State Rep. Chris Todd from Jackson Weighs in on Court Packing, National Issues, and Etiquette as a Member of the Tennessee House

State Rep. Chris Todd from Jackson Weighs in on Court Packing, National Issues, and Etiquette as a Member of the Tennessee House

 

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 Tennessee State Representative (R), Chris Todd of Jackson, to the studio to discuss court-packing, keepnine.org, and attention to national issues that affect constituents.

Leahy: In studio with us, our good friend, State Representative Chris Todd. Chris, you’re ready for the big question?

Todd: I guess so. Been waiting on it. (Leahy laughs)

Leahy: Here it comes. The big questions. The progressive Democrats in the House in the United States Senate are going crazy. They want to pack the court. They want to add four left-wing lunatic justices to the Supreme Court and make it 13 instead of nine. And my question to you is, do you think in this current session of the Tennessee General Assembly, there would be a possibility that the General Assembly in the House and the state Senate would pass a resolution strongly opposing any efforts to pack the United States Supreme Court?

Todd: I believe it’s a significant possibility. Yes.

Leahy: Terrific. That’s very good news. I think Tennessee could lead the way on this. I don’t know if other states have looked at this in terms of opposing this resolution. Have you heard of this group called Keep Nine?

Todd: No.

Leahy: There’s a group called Keep Nine and they actually have another element to this. They are asking state legislatures to pass resolutions to support a constitutional amendment that would limit the number of justices to nine.

Todd: I think that’s a good idea as well. It’ll be a challenge to get that through. But just because of all the concerns of an Article Five that we talked about a while ago.

Leahy: Well, this wouldn’t be necessarily Article Five the resolution to ask Congress to pass that amendment and then to go to the states for ratification.

Todd: But I think the chances of Congress doing that are almost as slim as them putting limits on themselves right now.

Leahy: Now, you raise an interesting point. Let me just throw this out there. This is real time now. You just proposed a bill that would support an Article Five Amendment for the specific purpose of just looking at term limits. Would such a bill that specifically looked at an amendment to limit the Supreme Court to nine justices? Would that be a possibility?

Todd: I would say it’s a possibility. And I don’t know how strong that group is and how well funded they are, but it takes a significant effort to get the public informed and it costs money to get the public informed. You would need lobbyists in order to go to each one of these legislatures and work that kind of a bill to find a sponsor and then to get the support for it just like we’ve done with term limits. I had quite a few folks helping me on this from U.S. term limits specifically and then some local groups. So I think it’s very possible and that’s just going to take an effort. And if the people really want it, they need to put their money where their mouth is and support these groups.

Leahy: I’ll send you the link. There is a group called the Keep Nine Amendment and they are basically the local representative, actually here from Tennessee, former Attorney General Paul Summer. And he is working with this group. And they are submitting a series of resolutions that would establish an amendment to the Constitution to keep nine in the Supreme Court.

Todd: I think that’s very worthwhile.

Leahy: Keepnine.org. There’s a guy in Washington, D.C., Roman Bueller has been putting this together. You talk about lobbyists. He calls me like every two weeks. He says, Mike, Mike, are you ready to help us? I said, as you said, I think it’s a great idea. I just don’t have the time for it. I think maybe now I’m going to have the time to help. What do you think?

Todd: It’s all a matter of priorities. When we see the threat to our way of life, to the point that it motivates us, that’s when it will happen.

Leahy: Exactly. It’s keepnine org. Take a look at it. Because you just you don’t have enough to do, right?

Todd: Oh, no. I’m looking for something.

Leahy: You’re looking for some other challenges right now?

Todd: Absolutely.

Leahy: When you go back and you talk to your fellow members of the Tennessee General Assembly most of the time, the conversation is about the bills, right?

Todd: Probably so.

Leahy: You are all narrowly focused on getting your bills. But when something like this happens, when there’s a national effort by the Progressives to pack the Supreme Court you kind of have a reaction to that, don’t you?

Todd: It gets bumped up in priority, just like with our citizens. When something reaches that level that says, okay, this is contradictory to what we’ve always done. This is a threat to what I do day in and day out, the way I raise my kids, the way my family operates, the way our country operates. Then I’m going to be motivated to do something either, to donate money, to make phone calls, to write emails, whatever it might be.

