In this episode, we sit down with Arizona Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, to discuss President Trump’s election-related lawsuits, the impact of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s push for “election reform,” and what Lesko expects would happen if Democrats gain a majority in the Senate and win the Presidency.
This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.
Jan Jekielek: Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Rep. Debbie Lesko: Thank you for having me.
Mr. Jekielek: So Congresswoman Lesko, you’ve been saying that electors decide the presidency. And actually we’ve been looking at various polls that have been coming up. And they’ve been telling me, or telling Americans, that more and more Americans actually understand former Vice President Biden to be the president-elect. Has anything changed? What are your thoughts on this?
Rep. Lesko: It’s not over till it’s over. And the electors actually vote for the president, not the media. And so I was just at the doctor’s office yesterday and talked to a nurse practitioner. And she too thought that Biden was the next president. She didn’t even know anything about the lawsuits. And so it always is interesting to me what people hear. Of course, most of the media is already in the pocket for Joe Biden. Has been for many a time. And so it doesn’t surprise me that all they talk about is that he won.
And they basically make fun of Trump supporters like me that question election irregularities. But we should, and I’m glad that the Trump administration, or I should say the Trump campaign team, is pursuing lawsuits in different states where there actually were irregularities, because it’s important that our vote counts, and that only legal votes count.
Mr. Jekielek: So there’s also been this situation where the head of the CISA [Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency] was fired—Chris Krebs—basically for saying, essentially, that there was no fraud in the election. What do you make of this?
Rep. Lesko: I think that it’s premature for anybody to say there’s no fraud until it’s actually totally investigated and gone through the courts. And that’s the only thing I’ve been saying all along, is when there was counting still going on, and there is some counting still going on, that first of all, all the counts have to be counted. But then second of all, President Trump has every legal right to go to the courts when he thinks there’s some funny business that went on with the voting.
And so it needs to go fully through the courts. All the votes need to be counted in a legal manner, and then and only then will it be over. And I don’t care what people say, and how much fun they make of me or they make of the Trump campaign. It’s the way that it is. And quite frankly, most of the media, they’re biased, and they just want Joe Biden to win. If it was the other way around, if the tables were turned, you know that Joe Biden would be doing the same thing.
Mr. Jekielek: President Trump’s legal team has been saying they’ve uncovered, or they have evidence of significant fraud in terms of these Dominion voting machines. What do you make of this?
Rep. Lesko: I don’t have the details, and I’m not the lawyer on the ground. But my understanding is there’re many eyes looking on the Dominion servers and the computer systems, and that we’ll get to the bottom of it. And only then, and when it goes through court, and if there’s any illegal actions by this software, then it definitely needs to go to court; because I’m telling you about what 70 million people, 71 million people that voted for President Trump think that some funny business went on, and for the sake of our country, and for the sake of the presidency, this needs to be all investigated. And only then will we know who the president is.
Mr. Jekielek: So we’re kind of in an unprecedented situation here where basically, on one hand, we’d had this unprecedented level of mail-in ballots that have been used, presumably because of the COVID realities and so forth. And this, to some extent at least, has led to some of the doubt in the electoral system, because we know that this type of a scenario basically opens things up more to fraud than any other. That’s at least what I’ve understood.
So the question is, you’ve actually made a point of saying some words about the fact that H.R. 1, Speaker Pelosi intends to basically put that up at the beginning of the next congressional session, which would kind of, as I understand it, institutionalize some of these things, including this early balloting, which is prone to fraud. Can you speak to any of this?
Rep. Lesko: The Democrats push for H.R. 1 is terrible. As you know, it passed through the U.S. House of Representatives once already, and they’re going to try to push it through again. And they’re hoping that the Senate will flip over to Democrat control. And I can tell you, if the Senate does flip over to Democrat control, and if Joe Biden is actually installed as the president, they’re going to pass it into law. And basically what it does is nationalize elections throughout the country.
To give you an example: in Arizona, the voters, through a ballot measure years ago, said that voters have to prove they’re really the person that they are voting [as] and show an ID to vote. And that would take away, [or] H.R. 1 would prohibit, states from requiring ID to vote, which is terrible! It overturns what the people in Arizona wanted, and I think it’s a terrible thing to do.
Also in Arizona, we passed legislation that says it’s illegal to harvest ballots. So no ballot harvesting, meaning people can’t go to apartment complexes or nursing homes and pick up other people’s ballots willy nilly. You can if you’re a family member, or something to that effect, but you can’t just pick up mass amounts of ballots, because then that’s subject to fraud. H.R. 1 would undo that too, and say, “Oh no, ballot harvesting is totally legal.”
