tv U.S. Senate Sens. Schumer Durbin on Whistleblower Complaint CSPAN September 24, 2019 8:36pm-9:02pm EDT
>> for 40 years to spend has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court in public policy events from washington dc and around the country. created by cable in 1979 c-span is brought to you by your cable or local satellite provider. today, your unfiltered view of government. >> earlier today senate democratic leader charles schumer and senate democratic with dick durbin spoke on the floor of the u.s. senate calling for the whistleblower complaint against president trumps interaction with the ukraine president be given to appropriate senate committees. here's a look at what they had to say. b >> we continue to read reports looking at additional
information about the nature of president trumps phone calls for that ukrainian presidents and his administration's conduct in the weeks and months before and after those communications. ignoring for a moment the political reporting we know someone inside the intelligence community found the president conduct alarming enough to warrant a whistleblower complaint and the complaint was laso alarming that the inspector general of the intelligence community appointed by president trumps said that it was credible and urgent and a complaint that by law should be or must be submitted to congress. this is not one of those discretionary moments but the law says this must be transmitted to congress. well, we still have not received the whistleblower complaint and
congress has been advised in writing by the inspector general of the intelligence community that the trump administration is preventing us from getting this report. later today i will request the unanimous consent of the senatef to pass a resolution calling for the whistleblower complaint to be provided to the senate and house intelligence committees as prescribed by law. let me repeat that. later today i will request the unanimous consent of the senate to pass a resolution calling for the whistleblower complaint to be provided to the senate and house intelligence committees as prescribed by law. it is our job in congress to provide the necessary oversight of the executive branch and to take these matters, matters of foreign policy, national
security and constitutional integrity with the utmost gravity to seek the facts and grapple with them. i made several requests of the majority leader yesterday in an effort to collect the facts to which i have received no response. today, i will seek approval for a simple resolution calling for the whistleblower complaint to be transmitted to the relevant committees in congress and i hope the majority leader and senate republicans were not block it and i hope they will rise to the occasion and realize this is their constitutional duty. i hope they realize this involves the security of the united states. i have more to say on the matter before requesting my colleagues consent to pass this resolution later today. now, onto the national emergency. another issue that involves rule of law and the president's overreach and this week as early
as tomorrow the senate will vote on whether or not to terminate the president national emergency declaration which he has used to steal funds from our military to build a border wall. of all president trump promised over and over again the mexico would pay for and not american taxpayers and not american troops, not their families but mexico and that was the president's promise to the american people and it's a promise he broke. that is what it has come to. if my public and friends stand to choose to stand with president trump on this vote they will be supporting the president and taking money from our military and their families to fund a border wall. i imagine that even many of those that support the wall and this is not the majority of
americans would not want the money to come from military. later this morning democrats will have a press conference where we will talk about this. we will remind people that the consequences of the president's emergency declaration is far-reaching and he taking money away from military readiness and military families and the children of servicemembers and he's taking money from literary medical facilities in north carolina and hurricane recovery project in florida and money from programs we use to combat russian cyber aggression and money to upgrade storage facilities that are decrepit and pose a risk because of the munitions that are stored there. what the heck are we doing here? congress appropriated these funds with a specific purpose and in our constitutionutt the president does not get to the site where the money goes, we do.
we get the veto power and he tried to shut down the government and failed. if he can get around the constitutional resection balance of power that is what a dictator does. that is someone who believes in democracy and the rule of law. what he has done here far exceeds any overreach to my republican colleagues complain ag butthe present obama did remarkably, too many are silent. too many are willing to go alo along. the fear of this president and many of my colleagues know wprivately does not have the honor and morality, honesty and actually confidence to do this job and they know that and go along with just about everything he does. on a policy basis you can try
your shoulders and that's the differences between the partiesu but when it comes to defending the constitution and rule of law and not letting the executive overreach and the number one fear of the founding fathers were about that. where are our republican colleagues? i am sure the shoe on the other foot and the democratic president declared emergency to re- appropriate funds my colleagues would be up in arms as i mentioned. when president obama did far less they were screaming for the murder. but now they are remarkably silent so it's about time our senate republicans stood up for the rule of law that stood up to the constitution it stood up to the president when he was wrong. time to research the powers of the legislative branch, the people's branch of government. senate republicans will have that opportunity this week likely tomorrow and the american
people will clearly be able to see who side each republican is on. the people side p, the constitution side or the president side? finally, on the nomination later today the senate will vote on the confirmation of daniel [inaudible] to serve. by all rights leader mcconnell should withdraw that vote from the floor and mr. -- is out of step and come to light that he likely lie to congress about his role in the department's adherence to transparency laws and under president trump interior department has been mired in several investigations about the ethical conduct of this political appointees including former secretary zinke. it's obvious that the interior
department sorely needs transparency and public accountability, especially when the stewardship of our public lands is at stake but at the department of interior political appointees have instituted policies to stonewall and squash transparency and it's likely that mr. george johnny played a key role in shaping these policies and it is at this moment one of the subjects about the interior department inspector general investigation despite the sworn testimony claiming no role in reviewing public records request public documentation as shown that he was regularly made aware of requests involving high-level political appointees. if confirmed, he would play an even larger rolein in overseeing the interior department public releases.
