Adam Laxalt, candidate for US Senate (adamlaxalt.com) in Nevada and former Nevada Attorney General is this week’s guest on Liberty & Justice with Matt Whitaker. Adam and Matt discuss protecting federalism and battling the Obama Administration, appointing judges, reducing violent crime, supporting law enforcement and confronting woke companies.
Watch every episode of Liberty & Justice at whitaker.tv.
SAVE MISSOURI VALUES PAC is this week’s sponsor.
Laxalt graduated Magna Cum Laude from Georgetown University and graduated from Georgetown University Law Center. Additionally, he is a former Naval Officer and Iraq Veteran, serving in Iraq detainee operations. Laxalt’s team was in charge of more than 20,000 detainees during the surge, keeping America’s troops and citizens safer by assisting with the detention and prosecution of thousands of war criminals and terrorists. For his exemplary service, Laxalt was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal. His unit was also awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award. While on Active Duty, Laxalt served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and as an Assistant Professor of Law in the Leadership, Ethics, and Law Department at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Adam Paul Laxalt, a fourth generation Nevadan born in Reno, served as Nevada’s 33rd Attorney General from 2015-2019, entering office as the youngest Attorney General in the country at the time.
As Nevada’s Attorney General and top law enforcement officer, Laxalt took a bold, results-driven approach to serving the people of Nevada, protecting the state’s most vulnerable citizens, and keeping its communities safe.
One of Laxalt’s top priorities was pursuing justice for victims of sexual assault, which he did by taking on Nevada’s horrendous backlog of more than 8,000 untested sexual-assault evidence kits. He also fought for victims of human trafficking and secured the first human trafficking conviction in the history of his office. In addition, Laxalt led efforts to protect Nevada’s seniors, creating a financial fraud unit to address issues including abuse of the elderly and guardianship exploitation.
Laxalt launched the state’s first-ever Law Enforcement Summit, which he held twice a year, bringing officials from Nevada’s 17 counties together to determine how local law enforcement could more effectively address emerging criminal trends.
Today, Laxalt resides in Reno, Nevada with his wife, Jaime, their daughters Sophia, Isabella and Lilliana, their son Jack, and their dog, Buckley.
SAVE MISSOURI VALUES PAC is this week’s sponsor.
Matthew G. Whitaker was acting Attorney General of the United States (2018-2019). Prior to becoming acting Attorney General, Mr. Whitaker served as Chief of Staff to the Attorney General. He was appointed as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa by President George W. Bush, serving from 2004-2009. Whitaker was the managing partner of Des Moines based law firm, Whitaker Hagenow & Gustoff LLP from 2009 until rejoining DOJ in 2017. He was also the Executive Director for FACT, The Foundation for Accountability & Civic Trust, an ethics and accountability watchdog, between 2014 and 2017. Mr. Whitaker is Author of the book--Above the Law, The Inside Story of How the Justice Department Tried to Subvert President Trump.
Mr. Whitaker graduated with a Master of Business Administration, Juris Doctor, and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa. While at Iowa, Mr. Whitaker was a three-year letterman on the football team where he received the prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor.
Mr. Whitaker is now a Co-Chair of the Center for Law and Justice at America First Policy Institute and a Senior Fellow at the American Conservative Union Foundation. Matt is on the Board of Directors for America First Legal Foundation and is a Senior Advisor to IronGate Capital Advisors. He is also Of Counsel with the Graves Garrett law firm. Whitaker appears regularly to discuss legal and political issues on Fox News, Newsmax and other news outlets. He splits his time between Iowa, Florida and Washington, D.C.
Intro [00:00:00] Matt Whitaker, former US acting attorney general. Such a great conversation about America, our future, what's going to save our republic. We have a great football player. Matt Whitaker is here, Matt. They tried to bury me. They didn't realize I was to seed them. Whitaker When we're acting U.S. attorney. General under President Trump is. I am Going to be an unwavering supporter of law enforcement. Welcome to Liberty and Justice with your host, Matt Whitaker. Today's episode is sponsored by Save Missouri Values PAC.
