11/16/2023

Ric Grenell on Battling Cancer, Corruption, and California’s Condition

Fascinating discussion with Ambassador Ric Grenell on our first episode of STAND. We explored his dedication to freedom, willingness to fight corruption, and his multiple roles in government. His life in service to others has truly left a profound mark. #StandPodcast #RickGrenell”

A moment of reflection in our latest STAND episode: what do we want to be remembered for? Ambassador Grenell’s response was humble yet profound. In the end, it’s all about being a kind, helpful person who serves others. #Stand #LifeLessons

Had an enlightening discussion with Ambassador Ric Grenell about the intricate role of intelligence in public policy. It’s fundamental to make informed decisions, but when politics muddle the waters, we risk a miscarriage of justice. Listen to STAND for more. #IntelligenceCommunity #PublicPolicy”

Our guest, Ambassador Ric Grenell, called out misinformation and cancel culture in our latest episode of STAND. It’s a reminder of the power of ordinary people to make a difference. Let’s take responsibility for verifying news and promoting transparency. #StandAgainstMisinformation #CancelCulture”

Ambassador Rick Grenell is taking a stand through his ‘Fix California’ initiative. His efforts to restore conservative values, clean up voter rolls, and encourage civic involvement are truly inspiring. Let’s be the change our communities need. Check out our latest STAND episode to learn more. #FixCalifornia #StandForChange”

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Show Transcript

Kelly Tshibaka (00:00:05) – Hello America and hello Alaska. Welcome to our very first episode of Stand at Stand. We believe we can’t be the land of the free unless we remain the home of the brave. Our goal is to equip, empower, and inspire you with fresh perspectives and meaningful solutions to stand up to life’s challenges, one episode at a time. I’m your host, Kelly Tshibaka. Before I ran for US Senate in Alaska, I spent my career holding government accountable. I’m joined by my best friend, my husband and co-host, Nikki Tshibaka, an attorney, pastor, and former federal civil rights litigator. We’re broadcasting from Alaska’s last frontier. Let’s give a shout out to our community of standouts who help make this show possible. Subscribe to our show on your favorite podcast platform or on YouTube. We’re at the Stand Show. Tell your friends to check out our website, stand show.org and follow us on social media. Always at Kelly for Alaska. And hey, we’ve got an exciting announcement to celebrate the launch of our show, we’re giving out a free sticker stand to one of our audience members, who leaves a review for the show.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:01:19) – If you want to be entered to win this gift, be sure to leave a review on your favorite podcast platform or on YouTube at the Stand Show, and you could be entered to win today. We are so honored to welcome Ambassador Ric Grenell to the show. Thanks for being with us, Ric. He’s been on the front lines of standing for our freedom, from standing up to Russia and standing against corruption in the deep state. In Washington, DC, he served as the US Ambassador to Germany, Special Presidential Envoy for Serbia and Kosovo peace negotiations, and in President Trump’s cabinet as acting director of National Intelligence. He also was a US State Department spokesperson to the UN. During President George W Bush’s administration, Rick was considered to be the lead Republican contender in the 2021 California gubernatorial recall election of Gavin Newsom, but he chose not to run. Instead, he’s championed a truly noble effort called Fix California to implement common sense, common good policies that would benefit all Californians. And we want to hear more about that.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:02:25) – Ric, we’re so delighted to have you with us on stand today. Thanks for being with us.

Ric Grenell (00:02:30) – Oh, it’s such an honor. Thanks. You, both of you, for having me.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:02:34) – We’re so excited to have you. Let’s start off with getting to know the real Ric. I’m sure many of our audience members probably seen you on Fox and Newsmax at CPAC, the RNC, on the floor of the UN, you name it. But if you could be remembered for one thing, what would you want it to be?

Ric Grenell (00:02:55) – Such an interesting question, a good question. Um. You know, I would say this. I think my mom is going to want me to answer.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:03:06) – Always important.

Ric Grenell (00:03:09) – And I was a kind, nice person that helped a lot of people and served Jesus Christ as my personal savior. So let’s assume that that is the real answer and add to that. Um, you know, I think, um, I’ve talked a little bit about this in the past. I never, ever, ever want to go through cancer again.

Ric Grenell (00:03:32) – I went through six rounds of chemo for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage three. Um, and absolutely cancer made me stronger. Like who I am on the other side of it. I’m not sure I could go through it again. I’m not sure I would choose to do chemo again. I think if I got cancer again, I might not do it. But right where I am now, I seem to be they don’t. They never use the word cancer free. They say no evidence of cancer. Um, it’s been ten years and I’m still being checked every three months because mine was pretty aggressive. So I think that’s a long answer to say my, um, I think what I want to be known for, what I want my legacy to be, is somebody who fought cancer. Beat it and encouraged and motivated people to get tested. It’s really important that you can you can get a blood test with some cancer markers, and early detection is the entire thing. If you detect these cancers early, you can beat it.

