Retiring congressman Mike Rogers said Sunday that he was motivated to leave his powerful post as House Intelligence Committee chairman and become a talk show host because of the rising influence of what he described as "celebrity politicians" in national security debates.
The Michigan Republican said on "Fox News Sunday" that the quality of national security discussions in Washington, D.C., "worries me for the future of this country like nothing I've ever seen," and that he hoped to remedy the problem as a talk show host.
When asked by host Chris Wallace to name specific "celebrity politicians," Rogers said “I think your listeners are smart and savvy enough to make their own list.”
Rogers also listed New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina -- three early voting states in the primary process -- as states he wanted to reach to. And when asked by Wallace to rule out a presidential run, Rogers declined, saying of his career change that he would "take it where it goes."
Entering the GOP nomination process would likely put Rogers in competition with Rand Paul, the libertarian Kentucky senator thought to be a top potential candidate who has become one of the top critics of the National Security Agency surveillance programs that Rogers has defended.
Rogers' retirement announcement earlier in the week was a surprise. The 50 year-old former FBI agent has served in the House since 2001.
Speaking two days after Putin called President Obama to discuss the situation, Rogers said that if Putin plans further aggression, it will likely not be a Russian incursion into eastern Ukraine. Instead, Russian forces would push north from the Crimea region to gain a "land bridge" with Transnistria, a breakaway state on the Moldova-Ukraine border several hundred miles from Crimea that has voted in the past to join Russia.
"I were looking at this and going to lay down some stakes of where he was going, that's exactly what I think he would do," said Rogers. "He would do that first, the southern part, and then he would continue his covert influence campaign in the east of Ukraine."
Putin is "absolutely not looking for a way out" of conflict, Rogers claimed. Instead, the positioning of Russian troops along the Ukraine and Georgia borders suggests that Putin plans a push to Transnistria and also is "contemplating maybe using those armor columns to drive through Georgia down to Armenia to create a land bridge from Iran."