Retiring Rep. Fred Upton, one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 incidents at the Capitol, Sunday insisted there is "real interest" in what is happening with the House Select Committee hearing and that it is having an impact on the nation's voters, but still, Trump will be "hard to stop" if he seeks election in 2024.
"I think the overriding issue certainly is the economy and gas prices, but I think there's been a real interest in what's going on," the Michigan Republican said on CNN's "State of the Union." "You've got, obviously, your different factions that are not going to turn it on and watch. They made their decision some time ago."
But still, Upton said he has believed from the beginning that Trump will be a candidate in 2024, and voters "still like him a lot."
"He's had a number of decisive wins where he's endorsed candidates that they've won," said Upton. "He's had a few losses as well. He certainly entertains a majority of the Republican base and will be hard to stop. Frankly, as we look at the economy, we look at gas prices, all these different things, folks are not happy with the Biden administration, which is why he is metered at a level even below where Donald Trump was at this point in his tenure."
He added that the committee is being careful not to divulge details before the hearings, but he finds it regretful that some of the witnesses' answers are only now being made public.
"Where have they been for the last year-and-a-half?" said Upton. "Why [weren't] they saying what they're saying now a year-and-a-half ago, particularly to those of us that witnessed what was going on, to back us up a little bit?"
Meanwhile, Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., who also voted to impeach Trump, lost his primary bid this past week, meaning that of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach, half will not return, with the rest facing tough election battles in 2023, noted CNN host Dana Bash.
But Upton said he does think there will still be lawmakers left in the House GOP conference who will stand up to Trump.
"For a couple of us, you know, my district, Michigan lost a congressional seat, so we went from 14 to 13," said Upton. "[Rep.] Adam Kinzinger, they diced his district up pretty well also. We'll see when these primaries are over. I think there will be some standing. You've got to remember, too, that although there were only 10 of us that voted to impeach, there were 35 of us that voted for a bipartisan commission to look at this. We know there were a lot of folks who were, frankly, scared of their reelection, which is why they voted the other way as well."
Upton also discussed the ongoing work on a compromise deal on gun control legislation, while funding for state red flag laws and eliminating the "boyfriend loophole" remaining sticking points for Republicans, and said he hopes a deal can be reached as Congress heads to recess.
"Should they get the votes to get it done, I think that the House will take it up immediately when we come back," he said. "I haven't had an update in the last 48 hours, but I know they're getting close."
He added that "law-abiding folks" should not fear legislation.
"It's been a rallying point, particularly for the NRA and Gun Owners of America," Upton said. "You look at their website and they're like raising cash like you wouldn't believe in terms of their Second Amendment rights being taken away. That's not what's happening here."
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