Ric Grenell (00:04:50) – If you detect it too late, the odds are you might not be able to. So I would say I want to encourage people to get tested, get out and get tested. And then the second thing about that is encouraging people who are going through it, or who have gone through it, to look at it as a positive, to see how much stronger and better you are. And then I’ll finish with this is I sometimes, and I can say this to you guys because I know you’re believers. I sometimes feel very guilty when I think about going through cancer because I was never closer to God than when I was facing death and going through, I prayed more, I was more sensitive to the things of of God. I felt like I was in communion with him a little bit more. I probably was nicer, you know, you look back and think it was probably more godly because was closer to him. And, you know, and and I feel guilty that. That that happened, right? That I’m not as close or sensitive to the things of God when when you’re not going through these trials.

Ric Grenell (00:06:05) – And so I’ll finish with this is like I’ve never been more in touch with Job, who really mean as as my brother wrote a book called If Job Had Twitter. Wow. Phenomenal book of like, do you play this all your terrible things out? Or do you have the faith of Job and realize that, you know, when you have these trials and tribulations, you actually it’s so difficult and I know it’s so naive to be like, oh, you can see the brighter side, but you really can, and sometimes you can’t see it until later. And you look back and you think, wow, I’m a better person again. I say, I never want to go through it again. Yeah, but I want to be known for at least pointing that out and challenging people who are going through it. That is.

Niki Tshibaka (00:06:56) – So powerful. And, you know, I love I love the Book of Job. And one of my favorite verses from there is where he says, though you slay me, yet will I trust in you.

Niki Tshibaka (00:07:08) – Yeah. And when you’re when you’re going through something that you were going through, that was essentially the statement that you are making. God, I trust you in the midst of what I’m going through, going through knowing that it could end in me passing from this earth. That’s like the ultimate test of faith, I think.

Ric Grenell (00:07:29) – And so can I’m going to this is a very random question, and I’m going to I’m not trying to stump you, but do you know what the original. Because I don’t know the answer to this. Do you know what the original translation is on, though? I slay you because my only hesitation on that verse, and I’ve heard it a million times is like, oh, I hope that it’s not God giving me these things.

Niki Tshibaka (00:07:50) – Oh, no.

Ric Grenell (00:07:51) – No, I think, I hope it’s not. You slay me.

Niki Tshibaka (00:07:54) – Well, I think what. Yeah, what he was saying was, even if you allow me to die, I. I trust my life to you.

Niki Tshibaka (00:08:03) – So he I think he was taking it even a step further to saying, even if you were to be the one to just take me out, I still would trust you. That’s how far his, his faith went. So. Yeah.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:08:20) – Yeah. I really appreciate you sharing all that. I’m sure that’s going to be encouraging to a lot of our people listening right now who are going through really difficult times and needing some encouragement to stand and face different battles. Probably not what they thought they would hear from you, given all the prestigious positions you’ve held. And I really like that. You just talked about how that spanned the last ten years, because if you hadn’t stood through that battle, you wouldn’t have had all the victories in the battles you fought in the ten years after that. And so we want to start jumping into those. We’ll probably only get a.

Ric Grenell (00:08:54) – Can I add one point to that? Because I think it’s that’s really powerful what you’re saying. And let me take it to a political level that I know some people are not going to like, but it’s it’s true.

Ric Grenell (00:09:04) – This is just for me personally, going through cancer and facing death and facing this terrible, you know, the things that I had to go through just physically, um, I think. Years later when I’m being roughed up by the media. And this is something, Kelly, you can attest to getting roughed up by the media. Gave me perspective. When you face death and you face such terrible situations, and there’s a lot of people who, you know, grew up in poverty or grew up with watching death or had something terrible happened to them as a child. They also have this perspective. That? Oh, yeah. Criticism from the New York Times. You know, my fourth piece of New York Times where they write a a profile of me, you know, saying that I’m the most awful person in the world. Um, it doesn’t matter because it’s like this person who wrote the article doesn’t even know me. And yet everybody around me who knows me is laughing at that person and saying, this person is so out of touch.

