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tv   U.S. Senate 11142017  CSPAN  November 14, 2017 2:15pm-6:24pm EST

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the law. [inaudible conversations] >> will talk about your contacts. last year how many interactions did you have with russian government officials. >> you can continue to what his hearing live on facebook .org also in the free spin radio app that will take you live now to the senate floor for further consideration of transportation nominations. mr. bradbury, and in my experience he is disqualified from serving in a legal government position of trust such as he's been nominated for.
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the bush administration pursued a policy of detainee mistreatment that since has been acknowledged to include torture of detainees. and the process that got the united states of america into a place where it was torturing detainees was a legal process that was full of mistakes and failures by the office of legal counsel at the department of justice by mr. bybee, by mr. mr. hugh and by following them
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mr. bradbury. let's start with just a word on the office of legal counsel. within the department of justice, the office of legal counsel is seen as being the best of the best. the department of justice prides itself on attracting and training and perfecting the skills of the best lawyers in america. and as a united states attorney, i had the privilege of serving with a lot of absolutely spectacularly skilled lawyers and trial advocates just in the small rhode island u.s. attorney's office and of working with others from the department of justice. and i have just a very, very high opinion of department of justice lawyers and department of justice lawyering. but even within that expectation that department of justice lawyering will be first rate,
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the office of legal counsel is supposed to be a cut above. these are people who go into that office with the possibility that they'll become united states supreme court justices. these are people who come out of clerkships on the united states supreme court, one of the highest academic achievements a law student can have, and end up joining the office of legal counsel. so the office of legal counsel ought to be held to a very high standard. and what happened when the office of legal counsel was asked to take a look at the c.i.a. torture program in the bush administration was that it fell down or rolled over in virtually every respect. the factual investigation into what the c.i.a. was actually doing was weak and ineffectual.
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the legal investigation into the past and to precedents was, as i said in previous speeches at the time, fire the associate quality legal work. and it's particularly bad coming from the office of legal counsel because office of legal counsel is supposed to be, as i said, the best of the best. it's hard to say that these guys failed having tried their best. they just weren't smart enough to figure it out. they just weren't hard working enough. they just didn't know enough about legal research or scholarship. so, you know, nice try but, you know, you blew it. but no harm in it because we don't expect much of you to begin with. that is certainly not the case with o.l.c. the array of memos that the
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o.l.c. wrote, the bybee and yu and bradbury memos were a calamitous failure of historical and legal research. for one thing, they failed to recognize and report that there have been prosecutions of japanese military officers after world war ii for torturing american soldiers. and one of the techniques of torture for which those japanese soldiers were prosecuted and convicted as tortures, as war criminals was use of the waterboard. now you may be able to say that there was some different
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justifications. you may be able to say that there was some different circumstances. but to not even mention that, to not even do the research to find out that that had taken place, that's a pretty bad legal failing. one of the reasons was they kept it so close hold that they didn't let military lawyers know what they were doing. now one could argue that there's consciousness of guilt there, that they didn't want other lawyers to know what they were doing because they knew what they were doing was shoddy legal work and they didn't want to be caught out in it, and in fact ultimately a lot of those opinions were withdrawn. but the fact of the matter is it was a failure to properly inform the president of the united states about this history of our country actually prosecuting japanese soldiers for the type of conduct that the department of justice was approving that
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the c.i.a. engaged in. it wasn't just prosecutions of japanese soldiers by american military tribunals. there were also prosecutions of american soldiers in the philippines by courts-martial for torture. and guess what? the conduct involved was waterboarding. now, again, perhaps you can say there was some differences, there was some distinction. but the fact is that in memo after memo after memo after memo including the wrap-up memo in a bradbury wrote, that was not discussed. it was not h disclosed and it was not discussed. now you may say, well, you know, it's asking an awful lot of the office of legal counsel to go and look at history, to