Leahy: You talk about getting things done, right. And you have to understand the committee process. We’ve talked about that quite a bit. You also have to have relationships with people, right?

Todd: Critical.

Leahy: Very, very important. And are there different styles that people decide to follow when they go to the state General Assembly?

Todd: Oh, absolutely. I think most people come with their own style, just from their nature at that stage of their life. Will it change? I think somewhat. You probably change a little bit from the people that you’re around, but your basics are still the same. Your tendencies are still the same. If you’re an honest person, you’re going to stay honest. If you’re not, you’re probably going to get worse.

Leahy: I was under the impression that every single member of the Tennessee House of Representatives and the Tennessee state Senate honest as the day is long. (Chuckles) 

Todd: That is a primary assumption that you should make.

Leahy: That’s my assumption.

Todd: Let them prove you different.

Leahy: But occasionally human nature being what it is people reveal themselves as perhaps not totally being people of their word.

Todd: Sometimes. That doesn’t happen all that often. But most of the time, the differences are about how you accomplish something. I find that we have the same goal. Let’s say that is to make sure that our children are brought up in a great education and are provided a good education so that they can enter the workforce and be successful.

How to get there is where we might differ on. Does that mean how we choose textbooks? Does that mean how we fund the schools? Does that mean all of these things? Do we bus them? You get all the fine details of how do we get to that end goal? But most of the time we have the same goal in mind, but it’s the method of getting there that is where we differ.

Leahy: So we’ve got about three more weeks left I think the Tennessee General Assembly.

Todd: Probably.

Leahy: So then the legislative side of this job ends. What happens to a state legislature later after you’re in session? Is your job over? Or do you still have lots of stuff to do, but different kinds of stuff?

Todd: It’s just lots of stuff to do, but different kinds of stuff. Last year was quite different with COVID. Most everything was canceled. Meetings were canceled, events were canceled, but I think this year will be back to fairly 80 percent normal, which is many days of the week you’re required to be somewhere with at least a jacket on and make an appearance, make a speech or meet with a group and hear their concerns about legislation for next year or just dealing with phone calls and emails from constituents that have an unemployment issue or they can’t get broadband even though the company ran it in front of their house and had the grant to do so. A state grant that didn’t hook them up. There are just all kinds of things that we deal with. I have a person in my office that’s full-time to answer those questions.

Leahy: Back in Jackson?

Todd: Here in Nashville. A legislative assistant, but I still field a lot of that, and we bounce things off of each other about what the right path is.

Leahy: So do you have, like, just one staff member?

Todd: Yes.

Leahy: Just one. in Congress. They have what, 25 staff members?

Todd: Nobody knows.

Leahy: They have quite a few up there.

Todd: And here, back in the district.

Leahy: But it’s pretty much you.

Todd: Pretty much.

Leahy: When you say that you’ve got to go, like, you have to go and make it, you don’t really have to go to thee events.

Todd: Correct.

Leahy: People will introduce you and say, Hey, come on in.

Todd: It’s expected and it’s good manners. It’s expected.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Congressman David Kustoff Talks Washington D.C., Nancy Pelosi’s Power and Republicans Taking Back the House

Congressman David Kustoff Talks Washington D.C., Nancy Pelosi’s Power and Republicans Taking Back the House

 

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 Congressman (R) David Kustoff to the newsmakers line to weigh in on Nancy Pelosi’s iron grip on Washington D.C., HR1 legislation, and a path forward for Republicans.

Leahy: Tennessee, joined on our newspaper line by Congressman David Kustoff, a Republican who represents the Eighth Congressional District in Tennessee, which stretches all the way from a little bit West of Nashville, all the way down to Shelby County, the Memphis area. Welcome, Congressman Kustoff.

Kustoff: Good morning. Thank you for having me.

Leahy: How are you holding up in the crazy land of out-of-control Nancy Pelosi?

