Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is "egotistical" and "he's a problem," and should not have been named as a special counsel to lead the probe into Russia's meddling with last year's elections, Rep. Louie Gohmert said Thursday.
"I remember all too well the invaluable damage that that man did to the FBI," the Texas Republican told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program about Mueller, who served as FBI director under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
"He had a five-year up or out program all across the country."
This meant that agents who had been in their positions for five years had to "come to either Washington or get out," claimed Gohmert. Mueller took that action, he continued, "Because he knew the young guys would salute the flag, salute him, and wouldn't have enough experience to know when they weren't doing something appropriate."
Mueller also "wastes money like crazy," Gohmert said. "This is not a good thing that just happened."
Further, Gohmert said, there has been no proof that Russia affected the election.
"Next thing, we have a special counsel?" he said. "This is really troubling. I know everyone is singing Mueller's praises."
If there was to be a special counsel on Russia, then there should have been one for Hillary Clinton, as former Attorney General Loretta Lynch "should have recused herself on multiple things," said Gohmert.
"There were a number of things that required a special counsel and I think that the reason some people didn't go to prison was because there was not a special counsel," he said. "Now we turn around with any proof of wrongdoing at all."
Gohmert also called the news that fired FBI Director James Comey had written a memo after his dinner at the White House in February into question, although he conceded it would have been appropriate for him to keep a written record.
"If he is so good at taking memos as we are hearing, where were they on other issues?" Gohmert said.
"Surely he talked to Loretta Lynch about the meeting with Hillary Clinton," he continued, making a reference to the former attorney general's tarmac meeting that occurred not with the Democratic nominee herself, but with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.Read More
Normally, when a bipartisanly disliked and distrusted public administrator is removed from office, one would imagine that there would be some semblance of consensus – or, at least, consistency in how the news would fall.
However, we find ourselves in the midst of the Trump administration, and consensus and consistency – even on political no-brainers – must always bring outrage from the opposition.
Congressman Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, joined the ranks of those calling out the pointless and hypocritical posturing surrounding James Comey’s dismissal as FBI director, tackling trumped-up hysteria with succinct Shakespearean allusion.
In an exclusive statement to Conservative Review Thursday, the Texas congressman points out the sheer hypocrisy of public officials who, right up until Comey got the pink slip, publicly paralleled their partisan rivals in criticizing the now-deposed bureau chief.
"Since many Democrats and media personnel made statements of outrage against Comey before he was fired and are now painting him as a paragon of virtue after his firing,” reads the emailed statement, “we are left in a quandary to discern which time they were lying and which time they were truthful.”
Indeed, rather than address the multiple times in which so many public officials on both sides stated that Comey had betrayed the public’s trust in how he ran the FBI, Democrats have held true to the maxim to never waste a good crisis and have turned the former director’s pink slip – as I pointed out yesterday – into a fully fabricated “constitutional crisis.”
“I choose to think they were truthful when they were excoriating Comey,” Rep. Gohmert states. “Therefore, the attacks on President Trump by Democrats now, including those in the media, for firing Comey are purely political theater ‘full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’” (borrowing from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”).Read More
What a great, frank discussion with one of the truly good guys, a longtime staunch conservative, Texas Congressman (since ’05) and member of the Freedom Caucus; Louie is one of those rare people you can always, always count on to speak the truth:
Rush: So, Louie, how are things?
Gohmert: [Laughs] Depends where. In Congress things stink pretty bad, but in the White House I think Trump’s doing a lot of good stuff. Once he gets the people he can actually trust around him, I think he’ll do great.
Rush: Well, let’s explore Congress stinking. I want to start with the status on health care, “repealing and replacing Obamacare” — that’s the Republican promise that was made for seven years. The bill was sent six times to Obama, knowing he would veto it. Nobody knows what happened to that bill. It has gone missing. Paul Ryan is predicting a new bill could take months. Then you go to tax reform: “We can’t do that this year. Maybe next year.” We can’t balance the budget. We can only do an omnibus. Louie, what are we doing with the victory that we had in November? It doesn’t seem like anything’s changed from when we were in the minority.
Gohmert: You’re exactly right. With the Republican leadership, it’s a real problem. It’s like we’re afraid to bring up things we passed when we were in the minority in the Senate or didn’t have the Presidency. It’s like those things were only for show, and now we’re playing for dough.
We could have easily gotten over 218 votes on the repeal bill we passed two years ago. But we were told, “Gee, the Senate would have trouble.” They brought up the Parliamentarian. “The deal would blow up in the Senate. They wouldn’t be able to pass it.” Our question was, “Why not? They passed it before.”
I think the best solution would be to pass that bill, and then come back and pass other things that we can, whether or not we get 60 votes in the Senate, whether or not they want to use the nuclear option again. We could at least pass the repeal we did before. Then let the President threaten to go to the states where those Senators voted for it last time and are threatening not to vote for it this time. I think we’d get those as “yes” votes; their constituents would force them to vote for the repeal again.
Rush, part of this looks like the insurance companies had too much to do with it. Remember, they and Big Pharma signed onto Obamacare. They got us in this mess. Now for their best interests, for the country’s best interests, let’s get back to free market.
I’ve been surprised that [Speaker Paul] Ryan and [White House Chief of Staff Reince] Priebus and [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell have been able to convince so many people that the 100-plus-page bill we have before us is actually a repeal and replace. Some of us keep asking, “So what does it actually repeal?” They answer, “Well, we’re going to give more power to Health and Human Services, to our Secretary Tom Price.”
Now, he’s a great doctor, a great legislator, and I have no doubt he’ll be one of the best Secretaries that hhs ever had. But the strategy apparently is, “Let’s give Tom Price more power. He will do more to knock down Obamacare and repeal it administratively and with regulatory authority than we could pass through the House and Senate.” Some of us just don’t believe that’s true, because we could vote to repeal it.
