tv Democrats to Step Up Pressure on GOP Amid Widening Russia Probe CSPAN July 15, 2017 2:38am-3:25am EDT
the chances are you are going to rise slowly. >> for more, go to the tv.org. >> nancy pelosi and other democrats are renewing calls for an independent commission to investigate russian interference in the election. at the news briefing, the leader pelosi called for revoking the security prisons -- security clearance of jared kushner.
mrs. pelosi: good morning everyone. i am honored to be here with distinguished representation of house democratic caucus. leadership from committees of jurisdiction that have questions about the actions of the trump administration as related to the rule of the law. congresswoman ranking member top democrat maxine waters, congressman s grant, congresswoman cicilline, congresswoman watson coleman, and representative hank johnson, they are here to speak from the standpoint of their committee. i am not going to characterize their remarks except to say i am proud of the work they have done. earlier this week, we saw evidence that the trump administration and the trump family eagerly intended to collude with russia, a hostile
foreign-policy to influence an american election. today we learned a foreign russian agent was also present at the trump meeting. members of congress take a sacred of, i do solemnly swear, and that is to uphold the constitution of the united states with what our responsibility is. the president also takes that both. speaker ryan has avoided any response by the republicans, any positive action to uphold the constitution of the united states. in terms of our electoral system, our democracy. earlier this week, i called upon him to give us a vote on this independent commission. outside independent commission to investigate the ties to russia. what do the russians have politically or financially and any personally on donald trump?
that he fonds over putin, questions sanctions, is reckless when it comes to article five of nato, the list goes on and on. people have a right to know. maybe it will clear the air. maybe it won't. we know one thing for sure, we have a responsibility to make sure that russia does not meddle in our elections again. that would be the purpose of such an investigation. i mentioned calling upon the speaker to give us a vote on independent commission, i also called to the revoking of the security clearance for jared kushner. that is absolutely ridiculous that he should have had that clearance. it is not justified in any way. the president could revoke it and he should. republicans in congress should stop hiding from the truth and stop hiding the truth from the american people. in light of the actions this week, the emails that we saw a
related to donald trump jr.'s meeting with the russians, now we know are counter intelligence person, it is important that we see all electronic communication whether it is direct messaging, twitter, email, text, whatever it happens to be, among the members of the trump family and within the trump administration. did he convey that message, the spirit of that message, to the president? the american people have a right to know. so, here we are, house democrats are not going to let the republicans. vote for their complicity in this today we are announcing a new effort to force votes to get answers for the american people. we will force republicans to
take votes on the record to continue from hiding the fact from the american people. we will expose house republicans an action for their willful, shameful, enabling. they have become enablers. of the violation of our constitution, an attack on our integrity of the elections, the security of our country. the integrity of our democracy is at stake. republicans will have to answer for their actions. some of the questions will be posed by
our colleagues. congresswoman maxine waters of california. >> thank you leader pelosi for organizing all of us today who have taken some action in dealing with trump family criminal enterprise. whether we have written letters, introduced legislation, so many of us are attempting in every way that we possibly can to
unveil the criminal activity, the unconstitutional activity, of this president and his family. i have dubbed them the criminal clan a long time ago. as many of you know, i stepped out a long time ago and said i thought he should be impeached. let me share with you today one of the actions i am taking. donald trump has had something when it comes to his finances. there are many unanswered questions. why does trump refuse to reveal his tax returns to the public? why was deutsche bank, a bank that has been fined for russian laundering and other violations of the law, willing to lend hundreds of millions of dollars to trump after his bankruptcies are no other bank would lend to
him? why, according to press reports, have around 70% of trends real estate property sales fell over the last 12 months than two secretive shale companies? democrats on the financial services committee want to get to the bottom of these questions and follow the trump money trail. unfortunately, our request to chairman in sermon that he utilize the investigative powers of the committee to look into matters pertaining to donald trump and his financial dealings have been completely ignored. mind you, this is not a chairman who is shy about using the oversight powers of the committee,but rather abuses these powers appropriately. simply put, the chairman is covering for the president and elevating party over country.