It would also say that all states have to do same day voter registration and other things like that. It also gives taxpayer dollars to fund congressional campaigns. It’s totally ridiculous; that part of the bill hasn’t even been put out there that much. But since I’m on both Judiciary Committee, which heard this bill, and Rules Committee, which hears all bills before they go on the floor for a vote, I really learned a lot about H.R. 1. It’s a terrible bill. It’s a radical bill.
I pray and will continue to help those two Republican senators in the state of Georgia to make sure the Democrats don’t flip the Georgia seats to Democrats and therefore flip the Senate to Democrat control, because that would be the worst case scenario.
Mr. Jekielek: So one of the criticisms, actually, of this election that we just had, is quite simply that all these states, of course, have different systems. So there’s some states that were finished very quickly; there’re some states that were counting many days afterwards. Basically, that there was a lot of chaos, and this kind of diversity in systems is actually a problem. Why not standardize it nationally? Your thoughts?
Rep. Lesko: I’m a big believer in states rights. So I’m not a big proponent of federalizing our elections. I think every state has different circumstances, and every state elects their own election directors as we do here in Arizona. Now, some I agree with and some I don’t agree with, but I think it would be a mistake to federalize our elections, because if the Democrats are in control, it’s going to be a total liberal policy, just like H.R. 1 is, and Republicans and conservatives aren’t going to like it.
And they’re going to push for some really radical things, including having illegals vote in elections, which I am totally against, and I think most conservatives would be against. And so you kind of have to think about what you’re wishing for. Because if the Democrats get in control, they will put in a terrible nationwide system.
Mr. Jekielek: So why do you believe that this new system would be so stacked against Republicans or conservatives?
Rep. Lesko: Because I’ve seen it firsthand. I’ve seen what the Democrats have done, firsthand, in H.R. 1, and that they want to undo what local people and local states believe is best for their state and their county and their subdivision. And they just want a one size fits all government plan that is totally radical. It’s a bad plan.
Mr. Jekielek: Congressman Lesko, let’s talk about the Georgia Senate races that you mentioned just moments ago, You say there’s a lot at stake here. From where you sit. How are things looking for those races right now?
Rep. Lesko: I certainly hope that we retain Republican control in the Senate. And that’s why I will do everything and anything to help make sure that we … I want to get the two seats to be Republican controlled, but we at least need one to retain Republican control of the U.S. Senate. Because think about it; all of the totally radical bills that Speaker Pelosi and the radical Democrats have pushed and passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives have been, so far, blocked by the Republican majority in the Senate because they’re, quite frankly, some of them are just crazy.
Crazy over the top bills like giving $1200 checks to illegal immigrants, or undoing election laws in Arizona, or taking away gun rights. All of these bills have passed the U.S. House of Representatives. And thank God the Senate is Republican controlled, and President Trump, of course, is a Republican, and wouldn’t have signed them into law.
But let’s say that they flip, the Democrats flip the U.S. Senate, and Biden is the new president, right? If he actually gets installed as president, they will ram through every radical bill that you can think of while they have power. And I really do believe they will take away the 16 vote, filibuster, cloture rule that whatever you want to call it in the Senate.
And they’ll just ram through; one of the first things they’ll probably ram through is having Washington, D.C. become a state because they already passed that in the U.S. House of Representatives—they’ll pass it in the Senate. And then of course, Biden would sign it into law, because that guarantees them two more Democrat U.S. senators, and they want to stack the deck and make it more difficult for Republicans to ever gain control again.
They’ll probably do the same thing for Puerto Rico to get two more Democrat U.S. senators from Puerto Rico.
And I would not put it past them if they would stack the U.S. Supreme Court, meaning adding more members to the U.S. Supreme Court, so they then can nominate liberals to overturn the conservative vote.
I’ve seen them up close and personal through the impeachment. I was on the judiciary committee, and I was one of eight U.S. Congress members to serve on Trump’s impeachment defense team. And I’ve seen what they’re capable of doing. And I really do believe that the Democrats will do anything and say anything to gain power, and we can’t let them do it.
Mr. Jekielek: Another issue, which has just come to my attention is that the Washington Post Editorial Board is actually advocating for the removal of the Electoral College altogether. What do you make of this?
Rep. Lesko: I’m totally opposed to getting rid of the Electoral College. Then you’d have California and New York deciding who the President of the United States is. Our founding fathers designed it in a way to protect the smaller states so that the smaller states actually have a say in our presidential election. And so I am totally against eliminating the Electoral College, and we’ll fight that tooth and nail.