And Rush, this keeps coming back to my head. I hear Justice Scalia’s voice. He told me more than once, not talking about a particular bill, but just in general: “Look, if you guys in Congress don’t have the guts to repeal a bill you don’t like, don’t come rushing across the street to us and demand we repeal what you didn’t have the guts to. You’ve got the power, just repeal it.” He was speaking generally, but it applies to this.
We did this same thing with amnesty, when [then-Speaker John] Boehner said, “We’ve got a federal judge in South Texas. He’s taking care of stopping amnesty for us.” We said, “No, we promised we would stop amnesty, and Boehner promised we’d fight it ‘tooth and nail.’” Well, he didn’t. He let the judge do it for us.
Trump would rather win it outright. He knows he can’t trust the courts. He saw what they did when he won a lawsuit against the nfl — and was awarded one dollar. So he knows he can’t trust the courts, and he knows we need to do it legislatively, but he’s getting some bad advice from Priebus, from Ryan, and from McConnell. We need to repeal it.
I’ve asked, “What happens? Say we give Tom Price all this additional power, and say he knocks most of it out with administrative devices. What happens when the next Kathleen Sebelius comes in? Can you promise me that we will eliminate all that additional power we’re giving Health and Human Services before the next Democrat arrives?” No. We’re not keeping our promise.
Yet those of us in the Freedom Caucus, those of us who still haven’t come to an outright “yes,” are being vilified. We’re all being told: “Count on having very well-funded opponents. You’re going out.” I’d much rather help America by doing everything I can to actually repeal Obamacare than win the next election.
Rush: Mike Pence told me, “Rush, this is really great. We just need to get this thing passed” — the one that failed — “and Tom Price will go in there and rip all those Obama regulations out.” I said the same thing you did, “But what happens the next time Democrats win and the next Democrat Secretary puts them all back in?” I asked, “Why can’t we make this permanent?” He said, “This is the first stage. In Phase II and Phase III we get rid of the state-line restrictions on insurance sales.” I said, “But we’re never going to get to Phase II or Phase III. Once the first phase passes, it’s over and done with.”
My overall question is: Why does the House not want to deal with these things? Is it because of donors? Is it because they’re afraid of the media? Is it because they’re trying to sabotage Trump so he has no success? Is it an outsider versus insider thing? Why?
We’ve got reports that they’re not going to appropriate money for the wall, that they’re going to do an omnibus again, that they’re not going to have a full-fledged budget. It seems like every effort is being made to thwart specifically those things that Trump campaigned on. Louie, it doesn’t make any sense. We’re still not acting like we’ve won anything. The leadership isn’t. I don’t mean you, I’m talking about the House at large.
Gohmert: You’re exactly right, as a Party we’re acting like we didn’t win. Priebus is a terrific guy. He had the good sense, when most establishment folks did not, to say, “Look, Trump is going to be the nominee, so I better get onboard and help him.” But since the Chief of Staff is the gatekeeper, Priebus is able to keep people out who have an “outsider” view, which is what you and I both know is actually the American view across the country — except the fringes. The Democratic Party is a fringe party. They just won the edges of the country and a few big cities.
But think about it. The Republican and Democratic establishment didn’t want Trump to win. He did win, and what are they doing? They’ve been able to turn Trump against the people who helped get him elected last fall. To the establishment, that’s a two-fer. They weaken Trump, and they also weaken and marginalize people like the Freedom Caucus, people like Rand Paul, and Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz. Trump doesn’t get the things done that he wants done, and ends up being a one-term President. Plus it helps take out those who actually stand up for the promises we made. To the establishment, that’s a win all around.
They didn’t want Trump to win. They were shocked that he did. I go back to that October call that the House had. I don’t know who recorded it, and I don’t know if they released the whole call, but you would have heard all of our leaders saying, “You’ve got to run away from Trump. He’s going down. And he’s going to take us down with him. So everybody needs to start running against Trump.” Our nrcc Chairman, Greg Walden, made clear our poll numbers started tanking three days after that Trump and Billy Bush video came out.
And when we were finally given a chance to respond, everybody but one answered, “Do you not understand? If Hillary wins. It’s over. She replaces Scalia. Our rights are gone. And you can forget about the Republican Party. We have to go all-in to do everything we can to help Trump win. And by the way, if our numbers started going down three days after the video, doesn’t that correspond with when some Republicans started bashing Trump? Maybe if you hadn’t started bashing Trump so badly the numbers wouldn’t have gone down.”
But it was that mentality: “Gee, we can do a better job if our job is to rein in Hillary Clinton.” But my question was, “How in the world can you say we can rein in President Hillary Clinton? We haven’t reined in Obama. We haven’t reined in [irs Commissioner] Koskinen, or Holder, or Lynch, or Susan Rice, all these people who have lied to our face. We haven’t reined them in at all. So we’d better help Trump win.”
With that as background, Rush, hopefully you can see the dynamics really haven’t changed that much. It’s still the establishment against us. The difference now is that the establishment has been able to turn some of our faithful and big donors to Freedom Caucus members against us: “You just should have voted ‘yes’ for the repeal.” They don’t want to hear that it wasn’t a repeal. They don’t want to read the bill and see for themselves it wasn’t a repeal. The establishment is winning right now.
Rush: I was at the White House on that Thursday night, March 23, when the “Tuesday Group” was there for a meeting with Trump. I actually saw some of the meeting where Trump converted 17 “no” votes into 16 “yes” votes. He did it not by selling the specifics of the bill, at least while I was observing — that may well have happened later — but rather by selling loyalty to him and the Party and the glories of having a legislative victory. It seemed clear to me that was the objective for a lot of people. Not what was in the bill; just get it passed so he could sign it.