Ric Grenell (00:10:13) – So it gave me a really good perspective on politics to to be tougher and to have like thicker skin or perspective.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:10:21) – Right. Which gives you that confidence to be able to say to all the people listening now, you might be facing something really, really horrible, but actually it could be really, really good. It’s strengthening you. It’s giving you a. A breadth, if you will, to be able to take on other challenges that a lot of people couldn’t withstand and couldn’t take. And that’s what we’re going to jump into when we come back after the break. We’ll talk about this question, because there’s not a lot of people in our country who’ve literally stood up to Russia. And before we all got into the Russia Ukraine conflict, it’s been a while since we’ve been at war with Russia. But you saw this coming. And when you were the ambassador to Germany, this was starting to brew, and you tried to head off before we got into this position that we’re in. So we’re going to take a quick break.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:11:19) – But I want to jump into this and kind of get your side of the story and what you did to try to prevent this situation that we’re in now. So everyone who’s listening, stay tuned. Ambassador Ric Grenell, a little bit like America’s Forrest Gump. He was there before there was a there. And he’ll tell us the story before the Ukraine Russia conflict. Make sure to leave a review at the Stan Show on YouTube or on your favorite podcast platform. Be entered to win a sticker from Stand Free Gift this week. Stand by. We’ll be right back with Ambassador Rick. We’re back on stand with Ambassador Ric Grenell. So glad to have you with us, Ric. You’ve had a fascinating career. It’s like you’ve been trying to prevent so many disastrous issues that we’re all now reading about in the news. Let’s start with the Russia-Ukraine war. Germany is a NATO country, has the largest economy in Europe. And during your time as ambassador, Germany effectively chose to become energy dependent on Russia. So today, Germany and Europe are suffering the consequences of energy dependency and allowing Russia to become their largest energy supplier.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:12:39) – Since the flow of natural gas to Eastern and Central Europe has been significantly disrupted by Russia because of the Russia Ukraine war, they’re now in this energy crisis. But it seems like you saw this coming. You go back and read all the articles and will someone just say criticism of you? Can you please share with us what you tried to do, the steps you took to try and help Germany protect its vital role in NATO, and to prevent this current conflict that we’re seeing with Russia, everything that’s going on with Germany’s energy crisis.

Ric Grenell (00:13:12) – I think you hit it on the head and it was really an energy crisis from Germany that was like in slow motion, and they kept making bad decisions after terrible decisions. And I have to say that President Trump was really the visionary here. What what he really tried to to, you know, communicate to Merkel and was the tip of the spear on some of this is to say, look, just look, look at what you’re doing to your own economy. And a lot of this is politics.

Ric Grenell (00:13:39) – And people do not understand this. But Chancellor Merkel was making decisions about Germany’s energy in order to stay in power. And I know that’s a big statement, but it is absolutely true. The Green Party in Germany was coming on the Conservative Party, her party, Merkel’s party, really fast. The Greens were coming up and the Greens are not like our green. What we think of Greens in the United States, the Greens in Germany, think of soccer moms in Frankfurt. It’s a lot of really wealthy individuals who just want what’s best for their kids. It’s a lot of women. The Greens are wealthy suburbanites is the way that I would say it. And they they looked at Fukushima, right. And they saw the disaster in Fukushima, and they thought, we got to get rid of nuclear energy. It’s terrible for us. So they petitioned and they screamed. And the Green Party was pushing to get rid of nuclear energy. Merkel decided to co-opt that issue and took it for the conservatives and announced that they were getting rid of getting rid of nuclear energy.

Ric Grenell (00:14:46) – Now that’s a terrible idea to get rid of nuclear energy. First of all, France has it. I think the lessons of Fukushima don’t build your house on the sandy land. Don’t build your nuke plant on the beach and in an earthquake zone. And they know there’s a whole bunch of of issues there. But she co-opted the Green Party issue there. She then did the same thing with coal when the Green Party was saying, get rid of, get rid of coal. So she decided in order to stay in power, oh, the conservatives are going to be against coal. So imagine a manufacturing based economy like Germany, the largest economy in all of Europe, dependent upon cars and manufacturing for their entire economy, getting rid of big sources of energy. You cannot run a manufacturing plant, a car manufacturing plant on wind. You just can’t do it. And so she was completely making terrible mistakes. Well, in order to stay in power and get rid of nuclear and coal and all of this big energies, she decided that they needed a gas pipeline from Russia, the Nord Stream two pipeline.