our request to the treasury department for documents on trump and his financial doings was also ignored. to that end, i and other democrats on the committee have introduced a resolution of inquiry. this resolution directs the treasury secretary to provide any documents pertaining to credit extended by or involving russian banks or russian government officials to the president. his immediate family, his associates, as well as his properties and businesses. any money laundering, violations, involving the president, his immediate families, his associate, and businesses, any violations of u.s. sanctions, the foreign corrupt act or the logan act by
president trump, his immediate family members or his associates. and other information related to deutsche bank and the president, our republican colleagues must wake up and hold this president accountable. thank you very much that, the next speaker is bill pascrell, a member of the committee. >> thank you very much. good morning everyone. on february the first, i wrote a letter to the chairman of the committee which i participate in, kevin brady. in that letter, i asked him to use his existing authority to obtain president trump's tax returns for review by our committee.
i would say, from the get-go, that a lot of the questions that are being asked today and have been asked in the past, could have been avoided if the president of the united states had followed the ethics commission into divest himself of all of his holdings and assets. the president chose not to do that. the more we get into 2017, the more we understand how tax returns are critical. he could have avoided all of this. by devasting himself. but the deals that have been made during the time he has been the president, is a misfortune. every president, this has nothing to do with party affiliation, which i said to brady in february of this year, every president must have a
clean slate when he goes into that office and raises his hand to be sworn so that he can be objective in his decisions. we have no insurances of that right now. we are not going to simply sit back and reflect on the good of his word. i am not. i don't think many americans are. members of congress specifically the tax-writing committee, currently have authority in the tax code to get the president's tax returns to examine his conflicts of interest. we not only have the ability to do so, we have the duty. to the american people. this is especially true given
that the president has refused to divest himself. since i wrote that letter in february, we have seen a steady stream of very, very worrying information. in a growing cloud of smoke around this administration, and the response has been, there is nothing there. if you do remember the watergate situation took 26 months. we are just in the infancy of this investigation be it by committee, be it by the fbi, be it by mr. mueller. we are in the infancy. why would donald trump, jared kushner are so willing and eager
to meet with russian government operatives in the campaign? by the way, now we are thinking and considering that there may have been other meetings. we know about this one. and that this was discovered. this was a drop by drop situation. donald trump may love getting help from the russians, but the congress of the united states does not love it and we will not stand for it. the trump family's personal and financial conflicts, while holding office, have been flagrant and on full display. whether it is a saudi arabia paying the trump hotel $27,000 or more than 15,000 of u.s. taxpayer dollars being spent at a canadian trump hotel, or the granting of trademarks in china, which is scandalous, the myriad of conflicts are out in the open for everyone to see. that is how government should be.
since february, we had nine votes on the floor of the house of the house of the house of representatives. in march 1, i offered a resolution that was debated in the committee. at each turn, republicans in congress blocked our efforts. why are they hiding and being complicit to use the leader's word and keeping trumps conflicts secret and hidden? why is that? why won't republican members of congress use their authority in the law to provide oversight and make sure they president and his family are not hiding financial ties that could cause conflicts in the decision-making? we have no way of knowing whether mr. trump or his firms have received russian income or
loans or entered into russian linked partnerships. we have a right to know that. the legislative branch has a responsibility in the authority to check the executive branch under section 6103 of the tax code. which allows for an examination of his returns. the authority put in place specifically so congress could examine conflicts of interest in the executive, following that great scandal in the early 1920's. by the way, in conclusion, it is not enough for a republican congressman to go to town meetings and say, yes, the president should give us his tax returns and then not come back to washington and not have the courage to stand up and to say, this is the direction we should be going. that is not good enough. there has been over 20 people on the other side that have said he should release his tax returns, but will not devote to do it. congress can and must use its authority to address president trump's tax returns and give the american people the transparency they deserve. i would like to introduce the great congressman from the state
of texas from the town of san antonio, representative castro. >> thank you, bill. good morning. thank you democratic leader pelosi for all of your work to hold the trump administration accountable on behalf of the american people and get to the bottom of russians interference in our 2016 election. i am here on behalf of the house foreign affairs committee. i want to thank congressman engel, our ranking member for his leadership on this issue. the resolution of inquiry will be introducing our committee to request the president and direct secretary of state to provide congress with copies of documents, records, or communications that were produced on or after july 21,
2016 that relate to modifying, saving, or terminating sanctions on russia. if during the campaign or since the president's inauguration, members of the trump team have considered altering sanctions on our adversary russia, congress and the american people need to know and have a right to know. democrats have repeatedly expressed concern about the trump administration's friendliness towards russia, specifically when it comes to the issue of sanctions. united states should be putting more sanctions on russia, not considering letting off the pressure. earlier this week, ranking member angle joined losey and with hoyer and introducing the house version of the senate's russia-iran sanctions bill. there are no longer any procedural constraints preventing a vote on the sanctions. the only thing stalling this bill is speaker ryan, and president trump. house republicans should not be providing covers for the administration.
