Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 23, 2019 2:00pm-7:53pm EDT

2:00 pm
russia, st. petersburg and organization was created west virginia coal miners for trump. >> watch all of this event online at, search muslim caucus. believe this andtake you live to the senate. they're expected to vote this afternoon on the 9/11 victims compensation fund, live coverage on cspan2 . >>
2:01 pm
from above. as we celebrate this vote today, we celebrate the lives of people like lou alvarez. we'll never forget the heroes james delegate rode a, ray pfeiffer, and loual v.r.e. e. the september 11th victims
2:02 pm
compensation fund act is named to honor these three first responders who lost their lives to 9/11-related illnesses. today the senate has an opportunity to honor these three and so many others that we have lost who never stopped fighting for 9/11 first responders and the country they loved by voting yes on this critical legislation. i've shared with many of my colleagues, i never had the privilege of going to new york city before september 11th, 2001, but i will never forget my first visit after september 11, 2001. it was just a few weeks after the attack had happened. i'll never forget the smell. i'll never forget the smoke coming out of the debris pile. i'll never forget the silent fire trucks with their lights on but no siren as they delivered even more heroes to the recovery efforts at ground zero.
2:03 pm
i'll never forget the fierce dedication of the men and women who came when they were called. watching the fire trucks, their flag heading to continue the work that had become so emblazoned in the people's minds across this country. the work they did, those days, those weeks, those months. it wasn't just for those in manhattan who suffered incredible loss, but the work they carried forward for our country, they became symbols of our security, symbols of our freedom, a symbol of this country's willingness, determination, effort, and tenacity to fight back. law enforcement officers and firefighters from across the nation, including the west metro fire rescue in colorado, the home of colorado task force one, have been tireless advocates for this effort. every state has people who served in one capacity or
2:04 pm
another during the rescue operations, the recovery operations, september 11th. west metro fire district chief azeltine was one of 64 coloradans with colorado task force one who participated. as he said, searching through the rubble pile. steve said no one should be at risk of standing up and worried when this country needs them the most whether the american government has their back. if passed today without amendments, the legislation will head straight to the president's desk for his signature, so i urge my colleagues today to not forget, to pass a clean bill, to join me in opposing both amendments, to stand with all our first responders and our heroes from that tragic day to
2:05 pm
this bill's final passage and ultimate enactment. madam president, i urge this chamber to support those who have given so much to this country. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: today i will offer an amendment to pay for the spending in this bill. this is not something unusual. i do this day in, day out.
2:06 pm
it's been part of the reason i ran for office, that we shouldn't add more debt to our country without trying to pay for it by maybe reducing spending for less wasteful spending. but in the last week or so, we have seen a manufactured criefs. rarely has there been a manufactured crisis so intense. a fake furor instigated by partisans more concerned with scoring points than telling the truth. but for some of us, the truth is still important. the mob and demagogues in this body accuse me of holding up this bill for political points. they obviously don't know much about politics because there certainly hasn't been any political gain by my holding this bill for debate and amendment, but i think it's important that we do this, rather than rush through when everybody says no questions asked, please. it sounds a little bit more like an authoritarian atmosphere than it would be a democracy, to
2:07 pm
actually have debate, discussion, and amendments. that's all we've asked for. in fact, last week when we were granted the amendments, we said to the other side let's have the vote last week. all those who were in such a furor, all those so hysterical that the world was ending said we can't vote on it, it's not convenient last week because some of our democrat members have already gone home for the weekend. so when the mob was told last week they could have the vote, they said no. it's a manufactured crisis. as of today, the fund in question has $2 billion in it. and no one, no one is being denied medical care. so let's have an honest debate. let's have an honest debate about whether it matters to this country, whether we're $22 trillion in debt, and whether or not when we have new spending programs, no matter how charitable, no matter how needed, when we have new spending programs, whether or not we're going to pay for them
2:08 pm
by reducing spending in wasteful programs. it is perhaps an historical anomaly that this bill appropriates unlimited funds for a virtually unlimited time period. so what would you think if someone came to you and they had a good cause and they said, you know, my neighbor's house has burnt down and i want to help them, and i want to give them unlimited money for an unlimited period of time. that wouldn't be wise. no one would do that. so why do we in our hysteria throw out all common sense and say we're not going to approach this as if we don't have a problem? we have this enormous problem in our country. we're borrowing over $1 million a minute. my amendment today is to offer to pay for the $10 billion in the first ten years. now, realize that the bill as written is not a ten-year bill. it's a 72-year bill.
2:09 pm
it goes to the year 2092. to my knowledge, we have never, ever had a bill that was unlimited in the dollar amount and unlimited in the time period. mine would be to pay for the first ten years of this. the pay would become by reducing mandatory spending by .06%. that's 6/100th of 1% of other mandatory spending. we would also at the same time exempt medicare, social security, and veterans affairs from cuts. so we would exempt the vast bulk of mandatory spending, but we would still say if this is a wise expenditure of money, if we need more money for this fund, we would simply take it from something that is less pressing. no matter how good a cause may be, it makes -- it makes no sense to borrow from china to pay for our immediate concerns. spending someone else's money is not charity. spending borrowed money is just
2:10 pm
not wise or sound governance. being a legislator should be about making choices, about deciding priorities. for example, which is more important? spending $275 million teaching foreign countries how to apply for u.s. foreign aid, teaching foreign countries how to get our money, how to fill out the grant process, is that more important than the spending in this bill? we'll never know because the people who promote this bill aren't willing to cut any spending, they're not willing to look at waste, and we wonder why we have waste run from top to bottom in our government? because no one is willing, even for a good cause, to say well, why don't we cut out some of this waste. why don't we quit spending money teaching foreigners how to apply to get more of our money? to pay for more pressing concerns, shouldn't someone ask whether it is wise to spend $300,000 studying japanese quail
2:11 pm
to see if they are more sexually pro miss cue us on cocaine? -- promiscuous on cocaine? that's your money. ask why we couldn't eliminate money we're spending on awful things that should never have been wasted in the federal government. to pay for more pressing concerns, shouldn't someone ask why we continue to spend $50 billion a year building bridges and roads and hotels and gas stations in afghanistan? perhaps that money could be better spent here at home. the debate today is not over the spending of the money. it's over whether or not when we do spend money, even for a good cause, whether or not we should cut corresponding money that we're wasting around the world. many of it not helping american citizens, many of it going to foreign countries and foreign people. to pay for more pressing concerns, shouldn't someone ask why we had a study last year that spent $2 million seeking to
2:12 pm
know the question if someone in front of you in the cafeteria line sneezes on the food, are you more or less likely to pick up the food and eat it? seriously. this is where your tax dollars are going. so if we have a better cause and we want to fund this fund that we're talking about today, couldn't we say we won't spend next year $2 million studying whether if someone sneezes on your food you are more or less likely to take the food. shouldn't we be forced as a congress to make decisions, instead of just saying well, it's a good cause, and so therefore we should not use our brain, we should put blinders on, we shouldn't think about it, and we should just say well, it's a good cause, so let's just borrow the money from china. do you think that helps us as a country? isn't part of legislating trying to prioritize spending, not just adding to the debt? now, the left-wing mob maintains that republicans have lost the moral high ground, and they can't talk about debt anymore
2:13 pm
because we supported a tax cut. poppycock. this is misinformation, this is fake news, and this is plainly people just not paying any attention to what goes on around here. during the tax cut, which i supported, i offered cuts to mandatory spending to pay for the tax cut. the media seems to have forgotten this, but i forced a vote on the floor to say yes, we may be cutting taxes, and if it affects the deficit, we should pay for it. interestingly, though, the left-wing mob doesn't want to admit that when we actually cut tax rates, we actually got more money. so the revenue coming in last year was actually greater than the previous year. the tax cut didn't add to the deficit. the deficit went up because we continued to spend money, and we actually added more spending. the curve of spending increases actually rose faster than the revenue coming in. so when the tax cut happened, i offered an amendment to cut spending to pay for it. this is a fact, and the
2:14 pm
left-wing mob and all their buddies in the media can do whatever they want, say whatever they want because it's a free country, but it's an absolute out-and-out lie that republicans who voted for this tax cut actually also were not concerned with spending. i, for one, was and offered an amendment to cut spending. the tax cut also was passed under a law that we have had on the books for some time. it's called a pay-go law. this is a law that should be working even on a bill like this current bill, but we exempt ourselves from it all the time. the current bill actually exempts the pay-go rules. if you increase spending by $10 billion, you have got to decrease it by $10 billion somewhere else. it's been on the books for a long time. but like everything else congress does, they try to bring in rules to say, you know what, we're going to try to control the debt and spending by forcing ourselves when we come up with some new spending of $10 billion, we'll have to come up with something to cut to pay for it. but what happens is congress
2:15 pm
just waives the rules. so it's not that we don't have rules that should help with the budget. we have hundreds of rules. the pay-go rule is a good rule, but it gets ignored. so when we passed the tax cut, if the projections were that the deficit was going to go up, guess what? the pay-go rules would say there has to be automatic spending cuts across the board. this is something i support. so what happened? about a month after the tax cut, a big spending bill comes through here. both parties are guilty, republicans and democrats. they love to spend money more than anything else. a big spending bill comes through and they waive the rule on pay-go. at that time i also brought up an amendment that said you guys shouldn't waive the pay-go rule. if the tax cut causes the debt to go up we should cut spending across the board. let's be clear around here, there are those of us who have been consistent from day one that the debt does matter. there is no particular animus towards this bill. in the last year i've done this probably a half a dozen times,
2:16 pm
in the last two years i've probably done it two dozen times. that means every spending bill. a month ago it was spending for the border. i support money to be spent on the border but i don't support doing it if it adds to the deficit. the amendment that i have today is identical to the amendment i had a month ago saying border spending, even if you want to do it, we should cut money from somewhere else where it's not as much-needed and where it's being wasted. i did it three months ago for the hurricane disaster relief. every bit of new spending, it doesn't matter whether it's a good cause, bad cause, or in-between cause. we need to not keep adding to the debt. this is a problem. we borrow over $1 million, close to $2 million every minute. this is a problem for our country. we are eroding the foundation of this country with so much debt. $22 trillion in debt. so the tax cut was passed under the pay-go rules. i voted not to suspend the pay-go rules.
2:17 pm
i voted to actually have spending cuts to offset any increase in the deficit from the tax cut. but the establishment of both parties moved to waive this pay-go requirement. i forced a vote and only eight senators voted which shows you where the real problem is. why does the deficit go up so much? there's not one democrat in congress that cares a flip about the deficit. not one democrat in congress will lift a finger to restrain government spending. therefore, everything -- they're for everything. you name it, they're for it. but the problem is republicans aren't so good on this either. there's only a handful of republicans who actually care about the debt and many of them will vote consistently to raise the debt limit and vote to add new debt. today's vote, though, is but a prelude of next week's vote. this is the preliminary. this is the introduction to our problem in our country over $10 billion. next week it's the enormity of the entire budget.
2:18 pm
next week both parties -- and watch this closely. people say, oh, republicans can't get along with democrats. guess what? they get along just swell when it comes to spending money and adding to the debt. this bill will pass overwhelmingly today without any concern for the debt or paying for it. but next week will be even worse. we have something called the debt ceiling. every time we spend more money that comes in in taxes, it approaches a debt ceiling, the debt ceiling says you can't borrow any more money. conservatives say we should reform our ways and quit giving away money to afghanistan and mexico and all these different countries. we should have reform involved with raising the debt ceiling. what's going to come about next week is no debt ceiling for two years until after the next presidential election. it's a terrible idea. it's fiscal insanity. they also will vote to forever get rid of the sequester caps. in 2011, among the tea party movement, more people became
2:19 pm
concerned about the deficit spending, we actually came in and we had a reform. and for the first time we didn't cut spending. we slowed down the rate of growth of spending. but in doing so the deficit was narrowing. for a couple of years there we were doing better, and then what happened is basically both parties once again came together. the republicans said we want to be in every war overseas we can possibly get involved, and we want to have more money spent on the military. louisville said we need more money for welfare, and guess what, you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours. the republicans and democrats agree on one thing. spending money is the most important thing they can do. the deficit doesn't matter. so when we come back and we readdress this issue next week, what we're going to find is they're going to explode the debt ceiling, there will be no limits on the debt ceiling for two years, and they're getting rid of all pretense of having any spendings caps. a majority of republicans unfortunately will even vote to get rid of the budget caps and
2:20 pm
to eliminate the debt ceiling for two years. this is sad. today, though, the senate has a chance to vote to pay for this $10 billion bill with very, very modest reductions in mandatory spending. reductions that actually exempt medicare, social security and veterans affairs. americans, particularly conservatives, need to the sit up and watch closely how their senators vote. for today's vote is about whether your representative really cares at all about the disaster that is our $22 trillion debt. madam president, i call up my amendment 929 and ask that it be reported by number. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from kentucky mr. paul proposes an amendment numbered 929. mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: madam president, i'm speaking on the bill as well as the amendments. in a short time the senate will vote on and pass a permanent
2:21 pm
reauthorization of the 9/11 victims compensation fund. in my short time here on the floor, i can't do justice to the years upon years of work by the first responders, by labor leaders, by advocates that led to this moment. but suffice it to say, this is not a day of joy for them or for this bill's authors. rather it's a day of relief. for 18 years those first responders, some of whom are here in the gallery, have watched their brothers and sisters get sick because they rushed bravely to the towers at ground zero. at first they were told by the government the air was safe. it was not safe. and we began hearing of cancers that people never got when they were 38 or 40 or 42 occurring.
2:22 pm
all of a sudden in firefighters and police officers. and they only had one thing in common. they had all rushed to the towers. and we had to persuade people that this was real. they had to persuade people because they saw their brothers and sisters dying. then they endured folks telling them that they were crazy for thinking they had sicknesses they suffered that had anything to do with 9/11. they were not crazy and the people who told them they were, shame on them, including government agencies and others. and then once it was confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that these cancers and respiratory illnesses were linked to the toxic dust and ash around the pile, it became an exhausting struggle to get congress to provide the care they needed but
2:23 pm
they couldn't afford. there were numerous false dawns and delays, temporary reauthorizations. we were forced to wait and wait and wait, compromise, quote, with people's lives. excuse after excuse. some senators voted proudly for tax cuts unpaid for to the wealthiest of americans, but demanded offsets for these folks who had served us like our soldiers have served us, like our armed services. thank god those excuses, those delays end today for good and our first responders can go home and do what they want to do, attend to their own health, their families' health, the health of their brothers and sisters who are suffering and ailing, and tend to the families who have lost loved ones but are still part of their
2:24 pm
families. the 9/11 health program is already permanent. soon we'll make the victims compensation fund virtually permanent as well and a twilight struggle of nearly two decades to get these brave men and women what they deserve will be hopefully and finally complete. once we defeat the few amendments before us, amendments that would delay the bill further if not kill it, we should pass this bill overwhelmingly so we can send the first responders, those here and everywhere, home where they belong with their family, their friends. these are the same soldiers of valor who have selflessly risked their lives in our wars and conflicts overseas. there was a war right in the city i love.
