Missouri’s junior U.S. Senator, Republican Josh Hawley, made time this week to talk with Missourinet on several topics.

Those include a leadership shakeup in the U.S. House of Representatives, as Nancy Pelosi, D-California, announced she would not seek a leadership position among House Democrats following the retaking of the chamber by Republicans.

“I’m glad that we’re going to have a new speaker here in just over a month and I presume that’ll be Kevin McCarthy (R-California), and I’m glad to see that,” Hawley said. “I’m glad to see Republicans back in the majority and I hope that we’ll be ready to govern.”

Meanwhile, Hawley is disappointed that fellow Republican, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, was re-elected as that chamber’s Republican leader. Hawley had supported Florida Senator Rick Scott.

“I’ve said all along, actually for a while now, that I think we need a change in leadership in the Senate,” Hawley told Missourinet’s Marshall Griffin. “I do not support current leadership and that’s why I voted ‘no.’ And my view is that this leadership has not delivered an agenda that’s good for Missouri. Anytime you’re siding with Big Pharma on insulin prices, you’re not in the right place for Missouri. Anytime that you’re caving to Democrats on the radical climate change agenda, you’re not in a good position from Missouri.”

Hawley says, though, his “no” vote doesn’t mean he can’t work with McConnell on getting legislation through the U.S. Senate.

He’s not commenting yet on former president Donald Trump’s decision to run for the White House again. Instead, he says Republicans need to have a “tough conversation” about what their convictions are as a political party.

“We just came off an election where we didn’t win like we should have won, and I think the reason for that is we didn’t put forward an agenda that actually appeals to working people, that actually delivers on the promises that we made,” he said. “I hope that we can have a talk here now about what our convictions are going to be going forward.”

There’s been past speculation that Hawley may someday decide to launch his own presidential bid.

And earlier this week, a Cole County judge ruled that the Missouri Attorney General’s office, during Hawley’s administration, had “knowingly and purposefully” violated the state’s open records laws.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem says Hawley’s office failed to provide email records requested in 2017 by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In his judgement, Beetem says those emails showed – “at a minimum – a questionable use of government resources” to support Hawley’s U.S. Senate campaign.  The judge says the Attorney General’s Office prevented an opposing party committee from accessing documents “potentially damaging to then-Attorney General Hawley’s political campaign.”

Hawley denies any wrongdoing.

“The Democrats have attacked me on this going back to the last campaign, with Claire McCaskill, for four years now,” Hawley said. “I have personally, personally, been investigated twice by the Secretary of State in Missouri and by the Democrat auditor in an investigation that went on for years into my personal conduct, both of which – all of which – exonerated me completely and found that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing, any unethical behavior, nothing on my part.”

Hawley continued, “the Democrats can keep up on this all that they want. But I think the facts are pretty clear, and you know, it’s time to move on.”

It should be noted that Judge Beetem is also a Republican. His ruling fines the attorney general’s office $12,000 and also ordered it to pay attorney’s fees and costs associated with the case. There’s no word yet if current Attorney General and U.S. Senator-elect Eric Schmitt will appeal Beetem’s ruling.

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