tv Deputy and Associate Attorneys General Testify at Confirmation Hearing CSPAN March 7, 2017 12:48pm-1:49pm EST
mr. rosenstein: sir, i don't want to comment on any more of my work with the independent counsel. i'll make sure that people with relevant information is questioned. i don't care who it is. >> if you name a special prosecutor, will you come before this committee and explain why? mr. rosenstein: senator, i really appreciate your cannedor with me yesterday about that issue. you know, i had a meeting scheduled with you yesterday afternoon and somebody brought to my attention on sunday afternoon that you had -- your office had issued a tweet suggesting you would try to obstruct my nomination if i wouldn't agree to do this. i was reluctant to go to your meeting. i appreciate your candor and civility. i think a lot of you have in common, including our affection with david margolis. attorney ome deputy general, we can talk about issues of mutual concern. i thought a lot about this issue, senator. you view it as an issue of
principle that i need to appoint a special counsel in a matter i don't even know if it's being suggest investigated and i view it as an issue of principle as nominee for deputy attorney general i should not promise to take action on a particular case. i feel if you need to oppose my nomination on that basis i respect it. i shared with you -- i view robert jackson as a model for me and his view and robert jackson actually addressed that in the speech i referred to where he said it was important for u.s. attorneys to -- i view this as part of -- it's a political issue and it's completely relet jit issue for you and -- legitimate issue for you and i have a responsibility if i become deputy attorney general i can't take it conditioned upon committed how i will hand alparticular case. if i do it in this case some future deputy attorney general nominee will be asked to make a
similar case and say rosenstein did it, why shouldn't you? i think it's important, senator, to take the position that robert jackson said the purpose of this process is to determine whether the nominee has the appropriate character for the job and not how he or she will rule in particular cases. the white house hasn't asked me that question and i simply can't answer it to you. i apologize. i regret it. i hope you and i will be able to work together if i get the job. we have a tremendous amount in common. i have great respect for your affection for the department and i believe we will have a constructive relationship. >> thank you. >> senator from hawaii. ms. hanabusa: thank you, mr. speaker. with the early morning tweet from president trump accusing president obama of ordering a wiretap, thank you, mr. rosenstein, for your clear no on the question of whether president obama on his own -- ms. hirono: and maybe putin can't do that but the president of the united states cannot do
that and i know that ms. brand would not answer the same question, characterizing the question as a hypothetical. it is not a hypothetical question. it is a question of law. mr.nt in your prosecutorial discretion and duties at the department of justice? mr. rosenstein: yes, i will. ms. hirono: as the president indicates he wouldn't want a support counsel in the investigation into russia's interference in our elections and if you determine that such counsel is warranted, will you be willing to deny the president his request? mr. rosenstein: i believe i would, senator. it would depend on the context. certainly if the president had a conflect in a particular matter i would not take any advice from the president. senator hirono: so you'd make your own determination because you are the lawyer for the snuss mr. rosenstein: your hypothetical and, again, it's difficult for me to answer hypotheticals as a lawyer. if the president has committed
a crime and the president is culpable, i wouldn't follow the president's advice. that happened in the nixon era. there was a question about whether presidents can wiretap without legal process. i don't believe it's happened recently and i certainly hope it hasn't. senator hirono: ms. brand, you mentioned to preserve the integrity of elections. to many that is double speak for voter suppression. states have justified voter suppression laws by claiming rampant voter fraud. in fact, president trump continues to claim that three million to five million votes were cast illegally during the general election. do you agree with his assessment that three million to five million votes were illegally cast? ms. brand: well, senator hirono, i think when we met yesterday, you asked me about importance of the voting rights act as well as voter fraud and i think what i said it's
important, that both are important. senator hirono: could you respond to my question which is, do you believe that three million to five million votes were cast illegally in the recent general election? . brand: if i might just finish that point, i think it's critically important for the department to do both. their work in enforcing the cases ights act and if arise, if there are allegations of voter fraud, the criminal division would pursue those. senator hirono: i know mr. rosenstein didn't answer that question saying he didn't know. a comprehensive 2014 study published in "the wash post" found 31 instances of voter fraud from 2000 to 2014 out of more than one billion votes cast. so even this small number is likely inflated as the study's author accounteds all credible
claims whether or not they were found to be valid. so other studies done at the arizona state university in 012 and 2016 found similar negligentable rates of imper nation fouad. -- imperson nation fraud. will you submit to prioritizing d.o.j. resources to where the problems lie? the problems do not lie in voter fraud. the problems appear to lie in these voter suppression laws that states have been very busy passing after the shelby case. i'd like to know whether you would prioritize d.o.j. resources going after the voter suppression laws or certainly looking at these laws? to see whether in fact they suppress votes? ms. brand: well, senator hirono, i understand your concern with this and i share concern for any -- anything