2:25 pm
and these were our bravest soldiers. they rushed to the towers. maybe some people were alive. maybe there were people who could be saved. we didn't know that then. we saw the families holding signs, have you seen my sister mary? have you seen my son jim? and these people rushed to the towers to see if the jim or mary or the others were alive, and didn't ask about themselves. now we're asking america to stand by them. every american, every senator, democrat, republican, liberal, conservative, that shouldn't matter on an issue like this. we are now at the very end of a long struggle. the struggle may end for the people in this chamber, including those of us like senator gillibrand and myself who worked so hard through the years for this legislation.
2:26 pm
the struggle does not end for those who are sick or who may get sick and for their families. at least we are giving them some degree of help because they gave us so much help on that horrible day, 9/11, and those that ensued just afterwards. let's pass this bill once and for all. let's do our duty to them, to america, to our ideals. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the mrs. gillibrand: madam president , i rise to join my colleagues in speaking about our 9/11 heroes. i want to thank senator schumer for his extraordinary leadership, his unwavering support, his dedication to taking this across the finish line, and his unbelievable willingness to lift up the voices of people who were not
2:27 pm
being listened to. so thank you to senator schumer. i want to first note that while we are debating this bill, there is a wake happening on staten island right now for detective christopher cranston, a father of five, he was only 48 years old but he will be buried on thursday because of the l months of work he did on the pile at ground zero and fresh kills landfill. he spent his 20th anniversary just a few weeks ago in chemotherapy. madam president, the eyes of the nation are looking at this chamber today to see if we finally will stand by our 9/11 heroes for the rest of their lives. in a few minutes heroes such as
2:28 pm
james zadroga, ray pfeifer, lou alvarez will have their names etched into the history books forever, which is where they belong. their families are in the gallery today, here again walking the halls of this chamber and this congress to be heard, here again to ask one more time that this body do what's right, to stand by them in their gravest time of need. their families are here today to watch whether this chamber will do what's right. they're standing here with so many others in the 9/11 community who have fought so hard to demand that congress do
2:29 pm
the right thing. so let's honor their service today. let's actually honor their commitment to coming here time and time again not for themselves, but for their brothers and sisters who are sick, who are still dying all across this country. seven are dying a week. let's honor their ultimate sacrifice they paid for responding to the call of duty when the nation needed them most. responders came from every state across this country. last week we lost richard dris driscoll, the 200th firefighter, fdny firefighter to succomb to illness. more police officers have died since 9/11 than on 9/11. more than 10,000 people have been certified with a 9/11-related cancer with more being diagnosed every day.
2:30 pm
more will get sick. more will die. some of them won't be diagnosed for years. and that includes responders and it includes the residents, teachers and students who stayed downtown because the government told them the air was safe. they told them it was safe to breathe, even though it was not. this bill won't change any of that, but we can finally let the people in the gallery sitting here watching us today witnessing. we will let the people in the gallery go home knowing that the government will truly never forget. we owe them that promise. and today we have the opportunity to let them get back to their lives, be with their families and exhale. they at least deserve that. i want to thank senator gardner
2:31 pm
for his leadership on this bill. i want to thank senator mcconnell for staying true to his commitment. and i said earlier, i want to thank senator schumer for being a tremendous advocate, leader, and partner who never ever gave up. and i want to thank every single person who has spent their time and energy coming here again and again over these many years to advocate for this bill and for their brothers and sisters. i ask every senator to have empathy, just that bit of care for someone else. vote yes on this bill and stand by our first responders. i also want to urge every colleague of mine to reject the amendments that are being put forward. first, the amendment from my colleague from utah. unfortunately this amendment would only accomplish one thing. it would make these first
2:32 pm
responders have to go through this entire process again in just a few years. it would force sick and dying police officers, firefighters, and other 9/11 first responders to waste even more of their precious time coming here away from their families, away from their loved ones, from their cancer treatment, from their last moments in their homes and communities, traveling back and forth to washington lobbying congress to pass the bill for the fourth time. do not fall into this trap. our 9/11 heroes deserve this program as is written in the bill without these amendments which will only force them to have to come back here again and again. stand up for our heroes. end the games. let's reject this amendment, pass the bill. let our heroes go home and live in peace where they can breathe and finally exhale.
2:33 pm
i yield the floor to my colleague from utah. mr. lee: madam president? the presiding officer: all time is expired. senator from utah. mr. lee: i ask unanimous consent to deliver my remarks and delay the onset o of the vote until my remarks have been completed. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lee: the victims compensation fund has for many years compensated the brave men and women who responded to the horrific events of 9/11. and it's been a worthy use of money, of the $7.4 billion authorized for the fund since 2011. $5.2 billion have already been paid out. since february of this year money has gotten tight and claimants' benefits have had to be reduced. i believe it's only right for congress to reauthorize and replenish the fund so that we can make those beneficial years whole. -- bin fish years whole.
2:34 pm
it has a peculiar feature, one that requires our attention. the bill authorizes the program for 72 years and does not specify a dollar amount. if you look to page two of the bill, lines eight through ten, it makes clear that this program is funded through 2092 and funded to the tune of such sums as may be necessary. in other words, without any fine night authorization, it offers no way to ensure the money gets to its intended beneficiaries and is not lost in government bureaucracy or misuse. that is in fact how we make sure that government programs get to where they need to go, by specifying not only the purpose of the fund but also identifying how much it is that we're spending. in 2011 the 9/11 victims fund had always had finite authorizations, and it has
2:35 pm
always had an absolutely excellent, outstanding record of avoiding waste, fraud, and abuse. 9/11 survivors and responders deserve no less going forward. that's why i'm offering a simple amendment to this bill, one that would authorize $10.2 billion in additional funding for the 9/11 victims fund over the next ten years. now, to be clear, that is the full amount that the congressional budget office has estimated is necessary for covering all claims through 2029. my amendment wouldn't end there. it would go further to authorize an additional $10 billion to be paid out in subsequent decades. it will not block or delay this bill's consideration let alone its passage, nor does it have as its intended effect any kind of downgrading of the benefits that we would be paying. but it would make sure that the
2:36 pm
money gets to the victims and the first responders who need it most to the intended beneficiaries rather than remaining vulnerable to the kind of waste, fraud, and abuse that comes about whenever we authorize something until 2092 with such sums language. this isn't the normal way we normally do things. now, my distinguished colleague and friend from new york just made the comment that if this amendment were to pass, that it would somehow make the victims of 9/11 go back here again and again and go through this process over and over again. i don't see that. those facts are not borne out by the record which again indicates that the congressional budget office itself has acknowledged that the amount of money we'd be setting aside would be sufficient to fund this program. this is how we make government programs work. we fund things for a period of time and for an amount of money that we believe is sufficient. this would be and for that
2:37 pm
reason i'm proposing this amendment. i therefore call up my amendment number 928 and ask that it be reported by number. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from utah mr. lee proposes an amendment numbered 928. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the question occurs on the underlying amendment 928. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote: vote:
2:38 pm
2:39 pm
2:40 pm
2:41 pm
2:42 pm
2:43 pm
2:44 pm
2:45 pm
2:46 pm
2:47 pm
2:48 pm
2:49 pm
2:50 pm
2:51 pm
2:52 pm
2:53 pm
2:54 pm
2:55 pm
2:56 pm
2:57 pm
2:58 pm
2:59 pm
3:00 pm
3:01 pm
3:02 pm
3:03 pm
3:04 pm
3:05 pm
3:06 pm
3:07 pm
3:08 pm
3:09 pm
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the -- on this vote, the yeas are 32, the nays are 66. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. under the previous order, the question occurs on amendment number 929 offered by the senator from kentucky, mr. paul. the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent that the next two votes be ten-minute votes. the presiding officer: is there objection? with no objection, the question is on the paul amendment.
3:10 pm
is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. there is. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
3:11 pm
3:12 pm
3:13 pm
3:14 pm
3:15 pm
3:16 pm
3:17 pm
3:18 pm
3:19 pm
3:20 pm
3:21 pm
3:22 pm
3:23 pm
3:24 pm
3:25 pm
3:26 pm
3:27 pm
3:28 pm
the presiding officer: is there any senator in the chamber wishing to vote or change his vote? is there any senator wishing to vote or change their vote? seeing none, on this vote the yeas are 22, the nays are 77. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. mrs. gillibrand: madam president , after this vote the people in the gallery above us -- i ask unanimous consent for one minute. the presiding officer: there is no debate in order at this time. mrs. gillibrand: i ask unanimous
3:29 pm
consent for one minute. the presiding officer: is there objection? mrs. gillibrand: madam president , after this vote, the people in the gallery above us, these brave men and women who have suffered unbelievably, will not have to come here again. this should never have been a fight. it should never have taken this long to pass this bill and make it permanent. it should never have been a question. but now finally we have the chance to get this job done for our 9/11 heroes once and for all. our firefighters, our police officers, our e.m.t's, our construction workers, our survivors, our families who stayed in their homes at ground zero because e.p.a. told them the air was safe. this bill is a signal from our nation from this body, from congress that we are representing people in all 50 states, that the senate will live up to the words they have
3:30 pm
said over and over again. never forget, that we will never forget our 9/11 heroes, that we will never stop helping them when they are in need --. the presiding officer: the senator's time is expired. mrs. gillibrand: we  will pass this bill once and for all for them so they can get back home, where they belong. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the bill for the third time. the clerk: h.r. 1327, an act to extend authorization for the september 11th victim compensation fund of 2001 through fiscal year 2092 and for other purposes. the presiding officer: the question occurs on passage of the bill. is there a sufficient second? there is a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
3:31 pm
3:32 pm
3:33 pm
3:34 pm
3:35 pm
3:36 pm
3:37 pm
3:38 pm
3:39 pm
3:40 pm
3:41 pm
3:42 pm
3:43 pm
is not the presiding officer: expression of approval is not permitted in the chamber.
3:44 pm
3:45 pm
vote: the presiding officer: the yeas are 97. the nays are 2.
3:46 pm
the bill is passed. the senate will resume executive session for the consideration of the unfinished business.
3:47 pm
mr. murphy: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: thank you very much, madam president. let me congratulate all of those responsible for the passage of this long overdue legislation. let me thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who made this happen. but first and foremost, all of the advocates all over the country but primarily in and around the northeast. there were hundreds upon hundreds of individuals who rushed to that scene from my state of connecticut. many of them dealing with potentially terminal diseases as
3:48 pm
a result of that action, and i am glad that we have stepped up and in a bipartisan way once again done the right thing. madam president, i am on the floor to continue this conversation about health care. and i wish i had as good news as comes with the passage of this legislation which is going to extend the guarantee of health care to all sorts of heroes in and around new york city. at the very same time we are dealing with a potential calamity for millions of other americans who also have serious conditions, who are dealing with diagnoses like cancer. today if you have a preexisting condition, you know you're going to be able to get insured for that preexisting condition. if you're the parent of a child who has a serious illness, you don't have to worry about being denied care for your son or daughter because of that diagnosis. that's because we have the
3:49 pm
affordable care act. the affordable care act has been on the books now for going on a decade, and it says no matter how sick you are, no insurance company can deny you care. and that has made a world of difference for millions upon millions of americans who have these preexisting conditions. the potential calamity comes in a court case that has been filed by republican attorneys general which is supported by the president and by republicans in this congress that would try to use the court system to do what the congress would not, overturn the entirety of the affordable care act. congress wouldn't do that. we debated it. we voted down measures to repeal the affordable care act. why? because americans rose up all across this country and said we want you to fix what continues to be broken with the health care system, not tear down my coverage, not remove me from the rolls of those that are insured. remember, all across this country you've got over 20
3:50 pm
million people who have insurance just because of the affordable care act either because of the tax credits that we give people to afford private insurance or the 12 million people who god medicaid because of the affordable care act. never mind the folks who buy private insurance on their own but can finally afford it because we don't discriminate against you because you're poor. people didn't want that to be taken care away from them so they rose up across this country and congress listened. by the skin of our teeth we voted down legislation to repeal the affordable care act. because opponents of the affordable care act, in particular this president, republicans who don't like it, couldn't get the job done in the people's branch, they are now going to the courts to try to repeal the affordable care act. right now weaving its way through the court system is a case called texas v. united states. in texas v. united states, i won't go into the complicated legal argument, the goal of it if it's successful is to wipe
3:51 pm
out the entirety of the affordable care act overnight. it has been successful at the district court level. it was just argued before the appellate court level and by the account of witnesses who were there, the arguments didn't go too well for those of us who think the affordable care act should stick around. you know, there's just a simple question right now for my colleagues. do you support texas v. united states? do you support the lawsuit that would wipe out the entirety of the affordable care act overnight and replace it with nothing? i put republicans on here because i actually know what the answer is from the democratic side of the aisle. every single democrat in the senate opposes this lawsuit not because every single democrat thinks that you shouldn't change anything about the health care system. it's because we don't think it's a real good idea to kick 20 million people off of insurance, jack up rates for people with preexisting conditions, and have nothing to replace it. nothing. that's what would happen if texas v. united states is
3:52 pm
successful. petitioners are asking for the whole act to be thrown out and nothing to replace it. that would be a humanitarian catastrophe in this country if 20 million people all of a sudden woke up and found out they didn't have insurance coverage any loarng, if insurers were once again able to charge that family with a child cancer diagnosis inside it two times, three times, four times as much. the question is for republicans, do you support this lawsuit? i think we need to get some answers. i think we need to get some answers. some of my colleagues are on record saying they hope it fails. other are on record, more are on record saying they hope it succeeds. but i don't think this body can just box its eyes and ears to the reality of what would happen if this lawsuit succeeds. we are not riding to the rescue, this congress. let me just be honest with you, given how fractious the debate is here about everything, but in particular about health care, there is no way that the
3:53 pm
united states congress and this dysfunctional white house can reassemble all of the protections in the affordable care act if the courts wipe them out. that is just not realistic. we don't debate anything on this floor any longer. we don't have the muscles to pass minor pieces of legislation like this body used to do 20 years ago, never mind a reordering and reconstruction of one-sixth of the american economy, which is what the health care system represents. so republicans need to start making a decision. do you support this lawsuit or do you not? and if you do support it, you can't just say, well, you know, if everybody loses insurance and rates go through the roof for people with preexisting conditions, we'll figure it out. without having a specific plan for how you're going to do that, it's not good enough to say i hope that lawsuit succeeds, i hope everybody loses their insurance and then the day after we'll come back and see if we can try to find
3:54 pm
people health care. that's irresponsible. that's not satisfactory. it isn't enough for people out there who are living their life in fear that their insurance is about to vanish. and the problem is the last time that republicans started thinking about what they would want to replace the affordable care act, it was a joke. it was a joke. the better care reconciliation act which was the senate republicans' replacement for the affordable care act, c.b.o. found that it would increase the number of people without insurance by 22 million. it found that by 2026, an estimated 49 million people would be without insurance, almost doubling the number who lack insurance today. that's not better care. that's much, much worse care. and so forgive me if i don't
3:55 pm
have confidence that my republican friends who run the senate today are going to have a plan to deal with a successful texas v. united states court case that keeps insurance for people in my state, the 111,000 people in kentucky who get insurance -- in connecticut who get insurance in the private market with a.c.a. subsidies and the 206,000 people in connecticut who are covered in my state under the medicaid expansion. so it is time for everybody in this body, whether you're a republican or democrat, to step up and say, a, do i support the lawsuit to get rid of all of the protections in the affordable care act with nothing to replace it? and, b, do i have a plan for what to do if the lawsuit that i support is successful? chris from westbrook, connecticut, is asking that question of everybody in this
3:56 pm
chamber. here's what he says. he says i'm a 30-year-old patient living with muscular dystrophy type 2-b. preexisting conditions can happen to anyone. disease does not discriminate. no amount of preplanning or prudence can stop you from preventing a genetic disease, for example. you can be healthy one day and have a health care crisis the next. everyone knows someone with a preexisting condition says chris. it is a life saver having insurance when you have a preexisting condition. it means being able to afford lifesaving medicines and treatment. he is watching carefully. chris is watching carefully to see what the answer to this question is. jeff in enfield told me that in 2012 at the age of seven his daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. he said by the time we noticed the symptoms and took her to the doctor, she most likely had only a couple weeks left to live. she's healthy today thamptions
3:57 pm
to a daily -- today thamptions to a daily regular nent -- regular meant of insulin. jeff told me without the insurance the expense of keeping her alive would ruin us. the prospect of our daughter being uninsurable is terrifying. without the affordable care act insurance protections, the problem would be epidemic. the problem of people not being able to afford insulin all across this country. how can anyone be expected to live under that kind of strain, especially a young person just starting out in life? i'm asking this question of my colleagues on behalf of my constituents, for millions of americans who are sick or who have a child who is sick, are sick and tired of congress playing politics with health care. you may not love everything that's in the affordable care act. i get it. republicans didn't vote for it. they didn't support it. they have been consistent in trying to get rid of it ever since it was put into law. i understand that.