Ric Grenell (00:16:02) – Remember, Nord Stream one is a pipeline that the United States says that should be a part of the energy diversification for Germany and for Europe. But Nord Stream 2 went too far. You were depending too much on Russian gas in order to do that. So our position that’s a long answer to, say, our position in the United States was that Germany should not have a pipeline with Russia. That was a gas pipeline. When you’re getting rid of all these other energy sources. By the way, the European Parliament agreed with us. The European Parliament said we don’t want Germany to to have Nord Stream 2. All of Eastern Europe was with us as well. That information right there, the European Parliament, most of the European countries and Eastern Europe being with the Trump administration, you didn’t hear that from the media. In the United States, all you heard is Trump is mean to to Merkel. And so we were pounding them on Nord Stream 2. Don’t allow that to come into operation. We sanctioned it.

Ric Grenell (00:17:10) – We did everything that we could to stop it. It did not become operational under Trump. We knew that this would be a gift to to Russia by doing this. And by the way, at the same time that their Germany is doing this, they’re not paying their NATO fair share, their NATO obligations. So President Trump, he respected Merkel. He was never rude, but he was blunt with her. And he said, you’re feeding the beast, you’re feeding the beast and behavior. Yeah. And she was. And so, you know, we were on to this trying to get rid of Nord Stream 2 or freeze it out. And it never really became operational, as I said. But at the end of the day, the German chancellor, Chancellor Merkel, went to the Biden administration, and she made the argument the same argument that she made to us and said, drop the sanctions, Mr. Biden, on my my Putin pipeline because. As we need this energy. And if you do, you’re going to be celebrated in Germany.

Ric Grenell (00:18:15) – We’re going to like you more. You’re going to have this consensus approval from the Europeans, especially from Germany, if you do this. So in order to please Merkel, Biden made the decision in the Senate. Democrats voted to drop the sanctions on Nord Stream 2. That is a fact. And I believe and could argue that they are the ones the Senate Democrats, by showing Putin this weakness and dropping the sanctions as a favor to Merkel. That Joe Biden, who calculated consensus with the Europeans, ushered in the war in Ukraine. Right?

Kelly Tshibaka (00:18:55) – I think that’s exactly how that lines up. Thank you for sharing all that. Let’s jump into your other fascinating role as Acting Director of National Intelligence. To set this up, we might have to take a pause in the middle of this. But spies, terrorists, weapons of mass destruction are all in the Intelligence Community. And this is something unusual you and I share in common. I was one of the original employees to help stand up the Director of National Intelligence.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:19:22) – And then after I left, you were appointed to serve as the Acting Director of National Intelligence. So we overlap in this interesting organization that oversees now 18 intelligence community federal agencies. But along with millions of Americans, I’m really upset and concerned about the miscarriage of justice and the abuse of power that I’ve seen play out by the hands of certain intelligence community officials. They’ve this is really hurt, innocent people. It’s undermine public trust in the intelligence community, which is also sad because a lot of really hard working, ethical people are in the intelligence community. I want to get your thoughts on all this. So one thing we know is that this Russia investigation against President Trump was initiated based on evidence that the intelligence community had reason to believe was false. So they got fabricated FISA warrants to illegally spy on Americans. The Department of Justice Inspector General, who oversees the FBI and the FISA court found and reported to Congress that, quote, we are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:20:36) – Goes on to say, we believe this circumstance reflects a failure by FBI senior officials. Of course, this was all repeated and found in the Durham report. So at some point, you have to conclude that this Russia investigation that went on for years was government interference with an election. This of course, affected how people felt and voted. Request steps did you take when you were in the middle of this storm to do what was right, because you were there when all this was going on to?

Ric Grenell (00:21:08) – Yeah, that’s a perfect way to lay it out. Look, I think that the intelligence community, we have to understand. Understand that their job is to give us assessments of what they believe is happening, and they are the ones who are supposed to give it to public policy officials. I had my first intelligence briefing in 2001, and I became an expert over all of these years of what an intelligence briefing, a good one and a bad one and a useful one and a not useful one. And I’ll say it that way.

Ric Grenell (00:21:45) – Um, and as public policy officials, that is the whole reason to have intelligence is to feed the system so that we make better public policy decisions to protect America. So ultimately, that is the job of the collectors. The media in Washington immediately jump in and miss this boat. When I was appointed, of course, they they said, you know, he’s the most inexperienced, um, Intel official to ever lead an agency. And I was left to say, wait a minute. I’ve been receiving intelligence briefings for, you know, 15 years. Who better than someone who is the expert on how to consume intelligence than to lead the intelligence agencies? They they scoffed at that. And then Joe Biden turned around and appointed Bill Burns to run the CIA, who was a diplomat just like me, who had been receiving intelligence briefings. He wasn’t part of collecting intelligence. So the hypocrisy was was not missed on me. But what I learned through working with people who collect intelligence is that, you know, look, this is an art, not a science.

