Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed TN (R) U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty to the newsmakers line to answer the questions of why he voted the opposite of what he initially said in an interview of January of this year, Big Tech, S1, and his position on the conflict between Hamas and ally Israel.
Leahy: We welcome to our newsmaker line, our good friend, United States Senator Bill Hagerty back to The Tennessee Star Report. Welcome, Senator Hagerty.
Hagerty: Good morning.
Leahy: Well, good morning now, senator. And let me begin with this question for you. It’ll take me about a minute to set it up. The last time you were here on this program was January fifth of this year. And right here on this program, you told me how you were going to vote the following day.
It was January sixth during the joint session of Congress when it convened to accept or reject the Electoral College vote. And here’s exactly what you said. I’m quoting. “I could not Michael, in good conscience, vote to accept the results of this election when I have such deep doubts about what happened here.” That’s exactly what you said.
But then less than 40 hours later, you voted to accept and certify all the Electoral College votes, even those from Georgia and Arizona. Here’s my question. Can you please tell me and our audience why you voted exactly the opposite of how you told us you would vote?
Hagerty: What I did on January the six was I objected to the Arizona results. I did that because my aim was to create a commission Mike that would put the constitutional violations that we all know occurred back to the state legislatures which is where this belongs to get it fixed.
I was never going to vote to nationalize the elections. What I want to do is uphold the Constitution and basically put this back to the state legislatures who are the ones that are constitutionally embodied to set the rules for state election laws for our federal election laws in their state.
After the riot broke out we lost all momentum to get this done. It wasn’t going to happen. And what I did is I turned my attention to the legislation that I put forward. President Trump loves the legislation called the Protect the Electoral College Act.
And what it requires is an audit of what took place in the 2020 elections. And every state where there is a constitutional violation will not get federal funds for their elections until they fix those problems. That’s the way we’re going to address this going forward. And I’m working through the process of getting it supported right now.
Leahy: But in the end, you voted to accept Arizona’s Electoral College votes and Georgia votes.
Hagerty: I voted to shut the arguments down. There are only two states raised and that was not enough to make a difference. We needed to bring that to an end and find another venue to fix this problem.
Leahy: That was a disappointing vote to me. But thank you for answering the question. Tell me now, you’ve been critical of the Biden administration on its efforts to get Israel to stop defending itself. Tell us about that.
Hagerty: The Biden administration is simply tone-deaf on how we should treat our allies and our foes. It seems that they want to criticize our allies to remove support for our allies and embolden our foes. If you think about the momentum that President Trump created with the Abraham Accords, what we were doing in the Middle East was creating a huge movement toward peace.
He brought four nations into normalization agreements with Israel. What we had was real momentum to finally established peaceful relationships, economic relationships, travel relationships between these nations in the Middle East.
And what the Biden administration has done in the past four months is they’ve wasted all that momentum. Instead, they’ve done the exact wrong thing to do. They’ve talked about re-entering the tragic Iran deal that President Trump thankfully got us out of.
And by moving to appease Iran, they’ve just emboldened the Iranians and their proxies Hamas. Hamas are the Iranian proxies that are working out of guys launching rockets at Israel. You know, where every one of those rockets is coming from?
They’re coming from Iran. These are Iranian rockets being launched on Israelis of civilians. Israel is entitled to defend itself. It should defend itself. It’s been surgical in its defense. And it’s just amazing how the European and the U.S. news media want to paint this in a different way.
We should be standing with our ally Israel and not emboldening Hamas. And you look at the Democrat Party. There was legislation that was put forward just a couple of days ago, the sanction, those who finance the Hamas those who support terrorism.
You had a party-line vote by the Democrats not to do that. In essence, to support terrorism. Two years ago, they all voted unanimously with the Republicans for just a sort of legislation. The Democrat Party has moved so far left it’s unrecognizable at this point.