3:58 pm
but i have taken my republican friends at their word over the last ten years when they have said we want to repeal the affordable care act and replace it with something better. asking the courts to overturn the entirety of the act with no plan for what to replace it is an abdication of that promise that has been made. i don't begrudge people for trying to repeal law they don't like if they think they can do something better but congress didn't repeal the affordable care act because people didn't want us to do it. this is an irresponsible and thoughtless mechanism to try to score a political victory, but it ends up playing with lots and lots of people's lives. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
3:59 pm
quorum call:
4:00 pm
4:01 pm
4:02 pm
4:03 pm
4:04 pm
4:05 pm
4:06 pm
mr. durbin: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. tush bush i ask unanimous consent that the --
4:07 pm
mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: today justice steven was laid to rest. we have adopted a bipartisan resolution honoring this remarkable, noble man and native of the city of chicago. during his supreme court confirmation hearing in 1975, then-judge john paul stevens faced a line of questioning about his health, which in retrospect is amusing. his health, they were asking about it 44 years ago. justice stevens had undergone single bypass heart surgery two years earlier and members of the judiciary committee wanted to mack sure that he could handle the rigors of serving on the united states supreme court. history has shown us that justice john paul stevens had not only a strong heart but a good heart when it came to
4:08 pm
serving on the united states supreme court. sadly that mighty heart finally did stop beating last week. justice stevens was 99 years old. he died peacefully with his daughters elizabeth and susan by his side. my state of illinois is proud to claim john paul stevens as native son. he was a member of a prominent chicago family and grew up in the luxury of his family's hotel, then known as the stevens hotel now known as the hilton hotel on michigan avenue. he never used his family's wealth to shirk his responsibilities. in world war ii he was a lieutenant commander in the navy and awarded the bronze star after downing a plane who planned an attack on pearl harbor. after the war he was a champion of good, ethical government. it was john paul stevens'
4:09 pm
integrity, as much as his brilliant legal mind, that convinced president gerald ford to nominate him, then a federal judge, on the seventh circuit of court of appeals to serve on the united states supreme court in 1975. president ford called then-judge stevens, quote, the finest legal mind i could find. end of quote. the senate obviously agreed. the vote on the senate floor for john paul stevens confirmation was 98-0. he was the second-oldest and third-longest serving justice in the history of our nation, but it is the quality of his service, not his length, that most distinguishes john paul stevens' career in the united states supreme court. judge stevens approached decisions fairly, squarely and succinctly. he took great pains to understand all sides of a case and give all sides a fair hearing. he rejected the easy path of
4:10 pm
ideology, and he was willing to change his position when the facts warranted. he authored the majority opinion in some of the most famous and important supreme court decisions in his time. one example, in 2004, justice stevens wrote the majority opinion in which the court, by a vote of 6-3, rejected the bush administration's view that prisoners at guantanamo bay could be held beyond the reach of the law with no access to federal courts. and in 1984, in the landmark chevron case, justice stevens wrote an opinion for a unanimous consent supreme court about the deference owed to agencies for legal statutes, crafting framework that have been cited in 11,000 subsequent opinions. he was also brilliant in dissent.
4:11 pm
in his lengthy dissent in citizens united in 2010, justice stevens rejected the dangerous notion that corporation have essentially the same first amendment rights as individuals and should be allowed to spend potentially unlimited amounts of money on campaigns. president eisenhower famously said that he made only two mistakes as president, quote, and they are both sitting on the supreme court, end of quote. president ford felt just the opposite about his choice in justice stevens. in 2005, a year before his death, president ford wrote of justice stevens, and i quote, i'm prepared to allow history's judgment of my term in office to rest, if necessary, exclusively on my nomination 30 years ago of john paul stevens to the u.s. supreme court. end of quote. i can think of no higher praise. justice stevens stepped down from the supreme court nine
4:12 pm
years ago and -- anyone who had hoped that he might slip quietly into retirement were disappointed. he continued in his retirement to speak an write forcefully and eloquently on major issues facing america. in 2014, he testified before the senate rules committee on the dangers that dark money in politics posed to the american democracy. he wrote three books. justice stevens once told a interviewer, the person who most motivated him to write was a professor from whom he took a poetry class from the university of chicago. the professor's name was norman maclaine. he wrote a novel entitled, a river runs through it" and other stories, it was later made into a move starring robert redford. looking at john paul stevens, it's clear that a river ran through his life.
4:13 pm
it includes compassion and respect for individuals and a painstaking commitment to decide each case on its merits rather than relying on easy answers suggested by political ideology. justice john paul stevens was a good man, a courageous man whose strong heart was matched by a brilliant mind, ceasely curiosity and justice. he fought the good fight and he safeguarded and enriched our democracy. may he rest in peace and honor. madam president, as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. res. 282, submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 282, honoring former associate justice john paul stevens of the supreme court of the united states. mr. durbin: i further ask the
4:14 pm
resolution be agreed to. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. durbin: i further ask that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president, i ask consent to make a statement and have it placed in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president, i made my second trip to the southern border just this last friday with, i believe, 14 of my democratic senate colleagues. it's the largest congressional delegation i've ever been part of for this type of assignment. we went to mcallen, texas. approximately 40% of those who present themselves at our border come through the mcallen, texas, post, there's a port of entry there, but many people are detained when they present
4:15 pm
themselves at nearby border positions. just a few months before i had been to el paso, texas, and in el paso, 20% of those who come to our southern border present themselves as well. it was an eye opener and an emotional experience to see the hundreds of people who were being held in detention at our border in mcallen. there were two contrasting images. one of them was the image of a catholic nun, sister norma pimentel who has for most of her adult life dedicated herself to those who come to our border seeking rescue, security. catholic charities of mcallen, texas, has an extraordinary center filled with volunteers from all over the united states. i met some people from the city of chicago and state of illinois
4:16 pm
and all across the nation who had given up their daily lives to come down and volunteer and do the basics, cook food, clean up, pass out toilet fridays, offer -- toiletries, offering a helping hand to the people who have gone through the worst of their lives. sister norma is an extraordinary person and has really touched the lives of so many people in the loving, caring way. it is a reminder time and again of the goodness of so many americans who want to tell the world that we are in fact a nation driven by values of importance. it was my good fortune to have breakfast with her and then spend another part of my day with her and my senate colleagues that hour, that hour i'll never forget. when i saw these people, many of whom had struggled for weeks, a month, days and days to get to the border of the united states, they'd gone through experiences,
4:17 pm
life experience which we wouldn't wish on anyone. they were victims of assault and rape, of crimes that were committed against them, but they were leaving determined to come to the united states border. many of them told stories, particularly from the countries of guatemala, el salvador, and honduras about what they had been through and the threats to their families in these countries which are largely lawless now as these drug gangs and others threaten their children and threaten them. it was in desperation that many of them made this journey cashing in everything they owned on earth to try to make it to the border of the united states. theirs is today's story but it really is the story of this country that goes back for many years. it was 108 years ago that my grandmother decided to make her journey to the united states with three small children. she brought her two daughters and cher son -- and her son from
4:18 pm
the country of lithuania to become immigrants to the united states. her 2-year-old daughter which she carried in her arms was my mother and i'm the proud son of that lithuanian immigrant. why did they come to the united states? simply because they heard there was a better chance for a better future if they made it here. that's the story of this country. and we are being tested now at this time in this generation as to whether that story is still alive. now we understand there's some basics here. i hope we can all agree on. perhaps some won't but i believe are important. the first is we need border security. in the age of terrorism with the worst drug epidemic in the history of our nation, it is right for us to know who is coming into this country and what they are bringing into this country. secondly, we want to make certain that anyone who is known to be a danger to this country is never allowed admittance and those who are here undocumented who commit a serious crime have forfeited their right to stay as
4:19 pm
far as i'm concerned. no questions asked beyond that. the third thing is we have to have an orderly immigration system. we cannot absorb every person in the world who wants to come to the united states at this moment. it just is not in our best interest. it really isn't in theirs ements. we need -- either. we need an orderly immigration process. but the question we have to ask ourselves, if we agree on those three things, can we then agree we have a broken immigration system that needs to be repaired. can we agree that people who do present themselves at the border will be treated in a humane fashion. i told the story of sister norma but if you look at the immigration policy of the trump administration, you find a much different message to the world. we remember when this president initiated his presidency by establishing a muslim travel ban creating chaos at airports across the country and continuing to separate thousands of american families.
4:20 pm
we remember the policy of this administration when the president announced the repeal of daca, daca, the deferred action for children is a program that grew out of the dream act, a bill which i introduced about 18 years ago. it was a bill that said -- executive decision actually under president obama which said if you were brought to this country as a child, your parents made the decision to come. you were just along for the ride but you lived in this country, got an education in this country, didn't create serious crimes in this country, you deserve a chance. you got up every morning in the school, pledged allegiance to that flag and believed it was your own. then probably when you were 10 or 12 someone in the family told you something you had never heard before. you were not legally in america. what should we do with these young people? well, when i introduced this bill 1 years ago, -- 18 year yearsago, my plan was to give
4:21 pm
them a chance to eastern their way to legal status, finish their education, make certain they had no serious criminal record, be willing to serve this country in the armed services and so many of them are, be willing to go on to school, develop a degree in teaching, engineering, nursing, medicine, and then we'd give you a chance for a green card and a path to legalization and citizenship in america. in 18 years i've never been able to make this the law of the land but i prevailed under president obama to create a program based on this premise, and he created the daca program. 780,000 young people in america stepped up, paid a $600 filing fee, went through a criminal background check, and they were given permission to stay in this country without fear of deportation and permission to work in this country as well. who are they? there are so many different people. i've introduced them on the floor today or other days, i should say, with color photographs telling their
4:22 pm
stories. the ones i think of immediately, the stars of the class as far as i'm concerned are the more than 30 of these daca students who are currently enrolled in lie yol la school of -- loyola school of medicine in chicago, open to daca recipients and they competed openly and won 32 slots. in order to pay for their education because they don't qualify for federal assistance to go to school, my state of illinois loans them money and for each year that they are loaned money, they promise to serve a year once they are licensed physicians in an area of medical need in my state. what a wonderful program that takes into account their skills and talent and our need in the state for medical care in rural communities in small town america and the inner city of chicago and other big cities in my state. well, the president of the united states decided to end the program that made them eligible to apply for medical school.