Kustoff: Well, I think you really summed up pretty well. Pelosi has made Washington help to create this toxic atmosphere. And you look at the priorities that she said, starting with the election bill, that you’ve been talking about, that federalize elections across the nation and it’s really scary. The power that the federal government is trying to implement on state and local governments all over and it emanates from Pelosi, the progressives, and the left side.

When you look at what she’s trying to do with elections, we’ve talked a lot and we’ve heard a lot about what’s going on in Georgia. It may not matter. If Pelosi’s election bill, which the bill number of anybody is following it is HR1, which means in her world, this is the most important bill that Congress is going to consider over these two years, it’s a complete domination of the election process by federal officials.

Leahy: In my view, it’s also unconstitutional. I like the name that I think speak former Speaker Newt Gingrich came up with for it. The Corrupt Politicians Act. Tell us about some of these.

Kustoff: (Chuckles) Well, that’s a good lead-in because it’s very broad. It’s very comprehensive. I think Speaker Gingrich is exactly right because I look at Tennessee in my area of Tennessee and I think that that we handle elections and we administer elections very fairly. People have plenty of opportunities to vote that one time. They’ve got several weeks of early voting. Extended hours. We make it pretty easy.

One thing that we require, which I think is exactly right, is voter identification. Just like when I go to the airport to fly to Washington every week, I’m showing the TSA official my driver’s license to show that I am who I am. Nothing unreasonable about it. Pelosi’s election bill gets rid of that voter ID requirement. And so it doesn’t matter what Tennessee’s law is as it relates to voter ID or any other state, it would be nullified.

It mandates the mail-in ballots. It mandates the drop boxes. But going back to your question with Speaker Gingrich, and this is incredible. I want people to really try to wrap their arms around this because it’s hard. It would create this bill, a six to one federal political donation match for all donations under $200. So picture this.

If Joe Smith gives Bernie Sanders a $200 donation, the federal government is going to chip in $1,200 to the Bernie Sanders reelection campaign. Now, that really makes no sense. And by the way, that would be funded with a tax increase. So you can see it’s a complete domination of elections by federal authorities. And it injects corruption into the process just as Speaker Gingrich says.

Leahy: Well, next time you’re meeting with Speaker Pelosi, I’m sure she regularly schedules meetings with the Republican members of the House. Not.  But I have a message for her from Tennessee, direct from Tennessee. If the Senate passes the Corrupt Politicians Act and if the House then approves a conference committee, whatever it is, if it’s signed into law, she can take that law, and we’re not going to comply with it here in Tennessee. The state of Tennessee is going to push back. That I can guarantee you.

Kustoff: Well, I think that to your point a little bit earlier, I think that there are a lot of state attorney generals around the nation, the would challenge the authority and the constitutionality of this law to overstep and override their own state laws. And that would be appropriate. It’s a complete overreach. You just talked jokingly about sitting down with Pelosi. Here’s the stage right now.

The majority in the House of Representatives, there are 435 Congressmen and women, the magic number is 218. Now you’ve got some vacancies. You’ve got a Democratic congressman who passed away the other day. Right now, the count in the House is 218 Democrat Congressmen. And as of next week, there’ll be 212 Republican Congressman. And there are a few vacancies. So my point is that it is very very tight. It can’t be any tighter in the Senate.

50 Republicans, 50 Democrats. You would think at this point in time that Pelosi would reach out to Republicans and say, look, we don’t have the numbers to try to cram stuff down your throat and down the American people’s throat. Let’s see where we can find some common ground. Let’s get some stuff done for the American people and let’s get things going. But that’s not her strategy. That’s not her tactics. That’s not who she is. And that’s why until November of 2022, we’re going to have to fight like heck for our country.

Leahy: Now, let me ask you this question. Those 218 Democratic members of the House of Representatives, is there any single one of them that you’ve met who has the courage and convictions to stand against the lies of Nancy Pelosi? I mean, really. And when it comes down to it, will anyone stand for America on the Democratic side, or are they all in fear of Nancy Pelosi’s wrath and just going in lockstep with this attempt to destroy our constitutional Republic?

Kustoff: Well, believe it or not, the answer is both. There are some Democrat congressman who want to do the right thing and who think that she overreaches and think that the Democratic Party is moving and has moved too far to the left. But at the same time, they know her power and they know what she can do to them.