And I was very alarmed when everything eventuated to turn on the Freedom Caucus. Once again, conservatives were portrayed as the roadblock. Conservatives were portrayed as the problem.
Rush: But here’s the thing. Trump’s not going anywhere. Louie, I may be whistling Dixie here, but at some point the people you’ve been talking about, the leadership, are going to realize that Trump is here to stay. He’s not temporary. He’s not going anywhere. You’re not going to change him. He sent Sessions down to the border to raise hell and to start enforcing the law on immigration. The things he can do on his own, where he doesn’t need Congress to implement his agenda, he is doing. He is not softening. He’s not watering himself down. The health care bill was the only instance in his Presidency where he signed up for something that was not what he campaigned on.
Gohmert: And who talked him into going first with health care? Priebus and Ryan and McConnell. They convinced him this was a slam-dunk: “Everybody loves the bill. There are only a few naysayers, let’s go first with health care.” When originally he was saying, “Let’s do the tax reform first.” Which might have actually been easier.
You’ve talked about some of the basics over the years. I’ve been listening to you since 1992. You were the first one I ever heard bring up the automatic budget increases, that we need to have a zero baseline. We need to get to that. Trump understands spending too much money, that you can’t. Cutting taxes so we can bring businesses back, he understands that’s going to work. But they pushed him into going first with health care reform, even though the establishment seems to have won on the idea of not actually repealing Obamacare. You’ve been right all along, that this is an establishment versus outsiders fight.
Rush: Exactly. Which brings me back to my observation about Trump not going anywhere. I think a lot of these people, Democrats included, are telling themselves stories that Trump’s temporary. That even if Trump’s still there, they can neuter him, and return to the establishment running the show. But at some point, my theory is, they’re going to realize that’s not happening. Now if that’s the case, is there a way that you see the House leadership changing down the road, instead of opposing Trump to stand with the establishment? Do you foresee the Republican leadership finally acceding to Trump and helping him move his agenda in these four years? Is that remotely possible?
Gohmert: It absolutely is possible. He is a strong-willed guy. But the only way it happens is if he realizes who in the House is really supporting what he wants, which is really the Freedom Caucus. Actually, you’ve got more than 200 in the House who support and want Trump to succeed. But never underestimate the power of apathy or going along to get along. It does cause a lot of awfully good people to just go along instead of standing up for what they ran on. Especially if you have leadership helping push the apathy.
Well, Trump doesn’t push apathy. He pushes “let’s get in there and get things done.” I told him back in September that I think he has the potential to be one of our greatest Presidents in foreign relations, but that domestically he’s going to have so many people fighting him that that’s an open question.
“On foreign affairs,” I said, “Presidents who are portrayed as being our smartest, even though they weren’t, had more trouble with foreign relations. But people like Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, who were considered a little bit crazy, they got more done.” I said, “You remember Saturday Night Live, the way they used to portray Reagan walking around looking for the red button so he could launch the nuclear missiles?” I said, “It’s terrible to be portrayed that way, but Presidents who are perceived by foreign leaders as being just a little bit crazy like that get more done. They succeed more in the diplomatic relations with other countries because there’s that fear in the back of the mind, ‘This guy could be just a little crazy.’”
Rush: I think Trunp is exploiting that. It's called “the Madman Strategy.”
Gohmert: [Laughs] It’s terrific. I think it gives him a lot more leverage. Trump said back in September, “They’re portraying me as being crazy.” I said, “I know. That’s why you’re going to be one of the best we’ve ever had at foreign relations.” And he is exploiting it. He understands that. You read The Art of the Deal, he knows how to figure out strengths and weaknesses, and use the strengths and exploit the other’s weaknesses. I think that’s what we’re going to see continue in foreign relations. It’s just in domestic matters he’s got to figure out who is with him, and he has the heart of the Freedom Caucus with him.
Rush: You’ve made the case that Trump was ill-served by the Republican leadership on health care because he was blindsided by how many Republicans opposed the bill.
Rush: I’d be flipping livid. If I were Trump and I were misled I’d be livid and I wouldn’t trust these clowns again. I’d want firsthand knowledge rather than second.
Gohmert: I’d heard that was the case. That’s when he invited a bunch of groups over to the White House to talk to him face to face. At one of the meetings Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan said, “Mr. President, if we could sit down with you for three minutes, we can get a deal worked out.” And you know Trump. He said, “Then let’s sit down. Let’s get it done.” According to Jim and Mark, Priebus grabbed him and said, “Mr. President, you don’t have time for this. We’ve got to go do something else right now.” Priebus wouldn’t let the President sit down with them and get the thing worked out. What we’re facing is something that Reagan faced with at least one of his Chiefs of Staff trying to keep him away from the people who got him elected.
Rush: I wonder who you mean there, Louie.
Rush: You wouldn’t be talking about James Baker, would you?
Gohmert: Well, that is a name.
Gohmert: Yes. But Rush, keep in mind, with this health care bill, this is probably the first time in Donald Trump’s adult life he was relying on documents put together by people who didn’t support him.
Gohmert: I mean, normally, he has documents put together by his lawyers. Read his book; he doesn’t tolerate it if they don’t do a great job. Especially if they’re not being truthful with him about what the document does and what it contains. So this is a new thing for him, having people around him, helping him, who aren’t doing what he tells them to do. I think he will eventually get adjusted and will prevail, but I hope there are not too many corpses [laughs] in the path before he figures it out.