speaker ryan should allow the house to vote on the bill and republicans should join democrats in voting for this resolutions of inquiry that will provide congress and americans with important information about the administration's dealings with russia. especially in the wake of the troubling news that broke this week regarding the trump campaign's communications with russia. all relevant facts must come to light. the united states suffered a catastrophic event in 2016 when a foreign adversary trying to interfere with our election. to do nothing as the president has done, as this republican congress has done, is to invite russia to interfere again in 2018, 2020, and beyond. it is also to invite others, perhaps the chinese, nonstate actors, to interfere with our democratic processes.
that is unacceptable for the nation. i would like to introduce a wonderful congresswoman from washington state, seattle i believe? from the judiciary committee, congresswoman john paul. >> thank you so much. and thank you leader pelosi for your leadership. i am very proud to introduce this resolution of an early with my colleague from rhode island, mr. cicilline. for six months, we have watched the trump administration make a mockery out of our laws and the highest office of our land, while our republican colleagues on the judiciary committee refuse to allow hearings on obstruction of justice and collusion with russia. attorney general sessions has engaged in a conduct of duck and cover. it fits a pattern that we've seen with the administration. he failed to dispose his meetings with the russian government in testimony before congress, and yesterday, the department of justice released a heavily redacted document that suggest that the attorney general failed to disclose any contacts with foreign governments on his security clearance application.
this is the form he submitted. it is blank. calling into question whether the nations top law enforcement office should even have a security clearance. our resolution of inquiry on the judiciary committee forces the house committee on the judiciary to take up the systematic problems on this administration's conflicts of interest in collusion with russia. it is appalling, frankly, that the house judiciary committee has abdicated its duty to hold the trump administration accountable and refuse to even consider asking for answers on the trump ties to russia. the house judiciary committee should follow the example of republican leaders on the senate judiciary committee, who are taking action on the trump-russia matter. they know how essential it is to our democracy and the senate judiciary committee is holding hearings, has requested information.
just as our senate counterparts are going to exercise oversight over donald trump jr.'s meeting with the russian government, mr. cicilline and i will be amending our resolution and sending a letter to chairman goodlatte to demand more information on donald trump jr.'s affairs. our committee must do its job, not only on donald trump jr., but also on jared kushner's participation and the settlement by the department of justice for a related money-laundering case involving $230 million that was settled for less than $6 million. that is millions of dollars that the american taxpayers have been denied and have taken away from them. we have a duty as the judiciary committee to exercise oversight over the administration and the justice department. the american people deserve better. this resolution that we are introducing ensures our
committee starts being a judiciary committee exercising oversight over this matter that is so critical for the preservation of our democracy. it is a great honor to introduce the excellent leader, congressman david cicilline from rhode island. mr. cicilline: thank you very much. i want to say thank you to leader pelosi and all my colleague who have made the effort to hold this administration accountable. i am proud to be with them today. i want to thank another congressman with this leadership. there is no more sacred responsibility that we have other than to protect the integrity of our democracy. we have the honor of serving in the congress of the united states.