And seen some moderates get totally wiped out and get primaried by people to their left and to their progressive side because they don’t cow-tow to where the Democratic Party is today. You’ve seen them wiped off the board the last two and four years, and that’s really too bad. So there are a number of them who get it. But at the same time, she wields a lot of power.

And to her credit, she’s a terrific vote counter. And so she’s not going to put a bill on the floor of the House of Representatives unless she’s absolutely sure that she’s got the votes to pass it. And so that’s the real rub. To me, we talked about this election bill that Pelosi named HR1. You didn’t see Democrats fighting against it, arguing against it, or voting against it. And that’s because of the tremendous control that she has.

Leahy: They are afraid of her.

Kustoff: I really do think a number of them are. And believe it or not, they may be as scared of somebody like an AOC as they are Pelosi.

Leahy: Jim Cooper here is about to be challenged by Nashville’s version of AOC, Odessa Kelly, who if elected, would be the first Black lesbian member of Congress from Tennessee. And she’s all-in in terms of the left-wing agenda of AOC. That is I guess is one thing that they may be concerned about. Final thoughts from Congressman David Kustoff.

Kustoff: Yeah, well, it’s a tough time in our nation’s history. We’ll get past it. I really feel very good that we’re going to get the House back in Republican hands in November of 2022. But it is going to be a real fight, and I’m going to continue to make that fight.

Leahy: From your lips to God’s ear.

Listen to the full second 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

 

 

 

 

 

Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe Weighs in on the Upcoming Impeachment Trial of Citizen Trump

Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe Weighs in on the Upcoming Impeachment Trial of Citizen Trump

 

Live from Music Row Wednesday 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 Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe to the newsmakers line to discuss what he see’s happening with the impeachment trial of ex-President Donald J. Trump.

Leahy: Crom Carmichael the original All-Star panelists in studio. And on the newsmaker line our Washington Correspondent and our National Correspondent the great Neil McCabe. Good morning, Neal.

McCabe: Good morning men.

Leahy: It’s a little crazy in Washington next week. They’re going to start the impeachment trial. The president’s team responded. He finally has a team that’s sticking with him of attorneys. Also, we saw that Alejandro Mayorkas was confirmed as the Secretary of Homeland Security despite all of the EB-5 Visa scandals that he’s been involved in. What do you make of Washington today Neal?

McCabe: Well, I think it’s interesting that a lot of people blame the Democrats for the fact that Trump and four years could never get any of his officials confirmed. But the fact of the matter is that it was McConnell who was keeping Trump from filling up any of those spaces and the dozens and dozens of ambassadorships that were left open.

And he was doing it through various devices. But the majority leader of the Senate has the right to call any vote at any time and can be recognized at any time. And so the majority leader is not as powerful as the Speaker of the House in that chamber, but that in and of itself is a tremendous power that Schumer has and not McConnell.

And what you’re seeing is that Republicans are rolling over and basically letting these guys go through. They’re not demanding the maximum of 30 hours of debate. They’re not staging demonstrations or walkouts at committee hearings. Basically everything is rolling forward and McConnell is doing for President Biden what he would never do for President Trump.

Leahy: I saw old Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Rob Portman. I think there was one other actually that did this.

McCabe: I think Dunn was at the White House. Are you talking about the White House meeting?

Leahy: The Mayorkas vote. But let’s talk about the White House where ten senators go in and Republican senators. I don’t know if you say hat in hand to try to reason with President Biden. Yes, he is our president. (Chuckles) To reason with President Biden who’s got this big blue state bailout masquerading as a coronavirus stimulus bill. Tell us about that meeting in the White House between 10 Republican senators and President Biden.

McCabe: Well, you know they did their dance and the president heard them out. And so he gets his photo op with the Republicans. He gets to demonstrate that he’s open-minded and that he’s trying to be the president of all the people. And then like Biden does, he’ll do whatever the left wants. He’ll do whatever the Democrat political machine wants him to do. He always says the right things.

You listen to a speech and you can listen to it as you’re going to be speaking and you’re like my goodness. He gets me completely to understand their point of view. And if you actually read the thing, you see, you know, how he sort of plays around with the words and it turns out he gives you nothing. And so there’s never a compromise with Biden.