Leahy: Now you serve President Trump as ambassador to Japan. And there you worked with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The current Secretary of State is Tony Blinken. Compare Mike Pompeo’s service as Secretary of State with Tony Blinken’s first four months as Secretary of State.
Hagerty: Well, it’s still quite early to say. Tony Blinken said the right things to me when we talked about the Abraham Accords. He said he thought they were a great breakthrough, that we should continue the momentum.
But his voice isn’t being heard in the Biden White House and certainly not among the Democrat representatives up in the Congress. I hope that Secretary Blinken will be emboldened to step up and do the right thing here. Secretary Pompeo had no trouble doing that.
And Mike Pompeo is a very clear-eyed, deliberate, and thoughtful diplomat. He did, I think, a terrific job serving President Trump. I enjoyed serving with Mike Pompeo and President Trump. We got a lot accomplished for America and a lot accomplished for our allies. And I think that Secretary Blinken has some big shoes to fill and I’m going to be pushing them hard to do just that.
Leahy: Senator Bill Hagerty, you’re a big critic of Big Tech, the oligopoly of Facebook and Google and Twitter and that crowd. What do you see should be done to control their uncontrolled power right now?
Hagerty: What I’ve done to address this is put forward legislation that would take down Section 230, which is the clause that they use. The large Internet platform providers like Facebook, like Google, like Twitter, use this as a means to censor.
What I think we should do is treat them like a common carrier. Justice Thomas did a great job, in one of his opinions laying this logic out. I read that I thought this makes complete sense to me. And what we did is we translated this into legislation.
What we would do is we would take these large carriers and acknowledge the fact that they really are more than just private companies. They have become the modern-day marketplace for ideas and the public square. We would regulate them the same way we regulate other common carriers, like telephone companies, telegraphs, and railroad companies.
And require them to provide non-discriminatory access to their platforms. That is the way to approach this and to do away with this. And to do away with this Section 230, to be clear, 230 provided that platforms like this could police the content on their platforms to make certain that they were family-friendly.
Not allowing obscenity, not allowing extreme violence. Those were clear definitions, but they also had a clause, both material that’s otherwise objectionable. And that otherwise objectionable language is what these Big Tech companies have used to just drive through that loophole like a Mack truck and use that as their reason, that is their excuse.
That is their lever to censor conservative voices. We need to bring that to an end. And this is the way to do it with this legislation.
Leahy: Last question for you today, Senator Hagerty. The Democrats are pushing through this S1. It passed in the House as H1. This is an attempt to nationalize all elections, to get rid of state election laws, and nationalize them. Will this pass in the 50/50 Senate? What’s your prognosis there?
Hagerty: I seriously hope not. And I’ll encourage your listeners to go to my website to see my statements in the committee fighting back on that. But I pushed back very hard on this. What the Democrats are trying to do is resurrect a lot of their old wish list of federalized elections. They tried this after the 2016 election.
Again they’re coming back and trying to create a crisis now, pointing to the situation in Georgia and the Georgia legislatures’ attempt to strengthen their election laws. Pointing to that is an excuse to come back and essentially nationalize the elections and create an advantage that would make their party the only party in power for decades to come.
They want to come in and do the things that would absolutely weaken the integrity of our elections. In fact, Jimmy Carter and Secretary of State James Baker put together a commission to look at election integrity a number of years ago. And the two things that they cited as the greatest vulnerabilities were mail-in balloting and ballot harvesting. That’s what the Democrats are trying to put into legislation right now.
Leahy: Absolutely. Senator Bill Haggerty, thank you so much for joining us today. Come back again and make it less than four months next time.
Hagerty: Good to be with you.
Listen to the full third hour:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed TN (R) U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty to the newsmakers line.
During the third hour, Senator Hagerty discussed the importance of the Georgia run-off elections and maintaining a Republican U.S. Senate. He also outlined the motivation behind the 10-day audit commission proposed by himself, Senator Marsha Blackburn, and Senator Ted Cruz.