we are guardians of this democracy. what we have seen from our colleagues on the other side of the aisle is that the republicans are really asleep at the wheel. we are here today pressing these resolutions of inquiry because every day it seems we learn more and more about the trump campaign's relationship with russia officials and what appears to be an ongoing effort to obstruct justice and prevent the american people from learning the truth. this is unlike anything we have seen in modern political times. in the last few days alone have brought alarming revelations about the president's son, campaign manager, and now another person who was previously affiliated with the russian intelligence services. the list goes on and on. we have known for a while that speaker ryan and the house republicans don't want to work with us on the critical issues. they don't want to work with us
on jobs, tax fairness, infrastructure, workforce training, health care, making college affordable, making homeownership more sustainable, or were secure. what is most outrageous is after six months of republican rule, we know they don't want to work infrastructure, workforce with us to make sure the american people know the truth about russian interference in our elections. they don't want to work with us to make sure that it never happens again. there is no more serious responsibility then we have at protecting our democracy. the american people deserve members of congress to take this responsibility seriously. that is why our resolution will force the production of evidence relevant to some of the most egregious actions. we want to know, and our constituents want to know, what is the full extent of the ties between donald trump inter-circle and the kremlin, was james comey hired to hide the collusion? did jeff sessions violate his recusal when he participated in the firing of james comey? there are other questions too. it is our intention to bring
this before our committee and demand that these facts be presented. so that we can understand what has happened in our country. we have crossed into unprecedented territory. i fear we are witnessing a betrayal of our nation that is unlike anything we have ever seen before in american politics. we have a responsibility to uncover the truth and lay the facts bare for all to see and judge for themselves. our resolution will help us do that. i have the great pleasure of introducing my friend and colleague, bonnie watson coleman who serves on homeland security. ms. coleman: good morning. first i would like to thank leader pelosi for being so vigilant in ensuring we are facts bare for all to see and
upholding this president accountable and reminding our republican colleagues of their responsibility for what people had elected them to do. each day, american taxpayers ask this administration for a balanced budget. for good paying jobs, living wages, affordable health care, but instead they are given lip service as the president and his children and rich themselves. the tax dollars that americans want to see rebuilding our infrastructure, investing in education, and ensuring senior citizens receive returns on their investment in our workforce, is instead being upholding this president wasted further by furthering the business interests of the trump organization. organization. my resolution will call on the department of homeland security to provide the committee on homeland security with all the information and documents that it possesses related to payments made by the agency for the trump organization or trump family
member travel in furtherance of trump organization businesses. congress has a obligation to investigate and to ensure that the department of homeland security resources are solely used to ensure the protection of those seeking to prioritize and advocate for the interest of the united states of america. each of us is asking house republicans to take a stand. these resolutions are simply a request for paperwork. a request to let the american people know that they are the priority and partisanship will not stand in the way of their protection. i have offered an amendment in the committee to ensure that conflict of interest, like this one, do not happen. it was defeated. these votes are indicative of their loyalties to this president, instead of the men
and women who elected them to serve. the committee on homeland security has a duty to shield the homeland and protect americans. which is why i urge my colleagues to investigate these expenses to ensure that our united states resources are targeted toward troupe security needs and not lining the pockets of the president. approving this resolution would be the first step toward providing answers to the american people and preventing further misuse of the tax dollars to line the pocketbook of a president who has made it clear that this nation's best interest is not his priority. with that, i yield to representative johnson from georgia, ranking member on transportation and infrastructure. mr. johnson: thank you. i want to thank the leader, nancy pelosi, for convening us
here today and leading our caucus during these very difficult times that we are in when up is down and down is up for people. the truth will set you free. when donald trump took office on january 20, he rendered himself at that time in violation of the lease he had with the citizens of the united states of america for the renovation and management of the old post office here in washington dc. the reason why is that there is a clause in the lease that says it shall not be a public official of the united states of america, and elected official cannot share any benefit from that lease. that's a lease agreement clause is in keeping with the and clause of our constitution.
donald trump, being an elected official of the united states of america when he took office, rendered himself in violation of that lease. since that time, members of the house committee on transportation and infrastructure have sent a total of five letters to the general services administration requesting critical information related to the apparent breach of the terms of the old post office lease with the trump organization. and a potential conflict of interest raised by president trump's role as both landlord and tenant as in the old post office building. the agency has either ignored or sent inadequate responses to each of those letters. the trump old post office is a corporation completely owned and controlled by president trump and his three oldest children who have very minor interests. the lease agreement prevents
from serving as a less seat and paying any benefit that may arise from the lease, specifically the lease states "no member or delegate of congress are elected official of the government of united states or the government of the district of colombia will be admitted to any share for any benefit that may arise therefrom." the last time i checked, the president of the united states is an elected official, and this one is under investigation. ranking members defazio and i introduced a resolution of inquiry to force gsa to produce the following documentation. one, all guidance to the acting administrator or other gsa staff regarding responses to request for information from members of congress and ranking members of committees.