Rush: I read that the budget is going to be omnibus again. It’s going to be catch-all. It’s not going to be a formal budget and there will not be any money appropriated for the border wall, according to The Hill. They claim Republican leaders are dropping funding for the border wall. That’s a top Trump promise that they’re making clear, right now, before they even get started, that it isn’t going to happen. Is it going to happen or not?
Gohmert: It will not be in there if our leaders get what they want. Look at the gop “autopsy” Reince Priebus did after the 2012 Romney loss. It is the antithesis of supporting something like a wall. It’s really the antithesis of Trump’s platform, his campaign. Priebus didn’t see this as popular even four short years ago. When you’re wondering where his heart is, look at what he said in the past, look at that “autopsy.” These guys didn’t want a wall. They said during the election cycle it wasn’t going to happen; the American people said, “Oh, yes, it will.” That really was a propellant in getting Trump elected. So he’s not going to give up on that.
Rush: I hope he’ll succeed. Look, every question I have really comes under one umbrella: Why are the Republicans afraid to act like they won? I draw the analogy that a person who’s been overweight most of his life and then loses a significant amount of weight just has the toughest time thinking thin. He just doesn’t believe it. He’s got too many years being fat, feeling fat, looking in the mirror and thinking he’s fat. So when he looks in the mirror and sees he’s thin, he doesn’t believe it.
The Republicans were in the wilderness of the minority for 40 years, then they won the House in 1994. I just don’t think Republicans have ever learned how to walk around that town with an attitude of victory. I don’t see the glow of victory from this election on anybody’s face. After election night, it just seemed to vanish.
Take, for instance, the idea of a government shutdown. If there’s a government shutdown over this omnibus budget, it’s clearly going to be the Democrats’ fault, but the Republicans are terrified of it. They act like they’re going to get blamed for it, so they can’t let it happen. So again, even though they won, they are conceding the leverage of everything to the Democrats. You know as well as I do how this frustrates people out there who vote.
Gohmert: It frustrates me. It is insane. But I do have to say there were an awful lot of us on Inauguration Day who were just basically giddy. Heck, I was so happy I shook Bill Clinton’s hand and I shook John Boehner’s hand. I was one happy camper [laughs] because there was a new sheriff in town. That was a great day. In fact, my dad, who’s 91, emailed me: “Son, everybody in Mt. Pleasant” — where I grew up — “saw you at the Inaugural. You were in a prominent position. But you’ve got to get rid of that tan raincoat. Just get a dark navy one and send me the bill. I’ll reimburse you.”
But I haven’t told dad yet, it was my brother’s raincoat. I lost him six years ago. I was proud to be wearing that raincoat. But I’m telling you, that was a great day. Just a superb day. I still carry some of that feeling. But Rush, there are such parallels to the story about the children of Israel, God bringing them out of Egypt. And every time they turned on Moses.
Rush: Yes, it’s human nature.
Gohmert: “And you brought us out here to die.” Sometimes that’s the way it feels in Congress. We won the election, “Oh, so you brought us out here. We won the election so we’ll get killed.” We’re going to repeal Obamacare, “Oh, we can’t repeal Obamacare!” Yes, we can. America’s going to love it.
The Democrats were not afraid of losing a majority to get Obamacare done, because they knew what planting that socialist flag meant. We need to be just as committed to knocking that socialist idea down and getting us back to freedom. So I’m hopeful, Rush. It’s why I’m still in Congress.
Rush: In closing, let me stipulate something. In some of my passionate moments here in this interview I have not meant to include you in those whose actions and motives I’ve questioned. The truth is, we could use 434 more people like you.
Gohmert: You’re so kind. Some Republican establishment people would have a heart attack if there was even one more of me. But I guess it’s the optimist part of me, I never thought for a moment you were including me. [Laughs]
Rush: I just wanted to make sure the readers of the interview understand. You are highly respected, and a lot of people have a lot of faith that you will never give up in this quest. It’s why you wanted to be elected to the House in the first place. And you’re pushing against the tide every day, especially when the Democrats have been running the place.
Gohmert: I’ve got to tell you, Rush, a few of my contributors have said, “You always say ‘no.’ Why can’t you at least say ‘yes’ on this one?” Others write letters to the editors, “Isn’t it time you stepped down, or didn’t run again?” I’m a fan of term limits. But we’ve got some work to do. We have got to make sure that people across America understand: This is our last chance, and if we don’t keep our promises in the next year and a half, I don’t see it happening. I just think God blessed us with another chance. That’s why I was so giddy on Inauguration Day, and it’s why we cannot stop, even if it means losing a seat. We have got to win.
Rush: You’ve stumbled into something here, because you’re exactly right. To this day, when I talk to anybody who’s a Washington resident or member of “the establishment,” and tell them that the vast majority of people who voted for Trump did so because they really believe the fate of the country as founded is at stake, they laugh. Their lives are fine. Their kids’ educational circumstances are fine. They think people who believe the country is in crisis are lunatics.
Gohmert: Yes. Yet that’s happened every time a great nation fails.
Rush: They don’t understand what you just said, that we’ve got a year and a half or we lose. Sadly, most people in Washington don’t believe that at all.
Gohmert: Democrats I’ve had discussions with think socialism is the way to go. Even though, as you point out, it has never worked. But when I’d get into discussions like that, the good-natured ones who are honest and easy to talk to [laughs] would say, “Well, Louie, progressivism is the right way. But if it’s not right, we’ll just fix it later.” They don’t understand what Reagan understood, that when a generation loses freedom, it doesn’t come back in that generation.
So we have got work to do. Which is why I can never thank you enough for being the great salesman for freedom, for a democratic republic, for free thinking. Last month was my 25th anniversary of listening to you. And by the way, your pushing to eliminate baseline budgeting, the automatic increase every year, inspired me to file that bill when I got into Congress. We actually got it passed two Congresses ago, and we passed it twice in the House.