4:23 pm
and in making that decision, the president jeopardized the completion of their medical degrees because you see no matter how hard they work, that medical degree leads to a residency where they learn how to practice medicine hands on at a residency -- and a residency is a job and to be legally entitled to work in this country, you need to have daca protection which president trump took away. so many of them face the prospect that their medical education would end because of the president's decision. fortunately for them, the case was brought in federal court to try to stop president trump from eliminating daca, and it provided as well that the program would continue with its protections until the court case was resolved. that could happen and it could happen soon. but it tells you what happens when the president makes a decision that affects so many lives and the damage that it can do not just to them and their families but to our nation. the president also terminated a
4:24 pm
temporary protected status program that protected some 300,000 people who have come to the united states over the years because of adverse natural disasters or political conditions in their country. then the president last year initiated a program called zero tolerance that resulted in the disastrous separation of thousands of families at the border. because the federal court mandated the administration had to account for the children who were separated. there were some 2,880 infants, toddlers and children taken away from their parents, some with -- where they were going and how soon they would be returned. when the courts said in southern california to the trump administration account for these children, tell us where they are today, tell us where their parents are, they couldn't even match up all the children with the parents because many of the parents had been sent back to their countries with the promise their children would return and
4:25 pm
there was no recordkeeping so that that could be done. this president also was engaged through his department of homeland security in migrant detention facilities which the inspector general of the department of homeland security found and i quote, an immediate risk to the health and safety of detainees and federal employees. i saw one. in april of this year in el paso. we had a detention facility there where we were holding those who were presented at the border. the sign over the door of that detention cell said capacity 35. i looked through the plate glass window. there were 150 men standing shoulder to shoulder. they ate standing up. there was no room for all of them to lie down to sleep. i was told a couple of weeks later that the population census had grown to 200 in that cell that was designed for 35 with one toilet.
4:26 pm
next to it was a detention cell with another plate glass window. over the door it said capacity 18. i counted 75 women and some with nursing children in that room designed for 18 people with one toilet. that situation is unacceptable, inhumane. regardless of the legal outcome of those who presented themselves, we can and must do better as a nation. the inspector general is right, that the condition i saw was a risk to health sand safety. -- health and safety. then the president through a series of his infamous tweets threatened mass arrests and deportations of millions of immigrants who have committed no crime and pose no threat to the safety and security of their communities. what the president has done is created rampant fear in the immigrant communities around illinois and around this nation. then the president put in place a new rule that blocks asylum
4:27 pm
claims at our border for nationals from any country except mexico including families and children fleeing persecution. the unhcr, the united nations refugee agency said the rule that the president promulgated willendanger people in need of international protection from violence or prosecution. now the president is continuing on his path of destruction. he is considering reducing the number of refugees the united states will admit in the year 2020 to zero. madam president, you have to go back in history to world war ii when the president of the united states, a member of my own political party, made a conscious decision to tell those jewish people coming from europe that they would not be allowed admittance into the united states to escape the nazi holocaust. the story of the u.s.s. st. louis is one people should read and consider the 800
4:28 pm
passengers on that ship who were rejected by the administration as refugees sent back to europe. a fourth of them died in the holocaust. because of our feeling of shame after world war ii, the united states under presidents of both political parties said that we would try to set a standard for the world when it came to accepting refugees and we did. an average of almost 80,000 per year admitted into the united states. think back to the cubans who came to this country to escape communism under castro. they'd become such a vibrant part of america today. in fact, three of the senators today are of cuban descent. they were part of that refugee movement. maybe not their generation but in their family. and then of course we accepted jewish people from the soviet union who were being persecuted, soviet jews found a welcoming america. the vietnamese who risked their lives to fight on our side in
4:29 pm
that horrible war were welcomed into the united states rather than see them face persecution in their own countries. the story goes on and on. and for years and years, for decades the united states established a standard of caring when it came to refugees. now this president has announced that despite all of the turmoil in the world, we cannot accept a single refugee in the year 2020. what a departure from the high-minded and high-value conduct of previous presidents. since the enactment of the refugee act of 1980, the united states has been resettling over 80,000 refugees per year under administrations of both political parties. president trump has said he will end it. for the last two years, the trump administration has set the lowest refugee ceilings in history in the midst of the worst refugee crisis in history. now the administration may slam the door at least for a year or
4:30 pm
until someone prevails on the president. now today as in almost every day, the administration has announced a new rule that allows immigration officers to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants anywhere in the united states unless that person can prove that they have been in the united states for at least two years. i ask you, if someone stopped you on the street and said, prove you've been here two years, how long would it take you to gather the documentation to show that proof, if you can. to do this to people and to threaten to deport them immediately if they don't produce the documentation is unfair. this procedure, known as expedited removal, it allows them to be questioned without a judge. summary judgment on the street to deport people and tear families apart.
4:31 pm
america is better than this. we can certainly keep america safe and respect our heritage as a nation of immigrants. we can have a secure border and abide by our international obligations to protect refugees fleeing persecution as we have done on a bipartisan basis for decades. when i went and toured the mcallen border patrol stations, donna anders ursla, we are starting to build more facilities. i would like to say a word about the men and women who work for customs and border protection. i won't make excuses for those who said things about them online, but the people we met with overwhelmingly good and caring people who were
4:32 pm
confronted with a situation at the border that they never envisioned with circumstances beyond their control. i want to say a word for those who are doing the best they can under these extraordinary circumstances, and thank them for their services. the reality of the trump administration's situation, the situation is much less secure than when he took office. the president's obsession with the border wall led to the longest government shutdown in history, even paralyzing our immigration courts for that 30-day period. more refugees have shut down the legal avenues for migration. under president obama we set up in country in guatemala, el salvador and honduras, an opportunity for those who wished to apply for asylum status in the united states without
4:33 pm
leaving their home country if they chose to do it. it was one alternative to an expensive, dangerous trek to the southern border. the trump administration closed down that program giving the people in those countries no alternative but to try the trip to the border. that made no sense at all. there is also a gaping leadership vacuum at the department of homeland security. in the two and a half years the president has been in office there have been four different leaders in the office of secretary at the department of homeland security, and in every major subcabinet position, there have been at least as many people acting -- in an acting capacity and not in a permanent capacity. i would say that we have tried our best to work with this administration when they've asked for help and volunteered it when they didn't. last february, when we passed the omnibus bill, we included over $40 mol for humanitarian assistance at the border and when the president came back and
4:34 pm
asked for an emergency supplemental for additional funding, democrats joined with republicans to pass that legislation. last year, before the border crisis began, senate democrats supported a bipartisan agreement, including robust border security, funding and dozens of provisions to strengthen border security. the president threatened to veto it and instead pushed for a hard-line approach which when it was called for a vote in the united united states senate received fewer than 40 votes. six years ago in 2013, there was a proud moment on the senate floor, there aren't many to recall as we stand here today, but this was one of them. i was part of a gang of eight, four republican senators and four democrat senators, senator john mccain, chuck schumer, and others, to put together a comprehensive immigration reform bill. we brought it to the floor of the senate. it passed 68-32. it was a step and move in the right direction to deal with our
4:35 pm
broken immigration system. unfortunately the republican house leadership refused to even consider that bill or call it for a hearing. acting secretary of department of homeland security, kevin mcleon ann recently said if our bill in 2018 had been enacted into law, and i quote, we would have a very different situation, we would be a lot more secure in our border. republican senator, lamar alexander of tennessee, who supported that 2013 bill said, if that bill became law, most of the problems we're having today we would not be having. we had a path, a bipartisan path, a good path that we should return to. it's time for us to work together to find a way for a secure border, for a secure nation to reduce the massive amounts of money that is being spent how because of this migration and to do it in a humane value consistent with the
4:36 pm
united states. democrats are ready to work to achieve goals we're all ready to share. we need to address the root causes in the northern countries. we need to crack down on the traffickers who are exploiting these migrants. we need to expand third-count resettlement so that migrants can find safe haven without making the dangerous trek. we need to have asylum claims processed more quickly. we need to expand the use of proven alternatives to detention like family case management so immigrants know their rights and show up for court. mr. president, it's hard to believe but when we sent to sister norma's catholic center in mcallen, those who were heading to join family members of the united states, showed us the pacts they were -- packets
4:37 pm
they were given. these people were fresh off the border and out of detention. we found in many cases the instructions were printed in english, not spanish, and they did not include any specific time or place for the person to report. they simply typed in there to be determined, to be determined. is it any wonder that these people struggle to come to a court hearing as required by law. we can do better. we ought to give them the information they need if they are going to be part of our legal system and tell them about the time and place where they need to report. we stand ready to work on this side of the aisle for smart, effective, and humane border security policies. we need to have a bipartisan approach. republican colleagues need to step up and find a constructive way to deal with the challenges we face on the border today. we can keep america safe. we can continue to probably call ourselves -- proudly call ourselves a nation of
4:38 pm
immigrants. what we're seeing now is a situation that begs for a compromised bipartisan solution. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
4:39 pm
4:40 pm
4:41 pm
4:42 pm
4:43 pm
4:44 pm
4:45 pm
mr. reed: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the calling of the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reed: i come to the floor to focus on some of the key findings of the special counsel report of our 2016 elections. the day before robert mueller to set to come before the judiciary committee. i've spoken on the floor many times about the depth and breadth of russian interference in the 2016 election. the special counsel report goes to great length to detail this in his terms sweeping and systematic interference. what continues to be worrisome is these informational warfare attacks are ongoing with more planned for our elections next year.
4:46 pm
and this threat to our national security and the integrity of our democracy has yet to be sufficiently recognized nor counted by this administration. indeed in the months since the report was released, the trump administration and congressional republicans have repeatedly claimed that the report vindicates the president on all charges of conclusion between the trump campaign and russia and on obstruction of justice rather than taking steps to ensure that we will never be targeted in this way again. the special counsel's testimony is vital so that he can detail what he incurred and shed additional light on the events he investigated. in particular, what congress and the american people need to hear from director mueller relates to three broad categories of questions. first, what was the full scope of russian interference in the 2016 election? second, what evidence did the special counsel find of coordination between trump campaign associates or the president and the russian
4:47 pm
government? and why did he decide the available evidence was not sufficient to prove a conspiracy with russia? third, what evidence did the special counsel find that the president obstructed justice? tomorrow's testimony will help the public understand the gravity of the president's conduct in the white house and the extent to which russia influenced the 2016 election. these hearings are not the end. this is not case closed. the intelligence community has assessed that the threat from russia will continue to evolve and grow even more sophisticat sophisticated. for our elections to remain free, open, and transparent, we must take seriously the threat posed by russia and other potential foreign adversaries. we must hold hearings in the senate with testimony from the special counsel's office and key witnesses from the report. we must consider legislation on election security, foreign influence operations, disinformation, federal election laws, money laundering, and many other issues. when it comes to protecting our
4:48 pm
democracy, we cannot be complay sent. now is the -- complacent. now is the time for action to make sure we are ready ahead of the elections in 2020 and beyond. each and every one of us in this chamber swore an oath to support and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies foreign and domestic. in order to do that, we can't just take tweets about no collusion and no obstruction at face value. this isn't a witch hunt nor should it be an effort to circle the partisan wagons around the president and absolve him of any wrongdoing. it's got to be a serious examination of what happened and how we can defend our nation from future attacks. and mr. president, it's my intention to submit a more extensive statement today with respect to this issue and also, mr. president, i had the opportunity and the privilege as we all did earlier today to vote for secretary mark esper as the next secretary of defense. i have known dr. esper for more
4:49 pm
than a decade. he is a public servant and a patriot of the first order. i think the overwhelming vote today indicates that the confidence we have in him, indicates the importance we understand that job holds for all of us, and we've entrusted it to someone who began his dedicated service to the country as a 17-year-old at west point, served in the army, then went on to serve in administrations and also as a public citizen his entire life. with that, mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that a more complete statement be submitted for the record with respect to dr. esper's confirmation as secretary of defense. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. with that i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk shall call the roll.
4:50 pm
quorum call:
4:51 pm
4:52 pm
4:53 pm
4:54 pm
4:55 pm
4:56 pm
4:57 pm
4:58 pm
4:59 pm
5:00 pm
quorum call:
5:01 pm
5:02 pm
5:03 pm
5:04 pm
5:05 pm
5:06 pm
5:07 pm
5:08 pm
5:09 pm
5:10 pm
5:11 pm
5:12 pm
5:13 pm
5:14 pm
5:15 pm
quorum call:
5:16 pm
5:17 pm
5:18 pm
5:19 pm
5:20 pm
5:21 pm
5:22 pm
5:23 pm
5:24 pm
5:25 pm
5:26 pm
5:27 pm
5:28 pm
5:29 pm
quorum call:
5:30 pm
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. blumenthal: i ask that it be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. when it comes to air safety, the united states of america should be the gold standard for the world. in fact, better than the gold standard, it ought to be the sullenberger standard. you remember sully sullenberger who was the pilot at the
5:31 pm
controls when the miracle of the hudson flight in 2009 landed safely? he prescribed the qualities that we should regard most highly as we choose a new administrator of the f.a.a. and he also gave us the leadership we need and should respect in consideration the nomination of stephen dickson. we should reject it. and he articulated exactly why. sully sullenberger said about stephen dickson, quote, his actions and words raise grave concerns about his ability to act with the integrity and the independence the next f.a.a.
5:32 pm
administrator must have to navigate the challenges of the ungrounding of the 737 max and to rebuild global trust in the f.a.a.'s competence and ability to appropriately certify new aircraft designs. that's what he said in a interview with "politico." but he said it publicly on a number of other occasions. and those two qualities that he mandated in the next f.a.a. administrator, as more important than any other, independence and integrity are precisely the qualities that stephen dickson lacks. and it is that failing that brings me to the floor now to oppose his nomination. now sully sullenberger
5:33 pm
highlighted the particular experience that exemplified that failing, which is stephen dixons involvement in the whistle-blowerring case. whistle-blowerrers -- whistle-blowers are the ones who bring information to light that can help save lives, whether it is in the criminal area or air safety or drug effectiveness or many other areas, including other areas of transportation safety. whistle-blowers play a vital role, and so they need protection. they should never be retaliated against. they should never be objects of retribution. they should be protected and
5:34 pm
encouraged. and that's what an air safety expert, someone who cares about safety, someone who respects independence and integrity, would do. that's exactly the opposite of what stephen dickson is alleged to have done in the case of carleen pettit. her case was brought to our attention after stephen dickson's testimony to the commerce committee, so we had no real opportunity to ask him about it in his confirmation hearing. in fact, we never learned about pettit's case or a deposition that dickson gave for it until after that hearing. he didn't disclose it because he purportedly interpreted a senate commerce committee questionnaire as asking after, quote, my personal conduct, my behavior
5:35 pm
both in general and as an officer of a large public company or any instance in which i was named as a party to a proceeding. end quote. he didn't think that a court case or a deposition that fit that definition. but the simple fact is that ms. pettit alleged she was subject to retaliation after presenting mr. dickson and other delta executives including the current c.e.o., regarding a written report regarding delta's flight safety culture in january 2016 that report alleged significant facts that should have been investigated following its submission and a meeting with the member of delta's human
5:36 pm
resources staff, ms. pettit was removed from duty. in fact, in march 2016 she was referred for a psychiatric examination. that's the way that delta reacted to her whistle-blower complaint. and the doctor chosen bill delta diagnosed her with bipolar disorder and found that she was unfit for duty. when she was evaluated by a panel of eight doctors at the mayo clinic and an independent third-party doctor, these psychiatrists concluded that mst suffer from a mental illness and was entirely fit for duty. so the appearance and seemingly the reality is that her safety concerns were meant to be buried rather than taken seriously and addressed, and mr. dickson
5:37 pm
played a part in that reaction to her whistle-blower concerns. in fact, the psychiatrist who first evaluated her concluded that she must have this disorder because as a woman, how could she be raising three young children and be studying for another possible degree and at the same time working as she was that kind of evaluation certainly was entitled to very little respect. again, mr. dickson never disclosed it to us, so we could never ask him about it at the nomination hearing. he never disclosed it before that hearing. when he was called upon to explain this lapse, instead of taking ownership of his failing, he sought to minimize
5:38 pm
his involvement inconsistently with the facts of the case. and his failure to disclose it, his reaction to it would itself be disqualifying. but on other grounds as well, he is simply not the right person for this agency at this time. integrity and independence, now more important than ever because the airline industry and particularly boeing need new leadership in oversight and accountability. new leadership from the f.a.a. is critically important in light of its failure to ground those 737 max airplanes ahead of the rest of the world. in fact, the f.a.a. followed the rest of the world.