two, all documents associated with the old agreement between the government and trump organization including annual statements, budgets, and mortgages. three, all legal memorandum district of colombia will be regarding the old post office lease agreement. we need to ensure the taxpayers that president trump is not enriching himself while serving the ultimate position of public trust. as ranking member of this committee, i consider this to be my top priority. i urge my republican colleagues to stop protecting the financial interests of donald trump and start following the law and because the fusion, and resolve committee, i consider this to be my top priority. this issue. thank you. ms. pelosi: i thank my colleagues for their thoughtful work on this subject to get the
facts involved here. we have been joined by our colleague, most senior freshman, he was sworn in the day after the election before january. from philadelphia. we began our conversation about the constitution of the united states which was written there. it said, we will support and defend the constitution. in terms of our founders, in terms of the defense, i am pleased to yield to dwight evans of pennsylvania. mr. evans: good morning, thank you leader for that introduction. the leader is correct in article one, section one, it talks about the power of being inherited in the congress and that we have a responsibility and obligation to the people of this nation. secondly, the issue of national security, as you have heard from our colleagues, they have talked about the importance of the transparency and we have a message to the people of accountability.
that is something we do not take lightly. that is something we all recognize that we need to raise the consciousness to the people about the need to have transparency and openness. i think the leader and all my colleagues who are ranking members and senior members for their leadership, collectively. this should not just be a democratic issue. republicans also should be deeply concerned. this trend in politics, this is about putting the country first hear it when the leader expresses -- that is what they did. they put the country first. i thank you very much, leader.
mrs. pelosi: i'm sure our colleagues will be pleased to take any questions you may have. i want to lead off this section this way. we talked about this earlier, when the president was a candidate for president, he said, i could shoot somebody on 5th avenue and nobody would really do anything much about it.
because he was held in such high regard by himself, for sure. that is the attitude he and his family have brought to the white house. an arrogance about being above the law. that they are not accountable. that is why i think the work of the committee for these inquiries they have made to get to the facts. this weekend, today actually, our colleague bennie thompson of mississippi will be doing a response to the president, talking about the integrity of our elections. he is our top democrat on the homeland security committee. imagine this, some of the information that should be available to the state, about information that has been collected in terms of an assault on the integrity of our election, some of the secretary of states, you can get the information because you don't have the proper clearance. we reserve that for jared kushner, any questions?
>> you cited this meeting as cold hard evidence of collusion. you heard from congresswoman waters saying she thought that president trump should be impeached and then you have others introduce [inaudible] do all these inquiries you are talking about, do they need to be answered and investigated before you are ready to some art [inaudible] mrs. pelosi: i think the facts will be self-evident. maybe they will be explanatory of the president. maybe they will not. there is evidence, clear evidence, that we need to know more. we should not close that path. let me say, what i did say yesterday, i think it is important for people to know, as my colleague mr. cicilline, we have fallen into new territory
with the trump jr. statements. donald trump jr., jared kushner, paul manafort, and the trump campaign, we are finding out who else was in the room. this is a campaign violation soliciting, coordinating, or accepting something of value. opposition research, documents of information, from a foreign government or foreign national. plain and simple. criminal conspiracy due to fraud, the united states, impeding the lawful plain and simple. administration of a federal election or to make an offense against the united states, cyber crimes, hacking against u.s. citizens, the clinton campaign. conspiracy with respect to espionage, depending on whether information was obtained through russian spying and the level of their awareness of the spying,
when i say aware, i mean trump, kushner, etc. the awareness of spying to receive this information. we need to follow the facts, and what did the rest of the family know and when did they know it? i have always been reluctant because i think impeachment is something that has an impact on the country. when the facts are clear, the law is certainly clear. when the facts are clear, then this congress will make a decision in that regard. i hope that the republicans will not stand in the way of the american people of getting the facts. when the president has clearly stated he can do whatever he wants. he is not accountable. any other questions? >> are you saying that people in that meeting violated those laws and have violated those laws? mrs. pelosi: yes. let me say this, because i hear
the president saying things that are so, shall we say, groundless. he says, this is just politics. this is not just politics. you know the example with tom downey, tom downey received a package that had information that describes what the republicans -- for the bush campaign was going to do at the debate. he was participating in the debate preparation with vice president al gore at the time. the minute he received the information, open the package, saw what it was, he gave it to the fbi. this is fruit from a forbidden tree. you don't accept that. the person who sent it to him, went to jail. for sending -- not a foreign government, an american. he went to jail for sending it to him.
