NASHVILLE, TN—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, joined guest host David Asman on Kudlow to discuss the Biden Administration’s continued appeasement of Iran, the State Department’s lack of transparency regarding the suspension of Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman transitioning to Microsoft.
Hagerty on the Biden Administration’s failed responses to Iranian terrorist attacks: “It’s clear that they’re not working; we’ve had four military responses here. But if you think about the power we have in the region, we’ve got two aircraft carrier strike groups right there in the Eastern Mediterranean. Our military deterrence capability is strong. The problem is that our diplomatic messages are completely undercutting it. We’re appeasing Iran. Just last week, the Biden Administration released another $10 billion to Iran; they’re the greatest state sponsor of terror. You think about it, when they came into office, the Biden Administration removed the Houthis from the foreign terrorist organization (FTO) list. The Houthis turned right around and attacked Saudi Arabia; now they’re launching missiles from Yemen into Israel. You think about it: they just took over a Japanese ship in the Red Sea; they have 25 of the Japanese sailors as hostages.”
Hagerty on the need to sanction and cut off funds to the Iranian terrorist regime: “The Biden Administration [took the Houthis] off the terrorist watch list; we ought to put them right back on. And Dave, we’ve got to start snapping back and enforcing every sanction that we have in place, the primary sanctions, the secondary sanctions, on Iran. We’ve got to cut off the flow of funds to these sponsors of terror rather than emboldening them by sending more money to them. […] If you look at the tributaries of terror: that’s Hamas, Hezbollah that you just mentioned, the Houthis, the rogue strikes that they’re putting onto our bases with their own backed terrorists, those are the tributaries of terror. You’ve got to shut off the river. And the river is Iran; they’re the ones that are flowing the funds, the technology, and the know-how to all of these terrorist proxies that they sponsor; we should hold them accountable for that. And again, the sanctions are available to us. We should snap them right back into place. I worked hard to put those sanctions in place. Back when I was [U.S.] Ambassador to Japan, I got the Japanese to stop buying Iranian crude oil. We need to go back and do that around the world and enforce these sanctions.”
Hagerty on the Biden Administration’s appeasement emboldening Iran: “It goes back to the Biden Administration’s desperate policy of appeasement. The first thing they tried to do when they came into office is appease Iran and get back into the treacherous [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], the so-called Iran deal, that literally just put Iran on the track for a nuclear program. It released pallets of cash; you’ll remember that. Jack Lew, now going to be our Ambassador to Israel, what an insult to Israel, was the one that released that cash when he was Treasury Secretary. So…we had to squeeze the river down. We brought it down to a trickle; we had Iran’s funds down below $8 billion by 2020. Now we’ve had more than $100 billion flow back to them under [President] Joe Biden. That is what’s funding all of this.”
Hagerty on the State Department’s mishandling of the Malley investigation: “[The Pentagon’s assistant secretary of defense for special operations], his chief of staff is one of the members of the Iranian Experts Initiative. It’s shocking that she would still have a security clearance. They found emails showing her correspondence back and forth with the Iranian Foreign Ministry. I mean, this stinks to [the] high heavens. And [Special Envoy for Iran Robert] Malley’s under investigation right now; this whole thing needs to be brought into the open. The State Department needs to make clear to all of us that they’ve followed every aspect of the rules as they’ve dealt with this [investigation]. They kept a lot of this under wraps and undercover. They didn’t tell us for months that Rob Malley had been suspended, that he’d lost his security clearances, and in fact, he was allowed to continue to operate without his security clearances in the role of Special Envoy. This has been a huge, huge error by the State Department, and I’m very, very concerned about where it may leave our national security interests.”
Hagerty on the need to maintain a competitive advantage in Artificial Intelligence: “That’s why I think Xi Jinping came to San Francisco for the APEC Conference: wanting to negotiate with Joe Biden to slow down our progress in AI, to slow down our deployment of AI in military applications. You think that Xi Jinping is going to keep his side of any agreement like that? Ask the [British] how it worked with Hong Kong. I think we need to be deeply concerned, and we need to be pressing every advantage we can possibly muster right now to make certain that the United States maintains its competitive advantage in artificial intelligence.”