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go and look at the practice of our military in prosecuting adversary officers or in prosecuting our own soldiers. after all e -- we're just the department of justice. they are the department of defense, what can we possibly learn from that? obviously that would be wrong and obviously that would be a mistake particularly when you look across that boundary to military law and see these examples right on point that they did not bother to discuss or disclose. but then it gets better still. the o.l.c. memos failed to disclose prosecutions by the department of justice for waterboarding. not some case that never got
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reported someplace that was just a trial and you'd have to look deep into your own records to try to find what took place perhaps without a reported decision, just a verdict from the jury. this was a case that was extensively documented with writings by the trial court judge, a united states district judge in the state of texas, that went up on appeal to the circuit court of appeals, and the united states circuit court of appeals wrote a decision on appeal of the district court's decision. what were the facts? the facts were that there was a local sheriff -- his last name was lee so the case was named united states versus lee -- and mr. lee had gone into the business of waterboarding prisoners. strapping him in a chair, tipping them back and pouring
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water over their faces to give the illusion of drowning. the court's decision over and over describes this conduct as torture. if you use legal search tools and look for the words water and torture, united states versus lee comes up. and it's a circuit court decision, circuit court of appeals. how could they miss it? how could they miss it? well, there are only two explanations that can come up with. one is that they really did a shoddy job of workmanship, that they didn't bother to do basic legal research. that's why i've described this in the past as fire the associate quality work. if you haven't done the basic legal research to determine what
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the cases are on point on the question whether the use of water on bound prisoners is torture, you haven't done much of a good job. the problem is that that scenario is actually the best-case scenario. the best-case scenario is that they did such slipshod work at the office of legal counsel, they didn't find a united states circuit court of appeals decision on point to the question upon which o.l.c. was advising the president of the united states. that's the best case scenario. the worst-case scenario is that they did find it. they did find it. and decided not to talk about it
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in their memos. because you can read united states vs. lee and put it against those o.l.c. memos, and i think any rational reader will find them impossible to correlate. there is a real possibility that the office of legal counsel decided that because cheney had decided on this torture program, because they were embarked on this torture program, they were going to have to deliver the legal opinion that allowed it to continue. and if it meant ignoring a case that proved their opinion wrong, they were going to ignore the case. and they were going to go ahead with the opinion.
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as you can imagine, that's considerably worse than simply not finding the case. we've never had a very good description of how this all came out. there was an o.p.r. report from the department of justice that heaped condemnation on the various players here. but ultimately this question of what the obligation is of an o.l.c. lawyer to fairly disclose what the relevant case law is in writing an o.l.c. opinion was never reached. it was never reached because at the end of this long and arrested whitehouse -- arrested whitehouse process the
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department of justice made a terrible decision. there is a rule of conduct called the rule of candor for the tribunal. if you're a lawyer going before the judge you have an obligation to state the law fairly and accurately before the judge. if you're not being truthful about what the law is that's a violation of federal conduct for which lawyers can be sanctioned and it applies to lawyers across the board. a hardworking lawyer with six or seven files under his arms piling into a state district court to maybe run through three or four cases in that day before a busy judge, that lawyer has the obligation of candor, and it includes an obligation to do adequate research. to actually have looked up the case law and to disclose it to the judge so that you're not misleading the court about the state of the law. that applies to lawyers across
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the country. the busiest, the most distracted just local lawyer, just a guy with a practice maybe in a strip mall, who buzzes into court with a bunch of files under his arms, that lawyer is under that same obligation. but the office of legal counsel? this high temple of lawyering, this best of the best at the department of justice. the department of justice made the decision that those lawyers in providing advice to the president of the united states did not have the same obligation of candor that an ordinary day-to-day working lawyer in a local courthouse has to that local judge.