Ric Grenell (00:22:58) – Um, you you have people who make assumptions or analysis from facts, and they’re like opinion writers. Um, they are they are gathering information and then they’re giving you an opinion. And an analyst is somebody who analyzes the data and gives you their opinion. This is very, very important to understand. Ay ay ay ay ay. Intelligence analyst is giving you an opinion after reading raw intelligence. Imagine having an op ed in the New York Times written, and you have no idea if that opinion piece was written by Max boot, or a scientist that knows nuclear code.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:23:45) – Let’s pause right there, Ric. We got to take a quick break. We’re going to come back right after this with more of Rick Grinnell’s assessment on the intelligence community and its role in the Russia investigation. Stand by. You’re back on stand where courage is contagious. We’re talking to Ric Grenell, who’s chatting with us about his experience in the intelligence community. And the Russia investigation will pick up where we left off. Ric. Please continue.

Ric Grenell (00:24:23) – So. So really what I wanted to just emphasize is that the the intelligence analysts are writing pieces that are really largely opinion pieces. And if you don’t know who’s writing them, which obviously we we can’t I’m not suggesting that we put names on them, but to know who’s writing them is to know the bias and what I found. What I found very clearly is that the China team was very judicious, slow, methodical behind, I would say, and the Russia team was extremely political, dramatic and emotional and okay. And and I didn’t like that. And I was trying to, you know, get them to understand the implications of what they’re writing mean. They were saying things that turned out to be wrong and, and look no further than the, the, the Israel team, which literally told public policy officials that have President Trump moved the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, there’d be World War Three. And I had the chastise them later on. I didn’t know if any other DNI had done it, but I wanted to let them know that they have a credibility problem because the opposite was true.

Ric Grenell (00:25:37) – Not only was there not War three, but he ushered in President Trump, ushered in peace, world peace. And so they were totally, totally wrong. And there needs to be consequences for wrong intelligence, I think. And that means that the CIA director or the the DNI needs to make changes a lot faster. Here’s the problem, and I’ll finish with this, is that these Intel folks, many of them who are political and dramatic and emotional, go to their friends in the media or go to their Democratic friends, give partial information, erroneous information. And then the receiver goes out and tries to get a big headline and a click or a partisan jab. And so I had somebody who was supposed to brief the the Gang of Eight. Yeah, the heads of the Intel Intelligence committees on both the House and the Senate and the leadership. And I had this person actually, there were three people, because the first person came to me and said, I don’t want to brief the Gang of eight, because every time somebody does their careers ruined because those people leak.

Ric Grenell (00:26:56) – And then it comes back to me and everybody knows that I did it. And they, they, they take my words out of context. And it’s not good for my career. These are career people. I went through three people who told me I’m not briefing the House or the Senate leadership. I’m just not doing it because it’s a career killer. That is because of Adam Schiff. Wow. And that story has never really been out there. Adam Schiff has never really faced the consequences of his manipulation and lies and what it did to career officials who all know everybody inside that building knows Adam Schiff and his team were manipulators, and they wanted to stay away from them.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:27:38) – Wow. That’s a really big deal. That we protect and keep. Classified is really the the correct word for it intelligence. We keep that secret and top secret and protect the people behind it. Because like you said, those it’s not just careers, it’s actually safety too. You learn all that when you’re inside the community. And like you said, I spent my entire career holding people accountable, doing inspector general work or civil liberties and privacy.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:28:04) – And there does need to be accountability for abuse of your position and your authority. We want to transition to other things that you’re passionate about and involved in. Niki, do you want to talk about the upcoming election?

Niki Tshibaka (00:28:19) – Oh, I love talking about the upcoming election because I’m excited. It’s shaping up to be a barnburner. But no, this is in all seriousness, this this election, um, is bringing to the surface a lot. A lot of stuff that that that was lurking deep beneath and that a lot of people in the deep state and bureaucrats aren’t, aren’t happy about. But we need this kind of airing, unfortunately. President Trump is, you know, taking all all this incoming for all of us. However, it looks like we have a real opportunity here where Americans across the board, independents, moderates and even Democrats, a lot of them are really disappointed with the Biden administration, his performance. They’re concerned about how they’ve violated American civil liberties. They don’t they don’t just believe civil liberties.

Niki Tshibaka (00:29:22) – Civil liberties are for themselves. Because if they were, then they’re they’re obviously going to be useless because at some point somebody else can can just take them back and say, they’re for me now. So they’re concerned about civil liberties for all of us. And the implications of what some of this administration has been doing. So we have a real opportunity here to draw more people into the Republican fold or into supporting Trump. We’ve seen some of this with the black community, as I’m sure you’ve been following. But we’re curious to know, how do you think we can really capitalize on this and persuade more folks to join the Republican Party in its efforts to rebuild and restore the promise of America? I’ve said to Kelly, you know, I want to see Make America Great Again, but I’d really be happy just to see us make America America again.