5:39 pm
and because of their delegation of authority for certification to boeing and manufacturers generally. that delegation of authority essentially puts the fox in charge of the henhouse. it may have been for cost saving to the f.a.a., because they could allow boeing to hire, pay, fire the certifiers. but at some level it meant that boeing then in effect controlled the safety, scrutiny, supposedly exercised by an independent f.a.a. that independence is critically important. and, mr. dickson comes from a long career at delta airlines. in fact, a record at delta that
5:40 pm
raises questions about his independence from the industry, and at a time when that agency must guarantee its independence from that industry. our next f.a.a. administrator will in fact have enormous challenges in restoring public trust. this agency has been undermined by its failure to ground airplanes, to exercise independent judgment, to do the kind of scrutiny that is necessary. and what is needed is in fact new leadership. f.a.a.'s broken system, at least in public perception, requires a new voice untainted
5:41 pm
by connections to the industry. we have an opportunity here to find someone who will restore that confidence in america and worldwide. he is very simply not the right person for this job, and i urge my colleagues to oppose him and to respect the advice given to us by sully sullenberger, who has highlighted those two qualities -- independence and integrity. integrity not only in past career, but in dealings with the u.s. senate in full disclosure and respect for whistle-blowers in highlighting public safety above the profits or interests of the industry. that's the kind of independence and integrity we need.
5:42 pm
and i still have hope that we can find it if my colleagues join me in opposing this nomination. thank you, madam president, and i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
5:43 pm
5:44 pm
5:45 pm
quorum call:
5:46 pm
5:47 pm
the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: on april 8 this year, i came here to the senate to speak about the end of the special counsel's investigation.
5:48 pm
now that special counsel mueller is set to testify tomorrow in the house of representatives, i'd like to reiterate several points i made in that speech i believe are still very relevant today. i noted that the facts show that the real collusion was actually brought about by the democrats. it's pretty well documented that the clinton campaign and the democratic national committee hired g.p.s. to do opposition research against candidate trump. fusion g.p.s. then hired christopher steele, a former british intelligence officer to compile the famous steele
5:49 pm
dossier. that document was central to the fate collusion narrative and it reportedly used russian government sources for information. so the democrats paid for a document created by a foreign national that relied on russian government sources. let's also not forget about news reports that the democratic national committee interfaced with the government of ukraine to try and get dirt on candidate trump. not trump, but the democrats. now, that's the definition of collusion. maybe that's why the democrats seem totally uninterested in figuring out the origins of the
5:50 pm
russian investigation because they were a prime mover in making it all happen. now they've asked the justice department to produce the mueller report's underlying evidence, including all intelligence related information. i agree with the need to see as much information as possible. in fact, i've cosponsored a bill that would do just that. but the democrats fury over mueller's findings and their inconsistent positions makes me think all of this is more about politics flains many. -- than principle. as i said repeatedly to guard against political gamesmanship, there's only one legitimate way to do this. let's see all the documents,
5:51 pm
every one of the documents, meaning that if congress is going to review the mueller report's underlying information, it should be able to review information relating to how -- absolutely how the russian investigation started. anything less will fail to provide the full picture. furthermore, to be very consistent, we shouldn't stop at the russian investigation. the democrats want all the mueller information but seem to be turning a very blind eye to other investigations where congress, as well as the public, have yet to see it all. again, that leads me to believe that their request for
5:52 pm
mueller-related documents is a political ploy. take, for example, the clinton investigation. as i've written about publicly before, the justice department inspector general produced to congress a highly classified document relating to this clinton investigation. that document raises additional questions for the f.b.i. and the justice department. these agencies ought to produce additional information to congress and answer these questions to provide full accounting of what transpired. that's -- here's an excerpt, then, from the inspector general's unclassified report on the clinton investigation. quote, although the mid-year team -- and that happens to be
5:53 pm
the code word for the clinton investigation, drafted a member dumb -- memorandum to the late attorney general 2016, stating that review of highly classified material was necessary to complete the investigation and requesting permission to access them, the f.b.i. never sent this request to the department. end of quote. so this tells us four things. one, the f.b.i. apparently was awear of highly classified information -- aware of highly classified information relevant to the clinton investigation in its possession. secondly, that the f.b.i. drafted a memo in may of 2018 to get being a -- 2016 to get access to the information.
5:54 pm
three, that memo said review of that information was necessary to complete the investigation, and fourth, the fact that the memo was never sent. so with great emphasis, how could the obama administration's f.b.i. finish the investigation if they never got access to all potentially relative information? now, there ought to be great democratic outrage at that apparent failure, and there doesn't seem to be. will the democrats ask for all the information relating to hillary clinton's investigation? and then there's another example. what about the case called
5:55 pm
uranium one? i've been pushing for years for more answers about this transaction that allowed the russian government to acquire u.s. uranium assets. i've received classified as well as unclassified briefings about this matter. my staff recently went to f.b.i. headquarters to review additional classified material, and i've identified some f.b.i. intelligence reports that may shed more light on the uranium one transaction, however, the attorney general has refused to provide access to those other documents. well, if the democrats demand intelligence-related information from the justice department regarding the mueller report, there should be no reason
5:56 pm
whatsoever why they shouldn't do the same for uranium one. the american people rightly ought to expect something as simple as consistency. if you are aren't consistent with what you asked for, then you won't have any credibility. my attitude and approach is straightforward and nonpartisan. let's see it all -- russia, clinton, uranium one, all of it. as i said on april 8, sunlight is the best disinfectant as we watch tomorrow and listen to the testimony in the house of
5:57 pm
representatives with mueller coming back to tell us probably nothing new because he said he isn't going to say anything that isn't already in the 448-page report. let's keep that in mind. let's see all of it -- russia, clinton, uranium one, as well as anything the democrats are asking for in regard to the mueller report. i yield the floor, and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
5:58 pm
5:59 pm
6:00 pm
quorum call:
6:01 pm
6:02 pm
6:03 pm
6:04 pm
6:05 pm
6:06 pm
6:07 pm
6:08 pm
6:09 pm
6:10 pm
6:11 pm
6:12 pm
6:13 pm
6:14 pm
6:15 pm
quorum call:
6:16 pm
6:17 pm
6:18 pm
a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, for every american who is old enough to remember the attacks of september 11, 2001, can be recalled like it happened yesterday. it's one of those rare, almost generational moments, that stand in the forefront of our nation's collective memory. i'm confident if we lined up all 100 members of the senate and asked them where they were that morning, they could tell you. i was in austin at home on the telephone talking to then-governor perry, now the secretary of energy. my wife got my attention and said hold on, you're going to want to see this. and i turned to look at the
6:19 pm
television just as the second airplane hit the world trade center. and i don't have to tell you, we all remember the heartbreak, the confusion, and the anger that weld up in -- welled up in all of us as we saw those images. in the days and months and years since the attack, we have vowed as a nation to never forget the events of september 11. i think that's one of the pivotal moments in our nation's history. we'll never forget the 3,000 lives that were lost that day, the loved ones they left behind, or the courage demonstrated by the brave first responders who came from across the country to help in the aftermath of those horrific attacks. today members of the senate had an opportunity to vote on legislation to turn that promise to never forget into something tangible, and i'm proud we have now permanently authorized the 9/11 victim compensation fund.
6:20 pm
this fund was created to support those who answered the nation's call to help on 9/11 and in the months that followed that attack. now nearly 18 years later, first responders from across the country are being diagnosed with cancers, respiratory diseases, and other illnesses because of their courageous work on that day. for them, each day serves as a tragic reminder of the heartbreaking images most of us just witnessed on a television screen. the legislation we passed today is the never forget the heroes permanent authorization of the 9/11 victims compensation fund act. as the name suggests, it permanently authorizes funding to support those american heroes who have led lifesaving recovery operations following the attacks on 9/11. as i suggested, many of the diseases that affect these men and women such as cancers and
6:21 pm
respiratory diseases may not have become apparent for years after 9/11. it's the nature of the disease. ensuring the longevity of this fund is critical to providing these heroes with the resources they need, whether that life-changing diagnosis comes today or 50 years from now. it's part of our commitment as americans to support our first responders and the heroes who ran not away from but toward the danger on that fateful day. throughout my time in the senate, i have worked to support our first responders who are there for our -- who were there for our communities during the most difficult times, but 9/11 first responders represent the very best of america, and they deserve every ounce of assistance we are able to provide. this legislation received 402 votes in the house of representatives and 97 votes here in the senate, something nearly unheard of these days.
6:22 pm
i appreciate our colleagues who have been working to get this legislation passed to provide these men and women with some peace of mind, and i'm proud to be one of the cosponsors, and i'm now glad it's headed to the president's desk for his signature. madam president, on another matter, a survey last summer found that many texans are struggling to afford the rising costs of their health care. three out of five surveyed reported foregoing or postponing care because of the cost barrier. that includes cutting their pills in half, skipping doses, or not filling a prescription because they simply couldn't afford to do so. with health care costs on the rise, things aren't expected to get any easier unless we do something about it. the centers for medicare and medicaid services estimated that
6:23 pm
between 2018 and 2027, customers can expect to see prescription drug spending increase by an average of 6.1% a year. that's a faster increase than hospital stays, doctors' visits, or any other health care expenditure. there seems to be bipartisan agreement that something must be done, but the real question is what that something is. what are your ideas about how to make that something a reality? many of our progressive democrat friends have embraced medicare for all as the solution to the problems that exist in our health care delivery system. their proposal, though, would kick about 180 million americans off of their private insurance and force them on to one big government-run plan. it would drain a vital program that seniors relied upon for more than a century and replace
6:24 pm
it with the watered-down version that would result in long waiting lines for inferior care. the government would tell you what clinic you had to go to, what doctor you could see, what prescriptions you could actually take. you would lose your freedom and power to decide what's best for you and your family when it comes to your health care, and you have to simply take what you can get on somebody else's schedule. last but not least, medicare for all would completely bankrupt our country. i think this approach is akin to having a pipe burst in your house, but instead of repairing it, tearing the whole thing down and rebuilding it from scratch. it's unaffordable. it's unpopular. it's unnecessary and goes against all logic. don't get me wrong. our health care system is not perfect, but medicare for all is
6:25 pm
actually worse, and it would create more problems than it would solve. instead, i support targeted reforms that have been offered by a number of our colleagues here, most on a bipartisan basis, to lower health care costs and to give people more choices in terms of what fits their needs the best. on thursday, the senate finance committee will be marking up a package of bills that will aim to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors and families. the senate help committee has already last month overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill to reduce out-of-pocket health care costs and increase transparency and eliminate surprise medical bills. a few weeks ago, the senate judiciary committee on which i serve unanimously reported out legislation that would keep pharmaceutical companies from gaming the patent system. all of these reforms are
6:26 pm
intended to repair the problems that exist without completely leveling the existing health care system. for example, the package that passed the judiciary committee included a proposal i introduced with my colleague from connecticut, our colleague, senator blumenthal, called the affordable prescriptions for patients act. this bill takes aim at two practices often deployed by pharmaceutical companies to stomp out competition and protect their bottom line. first this bill targets a practice called product hopping. when a company is about to lose exclusivity of a product -- that is, when their patent is about ready to run out, they often develop some sort of minor reformulation and then yank the original patented drug off the market. that prevents generic competition. there is no doubt legitimate changes that warrant a new patent, but too frequently we're
6:27 pm
seeing this deployed as a strategy to box out generic competition. now about 90% of the drugs that we all take are generic and not branded drugs under a patent, and that means we get less expensive drugs that are just as effective as the original branded product, and that's the way our system is supposed to work by making generic drugs more readily available and affordable. by defining product hopping as anticompetitive behavior, the federal trade commission would be able to take action to -- against those who engage in this practice. our bill would also target something known as patent thickening. by limiting the patents companies can use to keep competitors away. some drug companies like to layer on patent after patent after patent in an attempt to make it virtually impossible for biosimilar manufacturers to bring a product, a competing
6:28 pm
product to market. while the patent on the actual drug formula may have expired, they are still in some -- there are still in some cases hundreds of other patents to sort through to discourage that competition. this bill would limit the number of patents these companies can use and streamline the litigation process so companies are spending less time in the courtroom and hopefully more time in the laboratory developing lifesaving innovative drugs. competitors would be able to resolve patent disputes faster and bring their drugs to market sooner, and of course better competition means better prices for patients. it's also good news for taxpayers. just last week, we received a cost estimate of this bill from the congressional budget office, and they found it would lower federal spending by more than a half a billion dollars over ten years. and this is just the savings to the federal government under medicare and medicaid. there would undoubtedly be
6:29 pm
additional significant savings for consumers and private health insurance. the affordable prescriptions for patients act does not prevent manufacturers from making improvements in their products, and it doesn't limit patent rights. it also doesn't hamper innovation, and it doesn't spend money we don't have on a system we don't really want. it simply stops those who knowingly game and abuse our patent system. our country is proudly a leader in pharmaceutical innovation and partly because we offer robust protection for intellectual property. when you create a new drug, you're granted a patent, an exclusive right to sell that drug for a period of years. but this legislation ensures that those who game the system, the bad actors, are no longer able to take advantage of these innovation protections in order to maintain their monopolies at the expense of the american
6:30 pm
people after their patent should have expired. i believe there is more we can do to improve our health care system and bring down out-of-pocket costs for the american people, but instead of tearing down the whole house, let's make the repairs that we actually need. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that into the with standing rule 22, the postcloture time on the dickson nomination expire at 11 is:00 a.m. on wednesday, july 24. following the disposition of the dickson nomination the senate
6:31 pm
vote on the cloture motions for the berger and the buescher. if cloture is invoked the senate vote at 3:00 p.m. and if any of the nominations are confirmed the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, i further ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session and be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration and the senate now proceed to s. res. 265. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 265, designating july 27, 2019 as national day of the american
6:32 pm
cowboy. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble agreed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, i now ask unanimous consent that the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration and the senate now proceed to s. res. 194. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 194, designating july 30, 2019, as national whistle-blower appreciation day. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, finally, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 9:30 a.m.,
6:33 pm
wednesday, july 24. further that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. also that morning business be closed and that the senate proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the dickson nomination under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: if there is no further business to come before the senate, madam president, i ask that the senate stand adjourned under the previous order following the remarks of senator merkley for up to 75 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection.