Leahy: We are joined right now by Senator Bill Hagerty on our newsmaker line. Good morning, Senator Hagerty.
Hagerty: Good morning! Good morning! It’s great to be with you again.
Leahy: Congratulations on being sworn in. What was that moment like when you were sworn in as a United States Senator?
Hagerty: Well, I can tell you Michael what a great honor it is to represent the people of Tennessee. I’m a fourth-generation Tennessean and I tell you it touched me deep to my core to be bestowed this honor by the people of our state to represent them at a very critical time in our nation’s history. What I felt was the gravity of the responsibility ahead. And again, I can’t tell you how much I am honored by the opportunity to serve.
Leahy: And you’re exactly right. A very grave time in our history. Today are the run-off elections in Georgia. What do you think’s going to go on down there? And what are your comments on the Georgia run-off elections today?
Hagerty: You know Michael you have been talking about this. I’ve been talking about this. Really the fate of our nation may hang on the results of today’s election. And I would say this to any of your listeners who may be residents of Georgia. Legal residents of Georgia. Please get out and vote today. It’s absolutely critical. If for any reason we were to lose today the two seats and we don’t hold both of those seats that means that Kamala Harris if she is successful in this effort, could be the deciding vote in terms of the control of the United States Senate. She would put Chuck Schumer in charge of the Senate. And Schumer has made it clear what they’ll do.
They’ll first take Georgia, then they’ll change America. And that means packing the court. Forever changing the Supreme Court and turning it into a super legislative body frankly so they can backdoor their radical liberal policies. They’re talking about making D.C. a state and that’s more senators voting for more liberal policies because they’ll both be Democrats. And they may do the same thing with Puerto Rico.
They want to undo the 2017 Tax Act which was the impetus for turning our economy into the juggernaut of the world. That was really the point that made our GDP growth greater than any other nation in the world. They want to reverse all of that. They want to raise all of our taxes so every Tennessean can pay two to four thousand more in taxes every year and they want to take away our freedoms. We can’t allow that to happen and today is the stand to make certain that the Republicans maintain a controlled Senate.
Leahy: On Saturday you joined Senator Marsha Blackburn, Senator Ted Cruz, and eight other United States senators and issued a statement that said in part ‘we intend to vote on January sixth to reject the electors from disputed states as not “regularly given” and “lawfully certified” the statutory requisite unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed.’ Tell us about how that came about.
Hagerty: Well, I’ve been concerned about this from the days following the election. And I’ve been thinking about the vehicle to address this for weeks. I could not Michael in good conscience vote to accept the results of this election when I have such deep doubts about what happened here. To simply rubber-stamp it would be to passively approve a process that I have very deep concerns about. In my view, we have situations where the Constitution was violated.
The United States Constitution explicitly puts the responsibility for state elections in the hands of state legislators. The elected officials in the state. The legislative body. And what’s happened in a number of states is that those legislative bodies have been usurped by activist judges. By executive branch officials. By unelected bureaucrats. What they’ve done is they’ve gone around the Constitution and they’ve used this pandemic as a lever to do it.
They use the pandemic as an excuse to achieve things they could never do before. And what the result has been that they’ve created so much chaos by flooding us with all of these mail-in ballots that the system has been shaken to its core. And we want to have this reviewed. We want to get to the bottom of it quickly. And we want to put those results back to the state legislatures that are responsible and make certain they act.
Leahy: Walk our listeners through what’s going to happen at the joint session of Congress tomorrow. It’s going to be I guess Vice President Pence who will preside over that joint session. It will be held I guess in the House Chambers. All House members will be there. All Senators will be there. You’ll be there. Is that how it’s going to start?
Hagerty: Absolutely. Michael, you’re the expert on constitutional processes. That is as you described it is exactly how it will take place. And then once the objection is raised and it’s got to be raised by both members of the House and Senate we’ve made clear that we’re going to be part of that process. Once that objection is raised we’re going to each return to our own chambers. That means the House members will stay there and the Senate will move back over to the Senate chambers and will engage in two hours of debate on the topic. There will be a vote.