Ric Grenell (00:30:18) – I love that. Um, look, I have to start by just talking philosophically about the media for a second, because I think it’s really important. Um, when when Twitter was invented.

Ric Grenell (00:30:29) – Right. It was kind of like a disruption for the banking industry where you didn’t have to go to the to the bank teller anymore. You could go to that all by yourself or do it on your phone in your own privacy without ever going through that person at the bank. The media just had experienced that with social media, we no longer had to go to reporters to have our story told. The First Amendment is about the freedom of the press. And freedom of speech and and the idea that the press is really the conduit to the public. The, the whole concept is to educate the public, to get information to the public, not to the press. But the idea back then was we have to go through the press in order to get to the public. You no longer have to do that. And social media really disrupted that whole system. That’s why they kicked off Donald Trump, to be honest, is because he was taking his message straight to the people. And the New York Times and the Washington Post and AP and CNN, where we’re not needed as much because they didn’t have the power to to listen and then translate and then broadcast someone’s message.

Ric Grenell (00:31:50) – That message was going straight out there. So in my Twitter feed, in my social media feeds, I can have a New York Times reporter right next to my friend down the street with 12 followers, and my friend is giving out information and opinion, and so is the New York Times. They are the same that disruption the media hates. They’re trying to kill it. So it’s a long answer to, say, every election. Going forward is getting more transparent because we have all of these citizen journalists and people on the front lines who are just giving their information. So what does that mean? It means and think. This is where many times social media companies are struggling to say, well, how do I differentiate between good news, bad news or whatever? I don’t think they have to. I think the idea is the responsibility is on the consumer of the news. I hear all the time from my friends. And if I go to a cocktail party. You know what I’m hearing? Bad ideas and bad opinions and misinformation and old news all of the time.

Ric Grenell (00:33:01) – I don’t sit there and say, eh, Catherine, you’re totally full of it. Or that you know that’s not true. Once in a while you have a debate. But if you’re a nice person, you just kind of listen, and then you give your opinion and, you know, you go to the table. Um, the reality is, is we got to get back to that. We’ve got to get back to to the consumer of the news is responsible. You know, I don’t believe Mark Zuckerberg has to employ people to figure out who’s right and who’s wrong, because they’re biased. And that’s just another creation of a newsroom to, you know, that’s another editor to kind of figure out how to decipher information. And I think we have a country where you get to say whatever you want, and you can mock people if they have misinformation, why can’t if someone is giving out that information, mock them, get rid of their, you know, show their show, be transparent and show how not credible they are.

Ric Grenell (00:34:01) – That’s more important than canceling them. Mm.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:34:05) – That’s a good point, Ric. And you do that really well on your your social media pages, by the way. But that’s a really good point.

Ric Grenell (00:34:13) – I’m nicer in person than I am on Twitter.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:34:17) – I have been with you multiple times and you’re one of the nicest people I’ve ever known. But to be fair, on social media forums, which are vicious and brutal, you get attacked all the time. And so I think putting up some defense mechanisms is fine. But I see your point. We don’t need to support cancel culture when we can all just be a check and balance on each other. To say, I mean, that used to be the point of an academic environment, the marketplace of ideas. It used to just be called debate. And now we have to erase people from society because we don’t agree with them. It seems so extreme. So I appreciate the approach that you take when you call people out. I’ve seen some of the things you said recently where you’re doing like what you’re doing right now.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:35:07) – The story that hasn’t been told is this is actually what my experience was when I left the committee room or when I was in this position, and I really appreciate that. We’re going to take a quick break. When we come back, we want to jump into what you’re actually doing with Fix California, which I think is fascinating, and hear more about how one person can really make a difference. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things in their local community. So stand by. Remember, if you leave a review on your favorite podcast platform, you can be our lucky winner this week to win a sticker from stand. We’ll see you in just a minute.

Niki Tshibaka (00:36:01) – Over. We’re back with former ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell, who also served as Trump’s acting director for the national director of national intelligence for the offices of director of National Intelligence. Rick, let’s pivot to your efforts at home in California, where you live. We’d all agree that California needs some fixing, as do the many thousands of Californians who have fled the state under Governor Gavin Newsom’s leadership.

Niki Tshibaka (00:36:34) – Tell us what inspired you to start the movement Fix California and what is Fix California focusing on right now.