Now, with two majorities and the Presidency, we’ve got a chance to actually pass it into law. Yet now that it can become law, there seems to be pushback against passing it. But that’s the way you start toward balancing a budget — just stop the automatic increases. So we’re going to keep pushing that with this Administration. I think if we can get the President behind it, with his refusal to fail, we just might get that into law.
Rush: Good luck. Thank you for your kind words, and I say them right back at you. Any way we can help, let us know.
Gohmert: Thanks, Rush.
Photos ©2017 Getty Images and ©2017 AP/Wide World Photos
“Those who stand between us and loss of freedom –or even annihilation –deserve our utmost respect and honor. The heroic men and women of the U.S. Military risk life and limb daily to certify the safety and security of all Americans at home and abroad. If Congress cannot pass an appropriation, it’s not right for these valiant warriors and their families to suffer through a late paycheck.”
“In 2013, the Pay our Military Act was signed into law. That act, which allowed members of the armed forces to receive full pay and benefits during the shutdown, was passed unanimously by the House and Senate. However, the 2013 bill only exempted military pay for Fiscal Year 2014, not for any future years. We have the responsibility to provide complete certainty to the men, women, and families who sacrifice so much for our freedom every day.”
“Passed in the House just before the government shutdown in 2013, the Pay our Military Act only exempted military pay for Fiscal Year 2014 and not for any future years. The introduction of the Armed Services Always Paid (ASAP) Act is essential and will make certain that all members of the military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, National Guard, Coast Guard, and reserve components will receive their pay on time during any lapse in appropriations. This essential legislation will permanently ensure that our heroes in uniform never have to wonder whether their next paycheck will ever come, how they’ll pay their bills, or even face the fear of losing their car or house.”
“No military member should have to worry about the financial situation of their family back home. They need to have the peace of mind that their paycheck will arrive on time and in full. These warriors place their lives on the front lines to protect and defend this nation. They deserve to be placed at the top of our interests here in Congress.”Congressman Gohmert is the Vice Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee and the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Prior to being elected to serve in Congress, he was elected to three terms as District Judge in Smith County, Texas and was appointed by then Texas Governor Rick Perry to complete a term as Chief Justice of the 12th Court of Appeals.
Freedom Caucus members had been concerned that the House healthcare reform bill did not actually repeal Obamacare and that the initial plan didn't reduce costs enough, but compromise changes that have been made will make it work, including coverage for adults to remain on their parents' insurance, Rep. Louie Gohmert said Thursday.
"Most important, I think, to a lot of our constituents, premiums will come down," the Texas Republican and Freedom Caucus member told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program. "There is no removal of the mandate about coverage for preexisting conditions and coverage. Twenty-six year olds can be on the parents' insurance."
Gohmert said he doesn't mind leaving the parents' insurance provision in the new plan.
"Heck, I would be for putting it at 50 or 60," he said. "I don't care, if you are living at home with your parents, heck yeah, be on their insurance."
Gohmert said the compromise that was reached allows mandates to come out that had forced coverage and drove prices up, so prices will instead drop in the next two years if the plan is voted into law.
"That's huge," said Gohmert. "Also, states are allowed to request a waiver from some of the other mandates that can bring prices down further."
The Freedom Caucus likes the compromises, said Gohmert, but the House moderate GOP Tuesday Group also "got a lot of things."
"Thank goodness they are concerned about their constituents," he said. "They care about it; it's just reaching a compromise so that we can get help to all of our constituents."
"Originally our leadership did not want to compromise off of what we already had," said Gohmert, "but we were determined. If we're not going to get a full repeal we have at least got to get help with these skyrocketing premiums."Read More
President Donald Trump’s dedication to enforcing immigration law is one of his significant accomplishments as he nears his 100th day in office Saturday, experts and lawmakers say.
Trump is “taking the handcuffs off of [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and the Border Patrol because the immigration enforcement officers were prohibited from doing their job to a significant degree under [President Barack] Obama,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Daily Signal in an interview.
The Trump administration highlighted its dedication to enforcing immigration law in a list, initially obtained by CNN, which specifies victories during the president’s first 100 days in office.
Included are executive orders issued by Trump on Jan. 25 that detail border security and immigration enforcement directives. These include instructions for a border wall, an order to withhold funding from sanctuary cities that are noncompliant with U.S. immigration law, and the hiring of “10,000 additional immigration officers.”
The list also includes an April 11 announcement from Attorney General Jeff Sessions where he instructed federal prosecutors to prioritize criminal immigration enforcement.
Trump also signed a revised executive order in March which placed temporary travel restrictions on residents of six countries the Obama administration and Congress had designated as posing risks of terrorism.
The original executive order issued in January was nullified by a federal judge in Seattle in a ruling upheld by a U.S. appeals court. The revised executive order was blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii.
Enforcing the Law
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who is vice chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on crime, terrorism, and homeland security, said he agrees with these measures.
“Just having a president who says, ‘We’re going to enforce the border’ has had a profound effect on the number of people that are coming into the country illegally,” Gohmert told The Daily Signal in an interview. “It [has] already dramatically been cut back and so I think this is moving along quite well.”
Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an interview that there is a stark difference between the Obama administration and the Trump administration.
“What has changed so radically is that the Department of Homeland Security and all our border patrol agents are now finally able to do their jobs,” von Spakovsky said. “The handcuffs have been taken off.”
The number of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in March, under 12,500, is the lowest total in 17 years, he said.
Trump’s approach to illegal immigration is vastly different from Obama’s, said Krikorian, of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates stricter enforcement of immigration laws.
