Hageman holds local townhall meeting

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., discusses her work as part of congressional committees and subcommittees during a townhall on Thursday, May 4. Her projects have included investigations of Native American living conditions and the operation of federal departments. (HERALD PHOTO/Hayden Godfrey)

Congresswoman addresses lack of communication in D.C., Trump indictments during Evanston visit

EVANSTON — U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman visited Evanston on Thursday, May 4, for a townhall meeting at the Strand Theatre.

Hageman first spoke about the House Speaker’s race, which saw a hard-fought victory for Rep. Kevin McCarthy in early January.

“You may think it’s old news, but I think it’s kind of important,” she said.

She said her time in Congress has taught her that Representatives spend little time together. “I think that’s in part why our Congress has become so fragmented,” Hageman said.

She said this changed during the 15 votes of the Speaker race, each of which lasted 90 minutes. The unusual level of interaction with her colleagues allowed Hageman to talk about Wyoming.

“I talked about our energy industries,” she said. “I talked about oil and gas; I talked about coal and the importance of those to the prosperity of this country...” 

While speaking with other representatives, Hageman said, she also told them it is “imperative” to remove bureaucrats “who are making multibillion- and multitrillion-dollar decisions every single day without any accountability.” 

She told the crowd gathered in the theater that she has found her fellow Congresspeople to lack an understanding of how administrative law works. She described federal regulations as a hidden tax, amounting to $2.1 trillion per year, and how the legislators to whom she spoke seemed surprised when she told them so. 

“A lot of people thought I ran against Liz Cheney,” she said. The crowd laughed as she continued, “Well, I did ... but I also ran for Wyoming. I wanted Wyoming to have a voice in that body.”

Hageman said her predecessor had been focused on issues that had little to do with Wyoming. “This wasn’t her priority,” she said. “This wasn’t her home.” 

Hageman said, after House Majority Leader Steve Scalise placed her on a policy group, she became a regular contact for those who wanted to discuss regulations. She also mentioned her placement on the judiciary committee, as well as the newly-created Select Committee for the Weaponization of the Federal Government. 

“We need to expose what our federal government has been doing,” she said. “We need to expose their violation of our First Amendment rights.”

She named the departments of education, interior and justice. Her mention of the latter department elicited applause.

She said she was also appointed to the Natural Resources Committee and selected as the chair of the Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs. She said the Interior Department and the Bureau of Internal Affairs do not believe in freedom.

Hageman said she had a group of Native women testify about the prenatal care they receive on reservations, as well as the issues of drugs, alcohol and mental health thereon. She said it is important to continue dealing with these issues, and she vowed to do so as she works with the subcommittee. 

She said the weaponization committee has mostly focused on First Amendment, surveillance and education issues. She referred to a letter the National School Boards Association sent to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland last fall, in which they wrote that threats against school officials “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism.”

The letter requested a review by the DOJ, DOE and Department of Homeland Security. The DOJ created a task force consisting of “representatives from the department’s Criminal Division, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, the FBI, the Community Relations Service and the Office of Justice Programs.”

This task force’s purpose is to assist law enforcement in handling situations “where threats of violence may not constitute federal crimes,” according to a DOJ press release. Hageman called this a weaponization of the DOJ against parents.

Another issue the committee is handling is government surveillance and agencies’ requests to remove posts from Twitter. She said she would like to pass legislation allowing citizens to sue federal employees for violating citizens’ constitutional rights.

A Section 1983 claim, which allows civil action against local and state officials, does not apply to federal officers, she said. She did not mention a Bivens action, which in most cases allows for similar lawsuits against federal officials who violate the Constitution.

She spoke about the Hunter Biden laptop case, and how former CIA deputy director Mike Morrell had confessed to writing a letter dismissing the scandal as Russian disinformation under the orders of Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Morrell said he had written the letter because he wanted President Biden to win the 2020 election.

“You talk about interfering with our elections,” Hageman said.

Hageman claimed the Biden family received millions of dollars from China, presumably referring to allegations by House Oversight Chairman James Comer. Comer claimed Biden may have been influenced by the funds while serving as vice president. 

Congresswoman Hageman then called the Trump indictment a “cut-and-paste job” meant to distract from the alleged dealings of the Biden family.

“It was written in a matter of hours, not days or weeks or months,” she said. “All 34 of those counts are identical to each other with one or two words changed.”

Hageman said she has introduced six or seven bills so far, and co-sponsored nearly 70. She told the audience that the most prominent agenda items in the House are identified as HR1-HR10. HR1 is energy independence, she said.

“With the bill we did last week to raise the debt limit, HR1 is included in that bill in its entirety...” she said. “It’s one of the most important pieces of energy legislation I have ever seen. If we were to pass this, it would change the trajectory of this country for generations to come.”

In the question-and-answer segment, one resident asked to shut down Sen. Cynthia Lummis’ proposals for digital currency, and Hageman quickly agreed.

“I don’t want to give the government any more power to control us,” Hageman said.

Another asked if Hageman would push to investigate criminals on both sides of the aisle. Hageman said in response that Republicans who voted in favor of the recent omnibus spending bill should be “held to account.” She claimed the bill violated the Power of the Purse, by which Congress controls government spending.

While answering a question about the World Health Organization, which she called “a branch of the Chinese Communist Party,” Hageman said Congress should go after former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci. She alleged Fauci had edited a paper discussing the virus’s origins, then claimed not to have seen it. During the course of the congresswoman’s statements, Uinta County School District No. 1 trustee David Bennett said, “Get a rope for him, too,” in reference to a comment he had made at a March 30 presentation by Douglas Frank, an Ohio man who claimed to have discovered algorithms proving the illegitimacy of the 2020 presidential elections. Another spectator yelled, “Crucify him” in reference to Fauci.

Another member of the audience asked if Hageman believed the introduction of mRNA vaccines was a eugenics program. She responded, “I don’t know. I can’t speak to that.”

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