that would violate the voting right act and suppress votes. i view enforcement of that statute to be a core law enforcement function in the civil rights division. i would approach that issue like i would approach any issue which is if an issue is raised in a particular case i would look at the facts and i would look at the law. i would, of course, be consulting with the lawyers in the civil rights division. i don't -- they would be doing the work in the first instance, of course. i don't intend to be micromanaging that work. in my supervisory capacity i would talk to them, exercise the law and look at the best judgment. senator hirono: mr. rosenstein, i hope you would have that same approach. ms. brand, you said protecting people's right to vote and access to voting is a core function and would you agree with that, mr. rosenstein? mr. rosenstein: absolutely yes, senator. senator hirono: thank you. under the obama administration, expedited removal was used only when an immigrant was arrested
within 100 miles of the border and had been in the country less than two weeks. under a new executive order issued by president trump, expedited removal will now include all those who have been in the country for up to two years where a lot of things could happen. they could marry citizens, they could have citizens' children, no matter where they are caught in the u.s. so mr. rosenstein, how can the d.o.j. ensure that expedited removal doesn't threaten the due process rights of those not brought before an immigration judge? mr. rosenstein: senator, i've had no direct involvement in immigration in my 27 years in the department. as u.s. attorney we have occasionally civil cases that arise out of immigration disputes. i believe that issue that you referred to is really a matter primarily in the jurisdiction of homeland security rather than justice. so i regret i am just not in position to comment on it. senator any roneo: wouldn't the d.o.j. be prosecuting these kinds of cases or not?
are you saying because it doesn't come before a judge that's not within your purview? mr. rosenstein: no. i meant to say i think what you have in mind is an administrative removal or civil removal rather than criminal prosecution. if that's criminal prosecution that's just the type of case i would prosecute as a u.s. attorney. i have not been involved in civil removals. the decision about which i believe the decision about which immigrants to remove is in the first instance to homeland security but i'll certainly if i become deputy i'm sure i'll study up on that issue and consult with the experts in the department and i'll be happy to -- senator hirono: certainly because the d.o.j. has the responsibility to protect everyone's civil rights and due process rights i would think. thank you. >> thank you, chairman. first, let me say i agree with mr. rosenstein he should have a chance to familiarize himself with the matter before he makes the call about a special counsel but i would like to add to the record these proceedings
then senator sessions op-ed in which he stated, and i quote, the appropriate response when the subject matter is public and arises in a highly charged political atmosphere is for the general attorney to issue a prosecutor at indisputable independence to ensure the public will be handled without partisanship. senator whitehouse: there's a matter on which senator sessions and i agree. i'd also like to add that if senator sessions, mr. chairman, had answered truthfully and accurately, the question that has been the subject of so much debate, there would have been follow-up questions. follow-up questions such as, well, what was the content of those communications you had with the russian ambassador? what were the circumstances that led to those meetings? what communications did you have with the trump campaign about those meetings, if any? and i think those are legitimate questions and i don't think the committee should be deprived of the
ability to follow-up on those questions simply because we were deprived of an accurate and truthful answer. so i join my colleagues in hoping the attorney general will reappear before us. . mr. rosen stein as a matter of law is it correct the act has precedence over an executive order that might direct agencies to the contrary? mr. rosenstein: i regret that may be the case. i'm not familiar with that. i'm not a regulatory lawyer. i do not know the answer to that. senator whitehouse: doesn't the laws of the united states superconvenient executive orders? don't the laws of congress super convenient executive orders? mr. rosenstein: yes. senator whitehouse: a right wing commentator has compared department staff to filth and urged that they be cleaned out like manure from the aegean stables. the attorney general has questioned whether secular attorneys at d.o.j. can fully understand the truth. so how will you defend the
department from partisan religion based, or edelogical hiring practices? we have a great department that has steered away from that stuff by and large through its history. how will you protect that? ms. brand: i have a great deal of respect for the lawyers in the department of justice. i think discrimination on the is of religion in hiring illegal anywhere. with respect to the impact of partisanship on hiring, we have the civil sr. viss protection laws, which govern the department of -- civil service protection laws, which govern the department of justice. everyone who is in a hiring capacity understand what the rules are. i think train something a big part of that. i believe every employee of d.o.j. is supposed to be trained in a whole variety of laws that govern their conduct, including the civil service protection laws. senator whitehouse: will this
