Sen. Josh Hawley Covers It All with Clay and Buck

13 Jan 2022

BUCK: We are now joined by Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri. Got a lot to talk about. Senator Hawley, appreciate you coming back to hang out with us. Thanks so much, sir.

SEN. HAWLEY: Thanks for having me.

BUCK: I want to start with this, because we’ve got a lot of things to get to today in the news cycle. We’ve obviously got doubling down on the covid mandates that don’t seem to work very well, as well as the inflation and everything else. But I wanted to start with you pushing for an end — this might seem a little inside baseball to folks or inside the Beltway to folks, but an end — to members of Congress actively trading stocks. Why is that a problem, first, for everyone to know? Give us that scope and scale, and then what should be done about it?

SEN. HAWLEY: Well, all you have to know about why it’s a problem is the fact that Nancy Pelosi’s absolutely desperately for stock trading. So… (chuckles) She’s rich, of course, and she wants to continue to be able to trade individual stocks, which she and her husband do frequently and make millions of dollars on it, and the problem with it is that members of Congress are often privy to information about what policies are coming down the pike, about what the effect of legislation might be.

This is stuff that’s not necessarily insider trading. I’m not alleging that people committed any crimes here, although folks have been investigated for that in the past. But here’s my bottom line. I think that when people go to Congress, they ought to be focused on doing what the voters sent them there to do and not be distracted by trying to pad their own pockets.

And I think one of the easiest ways to do that is just say to members of Congress, “You can’t own individual stocks. If you want to invest, fine, do what most Americans do, put your money in future funds. If you don’t want to do that, put it in a blind trust.” But having individual stocks, trading on them I think is just an open invitation to abuse — and just look at Pelosi, and there’s the case.

CLAY: Senator Hawley, I appreciate you joining us. We just had Kyrsten Sinema take the Senate floor and announce her continued opposition to changing the filibuster rules. I believe right now Biden is talking to the Senate Democrats in a luncheon. You’re good at trying to look at strategy. I was talking about looking at it as a chessboard. Biden’s speech on Tuesday is going up in flames here on Thursday by members of his own party not supporting him. What in the world is going on here? What am I missing other than this was a clearly harebrained scheme that has not actually had any chance of success. But to have his own party shoot it down, how is it playing on Capitol Hill?

SEN. HAWLEY: Well, I think the real clear key here, Clay, this is a guy, Joe Biden, who has 33% support from the American public, and that tells you all you need to know.

CLAY: Yep.

SEN. HAWLEY: You have Kyrsten Sinema on the floor distancing herself from him, Joe Manchin has said he’s not gonna go along with this scheme. Number one, what they want to do is unpopular. What they want to do is take control of all elections and centralize it in Washington, D.C. In my state, Missouri, that would mean canceling our voter ID law, by the way, which is wildly popular and the voters of Missouri themselves approved directly.

The Democrats want to take that away. They want to take away control of how to set the rules for absentee ballots and all the rest. People don’t want that, and you add to it that Biden himself is just radioactive because he’s so desperately unpopular. So, I think that’s the key thing and (chuckles) Sinema and Manchin, they actually listen to voters, and their voters are telling them, “We don’t like this guy, we don’t like his agenda,” and so they’re looking for the exits.

BUCK: Speaking to Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri. Senator, is there going to be a Biden legislative agenda, so to speak, this year, or are you expecting — given what we’ve seen so far from Senators Sinema and Manchin — it’s essentially gonna be gridlock, right? This is just gonna continue on. We’ll hear a lot of talk about the insurrection and racism and voter suppression, but nothing’s actually gonna get done by the Democrats in Congress, and the Biden administration’s gonna go into the midterms without a whole lot to show for the first two years, or do you think they may actually pull something off and what would that be?

SEN. HAWLEY: I’d be surprised if they were able to get much done and again when you’ve got a president who’s as unpopular as this president is — and, you know, who basically told the whole country on Tuesday that we’re all insurrectionists now. That was his message, that if you are not in favor of giving Joe Biden control over reelections in your state (laughing) then you’re an insurrectionist. “You’re a domestic enemy,” I believe he said.

I mean, that’s just insane — really just totally insane. So I think that we’re looking at a year here where the Democrats do a lot of finger pointing, they do a lot of yelling, they do a lot of yelling at the American people — you know, and keep call the American people names and see how that works out for him. But I just don’t think they’re gonna get much accomplished ’cause they are so unpopular.

And I can tell you for my part, I certainly am not just gonna lay down and let them take over federal elections, let them keep spending our money that’s driving up inflation, let them continue to drive the working people of this country into the ground. I mean, it’s really… What they’re trying to do is nuts, and people don’t want it.

CLAY: Senator Hawley, we were hoping we might get a ruling from the Supreme Court on the Biden vaccine mandate. I’m sure you paid attention to the oral arguments. You’re very well skilled in terms of analyzing the Supreme Court in general. What do you expect the Supreme Court to do, and what do you think they should do with the Biden vaccine mandates that they argued about on Friday of last week?

SEN. HAWLEY: Well, they should strike it down. I think there’s absolutely no legal basis for it, Clay. This is not authorized by Congress. I’m not sure Congress could authorize it if it wanted to. I’m not sure that there’s a constitutional basis. But whatever, Congress has not authorized it and the president doesn’t get to just make up laws in our system of government — at least didn’t used to be able to.