“Under Obama … if the Border Patrol caught somebody who said he had been in the United States before January of 2014, they had to let him go, even if they knew he was illegal,” Krikorian said. “In other words, Obama essentially had a kind of informal amnesty for anyone sneaking across the border who would say that he had been in the country before January of 2014.”
This practice, reinstated in 2016, came from Obama’s “priorities” program, which instructed agents to pick up criminals, individuals threatening national security, and illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. after Jan. 1, 2014.
When Obama was in office, Krikorian said, Border Patrol agents would see individuals who were “still wet from wading across the Rio Grande.”
However, if the Border Patrol agents “hadn’t actually seen them with their own eyes in the river, they had to let them go” if they claimed to have arrived before 2014, he said.
Working Toward Building the Wall
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said Trump’s promise of building a border wall is already decreasing illegal immigration.
“One thing that the Trump administration has done very well is broadcast loud and clear that they are going to keep their promise of [building] the border wall,” Biggs, who comes from a border state, told The Daily Signal in an interview. “And that has resulted in a reduction in crossings.”
Last month, Trump sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., which detailed border wall funding with a request for $1.38 trillion for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to be available through September 2021. It would cover “procurement, construction, and improvements required for the operational control of United States borders, including design and construction of a wall and other physical barriers on the southern border of the United States.”
Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate, however, have said they prefer to put off a fight with Democrats over beginning to pay for the wall until the fall, rather than as part of funding the government for the rest of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
“Full border wall funding can’t be there at this point,” Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., a supporter of the wall, said in a recent interview with The Daily Signal. “It’s not designed, prototypes have not been created.”
Trump said Tuesday that funding for the wall likely will not be included in the spending bill that Congress must pass by midnight Friday to avoid a partial government shutdown, The New York Times reported.
Michelle Mittelstadt, director of communications at the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank on immigration, told The Daily Signal in an email that “the net result of his first 100 days is that a combination of action and rhetoric appear to be significantly reshaping the current immigration reality in the U.S.”
Taking a Stand Against Sanctuary Cities
Trump issued an executive order Jan. 25 denying unspecified federal funding to sanctuary cities.
“I’ve been particularly encouraged by the administration’s support for denying federal funds to sanctuary cities, in line with legislation I’ve backed,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal.
During the Obama presidency, Blunt called on Senate colleagues to “limit federal funding” to sanctuary cities that did not cooperate with enforcing federal immigration laws.
“The previous administration set a dangerous precedent by cherry-picking the laws it chose to enforce, and I’m glad we now have a partner in the White House who is holding sanctuary cities accountable,” Blunt said.
Trump’s order is facing opposition in the courts, however.
On Tuesday, a federal judge in San Francisco placed a national hold on Trump’s executive order regarding sanctuary cities until the issue can work its way through the courts.
Federal funding for entitlement programs such as Medicaid in sanctuary cities, however, would not be affected by the president’s order, von Spakovsky said in a new commentary.
The Department of Justice says it is working to implement Trump’s executive order to urge sanctuary cities to provide documentation of compliance with the department. The department also is hiring more immigration judges who will serve at detention centers along the border, Sessions announced this month.
Room to Improve
An area of immigration policy that Trump could improve on, Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies said, is addressing a program implemented by the Obama administration in 2012 called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
This program has provided deportation protection and work permits to over 750,000 immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
“The fact that [Trump] has basically adopted the DACA, the illegal DACA amnesty, as his own is the one big black mark with regard to immigration,” Krikorian said. “Does it cancel everything else out? No, but it clearly is a problem.”
Donald M. Kerwin, executive director of the Center for Migration Studies, a pro-immigration think tank, said he disagrees with Trump’s approach.
Kerwin specifically criticized what he called Trump’s commitment “to decreasing refugee admissions by more than 15 percent at a time when you know there’s a global refugee crisis that exceeds in size the crisis after World War II.”
Kerwin also criticized Trump’s heightened border security measures and dedication to building a border wall.
“The language, the rhetoric has been brutal,” Kerwin told The Daily Signal in an interview, adding:
It’s been unwelcoming. The proposals have been extraordinarily extremist and harsh, and they show no concern at all, no recognition at all for the benefits that immigrants contribute to the United States.
Going forward, Biggs said, Trump should remain focused on the border wall and the need to secure funding for it.
Blunt appeared to like what he sees.
“President Trump is putting the safety of the American people first by taking action to enforce our immigration laws, strengthen border security, and prevent terrorists from entering the country,” he said.Read More
Regarding the later, said Gohmert, “It goes back to the Animal House line, “Well, you messed up. You trusted us,” referring to Trump trusting in Congress.
Gohmert went on, “He has learned that when it comes to bills, he will probably need to be more hands on and make sure that he gets the bill that he wants – the things that he wants done – put actually into the law. This Obamacare bill, it doesn’t repeal as much of Obamacare as we did two years ago and that’s after the people have spoken and given us both houses and the presidency.”
Added Gohmert, ” We’re supposed to trust the government, Health and Human Services, and my friend Tom Price to do the repeal for us. well, Tom will do all he can. But there’s a likelihood there’ll be court action. That’s something that really should have been repealed by Congress. We did most of the repeal two yeats ago. I just didn’t understand why we didn’t do at least that much. So, I really think that you will see the lessons learned from Obamacare used in pushing forward a tax bill….”Read More
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) spoke with WIBC Morning Host Tony Katz about President Trump, working with Democrats, the border and a possible government shutdown.
Rep. Gohmert on a possible shutdown and funding the wall:
I don't think there will be a shutdown. For one thing, there are a lot of ways to pay for the wall. And there is flexibility with money that has been appropriated in the past. Some was appropriated for the wall! Both some in Congress and the Administration are trying to figure out how much is left of the $4 billion that was previously appropriated to build a wall, a virtual wall, whatever is appropriate.