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i believe that rule has since been reversed, and i think it's very good that it has been reversed. because i think the president of the united states is entitled to at least the level of candor from these best of the best lawyers of the office of legal counsel than a local judge is from the hardworking, overburdened, day-to-day lawyers who appear in front of him or her. but that's not what the president got. not from this office of legal counsel, not from steve bradbury. again, i don't know that we will ever know because that decision from the department put to an end investigation into the question of whether this failure amounted to professional malpractice by the o.l.c. lawyers. but the options aren't great.
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these lawyers either didn't do the work to discover the military tribunals, the courts-martial or the texas criminal prosecution by the department of justice or worse yet, they did discover those things and deliberately withheld that information so that they could give the opinion that they thought they were supposed to give. that's about the worst thing that a lawyer in that position could do, and until that's cleared up, i cannot possibly support the nomination of steven bradbury to any position of trust in the government of the united states. with that, i yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: madam president, two days ago, i visited the community of sutherland springs, texas, a small rural community about 35 miles from san antonio, texas. we all remember the terrible shooting that occurred there just over a week ago at the first baptist church, an be event that those in sutherland springs and across texas and maybe even across the nation we will never forget. i hope we never forget it because i believe that those events were by and large preventable, and i'll explain that more in a moment. but what i saw during my visit and what i found to be so remarkable is that the community has already started the healing
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process. already the church building that was riddled with bullets and the bodies of people who were killed and injured has been turned into a memorial which will forever mark the terrible events of that day and honor the lives of those who lost their life. after an excruciating trial, the rest of us can't even begin to comprehend the attitude in sutherland springs is incredibly hopeful and resilient. first baptist held its sunday service just seven days after the congregation lost 26 of its members. can you imagine that? just a week later, showing back up for another church service, a week after a gunman shot up the church, killing 26 people and injuring 20 more.
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i went there for no other kaptur than to lend a shoulder to the mourning and -- other purpose than to lend a shoulder to the mourning and try to offer whatever support i could. but strangely what happened, the reverse occurred. they gave me more hope and inspiration than i could have ever imagined. this shows how the shooter's ultimate plan failed. evil never triumphs. just ask pastor mark collins, who pointed out that first baptist church had been open for nearly 100 years, but on sunday, the congregation smashed its all-time attendance record. or ask pastor frank pomeroy who lost his 14-year-old daughter in the attack but was already back doing the lord's work, consoling other members of his church when he himself lost his own
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14-year-old daughter. pastor pomeroy said we have the freedom to choose, and rather than choose darkness like the young man did that day, we choose the light. he said love never fails. it was an emotional service, to be sure. it was an honor and as i said an inspiration to join the sunday worship service and to visit the church that's been transformed into that stunningly beautiful memorial commemorating the victims. the day before i had a chance to visit with a number of the victims that are recovering in local area hospitals and their family members. we can't forget them as they continue to heal or the rest of the 20 that were wounded by the gunman that day, a man who was
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clearly deranged, a convicted felon, someone who had been hospitalized for mental illness and escaped, and someone who had been found guilty of domestic violence against his wife, including the fracturing of the skull of his infant stepson. we now know that when it comes to the shooter, there were plenty of warning signs. the gunman's former colleague has said that he was always on the edge and that he scared her, both while he was in the air force and through disturbing social media posts afterwards. there were multiple red nags along the -- red flags along the way. school suspensions, threats of killing his supervisor, depression, abusing animals, choking his wife. as i said, fracturing a stepson's skull and doing time
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in a military prison. one thing is abundantly clear. we could do more when it comes to spotting these flags, including the military, and we can make sure that where the law currently provides that an individual that is convicted of a felony or convicted of domestic violence, or somebody who has been found to be mentally ill by a court, we can make sure and do better to make sure that those individuals don't purchase a firearm, because current law disqualifies them, but unless the results are uploaded on the f.b.i.'s background check system, there's no way to watch them when they lie because they're asked when they purchase a firearm at a firearms dealer have you ever been convicted of a felony? have you ever been convicted of domestic violence? have you ever been committed for