What is the court gonna do is a little different question. But I have to say, listening to the argument — and I always have to say as somebody who I’ve worked at that court; I’ve litigated at that court. Predicting that court is tough business. But just counting votes from listening to the argument, I thought I counted six who sounded awfully darn skeptical about the Biden mandate, the vaccine mandate.

And so if I had to guess, I’d guess the court would strike it down. I think that is the right thing. When will they do it? Any day. Any day. This is argued on an emergency basis, and the clock is ticking. Obviously, individuals, privately citizens need to know, employers need to know. So I’d expect to hear from them imminently.

CLAY: I talked about this on the show Friday right after we listened to the arguments and I know you have worked at the Supreme Court so this is gonna, I would imagine, have really upset you as well. Regardless of what somebody like Sonia Sotomayor may believe about the vaccine mandate — we can have a nuanced legal argument about the constitutionality of the provision, I agree with you; I think it should be struck down.

But for her to get her facts so wrong, for Stephen Breyer to do the same, and, frankly, for Elena Kagan to do as well, how much did that upset you, and how do you think that happened? Because I believe you’ve been a Supreme Court clerk. And the thing you’d want to make sure, I would imagine, is that your justice gets the facts right because if you don’t get the facts right your opinion is going to be flawed. How disappointed were you in the way that those facts were spread so inaccurately by Supreme Court justices?

SEN. HAWLEY: I was surprised. I’ll tell you the truth: I was really surprised, because the numbers and the so-called facts that you heard coming out of some of their mouths was really more akin to propaganda. A hundred thousand kids on ventilators or whatever it was that one of the justices said. I think it was Sotomayor. That’s just wildly, radically wrong. So it’s unfortunate to see the sort of left-wing propaganda and really like far left, crazy, conspiratorial left.

You see that being talked about and used by justices in Supreme Court arguments. That’s really, really worrisome. I’ll just say, though, while we’re on the subject of covid, if you want to talk about these high case counts — and they’re high right now all over the country; they’re high in my home state of Missouri — and guess who’s fault that is in terms of just being prepared or unprepared? Joe Biden!

Who didn’t order additional testing when he had the ability? Who has been totally derelict in his duty this whole last year to develop new treatments for covid? Joe Biden has been. This administration has done a terrible job. So I tell you, if you want to talk about high covid case numbers, just look at this administration and their total failure this year to do anything that would actually help Americans through this crisis.

BUCK: Senator Josh Hawley, Missouri, before we let you go, there’s breaking news out right now that a leader of the Oath Keepers group has been arrested in connection with the January 6th investigation. I’m not even sure if you had a chance to see this story or see any of the details. But are we essentially gonna hear about the so-called insurrection every day from now until the midterms? Is this going to be a focal point of the Democrats’ pitch to make sure that even though they failed in every agenda in every way, they should still somehow keep power? What are your expectations?

SEN. HAWLEY: I think that is exactly what’s gonna happen. You know, and I think that the Democrats, they don’t have anything to offer the American people other than this agenda that’s hugely and radically unpopular, and so they’re gonna try to change the subject. January 6 of last year became their effort, their excuse, their rationale for trying to govern in a constant state of emergency and a state of fear. It is what has led them to treat parents as domestic terrorists.

It is what has led them to true the unvaccinated as if they are somehow second class citizens and deserve to die, which is essentially what the president of the United States is saying. It is the way they tried to govern by fear and repression and it’s use of the levers of the state, of state power against their political opponents — against ordinary parents — is crazy.

And they root so much of that in their narrative of January 6. Let me just say as you guys before people who commit crimes on that day ought to be prosecuted and go to jail — and that’s true for rioters, wherever they are, at the Capitol, at courthouses. I don’t care where they are. So you commit a crime you ought to go to jail for it. But that’s not what the left is saying. They’re out there saying, “Oh, boy, this is our excuse to treat half this country as insurrectionists and to try to suppress these we don’t like and to try to get our way permanently in Washington,” and I just think that’s wrong.

CLAY: Senator Hawley, the playoffs start this weekend and my Tennessee Titans are the number one seed in the AFC knocking your Chiefs down to number 2.

SEN. HAWLEY: Yeah.

CLAY: You got Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. How nervous are you about not being the one seed for a change?

SEN. HAWLEY: (laughing) Yeah, we got robbed. That’s just the truth, Clay. You know it’s true. Congrats to the Titans. That’s great. Listen, I think we’re in great position. It’s great to be playing at home obviously this coming Sunday. I think the Steelers — not to take anything away from the Steelers, but I think– that’s a good matchup for us and we had a great outing against the Steelers just a few weeks ago.

I think it was 36-10 was our score then, and I think that we’re in really good position here and really, the Chiefs have really come down the stretch strong. I mean, 9-1 to finish the season. That’s pretty darn good. That game in Cincinnati was an interesting one, especially in the final few minutes. We can talk about that if you want. I have a a lot of thoughts about the officiating. But, in any event, I really feel like we’re in a good position and I like my Chiefs.

BUCK: Senator Josh Hawley.

CLAY: The AFC championship. Buck, you’re gonna be fired up, too, right?

BUCK: As soon as I find out what these teams are and what’s going on —

CLAY: (laughing)

BUCK: Absolutely, Clay, very fired up.

SEN. HAWLEY: (laughing)

BUCK: Senator Hawley, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

SEN. HAWLEY: Hey, thanks for having me, guys.

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