Matt Whitaker [00:00:35] Welcome, Liberty and Justice. I'm your host, Matt Whitaker. As you see, our guest this week is Adam Laxalt, former Nevada attorney general and candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2022. Adam, how are we doing, my friend?
Adam Laxalt [00:00:47] Doing great. Thanks for having me on.
Matt Whitaker [00:00:50] Good. In preparation for this interview I was recalling when we first met, when you were attorney general and you were one of the frontline warriors in trying to keep the Obama presidency and administration kind of off the states. And tell me a little bit about what you did in really the early days of sort of protecting federalism?
Adam Laxalt [00:01:16] Yeah, look, I think people forget just how bad things were at the end of the Obama era. He kept bragging about the phone and the pen and obviously had no Republican support at the time, given their their leftist agenda. And rather than try to find a solution, they decided to go it alone. But you really saw at least the conservative Republican AGs trying to find a way to slow down those unilateral actions. And I ran on creating the first ever federalism unit, and we put that in place. We woke up every single day finding ways to defend our constitutional rights. We had a lot of huge successes for the country and for him and for my home state and in fact, my solicitor general. We ended up pushing to the president to see if he would nominate him for the Ninth Circuit. He's now a ninth Circuit judge. He was nominated at 45 years old. He's going to bring some much needed conservative balance to the Ninth Circuit and be a strong constitutional minded judge for the next 30, 40 years on that court.
Matt Whitaker [00:02:29] Isn't it extraordinary? And I got one of my former staffers helped him get on the Ninth Circuit as well and through putting a lot of judges into those vacancies that were left open by the Obama administration. You could almost get a conservative panel on the Ninth Circuit. It's really extraordinary.
Adam Laxalt [00:02:45] Well you can. And he penned what became a really famous opinion a couple of months ago when they struck down the fact that gun shops were closed under the mandate. And and so far, that has that has not gone to the full circuit, to my knowledge. I don't follow these things every day. And I think it helped. And so this is the difference when you get strong judges that actually believe in the Constitution. And by the way, they're not, you know, taking the temperature of what, you know, the media or perhaps the elites expect them to do on hot button issues. They stick with principles. They stick with the Constitution. I know you are a big part of that. In the Trump era, we got a lot of really, really strong judges in and let's hope we get back there in 2024. We can start getting a lot more good, good, strong conservative judges on the benches all across America.
Matt Whitaker [00:03:40] Yeah. And this first point we're talking about is so important because I think a lot of Americans that believe, like you and I believe, are seeing sort of the state AG's battle on Title 42. You know, it's so many other issues, but I think they forgot that the original road map was drawn by people like you and other state AGs who said, you know, we're not going to put up with Obama's phone and a pen policy because there is a constitution, there is the rule of law. And you were really one of the early warriors in that. So I always you know, I make sure that people, when they find out we're friends, that I let them know as to how much you shape kind of what's going on currently to hold back the Biden administration.
Adam Laxalt [00:04:22] And you know what's crazy is this president has two Democrat majorities and yet they just put out a release bragging that they have the most unilateral executive actions of any president in history. Go figure. You know how anyone could think that that is a success story? Trampling our Constitution, destroying federalism, rather than finding solutions with their majorities that could actually get through Congress. And so AGs that are on the front lines now, they got their work cut out for them for the next few years. Let's hope I win this Senate race and we can be another check in the U.S. Senate on this runaway Biden administration.
Matt Whitaker [00:05:06] Well, you know, with your experience in the U.S. Senate, I think you would bring a unique voice for that separation of power, for the rule of law, all the kind of things that, you know, conservative jurisprudence has stood for. And, you know, really, really after Post Scalia, you know, and here when he was on the court and what he started to do with originalism and. How to interpret laws and how to, you know, kind of keep the separation of powers between the three branches the way the founding fathers designed it. So that's I mean, I just I think you'll be just as perfect for that role. So I know a lot of our major cities right now are experiencing violent crime really at an epic proportion. And, you know, you were former law enforcement as attorney general. What are some of the things that you think either at a state or a federal level that can be done to reduce this spike in violent crime, especially in our major cities?