Mr. Jekielek: Let’s talk a little bit about one of the groups that you are, in Congress, involved in, and that’s of course the House Freedom Caucus. Can you tell us briefly what the House Freedom Caucus is for those who don’t know, and your role in it?
Rep. Lesko: Yes, I’m the only woman right now in the House Freedom Caucus, and it’s a conservative group of Congress members that advocate for conservative legislation and balancing our budget. And so now, I think we have probably maybe four more women might be joining the House Freedom Caucus. I don’t know if it’s been decided yet. But I think that the House Freedom Fund endorses them and helps them financially in their campaign election. And so I assume they’d be joining us, which would be great, because right now I am the only woman in it, and I need some more backups.
Mr. Jekielek: And given the increase in seats that the Republicans have, and I guess potentially the House Freedom Caucus people have, does that augment the role of the House Freedom Caucus? Does that change at all?
Rep. Lesko: I think certainly growing the number of members in the House Freedom Caucus, we’ll have more say in things and hopefully more conservative legislation. But also growing the number of Republican members certainly helps us in negotiating with Nancy Pelosi, because she knows that some of her Democrat members may vote with Republicans on certain issues. And so she has to be very careful. And we’re going to have a bigger stake because she doesn’t have as much of a margin as she did before.
Mr. Jekielek: You’ve been very outspoken about socialism, we’ve kind of touched on this a little bit earlier. But you’re describing a lot of legislation being proposed in the House, that sort of tends in that direction. Can you just speak in general to your concerns about society taking on a more socialist tone, let’s say?
Rep. Lesko: I’m very concerned with the Democrats Party push for socialism. Their belief system is just totally different than my belief system. And I believe their belief system is totally different than the majority of Americans. I just don’t think most Americans know how radical the Democrat Party has become.
Now, I reach across the aisle and work on a bipartisan fashion on issues that I can work in a bipartisan fashion. But there’s some of my Democrat colleagues, and there’s a growing number of them, that have just become radicalized. They out and out call for defunding the police. They out and out believe that prisoners, even violent prisoners, should just be released into society.
In fact, Speaker Pelosi’s most recent relief bill package, she called it the Heroes 2.0 package [Heroes Act 2.0, economic stimulus package], it would release federal prisoners into our communities just because they’re 50 years old. So the Democrats were more concerned that these federal prisoners were going to get COVID than they were concerned that these federal prisoners, that were convicted of violent crimes, would hurt somebody in our society.
The other thing you see, which is very disturbing, very disturbing; just recently in Washington, D.C., where you had all these Trump supporters walking around in support of peaceful protests in support of President Trump. And you have these thugs, these leftist thugs hit people in the back of the head, kick people, even elderly people. It’s just unconscionable that the Democrat, D.C. mayor doesn’t do something about this.
The other thing that just blows my mind is, in Oregon, there’s a ban on plastic straws. OK, a ban on plastic straws! But they just decriminalized cocaine and heroin. The world is just upside down. And I’m not going to let this fly in the rest of our country. I’m just going to fight like heck, because these people are radicals when they prioritize criminals over police, and they demonize police.
For goodness sakes, I’m in Judiciary Committee, and so is Congresswoman Jayapal. Her district includes the Seattle area that had that autonomous zone, which was a cop free zone, remember? And these people just took over the blocks of it. She denied that it even happened in Judiciary Committee. She said to me, “Debbie, there is no takeover, these are just peaceful protesters, they’re poetry readers”. Give me a break! There were four people shot; two people killed. The police chief of Seattle was saying that people were getting raped and the cops couldn’t even go in to help these people. This is scary stuff!
We cannot let these radicals who believe in socialism, who believe in anarchy take over our country. And I’m very, very disappointed that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris don’t speak out against these thugs, Antifa, BLM [Black Lives Matter] thugs that are attacking peaceful Trump supporters. It’s outrageous!
And while I’m going on, I’m really upset about Twitter and Facebook censoring free speech too. Something has to be done about them. It’s outrageous.
Mr. Jekielek: Let’s talk about that in a moment. It just struck me; I saw reports today that of all 27 districts that were marked as toss-up in the House, all of them actually went Republican. And then there have also been reports of these sorts of internal discussions where moderates in the Democratic Party are very unhappy with the messaging. They feel like a number of seats were lost that shouldn’t have [been] because of radical messaging. I don’t know the entire truth behind this, but are you hearing these sorts of things? What are your thoughts?
Rep. Lesko: I think the reason, there’s several reasons that Republicans gained seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The first reason is, we have good candidates. We had a lot of strong candidates, a lot of women candidates, minority candidates. And so that’s the number one, you had to have good candidates and we had good candidates.