Ric Grenell (00:36:44) – Well, thanks for that question because it’s important. When I came back from the Trump administration, came back home to California. Here, a lot of people were asking me to run for governor because we had the recall effort. If you remember, Kelly referred to it in the beginning. And, you know, it’s. Intriguing to think about being the governor of the state that you love, the largest state in the country. I’m a huge California fan. And, you know, as a young kid in elementary school in the San Francisco Bay area, the fact that I’m, you know, even mentioned or considered as somebody who could run for governor was was really humbling. This is an amazing state that’s been ruined by Gavin Newsom in the Democrats. We have a supermajority in Sacramento. And I think when I look at, you know, I’m a data guy, I like to look at problems from a data perspective.

Ric Grenell (00:37:39) – And Republicans have been wiped out in terms of voter registration. And the numbers are just not there. No. No Republican could win in California. And that’s been proven over and over. We have a lot of Republicans who are on the sidelines. And so what I decided to do was play a long game. And do something for the state that I’m passionate about getting conservative policy positions, conservative values back to California. I don’t believe California is a liberal, crazy blue state all of the time. I think that we have too many people on the sidelines that have given up, and we decided to empower them to, to, to try to get back into the game. So Fix California is a voter registration and voter roll initiative where we put early on every single county in California, put them on notice to clean up their voter rolls. Um, we we have worked with Tom Fitton group, Judicial Watch, which is an amazing organization who sued Los Angeles County before we got going. And they sued to clean up the voter rolls.

Ric Grenell (00:38:56) – And they’ve they’ve removed more than a million people. Imagine a more than a million in Los Angeles County alone, were on the voter rolls and shouldn’t have been there because of residency. Now when you take that. And Gavin Newsom decides, because he’s got a supermajority, that no one can vote in person and we’ve got to vote via mail. And so the mail us mail is going to send every single person on the voter roll a ballot. We already know that in Los Angeles County, there’s a million people that got a ballot that shouldn’t have. Think about that. That’s outrageous. Um, and yet you also have to know, just from practical experience in life, that not a lot of people are checking their mail very often. And we even have a system right now where the Postal Service is warning Americans don’t send cash in the mail because it’s not safe. Right. So you have all of this information, but yet Gavin Newsom has decided to send mail ballots to every single person in California. That was a recipe for disaster.

Ric Grenell (00:40:06) – So what I decided to do is to clean up the voter rolls challenge all these counties to make sure that they were, you know, cleaning up their voter rolls as required by state law and federal law. And then two, to go on a massive voter registration drive, encourage people to register. We found through this digital firm that we’re working with 1.4 million conservatives unregistered. And that’s just a drop in the bucket. These are a people who own guns, and they don’t want to register because they don’t want the government to know who they are. They think it’s a waste of time. They think their vote doesn’t count. We’re going through now and encouraging people to get involved, get off the sidelines. We’ve registered tens of thousands of people and made a difference in the last election, this next election in 24. We’re going to make another big dent in many races, keep telling our donors and think, Kelly has heard me say this before. I tell our California donors that they must invest in California. It’s going to take 5 or 6 years.

Ric Grenell (00:41:16) – It’s not going to happen overnight. This is not a sexy campaign for somebody running for governor, and it’s going to dupe you into thinking that we can win. It is a long term effort, but judge me on every election cycle that we’re getting better than the time before. And I think that that is the case. That is true. We’re winning races that we weren’t expected to win. You give us a little more time and we’re going to make a big dent in Sacramento, but we’re not giving up. We are going to fix California and would just tell people, if you can support us with a little bit of money, go to fix California or fix California pork.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:41:55) – Or fixcalifornia.org. I think one of the things we can say about you, Ric, is your leadership speaks for itself. You know, we wanted to kind of walk through this history with Germany and Russia and fuel. Fuel policy used to be esoteric. Now fuel policy is family policy. We all have to go to the gas pump once a week.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:42:16) – So now we all care about Germany and Russia and Ukraine. What happened with all these abuse of power by government agencies? We didn’t use to talk about it. You were on to the weaponization of government long before any of the rest of us were. I like that you’re taking a long term strategy. And, you know, campaigns are flashpoints and a two year cycle, and everybody gets excited. But we have to understand, conservative Republicans haven’t been winning elections now for we’re going on to our eighth year now. Right. If we don’t fix something at a root cause issue and get to the heart of it, we’re not going to actually start winning anything. And I agree with you. Having gone through the results of the 2022 elections, whether it was my race, it was Adam Laxalt race in Arvada, so many others across the country. It came down to simply Republican voter turnout. And we could put a lot of adjectives announced and reasons behind it. But you’re getting to the root cause. It’s get out the vote and it’s voter registration.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:43:15) – So fix California if you would like to see California be a place where crime isn’t legal and you can go visit safely, that’d be great. I want to double back to a name that we now all know, but a name that I became familiar with in the early 2000, and a name that you became familiar with early in your career. Jack Smith I have my Jack Smith stories. You have your Jack Smith stories. You’re one of the few people who do. This is the DOJ prosecutor who’s brought indictments against President Trump. But could you please tell us about your personal experience with Jack Smith, handling of prosecutions prior, when you were the special envoy for Serbia and Kosovo, what was it like? What was your experience with him when you were in that position? We only have a couple minutes, but if you could just give us an overview. I think stories about Jack Smith are interesting to people right now.