be a priority for you to assure the department does not fall back into the predicament it fell into under attorney general gonzalez? ms. brand: yes, senator. senator whitehouse: science denial, specifically cly gnat denirblingse has been propagated by the fossil fuel industry for years through an array of front groups. the chamber of commerce, which you worked for, has been a relentless enemy of climate action and has trafficked regularly in climate denial. you have been their lawyer in environmental cases. can we trust on climate science as related issues come up in the department? ms. brand: senator, my role if i'm confirmed to be associate a.g. will be to enable the officials in the department of justice to engage in their law enforcement functions, which include enforcing the cheap air act, clean water act, endangered species act, so on.
the scientific and policy judgments tend to be made by the e.p.a. or department of the interior, noaa, any number of agencies around the government who deal with those questions. d.o.j. doesn't make those decisions in the first instance, but the policy, whatever it is, the law, whatever it is, should be enforced by the department of justice. i'm absolutely ready to take that on. senator whitehouse: you said that when you were working for the chamber you had a private client that had private interests and that you as their attorney were obligated to advocate for their private interests, but that in public service what would be important would be to serve the public interest. is there a public interest in addressing climate change? ms. brand: senator, i think that there is a public interest in the department of justice enforcing the laws that congress has enacted -- senator whitehouse: that wasn't the question i asked. is there a public interest in addressing climate change? ms. brand: senator, i think you're asking me for a personal
judgment on the policy question and i'm not sure that's relevant to the way i would do my job as a law enforcement official. my job would be to enforce the law whatever it is. senator whitehouse: there are a lot of policy calls that get made and there is a difference between somebody who doesn't think there is a public interest in doing something and somebody who does. it is a simple question highly relevant to your duties. is there a public interest in addressing climate change? ms. brand: all i can tell you is i think there is significant public interest in the department of justice enforcing the laws passed by congress and in defending rules promulgated by the agencies entrusted by congress making those policy judgments. that would be my job. senator klobuchar: thank you very much. state and local leaders from maryland have commented on your good working relationship with the law enforcement our u.s. attorney in minnesota, has a lot of respect four. we talked about that when we met. i have seen firsthand the
important role of having police on the beat to keep our community safe. i lead the bill to re-authorize the cops program along with republican senator lisa murkowski of alaska. i raise this issue in attorney general session' confirmation hearing with the president of the fraternal order of police and he agreed it's a very important program. i'd like to hear your views on the cops program and the support that will it provides to state and local law enforcement. would you support this program as deputy attorney general and, ms. brand, i would like to hear your views how you'll be involved in grants. mr. rosenstein: certainly to the extent there is funding for the cops program, i want to make sure it's spent appropriately to achieve the objectives of the program. and i have seen benefits from the cops program. obviously there are budgetary issues. every budgetary decision is a tradeoff in terms of where the resource also g as a general proposition i do think that money has in some instances
been spent effectively to help drive, reform police departments that are eager to do it and want to work with the department and bring in experts who can help them update their policies and procedures. senator klobuchar: thank you. ms. brand. ms. brand: i know how interested you are in this program. i have a loft experience with the cops program. i couldn't add much to what mr. rosenstein has said. certainly in my capacity as associate a.g. i'll be overseeing the cops office and it will be a priority of mine to get up to speed on those issues. i'm sure they are putting that money to the best use. senator klobuchar: mr. rosenstein, protecting national security of the u.s., of course, is the top priority of the justice department. we have worked very hard on going after extremism and recruitment in our state. we have a number of cases, as you know, brought by the u.s. attorney's office. could you talk about how you would approach that issue, not
prosecuting the cases, i know you'll be devoted to that, but issue of trying to prevent people from being recruited into extremism and the justice department, your predecessors in the job, as well as the homeland security office has been involved in this. mr. rosenstein: thank you, senator. i appreciate the opportunity to talk with you about that yesterday and i think as we discussed on probably 99% of those issues, we're on the same side. and with regard to this one, senator, we're not in the prosecution business because we like to fill out prisons, we're in the prosecution business because it's a necessary tool in order to deter crime. when you talk about violent extremism and any other conduct that is damaging to public safety, we need to do everything we can to prevent people from committing those violations. one of the things we can do is to intervene and prevent people from being radicalized to the point they may commit those crimes. that i think is what you have in mind. i think that's important. part of it is a justice department function perhaps.