Secondly, yes, the Democrats have become radicalized. And when they’re sitting there calling for cutting police funding, it’s ridiculous. And when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris denied that they were for cutting police funding, they’re just out and out lying. Because he said it on video; Joe Biden, when asked, said he wanted to divert money from police funding to social workers or other things like that, and Kamala Harris applauded it when Los Angeles cut their police funding.
So it’s not just the radical people like [Ilhan] Omar and AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez]. It’s Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, too. They believe this stuff, and that’s why they are not coming out and supporting the police directly, they’re just not doing it. And they’re not condemning these radical rioters that want to beat up on people and intimidate people. And you know what? We just can’t let these radicals bully us and intimidate us. We have to stand up. And we have to stand up for what we believe in, because we have to protect the values that have made our nation great.
Mr. Jekielek: So, talking about big tech, there were these recent hearings in the Senate. And I believe one of the testimonies was that Facebook actually shut down, I think at least one group that was involved in “Stop the Steal”—or perhaps it was called that—people that were coming to this event on Saturday to support President Trump. So what are your thoughts about big tech censorship in this specific situation?
Rep. Lesko: Facebook and Twitter are totally outrageous, how they are censoring free speech. Especially conservatives free speech. And I believe when the Twitter CEO was questioned, he said, “Oh, it was just a mistake that they had censored the Customs and Border Protection, Acting Secretary’s post, it was just a mistake.” Give me a break. How many mistakes do they have to make when common sense just tells you they’re censoring freedom of speech, and specifically censoring conservatives?
Every time President Trump would try to say something they’d put a little disclaimer on there, “Oh, there’s opposing viewpoints on there.” But do they do that for liberals? No! This is just outrageous. The good thing is, is that Democrats are upset with Facebook and Google, and Twitter too, but for different reasons. And so Republicans and conservatives are upset with them. Democrats are upset with them, for different reasons. And so maybe something will actually get done.
Mr. Jekielek: Another just quick point. There was this whole disclosure from the New York Post around “the Hunter Biden emails” and everything associated with that, which caused Twitter to lock the New York Post account, and so forth. And I guess my question is, I believe Jack Dorsey, in these [Senate] hearings, said that it was a mistake to do that. Did this have an impact on the election, in your mind?
Rep. Lesko: Of course! Twitter censorship of conservative speech, and, quite frankly, information; like the New York Post’s reporting about Hunter and Joe Biden, censoring that and eliminating it so that it couldn’t be shared. Of course, that had an impact on the election. They’ve been doing this non-stop. Think about it. When President Trump in 2016, I think he was still campaigning, in 2016 he claimed that the Obama administration was spying on him and the Trump campaign, all the media laughed at him, “Oh, no, that didn’t happen.” Guess what, it definitely did happen.
And there were bad FBI actors. They doctored FISA court applications to go after Trump people, spy on people. And if they’re going to spy on the President of the United States, you know that they can spy on you and me and anybody else. And so this needs to be corrected.
And boy, I tell you what, if the Senate goes to Democrat and the presidency goes to Biden, and we know that Pelosi is still in control of the House, that’s all going to be buried, nothing’s going to be changed. The bad things, the corruptness that happened went all the way up to Obama. This stuff isn’t going to be revealed at all if they take control.
At least if the Senate stays Republican, at least there’ll be some investigations that are going on. So everything, quite frankly, is on Georgia right now. We’ve got to make sure that at least one of those senators is a Republican so we retain control of the U.S. Senate.
Mr. Jekielek: Another House Freedom Caucus member, Congressman Jim Jordan, has actually said that he expects to see something from Durham in the near future. Are you aware of anything like this?
Rep. Lesko: I don’t know what’s happening with the Durham cases, but it sure seems like it’s taking forever. I just remember hearing for, it seems like, a year that something is going to come out, something is going to come out, something is going to come out. And it didn’t come out before the election. So it might just get buried. I don’t know.
And even if something did come out, the way that the media censors everything and is so biased, maybe nobody will know about it. Just like the New York Post articles about Hunter Biden’s computer and all the corruptness that went on there. Most Americans don’t even know about it, because most of the media won’t talk about it. It’s terrible. It’s really terrible, to tell you the truth.
And so I’m just passionate about all of these issues. That’s why I ran for Congress. I want to protect the values that have made our nation great. And I really believe that there are forces out there that want to ruin our country and [who] believe in socialism, they believe in anarchy, and I will do everything in my power to stop them.
Mr. Jekielek: Congressman Lesko, such a pleasure to have you on the show.
Rep. Lesko: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.