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Fmr. Majority Leader Hoyer on HPSCI under Turner: “This is a definitely unhinged MO"
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Fmr. Majority Leader Hoyer on HPSCI under Turner: “This is a definitely unhinged MO"

Ep. 185 — Rep. Steny Hoyer exclusively tells us (2-15-2024)
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Transcript

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US Capitol dome as seen from the street on the north side of Washington, DC’s Union Station. Photo: Matt Laslo

Who?

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) — former House Majority Leader

Ask a Pol asks:

What do you think of Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) Chair Mike Turner and the national security dustup he caused this week over Russia’s space program?

Key Hoyer: 

“I have no idea. Don’t know him that much, but, in my experience, Turner is a level-headed, non-confrontational guy, and I don’t know that this is either one of those. But you don’t expect this from him,” Hoyer exclusively told Ask a Pol at the US Capitol this week. “I didn’t expect it from him. And now it’s on the front page of the paper.”

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Caught our ear:

“This is a definitely unhinged MO,” Hoyer told Ask a Pol of the House Intelligence Committee in the 118th Congress, which began with former-Speaker Kevin McCarthy booting Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) off the historically non-partisan panel.

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LISTEN: Laslo & Hoyer

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-2:53

Matt Laslo’s a veteran congressional correspondent, new media prof. & founder of Ask a Pol — a new, people-powered press corps.

Ask a Pol — asking your lawmakers your questions at your US Capitol. @Ask_a_Pol or @askpols 

READ ON: Important text exchange between Laslo & senior HPSCI member below

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Below find a rough transcript of Ask a Pol’s exclusive interview with Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), slightly edited for clarity.

TRANSCRIPT: Laslo & Hoyer

SCENE: Laslo’s jumps out in front of a randomly long line of congressional reporters lined up at the entrance of this tunnel from the House Office Buildings to the US Capitol right before Congress gave itself a vacation for the President’s Day holiday.

UAP Caucus co-chair Rep. Anna Paulina-Luna being interviewed in the Cannon Tunnel December 2023. Photo: Matt Laslo

Matt Laslo: “Look at this young man!”

Steny Hoyer: “How are you?”

ML: “Livin’ the dream! Well, first off…”

SH: “What is this stakeout you’ve got here?”

The Cannon Tunnel is also where a piece of art by a high school student from each congressional district hangs. This astronaut caught our eye. Photo: Laslo

ML: “It means you guys are gonna be gone for a week, and we’re gonna be starved.”

ML: “First off, what do you think of Turner — Chair Turner?”

SH: “I have no idea. Don’t know him that much, but in my experience, Turner is a level-headed, non-sorta-confrontational guy, and I don’t know that this is either one of those. But you don’t expect this from him.”

ML: “Right?”

SH: “I didn’t expect it from him. And now it’s on the front page of the paper.”

ML: “Yeah.”

SH: “Now, frankly, I don’t know what he was talking about. I don’t know what the papers are talking about in terms of the space effort — what he was talking about — so I can’t speak to that because I haven’t read the material in the Committee.”

ML: “Which is kinda wise. The people who have can’t talk! The people who just saw the news can.”

SH: “That’s why I wanted to make the point: The only thing I know is about what I’ve read in the papers or what members talk about in terms of Turner’s expressions.”

ML: “Now, an Intelligence Committee Democrat told me that the Intelligence community wrote the statement that Turner sent out. What’s your reaction to that?”

NOTE: What Laslo asked Hoyer was later debunked by a senior member of HPSCI*

*90% of what we do is bounce what one lawmaker, staffer or other source tells us off, admittedly flawed, politicians. Rinse. Repeat.

Text between Ask a Pol’s Matt Laslo and a senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee debunking a rumor. Screengrab: Laslo

SH: “I don’t know about it.”

ML: “Yeah.”

SH: “Obviously somebody could be saying: ‘Look, we need the public to know this. We need the public to have eyes on it.’ That’s usually why people leak. But this is a — I don’t know. And therefore, I don’t want to speculate. I don’t know how big a deal this is, whether the intel community, as you hypothesized, wanted it out. I don’t know.”

ML: “But, like, I’ve been here for 18 years, I’ve never seen anything like this. Like, is that how you — have you seen something — feel, similar?”

SH: “I’ve been here about two and a half times as long as you have, I’ve never seen anything like that…”

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ML: “That’s what I thought.”

SH: “And plus — but put into context, you and I haven’t seen a lot of what’s going on in the last year.”

ML: “Yeah.”

SH: “This is a definitely unhinged MO.”

ML: “Yeah. Just new days.”

SH: “Yeah.”

ML: “Top to bottom.”

Hoyer directs his aide.

SH: “Take a left here, and we’ll go up this elevator.”

ML: “As always, ‘preciate you, sir!”

SH: “Sure thing. Okay.”

ML: “You have a good one!”

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