6:34 pm
mr. merkley: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: i rise to recognize two members of my team who are leaving the senate after years of dedicated and important work. becka ward will be leaving on august 7 and meredith booker on friday, july 26. both of them joined my team as interns, and they have worked their way up into team merkley making tremendous contributions to my office and to our nation. i know they are both going to do extraordinary things in the next chapters of their lives, but first it's worth reflecting on their service here in the u.s. senate. becca ward has been an invaluable member of our team for six years. she started as an intern in my oregon office and worked her way
6:35 pm
up to be my lead advisor on climate chaos and energy policy. becca joined team merkley as a full-time staffer in 2013 as a staff assistant and over the years she rose to be legislative correspondent and then a legislative aide, crafting and sending responses to more than 225,000 oregonians concerned about climate and the environment. becca's terrific work made it clear that she was capable of more, so she then became my top policy advisor on the threat of climate chaos. climate chaos presents an existential threat to our planet, and her professionalism, her substance, expertise, her creativity, the network she created have proved to be powerful tools in working to
6:36 pm
advance a progressive climate agenda. when becca first started working on climate change, she took the lead in the effort to protect the arctic ocean from oil and gas drilling leading to the introduction of the protect arctic ocean drilling act. and over the course of her years on this portfolio, she has helped a lot with the mission 100 bill which aims to transition the united states to 100% clean energy economy. and my keep it in the ground bill which would stop the expansion of leasing our federal publicly owned properties for the production of fossil fuels. more recently she contributed by collating the senate version of the green new deal, setting a high bar for progressive climate efforts in the future. and just last week she led my staff through the introduction of the good jobs for the 21st
6:37 pm
century energy act, a bold new bill that required extensive coordination between the environmental community and the labor community. and it's designed to create good-paying, family-wage jobs, high labor standards, a race to the top in employment during the transition to clean energy. becca's efforts to take on the global challenge of climate chaos hasn't been limited to the united states. she has repeatedly traveled with me and on my behalf to u.n. conference of parties meetings and other international events to engage in the diplomacy necessary for true global response to a global crisis. she has shepherded my efforts through the appropriations committee to maintain funding for climate programs and to introduce and pass bipartisan amendments supporting the green climate fund. in addition to her substantive
6:38 pm
policy responsibilities, she's been an incredible team player and a remarkable individual to have with us. i think it's safe to say that becka will ll go down in team merkley history as the only member of our team who is an olympic medalist. she's been a fantastic mentor to the climate team and has been a huge contributor to our office's efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in our work. i know that her absence will be felt especially strongly every year when the annual cherry blossom run comes around. becka, you might need to plan a trip to d.c. for next spring. while becka is going to do incredible things for the planet in her next chapter helping to expand a recently form of our mental observation, the clean
6:39 pm
energy leadership institute, here she will be greatly missed both as a colleague and a friend and a mentor to so many of us on the team. we're counting on you, becka, to save the planet, so no pressure. we appreciate your service to oregon and to our country, and i look forward to hearing about your efforts and your journey ahead. now we turn to another member of team merkley who is sadly leaving us in july, meredith booker, in fact just the end of this week. meredith embodies the heart and soul and work ethic of team merkley and she'll be sorely missed by everyone in the immigration, civil rights, housing, and lgbtq rights portfolios. meredith joined our team as an
6:40 pm
intern in august 2016 and quickly became indispensable, joining the legislative correspondent ranks in december 2016. in june of 2018, she was promoted to legislative aide and hasn't looked back, taking on more and more responsibility. she came into this position with a deep understanding and background in criminal justice and has brought top-notch performance to every project and task she has touched. she is, i think, most of our office would agree the best organized member of our team. her meticulously crafted spread sheet helped our team stay on track in many areas and will remain a lasting part of her legacy here on capitol hill. it doesn't matter whether it is the smallest project or the biggest high-stakes moment, meredith always gets it done and gets it done well.
6:41 pm
the work ethic has extended from volunteering countless times to pitch in with coding parties. and coding parties are when the team stays late in the evening to work to try to have a prompt response to the thousands of letters we received from oregonians. it stems from that to hustling to perfect every line and section of the 2019 equality act, resulting in a record of 47 senate sponsors, and bipartisan passage in the house of representatives this may. that act has yet to be considered on the floor of the senate, but it is way past time, it is way past time that we establish a quality of opportunity for every single american. meredith skillfully navigated working with two different
6:42 pm
legislative assistants at times, and sometimes with one l.a. and sometimes with no l.a.'s without letting a single decision, memo or project fall through the cracks. she managed reintroduction of the american savings act to expand high-quality retirement saving accounts to every american. and she managed our annual august breast feeding month resolution to recognize the importance of breast feeding to american families and to the health of the children and the health of the mothers. and just a short time ago, when the department of agriculture laid out a plan to destroy civilian conservation corps centers across america, she dove into the tricky and wonky world of that and proceeded to work intensely to prevent that from happening and working
6:43 pm
successfully to do that. she threw herself into the challenge of the retirement integrity act, designed to make ira's work more cost effectively for working americans rather than a loophole for the megawealthy. those we have always known we were lucky to have meredith on team merkley, she has truly stepped up and gone above and beyond in the last year. after my june 2018 trip to brownsville led to intensive work on the issue of family separation, child separation, and to a lot of efforts by many parties to push back against president trump's cruelty to migrant families, when president trump proposed locking families up in internment camps, she led the drafting of the no internment camps act to say we'll never repeat that
6:44 pm
shameful chapter in our history. when president trump threw children into unregulated child prisons at tornillo and homestead, she worked to draft the shut down prison camps act to end this horrific practice. and just a few weeks ago she was instrumental to the introduction of the stop cruelty to migrant children act, legislation to ensure we treat children with dignity and respect, and that act already has 40 senators sponsoring it. as i've traveled to investigate the trump administration's policies towards migrants over the last year, meredith's codel, congressional delegation binderrers have become legendary, whether trips to texas or central america or whether she joined the trip herself when we went to the child jail in homestead, florida, you have never seen a
6:45 pm
binder assembled with so much meticulous care and attention to detail. in addition to her many accomplishments supporting legislation and oversight trips, she worked with countless outside groups to organize a hugely successful hearing through the democratic policy communication center, dpcc on family separation in june of 2018. and she reprised that role this week, in fact today, working to help organize another dpcc hearing on the treatment of children at the southern u.s. border. it occurred earlier this afternoon with the focus on stopping the cruel treatment of migrant children. she has done all of this without letting the effort to respond to
6:46 pm
oregonian letters to fall through the cracks. she probably holds the record for responding to constituent mail with responding to 4,600 e-mails in less than six years and 350 unique letters for those responses. that means on average meredith created 150 letters per year and sent approximately 1,000 responses each year. that's a lot of communicating. america is lucky that meredith is taking her talents to the legal arena. she will be starting at loyola university this fall working toward her law degree. and knowing how much she has done without a law degree, probably more than most fully accredited lawyers, i know the
6:47 pm
world is going to benefit enormously as she pursues that degree and puts it to work in the fight for justice and equality. the world of justice and equality will benefit just as we experience the loss of her talents here in the senate. meredith, we are tremendously grateful for your contributions and will deeply miss you on team merkley. we will absolutely miss you both. you leave a tremendous hole in our team and your final assignment is to make sure that we have some very talented people to carry on the terrific work you've been doing, and thank you.
6:48 pm
mr. merkley: madam president, as our founders work to design what would become the constitution of the united states, they had certain core principles in mind, certain principles that were the exact opposite of the way government worked in europe. they did not want to see america
6:49 pm
be a land run by a dictator or a king. they wanted to make sure that power was distributed between voting americans and it's a principle jefferson called the equal voice principle, because distributed power among the people would lead to powers by and for the people, not by laws by and for the powerful. and they another principle, and it was the opposite of what existed in europe where a king was above the law, and perhaps the king's circle was above the law, not accountable to any core principles of conduct or any rules. what they did in their lives as rulers in that fashion just
6:50 pm
simply was accountable to no one. but our constitution had a different vision. the goal was to have everyone in america accountable to the law, that we're all in this together, no one is a king, no one is a dictator, and that vision is really embodied in four simple words, carved into the facade above the doors of the supreme court, equal justice under law. and if you stand here in the johnson room just across the hallway and you look out the window towards the supreme court, you see this, equal justice under law. it's a principle so foundational to our vision of a citizen-run
6:51 pm
nation, a nation by and for the people that it was the source of my first political act. i was, if memory serves me well, a junior in high school, and i read an article in the evening newspaper. now at that point many cities in the country had a morning newspaper that was more the business community's newspaper and an evening newspaper which more the -- which was more the workers newspaper. which made sense. my father, a union machinist, his work started at 7 in the morning and concluded nine hours later at 4 in the afternoon. he would come home, get the evening newspaper, read it, have dinner, watch the evening news on television. and in that newspaper that evening there was an article about spy spiro -- about
6:52 pm
spiroing a knew, our former vice president. he was convicted of taking $100,000 in bribes. what was his penalty? his penalty was a $10,000 fine. and i was enraged. what? people get sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread and the president -- or vice president in this case -- he took $100,000 illegally and he gets to keep 90% of it. what kind of story is that to america? that if you're wealthy and powerful that you can commit crimes and keep the vast share of what you've taken in that crime. and so i wrote an outraged letter to the newspaper and the newspaper published it.
6:53 pm
equal justice under law. it is very important -- it is a very important principle to our nation much but today we face a political crisis, a crisis about whether we have a president who is above the law. that somehow this phrase, this principle, the foundation of our country doesn't apply to this particular president. if that stands, then we will have lost a core principle of our democratic republic. tomorrow we're going to have testimony from the former special counsel mueller in the house of representatives. he's scheduled for some three hours before the justice -- or judiciary committee of the house, another couple of hours with the intelligence committee,
6:54 pm
and he'll be following up to share insights and answer questions related to this hefty document, report on the investigation in the russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. there's a lot in this report. now you wouldn't know that because if you just listened to our attorney general -- former attorney general because barr, our current attorney general, said there's nothing here, nothing in this. well, that's not the case, and i've come to the floor tonight to make that absolutely clear. here's the easiest way to summarize it. we received a letter from former
6:55 pm
federal prosecutors, an open letter, more than 1,000 former federal prosecutors evaluating what is in this hefty book. and it says we are former federal prosecutors. we served under both republican and democratic administrations, under many different levels, line attorneys, supervisor, special prosecutors, u.s. attorneys, the offices in which we served were small, medium, large, urban, su bur ban, rural, all located in all parts of our country. each of us believes that the conduct of president trump described in special counsel robert mueller's report would, in the case of any other person not covered in the legal office
6:56 pm
counsel policy against a sitting president, would result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice. the mueller report describes several acts that satisfy all the elements for an obstruction charge, conduct that obstructed or attempted to obstruct the truth-finding process as to which the evidence of corrupt intent and connection to pending proceedings is overwhelming. these include the president eaf forts to -- efforts to fire mueller and to falsify efforts. the president's effort to seclude his conduct and the president's effort to prevent witnesses from cooperating with investigators probing him and his campaign. the statement goes on in some detail, but the point that needs
6:57 pm
to be repeated is this point -- each of us believes that the conduct of president trump described in the special counsel robert mueller's report would in the case of any other person result in multiple felony charges. in other words, a thousand -- in fact, more than a thousand former federal prosecutors says in their mind, reading just this report, the president has committed multiple crimes. so what happened to this principle, equal justice under the law? a thousand federal prosecutors say anyone else, you or you or you would be indicted for felonies for the conduct that is
6:58 pm
in this report, but the president has not been indicted. and why has he not been indicted? simply this, an indictment has to stem from the department of justice. it is run now by an attorney general who is -- who has dedicated himself from preventing the president from being held accountable rather than to the principle of equal justice under the law. no one should ever serve as attorney general of the united states that does not believe in the founding principle of our nation. and, yet, he serves and refuses to conduct his responsibilities under the constitution. that's why there's no choice but for the house to act because in the failure of attorney general barr to honor the principle our
6:59 pm
nation was founded on, equal justice under the law, the only recourse is the house of representatives. down this hallway, through these double doors, not far away is a house of representatives charged in the constitution with determining if a president has committed high crimes and misdemeanors. and while there may be discussion of exactly what is meant by high crimes and misdemeanors, surely it entails acts of obstruction of justice for which any other american would have been indicted. surely felony crimes qualify. now, the house -- the house doesn't determine guilt and innocence. the house plays a role of federal prosecutors who are
7:00 pm
deciding whether to indict. is the evidence sufficient to say it is credible and substantial that the individual conduct -- conducted a felony crime? the answer by a thousand former federal prosecutors is absolutely. so only our principle engraved here, it can't be done by the supreme court. it can't be done by judiciary as long as the -- as long as the attorney general is blocking it. it can only be done by the house. that's why the house has to act now. has to proceed to put together a committee on impeachment or this principle means nothing. then it would come to this chamber to hold the actual tri
7:01 pm
trial. but there will be no trial if there's no indictment. there is no trial in the senate chamber if there's no impeachment. and there's no credibility to this principle in america if the house does not act. so i call upon the house to convene that committee and to conduct that impeachment inquiry. and if they come out of that inquiry with a thousand former federal prosecutors, they must act and vote to impeach. this cannot be about politics. is it a smart thing to do, how does it affect the next election, will it put our presidential candidates in a strange space. let's do an opinion poll of america. no, absolutely not. our institutions are under assault. and we have a responsibility because we took an october of office to the constitution to defend this principle. and the house took the same oath and they have a responsibility to defend that principle. i'm going to take the time to
7:02 pm
lay out four of those charges of obstruction of justice. just to set the stage for tomorrow. this is what's referred to as a heat map. it lays out different cases in which the president interfered with the judicial process. and then it proceeds to say is there substantial evidence of the three things that are needed as a foundation for saying that a felony crime has been committed. the first is, was there an obstructive act? and the second was, was there a nexus to an issue? and third, was there criminal intent? there are four cases where capable individuals having reviewed the mueller report have said yes on all three, meaning each of these is red. so let's take a look at this.