this is about the wall, but it is also about a high ethical standard that you would think anybody who wanted to be president of the united states would aspire to. or strive for. not disregard. on the strength of what they have, there is serious reason to believe that these people violated the law. they should have passed that are this is not how politics works. our candidates know that if they got ill-gotten gain in terms of -- not a clue what did you know so and so did not go to the college, i am talking about receiving an in-kind contribution of negative research from somebody. you turn it over to the fbi. any other comments? >> with regards to the russian
sanctions bill, you another house democrats have expressed support. you said there were no procedural holdups. with regards to have members not being allowed to bring up a resolution, should the president you to sanctions. is that an issue? mrs. pelosi: thank you for your question. as you know, the sanctions bill that was introduced by top democrat on the committee of foreign affairs which we joined him in, was the bill that passed the senate 98-2. strong bipartisan support. the russian sanctions legislation. they came over to the house and had a blue slip problem. in that case, that was resolved. the remaining issue weeks ago, before the break, was that in
the legislation, they are not respectful of the minority rights of the house. i conveyed to the leadership of the time, i don't like that, i want to protect the minority in the house, but weighing the equities was more important of passing the russian sanctions bill. we are on board to proceed. they did not bring it up. blue slip problem has been solved. the only issue would be the house democrats prerogative in this. that is why mr. engle -- to make it clear, we are not holding up this bill. we have never been holding up this bill. if anybody is holding up the bill, it is probably the white house. that is where you should direct your inquiry, to the republicans as to why a bill that passed in a bipartisan way, 98-2,
sanctions on russia, is eating held up in the house. i thank the ranking member for introducing the bill and we all stand ready to support it. we could do it today, practically by
unanimous consent. we certainly have to do it next week. thank you all very much. >> sunday on cue and day -- q&a. >> about the distribution of wealth, that corruption. >> saudi arabia and women's rights activist talks about her time in prison after challenging on saudi government ban
women drivers on her book, daring to drive. size of three texas and women cannot drive. we wanted to change this by this movement. we are still campaigning for the right to drive. not an acto drive is of civil disobedience. we are able capable, of driving and being on the driver's seat of our own dust aestniny. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span q&a. afterwards, on syndicated columnist on her book no is not enough, resisting politics. she's interviewed by madea
benjamin. >> i wonder if you could tell us a bit about how the stage was set for trump. >> i see this as very much as a bipartisan process. this table that was set for trump. it is not just about politics, it is notit is not just about p, it is not media, news coverage. the table was set for him in so many ways that all he needed to do was showit is not just about, it is not media, news coverage. the table was set for him in so many ways that all he needed to do was show up because we were already treating elections like reality tv shows. we already had a media landscape that was much more interested in interpersonal drama between candidates than in-depth coverage of the issues. usingeady had a democrat tools of corporate branding themselves. president obama was a fantastic brand. he used cutting-edge marketing techniques and a lot of us felt like behind the claims that he deep change and
transformation that there was not enough change that also brand. hehelps set the table for trump. >> watch sunday night at 9:00 tv.ern on c-span2's book >> on friday, democratic congressmen spoke on the house floor about recent revelations that donald trump jr. met with a lawyer with ties to the russian government during the presidential campaign. we will also your responses from republicans. this is half an hour. mr. gallego: mr. speaker, on july 11, donald trump jr. released a series of emails regarding his meeting with a russian government lawyer and an individual associated with the russian intelligence. don jr.'s emails are a smoke gun. it proves that the trump campaign was not only aware of the russian government's efforts to med until our elections, they were -- meddle in our elections, they were enthusiastic about