there are a loft other agencies that have a role in ensuring that we're raising good american citizens who are not going to engage in that kind of conduct. to the extent the justice department is involved, i believe we do have something to add. senator klobuchar: thank you. either of you can answer this. but i'm the ranking member of the antitrust subcommittee. senator lee and i have worked and headed up this committee now for many years. we believe it's very important when we have these hearings. and senators have an opportunity to ask questions about mergers. as you know there's been major wave of mergers in the last few years and a lot of work for the department. the department has an important role to play in challenging anti-competitive practices, reviewing mergers to make sure they won't harm consumers and competition, and stopping price fixing cartels. will you commit to making the robust enforcement of the antitrust laws a priority? mr. rosenstein: yes, senator. senator klobuchar: that's a
good answer. all right. thank you. trafficking, that's my last question here, i'll put a question on opioids on the record. senator cornyn and i led the bill that passed this last year on a domestic priorities for trafficking. we also -- the senate has been working on bills regarding foreign trafficking as well. and the justice department released its national strategy to combat human trafficsing as required by that law tend of -- trafficking as required by that law tend of last year. will you commit to prioritizing the immelt aches of the national strategy if you are confirmed and if you want to add anything about these cases i would appreciate t mr. rosenstein: i'll certainly commit to that. with regard to opioids we talked about that briefly yesterday. it's been a real priority for us in maryland because we have seen an explosion of overdose deaths that are attributed to opioid drugs. it's throughout the entire society. i think it's critically important for us to address that. law enforcement is one part of t it's a very good example
where it's not just a law enforcement problem. in the state of maryland we have a coordinated effort led by the governor of maryland to make that a top priority. i agree with you, yes. chairman grassley: senator cruz first round of seven minutes instead of the five we have had for second round. go ahead. senator cruz: thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to welcome both of the witnesses and congratulate you on your nominations. i want to thank each of you for your long records of service. mr. rosenstein, i have served in the department of justice for a couple of decades now. you have served under republican administrations. you have served under democratic administrations. and you have developed a distinguished career marked by integrity and fairness. ms. brand, you and i have been friends a couple decades now and heidi and i have been friends with you and your husband a long time, going back to college and law school. you likewise have a long and distinguished career in public service. and have earned a reputation for integrity and fidelity of the law.
that reputation and fidelity will never be more important than in this new job to which you have been appointed. in this hearing a number of my democratic colleagues have focused a great deal on the aspersions that have been cast on attorney general jeff sessions, another good man, another man of integrity. and it has been interesting to see a number of democratic senators demanding of mr. rosenstein that you commit to appointing a special prosecutor. at the very outset before even being confirmed to the position of deputy attorney general, i find it somewhat interesting, d ironic, in that these same democrats who are doubting your ability to be fair had a very, very different view of your record just a few years ago. indeed, senator leahy described mr. rosenstein as a, quote,
tough, honest prosecutor and as, quote, the epitome of professional prosecute yrs. senator feinstein likewise described mr. rosenstein as a quote, scrupulous man who was independent. and she further said she, quote, had no reason to believe why you cannot work with the f.b.i. and assemble a very strong prosecution team where warranted. mr. rosenstein, given the reputation you have earned as a fair and scrupulous prosecutor, how do you believe the department of justice should approach any criminal investigation, and what should guide the principles for going forward? mr. rosenstein: senator, first of all i'm embarrassed to say that those accolades are probably not entirely justified but i appreciate them. this is very easy for me because i have been in the department for 27 years. the folks that i have worked with in the department have trained me well. every investigation we conduct needs to be independent.