7:03 pm
let's turn first to this issue of efforts to fire mueller. and i'm reading now from page 87 of this hefty report on the investigation, the special counsel's report. page 87, analysis. and it proceeds to say in analyzing the president's direction to magan to have the special counsel removed, the following evidence is relevant to the elements of obstruction of justice. and then he walks through each of these three pieces, the obstructive act. obstructive act, as with the president's firing of comey, the attempt to remove the special counsel would qualify as an obstructive act if it would naturally obstruct the investigation and any grand jury proceedings that might flow from the inquiry, even if the removal of the lead prosecutor would not prevent the investigation from continuing under a new
7:04 pm
appointee, a fact finder would need to consider whether the act had the potential to delay further action in the investigation, chill the actions of any replacement special counsel or otherwise impede the investigation. a threshold question is whether the president in fact directed mmcghan to have the special counsel removed. in june 2017 the president ordered mcgahn to have the special counsel removed. the president publicly disputed these accounts and privately told mcgahn that he simply wanted mcgahn to bring conflicts of interest to the department of justice's attention. some of the president's specific language that he recalled from the calls is consistent with that explanation. substantial evidence, however, supports the conclusion that the president went further and in fact directed mcgahn to call rosenstein to have the special
7:05 pm
counsel removed. first, mcgahn's clear reaction was the president directed him to tell rosenstein not only conflicts existed but also that mueller has to go. mcgahn is a credible witness witgiven the position he held in the white house. he spoke with the president twice and understood the directive the same way both times making it unlikely he misheard or misinterpreted the president's request. in response to that request, prosecutegahn decided to quit because he did not want to participate in the events that he described as akin to the saturday night massacre, reference to watergate. he called his lawyer, drove to the white house, packed up his office, prepared to submit a respect nailings letter with his chief of staff, tol said the
7:06 pm
president told him to, quote, do crazy shit and informed bannon that he was leaving. those acts would be a highly unusual reaction to a request to convey information to the department of justice. second, in the days before the calls to mcgahn, the president through his counsel had already brought the asserted conflicts to the attention of the department of justice. accordingly, the president had no reason to have mcgahn call rosenstein that weekend to raise conflict issues that had already been raised. third, the president's sense of urgency and repeated requests to mcgahn to take immediate action on a weekend, you've got to do this, you've got to call rod, supported mcgahn's reaction that the president wanted the department of justice to take action and to remove the special counsel. had the president instead sought
7:07 pm
only to have the department of justice re-examine asserted conflicts to evaluate whether they posed anest cal bar, it would have been -- an elt cal bar, it would have been necessary on a saturday to make repeated calls to mcgahn. finally, the president had discussed, quote, knocking out mueller, unquote, and raised conflicts of interest in a may 23, 2017 call with mcgahn reflecting that the president connected the conflicts to a plan to remove the special counsel. and in the days leading up to june 17, 2017, the president made clear t that the president was considering terminating the special counsel. also, during this time period, the president reached out to christie to get his thoughts on firing the special counsel.
7:08 pm
this evidence shows that the president was not just seeking an examination of whether conflicts existed but instead was looking to use asserted conflicts as a way to terminate the special counsel. so that's the obstructive act, efforts to fire the special counsel mueller. the second test, to satisfy the proceeding requirement, it would be necessary to establish a nexus between the president's act of seeking to terminate the special counsel and a pending or foreseeable grand jury proceeding. substantial evidence indicates that by june 17, 2017, the president knew his conduct was under investigation by a federal prosecutor who could present any evidence of federal crimes to grand jury. on may 23, 2017, mcgahn explicitly warned the president
7:09 pm
that his biggest exposure was not his act of firing comey but his other contacts and call, and his, quote, ask regarding flynn. by early june it was reported in the media that federal prosecutors had issued grand jury subpoenas in the flynn inquiry and that the special counsel had taken over the flynn investigation. on june 9, 2017, the special counsel's office informed the white house that investigators would be interviewing intelligence agency officials who allegedly had been asked by the president to push back against the russia investigation. on june 14, news outlets began reporting the president was himself being investigated for obstruction of justice. based on widespread reporting the president knew that such an investigation could include his request for comey's loyalty, his request that comey, quote, let flynn go, unquote, his outreach
7:10 pm
to coates and rogers, his termination of comey and statement to the russian foreign minister that it had relieved great pressure related to russia. and on june 16, 2017, the day before he directed mcgahn to have the special counsel removed, the president publicly acknowledged that his conduct was under investigation by a federal prosecutor tweeting, quote, i am being investigated for firing the f.b.i. director by the man who told me to fire the f.b.i. director. that covers the nexus to an official proceeding. but what about this third issue, this issue of intent? substantial evidence reading again from the special counsel's report, evaluating -- going to the issue of intent on efforts to fire mueller. substantial evidence indicates the president's attempts to remove the special counsel were linked to the special counsel's
7:11 pm
oversight of investigations that involved the president's conduct. and most immediately, to report that the president was being investigated for potential obstruction of justice. before the president terminated comey, the president considered it critically important that he was not under investigation and that the public not erroneously think he was being investigated. as described in volume two, advisors perceive the president while he was drafting the comey termination letter to be concerned more than anything else about getting out that he was not personally under investigation. when the president learned of the appointment of the special counsel on may 17, he expressed further concern about the investigation saying this is the end of my presidency. the president also faulted sessions for recusing saying you were supposed to protect me.
7:12 pm
on june 14, when "the washington post" reported that special counsel was investigating the president for obstruction of justice, the president was facing what he had wanted to avoid, a criminal investigation into his own conduct that was the subject of widespread media attention. the evidence indicates that news of the obstruction investigation prompted the president to call mcgahn and seek to have the special counsel removed. by mid june, the department of justice had already cleared the special counsel's service and the president's advisors told him that the claimed conflicts of interest were silly and did not provide a basis to remove the special counsel. on june 13, the acting attorney general testified before congress that no good cause for removing the special counsel existed and that the president dictated a press statement to sanders saying he had no intention of firing the special counsel. but the next day the media
7:13 pm
reported that the president was under investigation for obstruction of justice and the special counsel was interviewing witnesses about events related to possible obstruction spurring the president to write critical tweets about the special counsel's investigation. the president called mcgahn at home that night and then called him on saturday from camp david. the evidence accordingly indicates that news that an obstruction investigation had been opened is what led to the president -- led the president to call mcgahn to have the special counsel terminate him. there also is evidence that the president knew he should not have made those calls to mcgahn. the president made the calls to mcgahn after mcgahn specifically told the president that the white house counsel's office and mcgahn himself could not be involved in pressing conflicts claims and that the president should consult with his personal counsel if he wished to raise
7:14 pm
conflicts. instead of relying on his personal counsel to submit the conflicts claims, the president sought to use his official powers to remove the special counsel. and after the media reported on the president's actions, he denied that he had ever ordered mcgahn to have the special counsel terminated and made repeated efforts to have mcgahn deny the story as discussed in volume two. those den be nines are -- denials are contrary to the evidence and subject the president's awareness that the direction of mcgahn could be seen as improper. so there it is, obstruction, a nexus to an investigation, and criminal intent. that's the efforts to fire mueller. that's the first one laid out in this book that i'm reading from or the first one that i'm conveying to you all. and there's four of these i'm going to go through to set the stage for understanding the
7:15 pm
gravity of what's happening in the united states. i think this conversation has been going on for so long that people have lost sight of the egregious nature, the criminal nature of the president's conduct. at least the degree laid out in exquisite detail as i'm reading it to you, and that a thousand -- more than a thousand former federal prosecutors who have looked at these four issues, these top four issues and others have said anyone else would be indicted. meaning in their minds, it must retest for felony conduct. that is in their view the president committed crimes. to the second issue. efforts to curtail the mueller
7:16 pm
investigation. i'll start reading the analysis laid out starting on page 97, continuing through page 98. in analyzing the president's efforts to have them deliver a messagization the special election would be confined to future election interference, the following evidence is relevant to the elements of obstruction of justice. looking first to the obstructive act. the president's effort to send sessions a message through lewendowsky if it would -- the president sought to have sessions announce the president, quote, shouldn't have a special prosecutor or counsel, unquote.
7:17 pm
and sessions was going to, quote, meeting with the special prosecutor to explain this is very unfair and let the special prosecutor move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections so that nothing can happen in future elections, end of quote. the president wanted sessions to disregard his recusal from the investigation, which had followed from a formal department of justice ethics review and had sessions declare that he knew, quote, for a fact, end quote, that, quote, there were no russians involved with the campaign, end quote, because he, quote, was there. the president further directed that sessions should explain that the president should not be subject to an investigation, quote, because he hasn't done anything wrong, end quote. taken together, the president's
7:18 pm
directives indicate that sessions was being directed to tell the special counsel to end the existing investigation in to the president and his campaign with the special counsel being permitted to, quote, move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections, end of quote. so the destructive act was to proceed to box in the mueller investigation so it wouldn't touch on the president. that's an obstruction of justice. but is there a nexus to an official proceeding? so that is next addressed in the mueller report. as follows. as described above by the time of the president's initial one-on-one meeting with lewandowski on june 19, 2017, the existence of a grand jury investigation supervised by the special counsel was public knowledge. by the time of the president's follow-up meeting with
7:19 pm
lewandowski -- i bet you would like to know what comes next, but take a look here. i can't tell you because it has been blacked out. so whatever it was, it created a key point about the nexus to the official proceeding. the section goes on after the blackedout section, to satisfy the nexus requirement, it would be necessary to show that eliminating the special counsel's investigation would have the natural and probable effect of impeding the grand jury proceeding. so nexus, substantial evidence. let's go to intent. again, reading from page 97. substantial evidence indicates that the president's effort to have sessions limit the scope of the special counsel's investigation to future election
7:20 pm
interference was intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the president's and his campaign's conduct. that sums it up. then it goes on in some greater detail. as previously described, see volume two, the president knew that the russian investigation was focused in part on his campaign, and he perceived allegations of russian interference to cast doubt on the legitimacy of his election. the president further knew that the investigation had brought in to include his own conduct of whether he obstructed justice, those investigations would not proceed if the special counsel's jurisdiction were limited to future election interference only. the timing and circumstances of the president's actions support the conclusion that he sought that result. the president's initial direction that sessions should
7:21 pm
limit the special counsel's investigation came just two days after the president ordered mcgahn to have the special counsel removed, which itself followed public reports of the president had personally -- was personally under investigation for obstruction of justice. the sequence of those events raises an inference that after seeking to terminate the special counsel, the president sought to exclude his and his campaign's conduct from the investigation's scope. the president raised the matter with lewandowski again on july 19 just days after e-mails and information about the june 9 meeting between russians and senior campaign officials had been publicly disclosed, generating substantial media coverage and investigative interests. the manner in which the president acted provides additional evidence of his intent. rather than rely on official channels, the president met with lewandowski alone in the oval office. the president selected a loyal
7:22 pm
devotee outside the white house to deliver the message supporting an inference that he was working outside white house channels, including mcgahn, who had previously resisted contacting the department of justice about the special counsel. the president also did not contact the acting attorney general who had just testified publicly that there was no cause to remove the special counsel. instead, the president tried to use sessions to restrict and redirect the special counsel's investigation when sessions was recused and could not properly take any action on it. the july 19, 2017, events provide further evidence of the president's intent. the president followed up with lewandowski in a separate one-on-one meeting one month after he first dictated the message for sessions, demonstrating he still sought to pursue the request, and just
7:23 pm
hours after lewandowski assured the president the message would soon be delivered to sessions, the president gave an unplanned interview to the "new york times" in which he publicly attacked sessions and raised questions about his job security. four days later, on july 22, the president directed priebus to obtain sessions' resignation. that evidence could raise an inference that the president wanted sessions to realize that his job might be on the line as he evaluated whether to comply with the president's direction that sessions publicly announced that notwithstanding his recusal he was going to confine the special counsel's investigation to future election interference. laid out in great detail an obstructive act, a nexus to an official proceeding, and the issue of intent. not on the efforts to fire mueller. not on the efforts to curtail
7:24 pm
the mueller investigation. so now we'll go to the third major point here, the order to mcgahn to deny the attempt to fire mueller. this analysis in the special prosecutor's report starts on page 118. in analyzing the president's efforts to have mcgahn, the white house counsel, deny that he had been ordered to have the special counsel removed, the following evidence is relevant to the elements of obstruction of justice. first, obstructive act. the president's repeated efforts to get mcgahn to create a record denying that the president had directed him to remove the special counsel would qualify as an obstructive act if it had a natural tendency to
7:25 pm
constrain mcgahn from testifying truthfully or to undermine his credibility as a potential witness if he testified consistently with his memory rather than with what the record said. there is some evidence that the "time" and "new york times" and "washington post" stories were published in late january, 2018, the president believed the stories were wrong and he never told mcgahn to have rosenstein remove the special counsel. the president correctly understood that mcgahn had not told the president directly that he planned to resign. in addition, the president told priebus and porter that he had not sought to terminate the special counsel. in an oval office meeting with mcgahn, the president said, quote, i never said to fire mueller. i never said fire. that evidence would -- could indicate the president was not attempting to persuade mcgahn to change his story but was instead offering his own but different recollection of the
7:26 pm
substance of the 2017 conversations with mcgahn and mcgahn's reaction to them. other evidence cuts against that understanding of the president's conduct. that's an important line to understand. is it possible that the president simply had a different recollection? and the answer in the special prosecutor's report is this -- other evidence cuts against that understanding. the special counsel continues. as previously described, see volume two, substantial evidence supports mcgahn's account that the president had directed him to have the special counsel removed, including the timing and context of the president's directive. the manner in which mcgahn reacted. and the fact that the president had been told that the conflicts of interest were insub -- that the conflicts were insubstantial, were being considered by the department of
7:27 pm
justice, and should be raised with the president's personal counsel rather than brought to mcgahn. in addition, the president's subsequent denials that he told mcgahn to have the special counsel removed were carefully worded. when first asked about "the new york times" story, the president said, quote, fake news, folks. fake news. a typical "new york times" fake story, end of quote. and when the president spoke with mcgahn in the oval office, he focused on whether he had used the word fire, saying, quote, i never said to fire mueller. i never said fire. he then said, quote, did i say the word fire? end of quote. the president's assertion in the oval office meeting that he had never directed mcgahn to have the special counsel removed thus
7:28 pm
runs counter to the evidence. in addition, even if the president sincerely disagrees with mcgahn's memory of the june 17 events, the evidence indicates that the president knew by the time of the oval office meeting that mcgahn's account differed and that mcgahn was firm in his views. shortly after the story broke, the president's counsel told mcgahn's counsel that the president wanted mcgahn to make a statement denying he had been asked to fire the special counsel. mcgahn responded through his counsel that that aspect of the story was accurate, and he therefore could not comply with the president's request. the president then directed sanders to tell mcgahn to correct the story, but mcgahn told her he would not do so because the story was accurate in reporting on the president's order. consistent with that position,
7:29 pm
mcgahn never issued a correction. more than a week later, the president brought up the issue again with porter, made comments, including indicating that the president thought mcgahn had leaked the story and directed porter to have mcgahn create a record denying that the president had tried to fire the special counsel. at that point, the president said he might, quote, have to get rid of, unquote, mcgahn if mcgahn did not comply. mcgahn again refused. and told porter, as he had told sanders and as his counsel had told the president's counsel, that the president had, in fact, ordered him to have rosenstein removed as special counsel. that evidence indicates that by the time of the oval office meeting, the president was aware that mcgahn did not think the story was false and did not want to issue a statement or create a written record denying the facts mcgahn believed to be true.