If there is (a shutdown,) it is 100% attributable to the Democrats refusing to allow the president to keep a promise.
On the first 100 days:
If you take a look at what he has already gotten done. The Congressional Review Act; we worked hand in hand to get bills passed. 12 of them. To reign in the overregulation. That's really helpful to the economy, to Americans. The one problem he ran into was on the healthcare bill. I mean, if I had been the president, I would have been shocked coming in from the business world where people that he worked with, that he counted on to prepare documents, would never dare to prepare something that wasn't exactly what it was supposed to be.
Well, he trusted Congress to prepare a bill that did what Congress and the president had promised, and it didn't. Heck, the bill we passed two years ago did more to repeal Obamacare then the bill we had this time.
I don't think you will see the president being as trusting of Congress to take care of the details on the tax bill like he originally did on the healthcare bill.
On the nuclear deal:
...so many of us were just beating our heads against the wall. This Iran deal it was a treaty, and it should have required a two-third vote in the Senate in order to ratify it. It was a heck of a nice guy, Sen. Corker (R-TN,) that was the lead on pushing through a bill that turned the Constitution upside down. We should never have allowed the president to get into this.
It forced the (Obama) Administration to do what they wanted, and that is to try to make the Iranian blood-thirsty leaders at the top look like they were really good people, and it was a good deal.
Amid ever-escalating tension in the Middle East, East Asia and around the world, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert is at a crossroads: while advocating limited involvement in Syria, he’s also ready for a debate on eliminating the threat of North Korea – starting with dictator Kim Jong Un.
“On one hand, he’s China’s problem,” Gohmert said, “but on the other hand he’s the world’s problem.”
In a far-ranging interview with the Kilgore News Herald this week, the seventh-term representative from Texas’ First Congressional touched on Kim’s instability and what may be necessary to avoid war with the isolated Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its saber-rattling supreme leader.
Gohmert said he understands President Donald Trump putting pressure on Chinese leaders to rein Kim in.
For real change, though, “I think it’s going to have to come from people inside North Korea,” he added. Meanwhile, “We’ve historically seen that if the United States makes it clear that we have a problem with some leader then that leader uses that to rally people around them.
“It’s a tricky diplomatic thing to demand the ouster of a nation’s leader.”
At the same time, Gohmert said, North Korea has nuclear weapons. The regime has worked with Iran.
“With a lot of leaders a threat that you mean can be effective,” but that’s not necessarily the case in the DPRK, Gohmert added.
A sincere threat might not be enough to control Kim.
“I think that when a foreign leader is a threat to the safety and well-being of another country,” he said, “and the people of the country of the crazy leader are not necessarily our enemy, I would at least like to have the debate on whether or not the best position is to take out the leader or to risk war with the whole country.”
It’s not a popular idea, he allowed, and it would spark a debate encompassing international law.
But, Gohmert said, consider the alternatives.
“Should we go to war with the country or just take out their government? I’ve been of the opinion for a while that the better action to take is to take out the government, the leader or whoever the problem is,” he said, “and explain they’re committing acts of war against us.
Then, to the people of that country, “(now) you’re free to have whatever leader you want but if you choose one or allow one that wants to go to war with the United States we’ll take them out to.”
How that would sit with the United Nations is a separate matter, he said.
“I think it’s time to consider the UN a disaster and get out,” Gohmert continued. Not NATO, but “The UN has been taken over by a majority of thugs.”
Gohmert’s against putting boots on the ground in Syria, advocating instead for a Safe Zone backed with air support by the United States while Turkey or another state actor inserts troops to control the area.
American soldiers don’t belong there, Gohmert insists.
“That would be a huge mistake. It was a huge mistake to put 100,000-plus in Afghanistan after the Taliban was defeated,” he said. “The Afghans loved us in ‘05. The people loved us. In ‘06, you could see a change, and when I was there two years ago it had changed a lot – nobody likes people to occupy their land. They liked us when we got rid of the radicals.”
The Northern Alliance fought viciously and defeated the Taliban with assistance from the United States, he added, with American weapons, air support and a limited number of embedded troops.
“I don’t even want to put 300 in Syria. You’ve got (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) that hates us. You’ve got ISIS that hates us,” Gohmert said. “Let them duke it out … I do think we ought to have a Safe Zone. We can move through the air and let Turkey or someone else put the troops down.”
Gohmert hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility someone other than Assad was behind the April 4 chemical weapons attack that killed more than 80 people.
It’s been made clear, though: “If you use poison gas, we’re going to blow up your planes,” Gohmert said.
He’s no Assad defender but neither does the congressman want to bomb the regime out of existence (“If we’d done that, ISIS would have taken over the country.”) even though he favors American intervention when called for.
“We’ve had the power for years,” Gohmert said. “We haven’t been willing to use it when people would violate what’s in black-and-white.”
People around the world hope and pray the U.S. Stands firm, he insisted.
“I think we shouldn’t shun or walk away from being the leader of the world.”
Look for more from this week’s interview in Wednesday’s edition of the News Herald.Read More
Dear East Texans,
Republicans have been promising to repeal Obamacare for seven years now. Some of us have proposed bills that had good provisions that would repeal Obamacare. In fact, we voted on a bill that would have been more of a repeal than this one through the House and Senate last year and put it on then-President Obama’s desk for signature. He vetoed the bill. But let’s be clear: the bill last week was NOT a repeal. It was NOT a replacement. It was an Obamacare tweak giving additional power to the federal government in hopes that our Republican Health and Human Services Secretary could make good changes.