it doesn't matter who is the defendant. whether it's a prominent public official or just an average american citizen. it always needs to be conducted independently. and we assembling the resources we need in every investigation to do it appropriately. it includes federal agencies, which ever is the relevant agency that is devoting the agents, the armed officers who conduct our investigation to make our arrests and execute our search warrants and serve our subpoenas. and the prosecutors, the assistant u.s. attorneyserer, the trial attorneys for the department of justice who conduct these investigations in every case, senator, that needs to be done independently. that's something that i believe isenly the -- generally the case. i'm proud of the department's record. any organization of significant size will have occasional issues. i'm sure we do. overall, senator, i'm extraordinarily proud to be associated with the institution and i have great confidence in the men and women in the department of justice that they are just as honest and independent today as they were on january 19 and they'll continue to exercise their authority with independence and
with appreciation of the importance of their positions and critical role in promoting public safety and enforcing the law. senator cruz: i agree with you there are a great many career officials at the department of justice who are principleled who have fidelity of the law and who are eager to have a job mandate that is simply fairly enforcing the law across the board. you and i have discussed and i have observed publicly that it is deeply concerning to me and a great many people that over the last eight years the leadership of the department of justice, i think, has been very politicized. it's perhaps not surprising the democratic senators assume that same politicization will continue. but for eight years we have seen political attorneys general, we have seen eric holder allowing illegal gun transactions with mexican drug traffickers as part of fast and
furious which resulted in an illegal gun knowingly sold to traffickers being used to murder border patrol agent brian terry. we saw the attorney general of the united states, eric holder, held in contempt of congress when he refused to cooperate with congress' investigation of the fast and furious. we saw the i.r.s. illegally targeting american citizens for exercising their first amendment rights because they were perceived to be political opponents of the president. we saw the department of justice assign the investigation of that case to a partisan democrat, who was a major democratic donor, given over $6,000 to president obama and the democrats. when all of this was occurring, none of the democratic senators had any concern at all. today they want a special prosecutor. but what a part zant democrat was leading the investigation, they saw no need whatsoever for a special prosecutor. we saw the department of justice with operation choke point punished without due process law-abiding citizens
that didn't align with the president's political leanings. we saw the department of justice tib to allow mfls dollars of taxpayer funds to flow to sanctuary cities that were openly defying federal immigration law and releasing violent criminal illegal aliens who were committing horrible crimes. we saw the administration refuse to enforce the laws on the books and we saw that the department of justice sign off on a decision to pay a nearly $2 billion ransom to the nation of iran that flew in the middle of the night on unmarked pallettes landing in an airport. that pattern of politicized administration of justice has been dismaying to veterans of the department of justice because for decades d.o.j. has had a tradition of being nonpolitical, nonpartisan, fairly and faithfully applying the law. that has been true under republican and democrat presidents until the last eight
years. the question i would ask of each of you is will you commit to this committee not to be a political department of justice in the same mold but on the republican side, that is most assuredly not your job, but rather will you commit to faithfully and fairly uphold the law without regard to politics? mr. rosenstein: senator, i will certainly commit to faithfully and fairly uphold the law without regard to politics. ms. brand: yes. senator cruz: thank you. chairman grassley: senator franken for five minutes. if the senator from hawaii wants five minutes. i'll finish. senator franken: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to say something about the chairman. i have inconsidered as read respect and regard for the -- incredible respect and regard for the chairman. and affection. the chairman has co-sponsored my legislation more than any other republican. and i--
