Tennessee U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles Updates from Inside the ‘Raucous Chamber’: ‘What’s the Pathway to Peace’ in Ukraine?

Jul 14, 2023

Tennessee U.S. Rep Andy Ogles (R-TN-05) joined The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on the newsmaker line Friday for a broad-ranging interview covering everything from FBI Director Chris Wray’s “tap dancing” to the prospects of our Tennessee Army reservists being sent to the Ukraine.


Michael Patrick Leahy: 7:18 AM broadcasting live from our studios on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee.

In-studio original, all star panelist Crom Carmichael; on the newsmaker line right now, our very good friend, Congressman Andy Ogles, representing the fifth Congressional District in Tennessee.

Good morning, Congressman Ogles.

Rep. Andy Ogles: Good morning. And how are you guys?

Michael Patrick Leahy: Well, we’re wondering what your reaction was to the testimony earlier this week by FBI director Christopher Wray before the House Judiciary Committee. Didn’t seem to me like he had any answers for some basic questions about FBI going after average everyday American citizens.

Rep. Andy Ogles: Well, I mean, that’s to be expected. And really across most of the committees you know, when these officials come in, they bring in their tap dancing shoes, and that’s all they do. They obfuscate – and quite frankly, at times they lie – but it’s not surprising.

Wray didn’t have any answers and which is why the committee went after him pretty aggressively.

Gaetz being one of those.

Michael Patrick Leahy: Yeah, I saw – Gaetz really took it to him.

There are some people that are saying that he ought to be prosecuted for failing to respond to various subpoenas from Congress and also possibly for lying in that testimony the other day.

What are your thoughts on that, Andy Ogles?

Rep. Andy Ogles: Well, I think yes, probably – but highly unlikely.

I think what you’re gonna see as we move forward are impeachment proceedings that’ll begin against Mayorkas and eventually perhaps even the president, but that it’ll be a slow, kind of methodical process.

Right now we’re focused on the NDAA, and then also trying to figure out what Joe Biden’s doing, calling up 3000 reservists and sending them to Europe at a time that we’re again working to authorize the NDAA.

It seems like an escalation of the war with Ukraine and quite frankly, troubling.

Michael Patrick Leahy: Yeah. Tell our listeners what the NDAA stands for and why that’s important.

Rep. Andy Ogles: So it’s the National Defense Authorization Act. It expires in September, so typically you’re gonna have to have that done by October.

The house likes to move first, so it kind of gives, lets us set our priorities.

The Senate, unfortunately, will come back with their priorities, which won’t be quite as conservative. And then you would expect it to go to conference when there’s kind of this public, open debate fortunately on the NDAA.

But it’s important, it’s the authorization for our military and all things military.

And that being said, you know, there’s a lot of junk that typically gets thrown in there – there’s $300 million for Ukraine.

I’m not necessarily against Ukraine, but at a time when we have an open border, we have our veterans at home can’t get benefits or health benefits. You know we’ve got to set our priorities straight and quite frankly should be America first, Europe, Africa, South America, the rest of the world.

Second, and I think we’re – it’s upside down right now, and again with the calling up of troops to send to Europe – I’m a bit troubled by it.

Michael Patrick Leahy: When I saw that yesterday coming on the heels of the decision to send. These cluster bombs to Ukraine that Biden made, they’re kind of bizarre.

I mean, did you hear his explanation for why we were sending cluster bombs to Ukraine?

Rep. Andy Ogles: Well, yeah, and unfortunately, I mean, I think sometimes he says too much. It’s like basically, ‘We’re out of the other stuff when we have a lot of these.’

I mean, I’m paraphrasing, but I mean, I’m not sure that’s what you want your commander to chief to broadcast to the world, but you know, it’s more than just the cluster bombs.

You had a long range missile – a very high tech missile – that was both French and British developed – hit and killed a Russian general in a hotel.

And now we’re sending cluster bombs, we’re sending more money, most likely, and we have this escalation with the troops.

And, you know, with the realization that Ukraine can’t become a member of NATO in the near term, my question is – and it’s just a question – what’s the pathway to peace? Is there a pathway to peace? And if not, what’s our mission statement as we move forward kind of in this proxy war with Russia?

And that’s a lot of questions that haven’t been answered.

Meanwhile, we keep spending money. People keep dying in Europe and I’m not sure that this administration really has their eye on the ball because I believe that our biggest threat – our ex existential threat – is China, the CCP, not Russia.

Michael Patrick Leahy: Exactly.

I was shocked, to be honest with you, yesterday when I heard that Biden was calling up 3000 reservists from around the country, including possibly some in Tennessee, to go to Europe to support the Ukrainian effort.

