswoman from California.

Also on Sunday's show, Turner called for a strategy and a plan when it comes to President Barack Obama's decision to call for targeted airstrikes against the Islamic State [ISIS] in Iraq.

"I think when we failed to garner the support for the action that he proposed in Syria, [it] was because he did not have a strategy and plan, and still we see the failure of that," the Ohio congressman said. "The failure in his foreign policy and the neglect as this threat involved in Syria, ISIS didn't evolve out of thin air. They were emerging."

Turner also complained that the Obama administration neglected to continue working with Iraq.

"We see now how unstable Iraq is; how threatened they can be by ISIS," said Turner, calling the president's decision to help Yazidi minorities in Iraq "a very odd red line."

"Instead of when ISIS was establishing a stronghold with major infrastructure, threatening Baghdad, mass killings, tens of thousands of refugees, the administration took action only when it was a humanitarian issue," Turner complained. "That's a result of the neglect that the president has had in his foreign policy with respect to Iraq, the instability that has occurred. But the president also has to come to the recognition that ISIS is a threat to the United States."

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