chairman grassley: be quiet about that. senator franken: hopefully this doesn't go to iowa. ixnay on the osponsork. so i just want to -- i don't think it's fair to characterize -- understand that you were standing up for your friend, senator sessions, and attorney general sessions -- chairman grassley: trying to tell you how -- try to treat nominees. senator franken: i know. but i'm saying i don't think my question was a gotcha question. let me read the question and then i would ask people go to the tape. i couldn't have been nicer. i went, ok. ok was the previous answer. cnn has just published a story and i'm telling you this about a news story that's just been published. i'm not expecting you to know whether or not it's true. but cnn just published a story alleging that the intelligence
community provided documents to the president-elect last week that included information that, quote, russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about mr. trump. these documents also allegedly say, quote, there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between trump surrogates and intermediaries for the russian government. now, again, i'm telling you this as it's coming out, just so you know, but if it's true, it's -- obviously extremely serious. and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the trump campaign communicated with the russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do? i think that was a fair question. certainly not a gotcha question. and he didn't answer my question. what he said to that question was senator franken,
allegations get made about candidates all the time and they have been made about president-elect trump lots of imes, most of them virtually -- i'm soarry. reading from further down. this is what he said. senator franken, i'm not aware of any of these activities. i have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and i did not have communications with russians. and i'm able -- unable to comment on it. so in other words, he it can't be a gotcha question if he didn't answer the question. so the thing that got him was him saying that had he not met with russians. but that wasn't even my question. my question was just, if this is -- and i asked it of mr. rosenstein, which is if it turns out to be the case that embers of the campaign, of the
trump campaign, have met with russians and colluded with them on this, don't you think -- what would you do? i asked mr. rosenstein that. it was not a gotcha question. that's all i want to say. in you go back and look at the tape, i have to say, i couldn't have been nicer. i couldn't have been sweeter. really. so that's that. mr. rosenstein, i want to ask you a quefment the president's former national security advisor, michael flynn, resigns signed his position because he misled senior administration officials regarding his communications with the russian ambassador. it has been reported that sally yates who once held the position you are looking to fill and was acting attorney general early in the trump administration, warned the white house that mr. flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail because of his cover-up. mr. rosenstein, knowing what we
know now, do you think ms. yates was right to be concerned? mr. rosenstein: senator, i hope i have been clear on my point throughout this testimony. i appreciate opportunity to clarify t i believe as a lawyer and justice department official currently and potentially in the future, it's important for me to limit my testimony to matters which i know both the facts and the law and where i have consulted with the department of justice professionals who are engaged in handling the matter. on issues like that one, i appreciate senator whitehouse's sharing his perspective earlier, you need to note facts and relevant information. you can't prejudge matters. there's currently an acting attorney general, dana, who is in that position with regard to many investigation that nay may be occurring. with regard to your specific question my answer is, senator, i do not know the details of what the basis was for that. and i wouldn't reach any opinion about it just based upon what i read in the newspaper. senator grassley: senator from
hi hifment senator hirono: there are more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the country. of course the vast majority of our law enforcement officers do an exemplary job in froketting their communities and -- protecting their communities and our safety. but there have been also specific cases where there was use of force, deadly incidents that have sparked nationwide outrage. and i know that you are familiar with the attorney general civil rights division, which has investigated police departments and entered into consent decrees to resolve frequent unconstitutional policing during your time as u.s. attorney in baltimore, the d.o.j. has either finished negotiating or is negotiating a consent decree that involves you folks and it's before a judge. general sessions confirmation hearing, i asked him whether he would honor the department of justice's existing decrees some 20 of them that ability.
