In a special interview Thursday on the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Leahy welcomed U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn to the show to speak about the current impeachment process and her progress with illegal immigration legislation.
Towards the end of the segment, Blackburn explained her newest legislation that she has partnered on with Mark Warner in the Senate. She describes the bill as being one that would require local state law enforcement to cooperate with ICE and federal agencies as it relates to illegal immigration.
Blackburn expressed her concern for Davidson county’s Sheriff Hall’s most recent statement by saying, ‘ You wouldn’t believe the number of people we have heard from that are appalled that the city of Nashville and the Sheriff would make such a statement and take such a policy that they’re not going to rent these beds to ICE or lease or make available the beds.’
Leahy: We are joined now by Senator Marsha Blackburn. Welcome, Senator Blackburn.
Blackburn: Good morning.
Leahy: I have to must say, you must be the hardest working elected official in Washington, D.C. I mean you’re up early. You make a lot of interviews. When you’re back in town, which you were last week, I saw you at the launch of the Hodges Foundation. Then I heard another report that you went to a premiere of a Lifetime movie. You are very very busy. Do you ever sleep?
Blackburn: Well, I don’t like to sleep very much. And you know, I am so blessed to have this job and to represent the people of our state. I do work hard. Yesterday was a 20 hour day for me. And what a pleasure it is to begin today with you and talk with you and your listeners.
Leahy: Well it’s a Halloween. It’s an ominous day to have the witch hunt resolution to be voted on in the House. (Blackburn and Leahy chuckle)
Blackburn: That is a good way to describe it. And basically what they have been carrying out is the illegitimate oversight or impeachment or whatever they want to call it an inquiry and it’s done in secret in Adam Schiff’s basement. (Leahy laughs) Now what they’re going to do, since they’ve been caught, not passing any kind of resolution to do this, they’re going to say, ‘Well we’re going to pass a resolution that allows for an inquiry.’
And basically says, ‘We can do what we have been doing.’ And if Adam Schiff decides he wants to do something in public than he can do it in public. But otherwise, he can continue to have these hearings in secret. And oh, by the way, he doesn’t ever have to make the identity of the whistleblower, if there is one, he never has to make that identity public. I mean this is so beyond the pale. It is outside of the rules of the House.
It does not follow the procedure that has been carried forth for impeachments previously. There are no rights or due process allowed to the president. There is not the ability of Republicans to call witnesses. They’re even admonished when they try to question a witness. And this is just a kangaroo court and like I said, it’s there in Adam Schiff’s basement.
Leahy: You know it’s funny, we had congressman Mo Brooks on, your former colleague in the House earlier this week and he said, ‘Don’t call it a kangaroo court or even a witch hunt, that’s unfair to kangaroo courts.’
Blackburn: And there’s a lot of truth in that. They don’t have whatever to call it, because basically it is just committee oversight work. They are pushing forward in an attempt to say, ‘Oh we’ve got ya.’ And we have to realize that the Democrats, the day Donald Trump was elected they started trying to figure out how to impeach him.
And Vanity Fair, not some clickbait website of conspiracy theories, but Vanity Fair magazine published an article in December 2016 that said, ‘This is how they think they’re going to be able to impeach him. They’re already working on the articles of impeachment.’ And he hadn’t even been sworn in yet. He was just President-elect Trump at that point. And he wasn’t sworn in of course until January.
Leahy: The only thing the House is doing it appears Senator Blackburn is to try to impeach the President. Meanwhile, you in the Senate. You’ve been involved in putting together a number of very substantive bills. The latest bill which we have a story on at the Tennessee Star is you are supporting a bill that would clarify ICE’s detainer authority. And as you always do you’re working with colleagues. Tell us a little bit about that bill.
Blackburn: Well we want to make certain that when a criminal illegal alien is apprehended that they are held by local authorities and they are not released. And you remember when I did the Clear Act. This was 10 years ago. And what we were speaking to do there is to make certain that our local entities were going to be reimbursed for any expenses that they incurred.
And we do want to continue to do that and push for that. What we are doing is saying you local entities that are receiving federal funding, you have to hold these criminal illegal aliens and detain these individuals and make certain that ICE is notified and they are able to take these individuals into federal custody.
Leahy: Yeah; and so that bill introduced, it’s likely to pass the Senate I would imagine at some point?
Blackburn: Absolutely. Absolutely. And you know this is a good law enforcement bill. This is the bill that is good for the protection. And I have to tell you, I have worked and continue to work with some of these families who are Angel Families that are in Tennessee.
And the Corcorans, DJ and Wendy Corcoran lost their son Pierce early last year to a criminal illegal alien. These stories are absolutely heartbreaking. The alien that killed their 22-year-old son was someone who’d been in the country illegally for 14 years.
Now, how do we say that’s OK? And that it is OK to be breaking our law for 14 years. It is OK for you to be here and choose to try to skirt the law. And the answer is, it is not OK.
Leahy: And you’re bill will probably be something that will help solve that problem in the future. We are joined in the studio today by another one of your friends, our all-star panelist, Carol Swain.
Blackburn: Oh, wonderful!
Leahy: I try to surprise you with your friends coming in as all-star panelists. So, Carol wants to say hello and has a question for you.
Swain: Good morning, Marsha.
Blackburn: Good morning.
Swain: My question is, what do you think we can do at the local level to respond to the fact that in our city of Nashville they have set up pretty much a de facto sanctuary city?
Blackburn: This is one of the things that passing my legislation would save – cities like Nashville. You can’t pick and choose. If you have a criminal illegal alien then you have to do that. I’m going to tell you, Carol. One of the top issues that we hear about. You know, let me back it up a little bit.
People in middle Tennessee will see me out and about and it doesn’t matter if they a conservative or a liberal. If they’re Republican, Democrat, or Independent. And they will say, ‘Marsha, the economy is going so well. I didn’t vote for Trump. I’m going to vote for Trump this next time because the unemployment numbers are good. Wage growth is good. The economy is healthy. We are doing well.’
Then they will pivot and say, ‘But you all need to do something about this illegal immigration issue. You need to do something about legal immigration and high skilled workers. You need to do something about our Kurdish friends who have helped us but then cannot get in the country.’ And Senator Mark Warner and I are looking at that issue right now. Carol, they want these issues done.
Swain: I agree.
Blackburn: And they are appalled. They are absolutely appalled. You wouldn’t believe the number of people we have heard from that are appalled that the city of Nashville and the Sheriff would make such a statement and take such a policy that they’re not going to rent these beds to ICE or lease or make available the beds.
Now here is the thing. People in Nashville have been very vocal. They do not want to be a sanctuary city. People in Tennessee do not want to see Nashville be a sanctuary city because they’re smart. We have a lot of people in Tennessee that do a lot of work to end slavery.
Modern-day slavery which is sex trafficking. And human trafficking. And drug trafficking. And they know because they look on this issue and follow it, that these sanctuary cities have become distribution hubs for the cartels.
Leahy: Absolutely. And Senator Blackburn we are out of time. Will you join us again.
Leahy: Thanks for joining us.
Swain: Thank you.
Listen to the full second hour:
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