the president said he would clean the swamp. nomination after nomination that he makes to make the swamp even filthier and stickier and seems to havems no morality seems to have no honor and this is a man who is loaded with conflicts of interest and ethical concern and is likely an ideologue opposed to the very mission of the agency to which he is nominated and this journey is another bright red example of the lack of honor of decency and morality and of honesty and the trump appointees. i urge senate republicans joined democrats to vote to reject this
sordid nomination. i yield the floor. >> madam president. >> senator from illinois. >> madam president, there are certain elements from this responsibility of serving in the united states senate which are tested from time to time in our history in each of us as members of the united states senate stands in the wellin that country and raises our right-hand swears to uphold then constitution of the united states. those words are almost a cliché because they are used so often and yet we are here today being called on to reflect on that responsibility and we are called on to reflect on it because
things that happened which have come to light in the last several days that raise serious constitutional questionser and i will say i in the two and half, three years donald trump has been president of the united states i think our nation has been rocked by this president approach to the highest office in the land and has said things and done things with no other president has ever done. members of his own political party have been uncharacteristically silent when it comes to criticizing this president for his wrongdoing in the litany of things he has done is long and troubling. there is one thing that both political parties need to maintain is the bedrock of this democracy and the bedrock of our commitment to this constitution and that is that in this nation of the united states the people governed.
ultimately, the people of the united states have the last word and in our elections and in those elections they make their choices whether you like them or not and i was not particularly enamored with the presidential choice of 2016 but i excepted it as the constitutional verdict of the american people and it the bedrock of who we are and what we are and that is why the etion that some other nation would interfere in our election is so repugnant and the thought that the iraqi people would not have the last word and there would be other factors and other people in other countries engaged in our election is as reprehensible under our constitution is any concept i can think of. we are sworn to defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies, foreign and domestic and another group of words refer to over and
over again but reflecting on those for a moment sworn to defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies, foreign and domestic is a nation which tries to interfere in our political process an enemy of the united states? of course. that is obvious on its face. those who encourage the nation to be engaged in our political process to try to tip the scales one way or the other are the enemies of the united states? they certainly are not acting consistent with that constitutional principle. this seems like a pretty straightforward constitutional interpretation and you don't need a phd or a law degree to understand that if a foreign country tries to interfere in the united states election process that foreign country is an enemy and to those who would encourage a foreign country or
foreign agents to engage in our election they too have crossed the line. c as i consider the revelations that president trump is using his office to extort ukraine to support his political reelection campaign i wonder why there is so much silence on the other side of the aisle. this is an outrageous development and months before the 2016 election our nation's top intelligence officials told key congressional leaders about the efforts of russia to interfere in the 2016 election01 and the election for the american people were choosing the president. our top intelligence officials were understandably concernedy and at that time president obama asked our congressional leaders for a bipartisan message condemning vladimir putin's effort on behalf of russia and
president obama wanted to make sure it was bipartisan before that 2016 electionie and showed you to find resistance to the interference by any foreign country and america's election process. what was the response of the republican majority leader senator mcconnell after hearing this bombshell? this threat from a former communist kgb official, vladimir putin against america's democratic process of election? the answer he did not want to get involved. and he didn't. then for months after the election not a single republican senator spoke on the senate floor about the mounting and devastating evidence of russia's attack on our election and in 2016 i know that's personally because the first casualty in that attack was my state of eilinois and the russians found a way through their trolls to
get into the file of my home state and into the voting records of 70000 or more americans who lived in illinois. what did they do with that information? it appears little or nothing but they could have changed it could of had a dramatic impact on the rights of these american citizens to make m their legitimate constitutional choice in the election. four months the silence was deafening as well as president trump defended vladimir putin's brazen denials of these attacks. president trump took the word of vladimir putin over that of his own american intelligence professionals. senate republicans blocked election security measures after election security measures and despite finally relenting the last week when senator mcconnell said we could come up with
