The United States, by turning back on its oil industry, could bankrupt Russia, but instead, the country continues to import hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil every day from Russia at a time when other sanctions have been ordered in response to the full invasion of Ukraine, Rep. Tim Burchett said Friday on Newsmax.
"We import 595,000 barrels of oil a day from Russia, so we're playing tongue in cheek with this whole thing," the Tennessee Republican said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "We need to just shut it down. We just shut them down completely. We need to start drilling again and producing oil."
Under former President Donald Trump, the United States exported oil and gas, Burchett added, and "right now, we could just turn the spigot on and flood the market, and put them out of business and bankrupt them. They could eat the rubles, for all I care."
Burchett said that "everybody" supports the sanctions President Joe Biden announced on Thursday, which included sanctions on four major banks and export controls on sensitive components to "cut off more than half of Russia's high-tech imports."
However, he said he thinks it was "telling" that the topic of sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin himself is being avoided.
"I think the reason is Putin has all his money elsewhere," Burchett said, adding that he knows Russia will use cyberattacks against the United States, so "we need to be prepared."
Putin, he added, is "one of the richest men in the world, and we're not willing to take him on" with sanctions.
"To me, there's something else going on behind the scenes," said Burchett. "I don't know if it's because we're gutless, or we don't want to incur his full wrath … Republicans were ready to go after him, but the Democrats, they're the ones holding all the marbles on this."
Meanwhile, Biden didn't answer reporters' questions on Thursday about China and the potential threat against Taiwan, and Burchett questioned whether the United States has the "guts" to demand that China intervene in the Russia-Ukraine situation.
"China is the one country that could call Putin and say, Hey, call it off," said Burchett. "I don't know what it takes."
The congressman added that the situation with Ukraine is removing the United States' focus from other issues, such as the southern border, high gas prices, and "everything else in this country that's going bad," said Burchett.
"The liberal media just focuses on Ukraine right now," said Burchett, adding that the invasion is a "horrible situation" that "doesn't have to be."
"It shouldn't have to be, and we could have called it off with our energy program," said Burchett. "Unfortunately, our energy program is woke and weak."
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