Leahy: The 12th amendment says that the Vice President shall open the envelopes with the certified electors from each state. Will he begin that process? I guess he starts out alphabetically? Or will be there be some sort of delay that happens prior to his opening of those? Do you have any insights on that?
Hagerty: I’m not privy to any maneuvering that would be different from what the 12th amendment calls for.
Leahy: So in that case then do they start alphabetically with like Alabama?
Hagerty: That’s how I understand it.
Leahy: So when they get to Georgia, I guess alphabetically that would be the first one where they come to make an objection. He starts to open up, Georgia, and they start to count them. What happens at that moment?
Hagerty: It could happen well before Georgia.
Leahy: Oh, that’s breaking news if it could happen before Georgia. That’s very interesting.
Hagerty: I’m not saying that it will, it’s not been decided yet. It’s not certain which state it will be. But when an objection is raised and signed by a member of the House and a member of the Senate that objection will have to be very succinct and precise. It’s not going to be debated at that point. And then both bodies go back to their own separate quarters.
Again, the House will stay in their building and the Senate will move back over to the Senate chambers. That will be the precipitant of the two-hour debate. And at that point that they will be called to an end. We will come to a vote. And we’ll see how that vote goes. But my hope is that we will be able to register loudly and clearly that something has to be done about this.
With the commission that we’re talking about, we’ll get to the bottom of it. And I would think this shouldn’t be a partisan issue. I would think the Democrats, as well as Republicans, would want to stand for election integrity and they would be as concerned as I am about violations of the Constitution and about serious allegations.
Leahy: Will there be a single two-hour debate in the Senate where you look over all of these objections to all the states or we’ll each state to which there’s an objection get a two-hour debate?
Hagerty: Unless there is a procedural change my understanding is it will go state by state by state. So the very first state that is objected to that’s where the arguments will be made. All of the arguments could be, you know could be made at that point, but we could also see our objections raised for further states. Again precipitate the same two-hour process.
Leahy: So it could then in theory be if objections were raised to six states. It could be six separate two-hour debates. Is that your understanding of what the process would be like?
Hagerty: That could be the output. I think it would be a very redundant process at that point but that could be the output.
Leahy: Could possibly be the output. Are you getting a lot of pressure from people? For example, Senator Josh Hawley was the first to say he would not certify the electors. He wasn’t part of your group that will call for the 10-day commission. By the way, I think that’s brilliant to go to the precedent of 1877 when they did have such a commission to look at that. But his house was vandalized in D.C. Is that a concern that you might have that people are going to be violent to you?
Hagerty: I think it’s regrettable that this is what our country has come to. You probably also saw that the homes of speaker Pelosi and leader McConnell were vandalized over the weekend. Again violence has no place in this. We need to have a healthy debate again. I’d like to get to the bottom of this. I think the commission is the best way to do it. I also think that state legislatures are clearly the ones responsible for executing the for setting the rules and for executing those rules in their states.
And I want this commission to make very clear, you know, what their findings are and get those back to state legislators and let them do their job. This is something that I think every state needs to be questioning very carefully and going through the processes to make certain that voter integrity is maintained in every state in the union.
Leahy: Oh, you said something very important there. That the results of the audit will be to provide advice to the state legislators who have the authority in this case. Is that pretty much the plan then?
Hagerty: That is the plan right now which is to go through this process quickly. We’ve got a 10-day limit on it. could be done sooner, Michael. But it’s got to be done quickly. In my view, the questions that are there are the clearest issues having to do with violations of state constitutions of operators other than the state legislatures.
Leahy: Exactly like the Secretary of State and some cases.
Hagerty: Exactly. Or an activist judge.
Leahy: Exactly. Senator Bill Hagerty, congratulations on being sworn in yesterday. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Hagerty: Thank you.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.