Adam Laxalt [00:06:08] Hey, first and foremost, we need to recognize that it is liberal policies that have created this and we have the media that continues to cover up for them. We have an administration that will not change course. We have a sitting vice president of the United States. There was advertising a bail fund during the 2020 riots. And I like to remind people this was these were in blue jurisdictions. We all watched it. There were tens of thousands of people that were not being arrested for violent activities. The ones that were actually arrested in these dangerous places were the ones that were lighting Molotov cocktails or physically assaulting police officers. She was still advocating for bail for those for extreme criminal offenses. And so, look, the Democrat Party is the party that does not believe in law and order. They believe in, you know, no bail. They believe in lessening sentences. They think that, you know, people that commit crimes are basically a victim of society. So they they shouldn't go behind bars. And so if if we continue down that path, we're going to see these crime rates continue to go up all across the country. And you know what? It's crazy. I'm sure you cover this all the time. But this crime, these spikes are happening in blue cities with places that have had blue mayors for a hundred years and Democrats city councils. And so the solution is simple elect people that care about law and order and understand there are bad people out there that do need to put behind bars in order to make communities safe.
Matt Whitaker [00:08:00] Right. And you see, look, a place like New York City, which, you know, just can't seem to get ahead of this problem and every policy they pass makes it worse. And, you know, you look at this cash bail where they're just you arrest somebody and they're back on the street the next day, you know, sort of the propensity to commit more violent acts after you've already committed a violent act is fairly high. And, you know, the rehabilitation that's necessary for some of these sociopaths is just not going to happen overnight in a, you know, county or city jail. But, you know, I just I have so I'm so frustrated with this because how quickly we forget, I mean, you know, in the like you said, the summer of 2020, you know, we had Portland Federal Courthouse was under attack for over, I think, 60 nights. I came over, I lost count because it was just this ongoing assault where they were trying to take over the federal courthouse in Portland Extra. You know, but you know, those people, if they were arrested, they were back out participating in the riots the next night. And they, you know, they really didn't have any punishment. And that that kind of lack of punishment, a lack of consequences for these actions, I think, is one of the things that the legacy of the left in their, you know, record on law enforcement is so poor. And then lament for if you're a member of law enforcement, you're you're demoralized. You don't feel supported by your political leaders. You know, I talk to police officers all the time that are just just feel like they can't do anything right. And so it really discourages them to to do law and order, which the American people want. Everybody wants to be able to play have their child play in the front yard safely. And I know you stand for those kinds of policies.
Adam Laxalt [00:09:36] You know, it's just this is a gut wrenching thing. I don't think we spend enough time on it. Our law enforcement are made up of every day Nevadans in this state, every day, Americans across the country and the whole Black Lives Matter. Tagging our law enforcement is systemically racist. That was false then. It's still false today. We need to continue to beat back that narrative, the narrative that, you know, the Fortune 100 and the media and Hollywood, all these people perpetuate. And it is a complete lie. And imagine how discouraging it is that you're let's say you're a teenage girl and your father is a cop who's actually risking his life for our community. And all she hears in her school is the cops are bad people. I mean, it is just so tragic. And of course, it's led to plummeting law enforcement departments, all time highs of retirements. People are not willing to sign up to be cops. And why would you sign up to be a cop? You can't do anything right in this business these days. And so it's a huge problem. And but I think there's no more winning issue for us that cuts across all classes, all parties, all groups. We can all agree this is a fundamental job of government law and order to keep us safe. And this is a great opportunity in 2022 for us to continue to make people understand this is not an accident. What we're seeing is the direct result of leftist policies. And look at certain places where you have Soros days that actually refuse to prosecute crime. They're basically a second public defender in these cases. It's it's a true travesty. And I hope a lot of these people are getting thrown out of office in 2022.