7:30 pm
the president nevertheless persisted and asked mcgahn to repudiate facts that mcgahn had repeatedly said were accurate. so that's the evidence of the order to mcgahn to deny that he had been instructed to fire mueller by the president. but is there a nexus to an official proceeding? the next test. the special counsel's report continues to address that issue. nexus to an official proceeding. by january 2018, the special counsel's use of a grand jury had been further confirmed by the return of several indictments. the president was also aware the special counsel was investigating obstruction-related events because among other reasons on january 8, the special counsel's office provided his counsel with
7:31 pm
a detailed list of topics for a possible interview with the president. the president knew that mcgahn had knowledge of many of the ee veants the special counsel had been investigating and that mcgahn had been interviewed by special counsel investigators. the president indicated that mcgahn told the special counsel's office about the president's effort to remove the special counsel. the president challenged mcgahn and for expressing unnecessary legal exposure. that indicates the president's awareness that the 2017 events were relevant to the special counsel's investigation and any grand jury investigation that might grow out of it. to establish a nexus, it would be necessary to show that the president's actions would have a natural tendency to effect such a proceeding or that they would hinder, delay or prevent the communication of information to
7:32 pm
investigators. because mcgahn can spoken to special counsel investigators by 2018, the president could not have been seeking to influence his prior statements in those interviews, but because mcgahn had repeatedly spoken to investigators and the obstruction inquiry was not complete, it was foreseeable that he would be interviewed against on obstruction-related topics. if the president were focused solely on a press strategy in seeking to have mcgahn refute "the new york times" article, further interviews would not be shown. but the president's efforts to have mcgahn write a letter, quote, for our records approximately ten days after the stories had come out well past the typical time to issue a correction for a news story indicates the president was not focused solely on a press
7:33 pm
strategy, but instead likely contemplated the ongoing investigation and any proceedings arriving from it. so that's the nexus, and now to intent. substantial evidence indicates that in repeatedly urging mcgahn to dispute that he was ordered to have special counsel terminated, the president acted for the purpose of influencing mcgahn's account in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny the president's conduct toward the investigation. that summarizes the intent. let me just repeat a piece of that. substantial evidence indicates that in repeatedly urging mcgahn to dispute that he was ordered to have the special counsel terminated, in other words, repeated efforts to have mcgahn lie, the president acted for the purpose of influencing mcgahn's account
7:34 pm
to deflect or prevent future scriewt -- further scrutiny of the president's conduct. several facts support that conclusion. the president made repeated attempts to get mcgahn to change his story, not just one, but repeated attempts. ascribed above, by the time of the last attempt evidence shows that the president was told on multiple occasions that the president had ordered him to have the president terminated. mcgahn said this was an attempt to test his meddle and see how committed he was to his memory of what had occurred. the president had already laid the groundwork for pressing mcgahn to alter his account by telling porter that it might be necessary to fire mcgahn if he did not deny the story and porter relayed that statement to mcgahn. additional evidence of the president's intent might be
7:35 pm
gleaned from the fact that his counsel was sufficiently alarmed by the prospect of the president's meeting with mcgahn that he called mcgahn's counsel and said that mcgahn could not resign no matter what happened in the oval office that day. the president's counsel was well aware of mcgahn's resolve not to issue what he believed to be a false statement of events despite the president's request. finally, as noted above, the president brought up the special counsel investigation in his oval office meeting with mcgahn and criticized him for telling this office about the june 17 events. the president's statements reflect his understanding and his displeasure that those events would be part of an obstruction of justice inquiry. so there it is, the intent, all laid out very, very clearly in this report. obstructive act, a nexus to an official proceeding, and clear
7:36 pm
intent. so let's turn to the fourth issue, conduct toward manafort. this can be found in page 131 of the special counsel's report. in analyzing the president's conduct toward flynn, manafort, and a third person who has been blacked out in the report, the following evidence is relevant to the elements of obstruction of justice. section 1, obstructive act. so here we are addressing is there evidence -- is there substantial evidence that the president's conduct towards manafort?
7:37 pm
with respect to manafort, there is evidence that the president's actions have the potential to influence manafort's decision whether to cooperate with the government. the president and his personal counsel made repeated statements suggesting that a pardon was a possibility for manafort while also making it clear that the president did not want manafort to, quote, flip, and cooperate with the government. on june 15, 2018, the day the judge presiding over manafort's case was considering whether to revoke his bail, the president said that he, quote, felt badly, unquote, for manafort and stated, quote, i think a lot of it is very unfair, end of quote. when asked about a pardon for manafort, the president said, quote, i do not want to see people treated fairly -- excuse me. i do want to see people treated
7:38 pm
fairly, that's what it's all about. end of quote. later that day, after manafort's bail was revoked, the president called it a tough sentence that was very unfair, exclamation point. two days later the president's personal counsel stated that individuals involved in the special counsel's investigation could receive a pardon, quote, if, in fact, the president and his advisors come to the conclusion that you have been treated unfairly, using language that parallelled how the president described the treatment of manafort. those statements, combined with the president's commendation of manafort for being a brave man who, quote, refused to break, end of quote, suggested that a pardon was a more likely possibility if manafort continued not to cooperate with the government. and while manafort eventually
7:39 pm
pleaded guilty pursuant to a cooperation agreement, he was found to have violated the agreement by lying to investigators. the president's public statements during the manafort trial, including during jury deliberations had the potential to influence a jury. on the second day of trial, for example, the president called the prosecution a, quote, a terrible situation, and a hoax that, quote, continues to stain our country, end of quote, and referred to manafort as a, quote, reagan-dole darling, end of quote, who was, quote, serving solitary confinement, end of quote, even though, quote, he was convicted of, end of quote, nothing. those statements were wildly picked up by the press. while jurors were instructed not
7:40 pm
to watch or read news stories about the case an are presumed to follow those instructions, the president's statements during the trial generated substantial media coverage that could have reached jurors if they happened to see the statements or learned about them from others. and the president's statements during jury deliberations at manafort happens to be a very good person, end of quote, and that, quote, it's very sad what they've done to paul manafort, end of quote, had the potential to influence jurors who learned of the statements which the president made just as jurors were considering whether to convict or acquit manafort. and let me point out here that you see on this book substantial sections that have been blocked out under number a, the
7:41 pm
obstructive act, and under section c, the intent. so despite that section, part of it being blacked out, that was the substantial evidence of the effort to influence paul manafort and obstruct justice. nexus to an official proceeding. the president's actions towards flynn and manafort on a third -- and a third person blacked out in this book, appear to be connected to pending or anticipated proceedings involving each individual. the president's conduct towards flynn principally occurred when both were under criminal justice investigation by the special counsel's office and press reports speculated about whether they were cooperate with the special counsel's investigation. and the president's conduct
7:42 pm
towards manafort was directly connected to the official proceedings involving him. the president made statements about manafort and the charges against him during manafort's criminal trial and the president's comments about the prospect of manafort flipping occurred when it was clear that the special counsel continued to oversee grand jury proceedings. so there is the nexus laid out very clearly in this report on this effort to influence manafort's testimony. and then to intent. page 132. evidence concerning the president's conduct towards manafort indicates that the president intended to encourage manafort to not cooperate with the government. before manafort was convicted, the president repeatedly stated
7:43 pm
that manafort had been treated unfairly. one day after manafort was convicted on eight felony charges and potentially faced a lengthy prison term, the president said that manafort was a brave man for refusing to break and that flipping almost ought to be outlawed. at the same time, although the president privately told aides he did not like manafort, he publicly called manafort, quote, a good man and said he had a, quote, wonderful family. when the president was asked whether he was considering a pardon for manafort, the president did not respond directly and instead said, he -- quote, he had great respect for what manafort's done in terms of what he's gone through, end of quote. the president added that, quote, some of the charges they threw against him, every consultant, every lobbist in washington
7:44 pm
probably does, end of quote, in light of the president's counsel's previous statements that the investigations, quote, might get compleend up with some -- cleaned up with some presidential pardons, end quote, and a pardon would be possible if the president, quote, comes to the conclusion that you have been treated unfairly, end of quote, the evidence supports the infencer that the -- inference that the president intended that manafort would believe he would receive a pardon which would make the cooperation of the government as a means of obtaining a lesser charge -- to read that again. the evidence supports the inference that the president intended manafort to believe that he could receive a pardon which would make cooperation with the government as a means of obtaining a lesser sentence unnecessary. the special counsel continues under intent. we also examined the evidence of
7:45 pm
the president's intent in making public statements about manafort at the beginning of his trial and when the jury was deliberating. some evidence supports a conclusion that the president intended, at least in part, to influence the jury the trial generated widespread publicity and as the jury began to deliberate, commentators suggested that an acquittal would end precedence to end the special counsel's investigation. by publicly stating on the second day of deliberations that manafort happens to be a very good person, end of quote, and that it's very sad what they have done to paul manafort, end of quote, after calling the special counsel's investigation a rigged witch hunt, the president's statements could, if they reached jurors, have a natural tendency to engender sympathy and a fact finder could infer that the president intended that result. but there are alternative explanations for the president's
7:46 pm
comments including he generally felt sorry for man for-profit and his goal was not to influence the jury but to influence public opinion. the president's comments also could have been intended to continue sending a message to manafort that a pardon was possible. as ascribed above, the president made his comments about manafort being a very good person immediately after declining to answer questions about whether he would pardon manafort. now, you might be very interested in the additional information about intent, but i can't read it to you because it's blacked out. nonetheless, in that previous paragraph, it's clearly declared the evidence supports the inference the president intended manafort to believe he could receive a pardon which would make cooperation with the government as a means of obtaining a lesser sentence unnecessary. so that's the first four cases
7:47 pm
of obstruction of justice in which the special prosecutor lays out substantial evidence on the obstructive act, on the nexus, and on the intent on the efforts to fire mueller, on the efforts to curtail the mueller investigation, on the order to mcgahn to deny that he had attempted to fire mueller, and on the effort to influence manafort by alluding to a potential pardon. there's a lot more in this book, many other cases that in the eyes of analyst isn't as strong as the first four. so the evidence could support it rather than substantial evidence, but still very serious stories of efforts to obstruct justice.
7:48 pm
now, ordinary americans might say if in fact the special prosecutor found all three standards met on at least four of these cases, then why hasn't the president been indicted? well, the indictment has to come from the executive branch and the attorney general who heads the department of justice isn't going to do that. and there is a policy within the white house that basically says a president can't be indicted. now, pull out your constitution and try to find where the constitution says that a president can't be indicted. try to find that. because it's not in there. equal justice under law.
7:49 pm
that's what our constitution is about, not a case of a king who is above the law. so we have a democratic republic if we can keep it, but that means that we honor this principle equal justice under law. and if the special prosecutor is not going to make recommendations based on the white house executive branch principle that a president can't be indicted and the department of justice is not going to do it, there's only one option. that's for the house of representatives. the house of representatives has the huge responsibility of defending this principle, equal
7:50 pm
justice under law. no one else is going to do it. can't be done here in the senate because the constitution says the responsibility is in the house of representatives to decide whether to impeach a president. now, there's been a lot of discussion of the politics. is this a smart thing to do? does it take up too much time? how will people respond? well, i can tell you this. if the house fails to act, then this equal justice under law means nothing. this book is full of events that a thousand former federal prosecutors have told us constitutes criminal conduct. and that's why the house must in
7:51 pm
defending their oath of office to the constitution bring a committee together and defend the constitution, the vision that no one in the united states of america, not even the president is above the law. it is time, past time to convene impeachment proceedings. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands adjourned until --
7:52 pm
i. mr. mcconnell: i urge every one of my colleagues to vote to confirm our next secretary of defense later today. i know that my colleagues don't need any extended lecture from me about the sol he have commitments this program presents. commitments to the firefighters, police officers, and all the first responders who rushed selfish lizard the world trade center just moments after the attacks began to the first responders and workers who reported for duty days or even weeks later putting their health at risk to help


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on