in my view did he not adequately assure me as attorney general he would uphold these agreements. he left open the possibility that he would revisit these agreements, renegotiate these agreements. this concerns a lot of us. i'd like to ask you the same question. will you commit to maintaining and enforcing the current consent decrees that the department of justice has negotiated? mr. rosenstein: senator, my familiar yirt with this issue is limited. but i can tell you my general perspective is like all tools that we have available to us, it's appropriate to use this one in a particular case. the question you're asking is it appropriate to renegotiate or revisit them? i think sometimes it probably is, but i just don't know the details of any particular agreement. what issues may arise. these are negotiated agreements between parties. those are always subject to revision if circumstances change. i would imagine there might be circumstances where you would
have to revisit them. i certainly agree with you it's a valuable tool provided to us by the congress and in an appropriate case would need to use it. senator hirono: i take it with the 20 or so consent decrees currently in force, there may be times you might want to, because of circumstances have changed and meeting of the minds, but i hope that is not your intention to cast them aside. mr. rosenstein: i have no intent -- i just have no bay siffs information. i accept your representation. there are approximately 20 of them. i don't know the details. i know there's one currently under review in baltimore that has not been accepted by the court, but i'm not familiar with the details of the others. senator hirono: if you're going to reopen some these, i hope there is a process whereby you can let congress know that that's what your intention is. because these kinds of agreements have national ramifications in my view. during his confirmation hearing, a.g. sessions stated
that he would uphold the supreme court's marriage equality ruling and the lgbt inclusive federal hate crimes statute and settled law. will you both, both of you, commit to upholding marriage equality and hate crimes prevention for lgbt? mr. rosenstein: senator, i would anticipate upholding any laws. certainly any laws the attorney's committed to uphold. yes. ms. brand: yes. senator hirono: do you both agree that title 9 protections apply to transgender students or transgenders persons? mr. rosenstein: senator, i do not know the answer to that. i know that's a controversial issue of law. it's a statutory issue as i understand t aim just not familiar with the analysis one way or the other. but i know that if that issue were to come up to my desk, i know we have a loft experienced career professionals in that department that would help us discern what congress had in mind. once i reached my independent
decision about that, that would be my advice to the attorney general. senator hirono: title 9 says basically that there can be no discrimination on the basis of sex. and you're saying that is not clear whether that covers persons, transgender persons? mr. rosenstein: i'm not saying one way or the other. i'm saying i don't know. senator hirono: ms. brand? ms. brand: i'm in the same position as mr. rosenstein. it's not a statutory construction question i have studied. i understand it's exactly the issue -- i haven't had a chance to study it myself. senator hirono: title 9 being remedial legislation i would hope it would be broadly interpreted. one more question, mr. rosenstein, do you think a muslim registry would present constitutional problems? mr. rosenstein: senator, it would depend upon what you meant by that. certainly as a general proposition i think any kind of registry in america that was predicated solely on somebody's religion would certainly
present problems. senator hirono: such a register would be based solely on the basis of muslim religion. thank you. chairman grassley: couple short statements i want to make and then a third thing would be to tell everybody on the committee that the record will be open for one week for answer for questions in writing. and then if nobody else comes, when i'm done we'll adjourn. n 1986 i got a bill passed through congress amending the false claims act. now it's called the false claims act empowering whistle blowers to help the federal government hold contractors accountable for fraud. since that time the government has recovered more than $53 billion. more than $37 billion of that is because of whistle blowers. will you vigorously enforce the false claims act to recover taxpayers dollars lost to
fraud? mr. rosenstein: yes. we have enforced that in my office in the district of maryland. our civil assistant u.s. attorneys have an affirmative civil enforcement program and we srnl will continue to enforce that. chairman grassley: then i would imagine on the second point whether it's whistle blowers in regard to the false claims act or whistle blowers generally, would you commit to ensuring that the department of justice attorneys work collaborative with the whistle blowers in regard to the fraud under the false claims act, but the protection of whistle blowers generally? mr. rosenstein: yes, senator. i would certainly make sure whistle blowers receive any protection they are entitled to by law or regulation. ms. brand: yes. that's really important to you. and whistle blowers are protected by the act and other statutes and regulations. i support that. chairman grassley: three letters i want to put in the record. supporting mr. rosenstein's
basically his record of independence. from jamie and david, they rved as deputy attorneys general for president clinton and obama. james cole, president obama's deputy attorney general, and ved as hyman who ser deputy attorney general under president clinton. and then a couple short statements. president trump raised a very serious issue over the weekend but has been reported in the mainstream press as well. "the new york times" reported on january 19 based upon one anonymous source that the intelligence intercepts related to the trump campaign officials were provided to the obama white house. if that is true, then the public needs to know, one, how the interexcept were obtained.
