Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 official guest host and lead political reporter for The Tennessee Star, Aaron Gulbransen, in-studio to weigh in on the FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s private residence and Monday’s Tennessee attorney general interviews at the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Leahy: And now, the official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report and the lead political reporter, Aaron Gulbransen. Good morning, Aaron.
Gulbransen: Good morning. I wonder if the audience got sick of me last week a little bit.
Leahy: I got good reports.
Gulbransen: That’s good.
Leahy: I got good reports.
Gulbransen: We had a good time.
Leahy: And no one ever gets sick of you, Aaron?
Gulbransen: Maybe my wife.
Leahy: You said it. I didn’t. Well, now, Aaron, unprecedented day yesterday in American history. I think it’s hard to overstate the importance of this, the significance of it. Yesterday, the FBI conducted a raid on Donald Trump’s private residence. They persuaded a federal judge to sign a search warrant.
You get a search warrant if you think there’s probable cause that a crime has been committed. And yet, the former president was caught unawares of this. It had to do – according to sources – with something to do with the Presidential Records Act.
Never, ever in American history, in 243 years of our constitutional republic, has law enforcement conducted a raid on the private residence of a former president, and the likely leading contender in the 2024 election. Your thoughts on this?
Gulbransen: I have a lot of thoughts on it. I also really don’t buy the White House’s line that they didn’t know about it.
Leahy: I don’t believe that for a second.
Gulbransen: I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell, if people believe that line. Number two, in a previous life, I covered a lot of work on the Russian collusion angle, and every time something popped up with it, there was two things that were very clear.
One was the Obama administration officials were lying on television, and when they put their hand on the Bible, they said, “no Russian collusion.” And then it was amazing. I mean, there could be an hour difference.
And then … the thing that was consistently popping up through all of those things was not a rogue FBI, but an FBI that went and did everything they could to damage President Trump and the people around him, and General Flynn.
And this is all fairly famous. I would encourage people to go back and look through the congressional testimony transcripts to see what these people were up to, because every time, whether it was the director of the FBI or FBI agents, they all testified nothing.
So to me, this seems just squarely aimed at making sure that Trump cannot run, or at least an attempt to damage him. Because if this is the presidential record or the Records Act and they’re trying to charge him with a crime, which, mind you, a president, when he’s sitting, can declassify whatever the world he wants.
And then now you’re getting in this gray area going, did he declassify it? And is it Biden [who] decided that it’s classified again? I mean, what is this back and forth? This is a very weird hot-potato situation.
Leahy: It’s clearly political.
Gulbransen: Overtly. Unfortunately, in another hearing yesterday, the word – talking about political positions, that sort of thing, which we can get into later on – everything is political at this point.
Leahy: Everything. I think this is the beginning, and the fact that they didn’t issue a press statement from the Department of Justice is telling. They’re trying to hide something.
Of course they don’t want the name of the federal judge out. They don’t want a copy of the affidavit that they submitted to get the search warrant. It all stinks to high heaven.
Gulbransen: And I want to point out something. Back to the Russian collusion thing, it was proven that to get the FISA warrants that they lied to the FISA court.
Gulbransen: So who’s to say they didn’t lie this time to go get the raid?
Leahy: You know what surprises me? Where is former President George W. Bush with his statement on this?
Gulbransen: I don’t have a lot of words in the positive towards former President Bush.
Leahy: He’s not going to step up.
Gulbransen: He’s not going to step up, he hasn’t acted in the best interest of the country. He just has purely shown “I hate Donald Trump,” so no matter what’s good for or bad for the country, he just probably silently changed.
Leahy: Not there at all. And failing to step up on this is just unconscionable. But that’s where George W. Bush is. That’s his mindset right now.
Now, related to this we’re talking about the abuse of power and the violation of the rule of law that we just saw yesterday happened with the out-of-control Merrick Garland, the attorney general of the United States and the out-of-control Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI.
Now, pushback in our federalist society; increasingly it comes from the role of the attorney general of the state. Yesterday you spent how long? Six hours up at the Capitol?
Gulbransen: It was the Supreme Court. I think the official time was six hours and 19 minutes.
Leahy: And you were there for every minute of it.
Gulbransen: Just about. A bathroom break.
Leahy: See, this is why we pay you the big bucks to report on this, and you had a very interesting story about this, and just to set the background on it – and I think we at The Tennessee Star I think are responsible for the greater transparency of this process …
Leahy: … and really the only news outlet that’s reported extensively on it in the entire state. Just a reminder, the attorney general is a very important job. They defend the rights of the state of Tennessee against the usurpations of the federal government.
Those usurpations are continuing at an accelerating pace, and so this is an important job. The state of Tennessee is the only state in the union where the state supreme court selects the attorney general.
Now James Madison would say this is an egregious violation of the separation of powers. Nonetheless, it’s been in our constitution since 1835. Forty-three states have a direct election of attorney general.
Five states, the attorney general is nominated by the governor and confirmed by the state legislature. And in Maine, the attorney general is selected by the state legislature, but only here is the attorney general selected by the [state] supreme court.
They announced for the first time in history, all of the candidates, as soon as the application process was done. That’s because of our reporting, your reporting at The Tennessee Star. And then yesterday they held this six-and-a-half-hour hearing for the six candidates.
Tell us about what you learned in that six and a half hours about those candidates and about how the supreme court justices, all five of them, are approaching this process of selecting the next attorney general who will step into this job on September 1st.
Listen to the interview:
– – –
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.