Matt Whitaker [00:11:37] Yeah. Now, I know your friend Ron DeSantis was out with you recently campaigning and, you know, his his effort to go after these woke corporations like Disney, like the Tampa Bay Rays and all the kind of people that are just doing nonsense, inconsistent with, you know, our our traditions and values, I think is, you know, kind of maybe going to be the battle of the future, you know, in addition to many of these other issues. I mean, what do you think? There's much that the Senate can do, you know, to address some of these frustrating woke policies that American corporations seem to want to implement, inconsistent with the majority of their customers.
Adam Laxalt [00:12:20] Well, look, I think Governor DeSantis has given Republicans a road map for how we take on the left and I guess side step back. First and foremost, we need Republicans in office that understand the left will never stop until we defeat them. And we must find ways to meet them at the pass and defeat their terrible ideas. Governor DeSantis has done an amazing job of finding those opportunities and a lot of other governors have followed suit. And in the Senate, we need to find any avenue possible to push back. And we need to be willing to be vocal as leaders of our party, leaders of the message that we care about. And, you know, in the end of the day, this is what our voters are demanding. This is what they deserve. We cannot let these lies continue to pervade our society, in our communities, or in the end of the day, we know that all politics is downstream of culture. And if we can't go back to trying winning the culture, then politics is simply not going to work out in the long run.
Matt Whitaker [00:13:32] Yeah, you're so right. And, you know, I just I think what Ron's doing in Florida is is is important. It's important work. I think a lot of Americans, you know, sort of what is being inculcated into our children under the noses of the parents in the schools is is disappointing, to say the least. And so, you know, I'm happy to see people like you and Ron and others, you know, take on this challenge to be unafraid to, you know, call it out for what it is. You know, it's a radical indoctrination. In the final minutes we have today, I want to talk a little bit about what's happening on the southern border. As you get around the state in Nevada and you talk to your fellow citizens, you know, I assume they're a little frustrated with the Biden administration's handling of the southern border.
Adam Laxalt [00:14:20] A little. This is putting it lightly. This is one of the number one issues that comes up in every single conversation I have with an ordinary voter in this state. And despite the fact that the legacy media never covers the topic, you don't see the stories about kids being taken over the border and and doing unspeakable to these kids once they're smuggling over the border, as well as all the drug trafficking and the fentanyl spikes. I mean, you're not hearing about this, the terrorists that known terrorists that are getting over the border. Can you imagine where we'd be if this was actually covered by mainstream media? Nonetheless, our people, and I'm not just talking to Republicans are conservatives. I'm talking about ordinary Nevadans, independents, Democrats. They're following this. They're offended. They're appalled. They know what makes our community less safe. They know that it betrays the very notion of nationhood and our country that it must mean something to be American and to have a secure border. And I think this if I win this race and we take back the majority, this has to be a huge priority for us. We need to be doing whatever it takes to force Joe Biden after getting shellacked in the midterms and having neither house, we need to force him to do an about face on this border and finally agreed to securing the border.
Matt Whitaker [00:15:54] Yeah, I totally agree. And as you know, and I'm sure you've heard me say, you know, we are the most generous country in the world when it comes to allowing citizens from other countries to join us. You know, we give over a million green cards, a permanent citizen, you know, permanent residency to people. And so, you know, no one can accuse us of not opening our arms to the world's immigrants, but it has to be regulated. It has to be orderly, and it can't be this chaos we see. Well, unfortunately, our time is up, Adam. I know, you know, as a successful former attorney general of the state of Nevada and now likely the future U.S. senator from Nevada, I want to say thank you for joining us here on Liberty and Justice. And I just look forward to seeing you again, my friend.
Adam Laxalt [00:16:41] Thanks for having me.