number two, why they were provided to the white house. and three, whether any of the information was used for political purposes. after president trump's tweet, president obama spokesman denied any involvement, but someone told "the new york times" in january that the white house was involved. i don't remember any of my colleagues on the other side asking questions about that news report regarding the previous white house involvement. but it's very different when there were reports of trump white house officials asking the f.b.i. director comey about this matter. democrats started suggesting was somehow a sign of improper political influence. yet they have not asked any questions about indications that the obama white house was gathering information from intelligence sources on political appointments. i'll put a "new york times"
article in the record. then the last thing would be in regard to charges about collusion between the trump campaign in russia. these have been raised several times. so i would note for the record on "meet the press" the former .n.i. director clapper under president obama said there was no evidence of collusion. chuck todd of "meet the press" asked him, quote, does ntelligence exist that can definitively answer the following questions, whether there were improper contacts between the trump campaign and russian officials, end of quote, and then the quote from mr. clapper, we did not include any evidence in our report that had any reflection of collusion
between members of the trump campaign and the russians. there was no evidence of that included in our report. he was the director of national intelligence. he was ordered by president obama to conduct a full review of the situation. access to . he had all source intelligence -- all source intelligence is in quotation marks. in other words, everything that the government had. so if he's telling the truth and did his job properly, there is no evidence at this point to support these allegations. there is plenty of evidence, though, about illegal leaks of classified information by people out to get the trump administration. meeting adjourned. if you want to comment.
>> i just wanted to thank the nominees and we look forward to working with them and especially again i know more about you, mr. rosenstein, just from colleagues. i want to thank you and your taking on a big job. and i wanted to respond and part of why this is such a big job is that we have 17 u.s. intelligence agencies who have said that russia attempted to influence our election and we have the attorney general of the united states recusing himself. and i just want to point out that this weekend, the chairman raised the issues of the president's tweets, this weekend the director -- former director clapper actually said that he did not know of this kind of wiretapping or that that had -- there had been any fisa court order. he denied that. and we also have the reports now that the f.b.i. director
was trying to get this clarified. that this was not occurring. i just haven't seen any credible evidence to support the president's tweet from saturday morning. and i just think it's important that we clarify that on the record. chairman grassley: i do thank you-all for being here. and serving. go ahead and we will adjourn. >> i just wanted to say thank you. mr. rosenstein: i appreciate your courtesy and colleagues. it's a privilege for me to be here and part of this process. my family feels the same way. we look forward if i'm confirmed to continue to work with all of you. chairman grassley: thank you-all. meeting adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. isit ncicap.org]
>> if you missed any of this hearing it's available to see any time online at c-span.org. type rod rosenstein in the search box. u.s. house will be back at 2:00 p.m. eastern to take up four bills, including a 19ings 5 billion nasa programs bill. and legislation to name a federal courthouse in nashville after the late tennessee senator fred thompson. when the house comes back into session, live coverage here on c-span. again starting at 2:00 p.m. eastern. house republicans have introduced their proposal to replace the affordable care opul their parents' th 26. provisions of the to stay on also requiring health insurance compie to ver peop with pre-existing kfpblets among the major changes to the health care proposal, eliminating subsidies for health insurance
iums and replacing them with tax credits and getting rid of the individual mandate that every american have health insurance. tomorrow the house ways and means committee will take up the affordable care act replacement legislation. that committee will meet at 10:30 in the morning and you'll be able to see it live on our companion network, c-span. this morning the chairs of the house ways andea >> good morning. yesterday the house energy and commerce committee and the house ways and means committee released the american health care act. it's the budget reconciliation legislation that's part of the house republicans' efforts to repeal and replace obamacare. mr. walden: after years of obamacare's broken promises, we're proud to put forth a plan that represents a better way for patients and for american families. this morning health and human services secretary tom price
sent us a letter on behalf of the trump administration in support of our legislation. that's a first step on the path to fulfilling our promises to the american people. we welcome president trump and secretary price's support. we'll continue working closely with them and our colleagues in the senate to get this bill passed into law. t me be clear, our plan is the first step. under our plan, we're moving forward in a positive direction to rescue the individual insurance market and to give flexibility to our states. we're protecting those patients living with pre-existing conditions under our plan. we're not returning to the days of lifetime or annual limits. we'll continue to allow young adults to remain on their parents' policies until they reach the age of 26. and we will keep our promise to not pull the rug out from anyone, including those on