Ric Grenell (00:44:09) – Yeah, I’ll try to be quick on. It’s not my it’s not my forte. But let me let me try.

Ric Grenell (00:44:14) – Jack Smith was the prosecutor at The Hague, and he was in charge of the Kosovo court. After the 1989 war between Kosovo and Serbia, the international court was created to to find war crimes and to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes. So Jack Smith is there. He’s taken over from a prosecutor who left and said, there’s nothing else to do here. There’s no more indictments. So basically he was saying we should close the court, but they didn’t close the court. They they appointed Jack Smith. Jack Smith comes in. He’s years years looking at and analyzing the Kosovo Serbia situation from 1989.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:45:01) – And here was this now.

Ric Grenell (00:45:04) – So this is Jack Smith just a couple of years ago, just like, like 3 or 4 years ago. So so the the fact is he’s looking back at a crime from 20 years ago or a possible crime or a conflict and trying to come up with who should be prosecuted when somebody else already gave up. But. When I step in and I’m doing this Kosovo. Serbia negotiation.

Ric Grenell (00:45:29) – We’re getting close. President Trump is getting this big economic agreement together between the two countries. And then we have an announcement of a big Oval Office meeting to come to the white House. The leader of Kosovo, the leader of of Serbia. And we’re going to do final negotiations. That leader in Kosovo, Hashim Thatch. Thatch. If anybody wants to look up this. This story was indicted by Jack Smith. Um, out of the blue. A rushed job because Jack Smith wanted to stop President Trump from getting a big win in Kosovo, Serbia. That is a fact. I’m sorry, but even the media in the Balkans are all reporting on the recklessness, the cavalier ness, the political nature of Jack Smith’s indictment when he was in at The Hague. And our media is completely uninterested. They’re not looking at this issue at all. And it’s a shame, because Jack Smith has a history of being extremely political and anti-Trump. And so he went from The Hague and Joe Biden appointed him from The Hague after he indicted Hashim Thaci.

Ric Grenell (00:46:48) – By the way, look this up. Joe Biden called Hashim Thaci the leader of Kosovo, the George Washington of Kosovo. Well, the George Washington of Kosovo is sitting in a Hague prison three years later, still in prison, because of some phony indictment that Jack Smith has put forward. And he has not face the consequences for that. So this is a very highly political man who does not look at facts, but raises to his political judgment. And now he’s going after President Trump.

Speaker 4 (00:47:20) – Can talk all.

Ric Grenell (00:47:21) – The time. I could go on and on. There’s five things in my head that I’m thinking of, but that’s the summary.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:47:27) – Yeah. And to derail such an important foreign policy goal that would have been beneficial for the world. And again.

Ric Grenell (00:47:34) – The guy before him, the prosecutor before him, quit and threw up his hands and said, there’s no more, there’s nothing looked at everything. There’s no indictments. How is it that prosecutor says there should be no more indictments? But Jack Smith comes in.

Ric Grenell (00:47:46) – Slam dunk does it and he does it. When Hashim thought the leader of Kosovo is literally on his way to Washington, DC to meet President Trump, right. That’s a.

Speaker 4 (00:47:56) – Fact.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:47:58) – Thank you Ric. We’re so honored to launch stand with a brave American and patriot like you. We glad to have you on any time. We’ve just started to touch on your stories, and I’m sure this is encouraging for our audience. Keep us updated on your work to Fix California. Please support Ric at Fix California. That’s it for today. Everyone, please subscribe to our podcast YouTube channel is at the Stand Show. Leave a review to win a free stand sticker on your podcast platform of choice or on YouTube. You can follow us on social media under Kelly for Alaska and our website is Stand.show org. You can share this episode. Invite friends to join and remember the difference between those who take a seat and those who take a stand is simply a choice, like the choices that Ric Grenell told you about. We’ll see you next week.

Kelly Tshibaka (00:48:48) – Stand firm and stand strong. Awesome.

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