CNN anchor Jake Tapper pressed Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) on Sunday over the Republican-controlled Texas State Senate passing a sweeping voting restrictions bill in the wee hours of Sunday morning, pointing out that the legislation appears to specifically target Black voters.
As part of Republicans’ nationwide push to limit voting access and overhaul election laws in the wake of Donald Trump’s decisive 2020 electoral loss, the Texas senate rushed through a bill over the weekend that would ban drive-thru and 24-hour voting in the state. Besides also restricting absentee voting and limiting polling locations, the legislation also bans voting on Sundays before 1 p.m., essentially disallowing voting drives at Black churches.
During his interview with McCaul on CNN’s State of the Union, Tapper went over the number of restrictions the bill would implement and noted that the legislation also includes a measure that allows federal judges to toss out election results without requiring evidence that fraud changed the outcome.
“What do you say to people who look at what’s going on with this kind of law and say, ‘Republicans are trying to make it harder to vote because they can’t win the battle of ideas, ultimately, so they’re just trying to make it tougher for Black Americans to do Souls to the Polls voting by saying you can only do voting on Sundays after 1 p.m.’? I mean, that’s how it looks to millions of people,” the CNN anchor declared.
Claiming he “hadn’t had a chance to look at” the completed bill yet because it had just been passed, McCaul did say there were a “couple of fundamentals” that most people could agree on, such as voter ID requirements and signature verification. He also insisted that Americans have “lost faith in our elections” and, therefore, it was necessary to “take measures to take fraud out of the system or even potential for fraud.”
Noting that Texas “had a very successful, very clean election” and that Republicans did very well statewide, Tapper wondered aloud why the GOP push to roll back voting access, especially since there are very few real-world instances of voter fraud.
“The Houston Chronicle reports there were only 43 pending voter fraud charges in Texas. Just to repeat that for our viewers, not 43,000. Not 4,300. 43. And only one, one, is from the 2020 election,” the State of the Union host exclaimed.
“Again, I don’t disagree with what you’re saying about polls and the American people supporting making sure there isn’t fraud, but this is beyond that,” Tapper added. “This is — I mean, why would legislators, not you, why would those legislators make it easier for a judge to throw out an election without even, without anyone having to prove that there’s fraud?”
While acknowledging that roughly 70 pro-Trump cases alleging voter fraud were also tossed out of court after the election, McCaul said he feels the “intent” of these Republican bills is to “restore confidence” in future elections and assure no fraud is taking place.
“You make a good point, and I’m a federal prosecutor and in a court of law, that hasn’t really been borne to bear,” the conservative lawmaker continued. “This may be more of an optics issue, restoring confidence with the American people, and in my state, we actually do believe there was tremendous fraud.”
Tapper would also take McCaul to task for voting against establishing an independent commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol insurrection. Telling the Texas congressman he was “surprised to read” he didn't support the bill, Tapper brought up McCaul’s previous support for multiple Congressional investigations into Benghazi.
“I agreed with you then but I wonder why you don’t have the same feeling here about this commission,” Tapper asked McCaul.
“I view this not as an overview of policy like the 9/11 Commission did. It’s a criminal investigation,” the lawmaker asserted, appearing to read pre-written talking points. “A criminal case. In my judgment, that properly falls within the purview of the Department of Justice, where I worked for many years, rather than a politically appointed commission.”