250 million for election security grant and they still continue to block active legislation despite ongoing attacks on u.s. vulnerability. the country spent much of the trump presidency asking serious necessary questions about fandidate trumps open solicitation of russian help in his presidential campaign and if such cooperation actually ran deeper. while unable to establish a formal conspiracy between the trump campaign and the russians it nearly 200 pages the mueller report described quote, numerous links between the russian government and the trump campaign. the mueller report also laid out in detail how the russians brazenly and systematically interfered in our election of 2016 and try to shape the outcome. you would think that after such a sobering set of findings that any american president would
take the matter seriously reassure the nation that he really does put america, not a foreign power first when it comes to our electoral process. but no, shortly after the mueller reports were released president trump told abc's george stephanopoulos he would still accept a foreign government offer to share damaging information about a political rival echoing similar remarks he is made in his original presidential campaign. in short, president trump learned nothing from the experience of the 2016 election and the silence of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seems to indicate the same. now, we have reports that the president is at it again. he's trying to strong-arm the leader of ukraine to join him in attacking one of president trumps political rivals, joe
biden. not to advance american interests and not to serve the market people and not to help an ally in ukraine and not to uphold american values but to serve the presidents own reelection campaign interests. last week i offered an amendment in thepp appropriations committe to address 250 million dollars that event appropriate by congress to help protect ukraine from russian aggression and never released. last thursday i had this amendment coming before the committee and basically said to the administration if you don't release the money we've appropriated will pay a price for it. occasionally that's all can do in congress to get money spent that is appropriated and approved by the president. it was0 a curiosity, why were beholding back to a $50 million that was supposed to help the ukrainian people stop the aggression of vladimir putin?
i went to the committee hearing on thursday morning before it started all my staff member said the trump administration release the money last night and last night why did they wait until two weeks before the end of the fiscal year to release the mon money? they were reviewing this to determine whether or not there was any problem with releasing the money to ukraine and it did not make much sense and the president had signed the probation bill. four months as president trump through his personal attorney rudy giuliani tried to pressure ukrainian president to further his political agenda, the money that was supposed to go to ukraine was withheld and we learn in this morning's washington post resident had instructed his chief of staff to notify the appropriate agencies to withhold the money while he
bargained with zelinski over salacious negative information about joseph biden and his family. now, we're learning that therer was a whistleblower complaint reportedly about the same issue and apparently someone in the administration learn what president trump was trying to do in strong-arming ukrainian president zelinskien decided to overstep the balance and needed to be reported on officially. the congressional intelligence committees that get access to the information provided by this whistleblower are still waiting for that information and information that the trump appointed inspector general for the intelligence community, michael atkinson, a trump appointee i may repeat is determined to be credible and urgent and in other words, something happened at the highest levels of our government which led a professional and intelligence agency against the inspector general to make a
whistleblower complaint for the record and the lot requires that complaint to be shared with committees of congress and it wasn't. ol turns out that the attorney general of the united states, william barr, may have played some role in diverting it from its ordinary statutory course. the president may not want anyone to see it but the law is clear and must be respected. this information in the whistleblower complaint must be transmitted to congress. mr. president, is there anyone in the senate, anyone who took the oath to protect the nation against enemies, foreign and domestic, who thanks any of us regardless of political party should solicit help to me foreign power to make sure we get elected or reelected? this abdication of responsibility by the other party is remarkable.
i want to salute one senator and i hesitate to mention direct reference to him but one senator on the republican side was spoken out. he understands the gravityty of the situation. the constitutional issues at stake at this debate. history will stand in judgment of all of us h whether we have spoken up. ... to withhold security funds that were to be given by the united states to his country in order to pursue and promote his own political agenda, we have reached a new low in the united states. and if this whistle-blower's claim goes into detail, it is only right and appropriate under the statute that this information be shared with the appropriate committees of the united states senate and the aa the whistleblowers claim meas
to be released in the appropriate congressional approe congressional committees and evaluated according to the law. not this president, no president can solicit a foreign country to further his own campaign. that is unacceptable under the constitution of the united states which i would remind my colleagues that we have sworn to uphold and defend. mr. president, i would yield the floor.