NAMPA — From trade wars to Russian interference in U.S. elections, Idaho's junior Senator Jim Risch has seen and heard a lot as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee. He also has had his share of questions about a President he supports, despite impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill. Our Don Nelson sat down with Senator Risch over his holiday break.
Quid Pro Quo aside, does the Senator feel it was appropriate for President Trump to talk to the Ukrainian President about the Bidens?
"Look, the President of the United States is charged with a lot of different responsibilities and of course one of those is to look at the money that we put overseas on foreign aid, mostly military. His job is to see it's done right," was Risch's response.
Even though President Donald Trump has Risch's support on most issues, there are times when the two don't always see eye to eye.
"People say 'you know the President, you have dinner with him, you travel with him, you must agree a lot,' yeah, some, but we have some very spirited discussions, we have different ideas on trade," said Risch.
Earlier this month, the U.S. and China reached an historic and enforce able agreement on a phase one trade deal, a step many experts believe is in the right direction. Risch remains cautiously optimistic.
"I think China is a challenge and view China as a competitor, not an enemy," said Risch. "I think we are fortunate when we are dealing with China, we're dealing with a country that doesn't have the deep religious conviction that you have to overcome to get things done. they are awful on human rights, and how they treat people."
Dealing with the other super power, Russia, is a whole different ballgame.
"They're at it on the internet, disinformation, disinformation on the internet, and they spend billions of dollars just causing trouble," said Risch on Russia.
Nelson asked Risch about the threat of North Korea.
"For years, and years, and years, what North Korea wants more than anything else is they want a nuclear weapon, that's not what North Korea wants, they want security," said Risch. "Kim Jong-Un wants it for himself, his family, his country, and a nuclear weapon isn't security, and I think he came to the realization that door number two may look a lot better than door number one."
So as we close out another decade, and head into 2020, Jim Risch tries to keep this country's future in perspective.
"We've been through a revolution, a Civil War, two World Wars, a depression and we're still standing," he said. "The strength of America is not one man, it is not the President of the United States. The strength of America is the American people."