Senate Democrats Hold News Conference on U.S.- Russia Relations CSPAN February 15, 2017 8:49pm-8:59pm EST
>> please, please. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> president trump to be u.s. ambassador to israel, david friedman will testify at his confirmation hearing tomorrow. mr. friedman and attorney will take questions from members of the senate foreign relations committee who have live coverage at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span three. you can also follow live coverage on c-span radio and www.c-span.org. >> next, senate minority leader chuck schumer talks about the resignation of national security adviser michael flynn and the trump administration's relations with russia. you'll also hear from the ranking democrat on the judiciary committee, senator dianne feinstein, and intelligence committee vice
chair, senator mark warner of virginia. >> ok, good afternoon. yes, good afternoon. i am very pleased to be joined by my colleagues, senator feinstein, making member of the judiciary, senator warner, ranking member of intelligence. we expect the ranking member of foreign relations may join us. this morning i called together an emergency meeting of our caucus to discuss everything that has transpired in the last several days. resignation, the outright lies coming from this administration, and the reports of constant contact between the top officials in the trump campaign and russian intelligence, are chilling. i have been in congress for a long time and have never seen anything like this.
these reports and revelations should not pit the two parties against each other. they should unite the parties in pursuit of the full truth. americans, before we are democrats or republicans. nothing less in our system of checks and balances, democratic institutions, the rule of law, and our national security, is at stake. senate democrats are committed to not allowing this issue to become a political, partisan exercise. we will be fact-based, we will be measured, we will be thorough. during our caucus meeting we discussed the two tracks on which we must seek the truth. in congress. senator warner, our ranking member on the intelligence committee, is committed to using every resource in that committee to seek the truth. his committee will take the
lead, but it will not be the only committee that looks into ties between the trump campaign and administration in russia. these committee investigations must be bipartisan. they must have access to all intelligence officials, transcripts, and documents that they need to answer critical questions. and they must be permitted to make their findings public to the maximum extent possible. law enforcement must also get to the bottom of everything that may have transpired here. to allow these two critical and important tracks to move forward, today's senate democrats are asking for three specific things. first, senator sessions must follow department of justice guidance and recuse himself. when the fbi looks into a matter, they do so right alongside prosecutors from the justice department. those prosecutors should not be
reporting to the first senator who endorsed donald trump's campaign, who served on the same campaign committee as michael flynn, and who nominated donald trump at the republican convention. the justice department's only guidelines demand that attorney general sessions remove himself from this matter immediately. if he does not, the investigation will remain jaundiced, and the american people will doubt the credibility of its findings. leads to the oval office, the person investigating that trail should not be the same person who helped put president trump there. and of story. second, we will make clear that we expect all records from administration, transition, and campaign officials be preserved. there is real concern that administration, transition, and campaign officials may try to cover up ties to russia by deleting emailed, texts, and
other records that could shine the light on those connections. these records are likely to be the subject of these congressional investigations, and must be preserved. thathird, we are demanding campaign and transition officials be made available to testify in public, under oath, on these issues. paul manafort and general flynn had been reported to have constant contact with russian intelligence officials. they must testify. and anyone else involved in this must be made available to testify, as well. our caucus is united in these three request. ourope andrus -- expect republican colleagues to join in, as well. the gravity and seriousness of this issue cannot be overstated. risk, ourty is at system of checks and balances and rule of law is at risk. this cannot be a time for partisan squabbles. must be a time when
both parties come together to protect the rule of law, the systems of checks and balances and the security of the american people. i will take a few questions. >> how can you achieve this result? [indiscernible] it schumer: let me just say, is the right thing to do. the public will see it is the right thing to do. a number of republicans have expressed real concern. if the public sees what is going on they will demand the kind of bipartisan, thorough investigation we are asking for. >> [indiscernible] he possessed explosive information about the trump campaign manager. of directe knowledge coordination between the trump campaign and russian government officials that influence the outcome of the election? mr. schumer: i am not going to comment on that. >> [indiscernible]
senator graham, subcommittee chairman on the judiciary committee has already said he wants to look at this. he is working with -- go ahead. just going to say i have a meeting this afternoon with senator grassley to see what his views are. obviously, both sides would have to work on this. and obviously, the judiciary role would not want to conflict with what intelligence is doing. what senatorrt burr and senator warner have done. they put together a memo, which outlines what the committee will be doing. and i think that is a very good start. it does not need four months of committee hearings to get started. we are ready to go. the question comes, what role should the judiciary committee
play? and that would clearly be related to investigative reporting, fbi development, and that kind of thing. >> one last question on this subject. >> i know they got there briefing on russia a month ago [indiscernible] soon, possibly it is classified. commentnot going to anything about the january 8 briefings. i will indicate in terms of a status update that we have been in contact with all of the appropriate intelligence agencies, in terms of a request for information. our team of 30 started visiting those agencies, getting the raw intelligence. i want to commend my friend and
colleague, senator burr, who has said explicitly, and i agree with him wholeheartedly, that we will have this investigation follow where the intelligence and where the facts lead. and we will follow them to the nth degree. at is what the american people expect. at the end of the day, because of this cloud that hangs over the administration, it would be my open expectation that the administration would want to actively cooperate as well, so that we can get to the bottom of can as quickly -- and we disclose as much as possible to the public because they deserve to know. >> thank you. >> did you want to say something? >> sen. gardner: joined us. gardner has joined us.