And in a lot of ways during the Obama administration Biden was actually in the forefront getting ahead of Obama on some of this left-wing stuff. And so these guys did the dance. They gave Biden cover. But these establishment Republicans own the Biden presidency because they were throwing sand in the gears for Trump for four years.

And then when Trump was running for re-election, none of these guys lifted a finger to get Trump re-elected. And certainly, when we saw all the rigging and irregularities, none of these guys spoke up about the funny business that’s going on in these different states. And so, what are you going to do? We just basically have to ride this thing out and hope.

Leahy: And hope is the key operative word. Crom and I were talking before you came on Neil about the president’s legal team strategy for the impending impeachment trial. Crom, do you want to pose your question to Neil about the strategy on this that the team presents team should have yes Neil the president’s team should have?

Carmichael: Yes, Neil, the president’s team has said that one of the things they are going to do is they’re going to argue that the Senate doesn’t have the Constitutional authority to “convict” a private citizen. And I made the statement, I said if they’re going to make that argument they need to make that argument in the courts, not in the Senate.

McCabe: Right.

Carmichael: And they need to they need to take it to the courts and they should do that at the beginning of the trial. When the trial is called into session they should immediately file with the courts and have the courts weigh in on whether or not the the the Senate has the right to try a private citizen.

McCabe: An emergency petition to the Supreme Court to adjudicate a constitutional conflict. I think the answer Crom is if it was so it was so dressed right dress and good to go why is Chief John Roberts sitting it out? I would think that if the Senate was holding an impeachment trial and the chief justice of the Supreme Court didn’t show up for a sitting President does that mean that the chief justice can just sit it out If you want to? Why isn’t the sergeant of arms bringing John Roberts to the Senate chamber and shackles? They should arrest that guy. (Leahy chuckles)

Carmichael: Well you know John Roberts, and I’m not being facetious here or anything, but John Roberts has said that he does not have the authority to run a trial of a private citizen. Which is why he’s not doing it. That’s what he has said. That’s his reasoning.

McCabe: Well, there you go. I mean that’s your answer. And I think I would support that petition. I hope they pull it off. I’m also concerned almost like it seems like it’s almost like a bill of attainder where you basically hold. Is the Senate allowed to just hold the trial? And then decide what what are you gonna do is strip the Secret Service protection telling me can’t hold federal office anymore?

But in the end, this is a political process, not a judicial process. And so they can make whatever arguments they want. The defense team that is. The fact is they have 45 votes in their pocket. They could even give up some of those votes. as long as the guy gets 34 votes he’s good to go.

Carmichael: Just as a citizen I would like to know whether or not to say whether or not the Senate has the right to try a private citizen. And in so doing, strip that private citizen of certain rights? I’d like to know the answer to that.

McCabe: Yeah, I think we should figure it out and we’ll find out. The thing is that you’ve got more than 20 Republican Senate seats up in 2022 and we’re going to find out that a lot of these big talk Republicans when push comes to shove if they’re going to vote to acquit Trump. Because you know John Thune in South Dakota is not going to want to explain why he voted to convict Donald Trump to the voters of South Dakota.

Leahy: Look into your crystal ball Neil McCabe. And two months from today, how will this impeachment trial of the private citizen former President Donald Trump, how will it have played out two months from today?

McCabe: Well, the president will be acquitted with at least 40 votes. And I think that people are going to look back at it as an absurd exercise. And when people look back at the failed presidency of Joe Biden, they’re going to blame this trial as the distraction that completely disrupted old sleepy Joe’s first 100 days.

Carmichael: Are you then assuming in what you just said that that Trump will not file a suit with the courts?

McCabe: I completely appreciate your logic but the fact of the matter is that the Senate is not going to allow the Supreme Court to weigh in on one of its prerogatives.

Leahy: I think that probably is figuring into the thinking of the Trump team at this point to file preemptively on it. but who knows. Neil McCabe, thank you for joining us here again. You’ll be back next week appreciate all of your great work with The Tennessee Star and all of Star News Network.

McCabe: (Laughs) Absolutely men. Take care.

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