Most east Texans are not in favor of giving the federal government MORE power to solve the problem of the federal government having too much power over our health care. If a true history of the rise and demise of the greatest, freest country in history is written, a chapter will detail how decade after decade, good ol’ go along folks kept providing more and more authority to the federal government rather than reining it in. But we still have a window to stem the tide and get back on track.
In closed meetings we were assured, if we will just give my friend Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price this extra power, he can weaken Obamacare substantially, though he could not repeal it administratively. However, no one could give an adequate answer regarding all that additional power in the hands of the next liberal Democrat who will one day take the reins at that behemoth department. The answer is obvious: the next liberal Secretary of HHS would bring back Obamacare with gusto, never to be repealed until it does its job—to hand over full control of your health care decisions to the government, paid for by crushing tax burdens.
There were a myriad of reasons to vote against Speaker Ryan’s rejected bill. It would hit people between the ages of 50-64 with additional costs for premiums and deductibles—in addition to what Obamacare does now. In addition to the original $716 Billion that Obamacare cut from Medicare, this bill was going to hit our seniors yet again.
Most troublesome to me was that in our own Republican meetings we heard from experts who believed that this bill would not bring premiums, deductibles or co-pays down at all and they would most likely be increasing for the next two years, though there was hope costs MIGHT come down 10% three years from now.
From what I hear from my constituents in east Texas, they are really overwhelmed with health insurance and healthcare costs. They need help, and they cannot afford to wait three years. They need help now.
Some of us were exceeding concerned about a new “tax credit” entitlement scheme that did not require proof of citizenship, not even legality, before the U.S. Treasury sends a check. This entitlement was another transfer of wealth from those who work hard and pay taxes to those not legally present in this country.
The bill also assured that nearly 1% of your hard-earned money would be paid for a Medicare tax to be sucked out of your paycheck that already has a tax of 2.9%, half paid by you and half by your employer.
To help east Texans with the higher premiums this bill would bring, my Freedom Caucus friends and I twice agreed to vote FOR the bad bill, if the Speaker would take out a few of the requirements that were going to increase premiums. We were convinced by knowledgeable analysts that removing these provisions would drive premiums down.
Please understand, we agreed to let the “pre-existing condition” provision in Obamacare remain, though some falsely reported that we refused. We agreed to let children stay on their parents’ plans up to age 26, though I would agree to a higher age or no age limit if you are still living with your parents.
There were numerous other provisions that caused some heartburn, such as giving authority to HHA to create, for the first time ever, FEDERAL high risk insurance pools at the cost of billions of new dollars. We were told not to be alarmed, and that the hope was to eventually devolve that responsibility back to the states. As President Reagan warned, however, the closest thing to eternal life in this world is a new federal program.
Even though I was called an uncompromising “purist,” I was willing to compromise significantly if we could just get the premium costs down for my constituents.
People should also be aware that if the vote had been taken, there would have been as many moderate Republicans voting “No,” which some believe is why the vote was pulled in the first place. Republican leaders would not have been able to lay blame unfairly on conservatives when it was clear within our conference that at least as many moderates were concerned about the bill as conservatives.
The House Freedom Caucus reached an agreement to vote for the bill twice with President Trump, only to have Reince Priebus or Speaker Ryan notify us that such a compromise could not be put in the bill because, they told us, it would risk violating the budget reconciliation rules in the Senate and kill the bill.
Repeatedly we were told by our Republican leadership that the Senate Parliamentarian could not tell us in advance how she would “rule” on whether we could include our requested language in the bill without killing the bill. Late last week, we learned that the reason they could not find out was because they simply had not asked her, as Senator Mike Lee reported.
Yet the whole truth of the matter is that the Parliamentarian never “rules” on anything. She or he may only whisper a recommendation into the ear of the Senate President, either Vice-President Mike Pence or a designee of the Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who sits in the chair with the gavel on the Senate floor. It is the President of the Senate who “rules” on admissibility, not the Parliamentarian. And if 51 Republican Senators support the ruling of the presiding officer, his or her ruling stands untouchable.
This letter offers just a glimpse of the many reasons that the last two weeks played out as they did. It is very disappointing that despite the several compromises that were offered by conservative members, we still were not near fulfillment of our promise to truly and completely repeal Obamacare. That is a promise I did not make lightly, and I will continue the fight to honor my pledge to my constituents and the American people by working aggressively to make sure we get a good bill, get it passed, and signed into law.
Congressman Louie Gohmert
First District of Texas
2243 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Serving his fifth term in the United States House of Representatives, Congressman Louie Gohmert was first sworn in January 4, 2005. He proudly represents the First District of Texas which encompasses over 12 counties stretching nearly 120 miles down the state’s eastern border.
During these trying economic times, Rep. Gohmert is developing innovative solutions to jumpstart our economy and offering practical alternatives to the government’s bailout frenzy. His “Federal Income Tax Holiday” gained widespread national support from the grassroots level to national leaders, allowing taxpayers to decide how best to spend their hard-earned money. Louie has repeatedly called for an end to the socialization of our economy and decried the notion that Washington Bureaucrats know better than American taxpayers.
Louie serves on numerous House committees and subcommittees. He was recently named Vice Chair of the Judiciary subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security due to his extensive knowledge stemming from years in the court room.
Prior to being elected to serve in Congress, Louie was elected to three terms as District Judge in Smith County, Texas. During his tenure on the bench, he gained national and international attention for some of his innovative rulings. He was later appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry to complete a term as Chief Justice of the 12th Court of Appeals.
Louie received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University and later graduated from Baylor School of Law. He is also a veteran having served his country as Captain in the U.S. Army.
Today, he and his wife Kathy are the proud parents of three daughters. Their family attends Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, where Louie has served as a deacon and still teaches Sunday school.
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