I mean, the step from there to being involved in Ukraine seems to be – yeah, that could happen very quickly.

Your thoughts on that?

Rep. Andy Ogles: Well, I mean, the problem that once you introduce American troops into a theater – even if, if it’s in the back of the theater – all it takes is one incident, one accident, one stray missile, and suddenly we’re embroiled in an international, perhaps, war.

And this is – I don’t know.

We haven’t had a briefing yet. I mean, I literally was on the House floor yesterday about to deliver an amendment – it was my turn to go – when the proceedings of the House were interrupted. We literally received a message from the White House and there’s a kind of a formal process for that and, you know, it was a little odd.

And then a little while later, we learned what the message was.

And again, at a time when we really should be exploring, ‘How do we move forward? How do we find a peaceful resolution?’ everything that’s happened in the last week or so has been nothing more than an escalation.

If you’re Russia – and I’m certainly not gonna defend Russia – quite frankly, I’m banned from Russia.

I was banned from Russia a few weeks ago for being a critic of Putin.

How do they view what’s happening? The long range missiles being provided by France; the cluster bombs in the United States; more money from the US; and now troops from the us.

I don’t know.

I mean, I think we’re forcing ourselves into a Cold War that may be unnecessary.

Again, I would argue, and I’ll argue this vehemently, it was China.

It’s China. China that’s flooding our country with fentanyl. It’s China that’s sent a spy balloon across our country. It’s China that’s stealing our military secrets. It’s China that’s advancing in South and Central America.

I mean, China is on the move.

Meanwhile, we’re diddling with Russia, which is my opinion – no offense to anyone who’s Russian out there – Russia is a paper tiger compared to the CCP.

Michael Patrick Leahy: Do you have any indication that Tennessee reservists will be among those called up to go to Europe to support the Ukrainian war effort?

Rep. Andy Ogles: Well, my understanding at this point is they’re not gonna be calling up entire units. They can do this on an individual basis, so to be determined. But I think it’s likely most Americans will know someone either directly or indirectly that’ll be called up for this Atlantic Theater.

Michael Patrick Leahy: We got some breaking news.

I’d like to get your reaction to this. This is a headline from Just the News: “Despite the Supreme Court ruling that the student debt loan forgiveness program of the Biden administration was not constitutional, the Biden administration is now unveiling a 39 billion student debt loan forgiveness program.”

What are your thoughts on that?

Rep. Andy Ogles: Again, it was one of those – I literally get up this morning, I’m checking the news. I’m really primarily looking to see what I can discern on this call up of the troops. And then I see this nonsense. I mean, this guy just won’t quit. I mean there’s so much.

I mean, the White House is a dumpster fire. I mean, they literally found cocaine.

And if you’ve ever been in or around the White House, there are cameras everywhere. There are Secret Service everywhere. And this idea that they don’t know who’s cocaine it is, is ridiculous.

And so, I mean, everything right now, I’m not sure what’s real. What, what is a head fake? What are they doing to try to distract us from what’s going over here?

I mean, this is, again, I think the Biden administration, those around Biden realize that this is his last term. He will not be the Democratic nominee – there’s already chatter on social media talking about next steps to replace Biden.

So they’re just throwing everything at the wall to see what’s gonna stick. And so, why not? It does not surprise me that they’re gonna try to see–

Michael Patrick Leahy: Last question. We have a minute.

Andy, this is your first term up there. What’s the biggest surprise that you’ve had serving there in your first term in congress?

Rep. Andy Ogles: It is probably more chaotic than I had ever possibly imagined.

It’s a very hectic schedule, obviously, but I mean, just the constant chaos that kind of is the House of Representatives is kind of striking.

But also when you go back to John Quincy Adams, he talked about the fact that it was ‘the raucous chamber.’

It’s the chamber where you argued and debated; it was the People’s House. And so now that, that, that I’m here, I’m in it, I’m living it. I understand what he was talking about.

Michael Patrick Leahy: So I guess your theme is: embrace the chaos, right?

Rep. Andy Ogles: Well, manage your way through the chaos.

Michael Patrick Leahy: Manage. That’s a better way to put it, Andy.

You’re gonna manage your way through the chaos.

Rep. Andy Ogles: And don’t get sucked in by it, right? Because at the end of the day, the American people, we’ve got to cut down on spending. We’ve got to stop foreign wars cause we can’t afford it.

Michael Patrick Leahy: Andy, what a great way to end this segment.

Andy, thanks so much for joining us.

Rep. Andy Ogles: Have a good one. Thank you.

Michael Patrick Leahy: All right. We’ll be back with Dr. K’s Game Day picks; after this.

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