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mental illness? and if they lie, and the background check system is simply silent, then there is no way to know and no way to stop them, and that's what happened to this shooter. we know that the air force and the other branches of the military are considering what additional steps to make sure this never happens again, and i appreciate their prompt response, but it should never have come down to this. now we have to do our part to ensure this sort of preventable disaster never happens again. don't get me wrong, madam president. i don't believe that we can somehow wave a magic wand or pass a law that will prevent man-made disasters in every instance in the future, but this one we could have prevented. we could have kept this shooter from buying a firearm through a
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legal firearms dealer. if the background check system had been accurate, he would not have been able to do so. that's why today i plan to introduce legislation to ensure that federal agencies report and upload criminal records onto the background check, reports that they are already required to do so but often don't upload. this, as we know, was a major problem that led to the rampage in sutherland springs. my bill would also reauthorize the two primary grant programs that help the states report and upload their own records and incent size states to improve overall compliance. we know just down the road in virginia, a few years ago, a young man who had been adjudicated mentally ill by the state of virginia, that those records were never uploaded into the background check system. and so, like this shooter at sutherland springs, when he went
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to purchase a firearm, there was never a hit on the f.b.i. background check system, and he simply lied about his mental health record. it's been estimateed that some seven million records, including at least 25% of felony convictions and a large number of convictions for misdemeanor domestic violence have not been posted on the background check system. that's outrageous. i doubt any of us knew this beforehand, but we know it now, and it's within our power to fix it. we could all agree that this has to change and this cannot stand. let me be clear. i think law-abiding gun owners under the second amendment can and should be allowed to purchase and possess firearms. as somebody who enjoys hunting and sports and shooting myself,
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i believe that every american, law-abiding american should possess the same right i have to purchase firearms for recreation, for hunting, or for defending our family or property. and, in fact, that's what happened in sutherland springs. sutherland springs proves why guns can save lives if in the hands of law-abiding citizens. but if you have a long documented history of dangerous behavior, if you're convicted of committing violent acts, you're not allowed under the law to have guns legally. today we have got to ensure those laws are enforced, and my bill will help do that. it's really an incredible story when i went to sutherland springs and learned more about steven willeford who i have spoken about before. steven willeford lived about a
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block from the sutherland baptist church, heard the shooting. i think it was his daughter who alerted him of it. he got his ar-15 out of the gun safe at his home and ran bare foot about a block away. he saw the shooter exit the church, and he in turn decided it was up to him, because there wasn't anybody else, to stop him. now, mr. willeford fortunately was an n.r.a.-certified shooting instructor. he's an expert marksman. he shot and wounded the person who committed this mass atrocity who then dropped his firearm, got in a truck and led a high-speed chase. thanks to mr. willeford and another good sam air ton, they chased that shooter until ultimately the shooter took his own life.
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so that shows you what can happen when law-abiding citizens, gun owners, can come to the aid of others, when the police aren't present, when there is nobody else around, how those good samaritans can help save lives. now, madam president, i'd like to shift to a separate topic that the senate will be addressing this week, and that's tax reform. last thursday, the senate finance committee introduced our proposal that would enable more americans to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks, send less of their money to uncle sam here in washington, d.c. yesterday, the senate finance committee on which i serve began the markup of the tax cuts and jobs act with a series of opening statements. soon, tomorrow, perhaps, members of the committee will have an opportunity to consider and debate more than 300 filed amendments. i have to say this morning,
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during the proceedings, some of my colleagues across the aisle complained about the process. they said, well, this isn't a bipartisan bill, and i said well, that's because you have refused so far to participate in the process. they said, we'll, the bill is secret. i said, well, you're going to have an opportunity to see it, read it, amend it and debate it on the senate floor and in committee. then they had the audacity to claim that while this -- that is all a giveaway to american corporations. i suppose they would rather see jobs goes overseas because our punitive tax code punishes those companies here with the highest tax rate in the world. places like ireland, the u.k. and others have lured job
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creators overseas and we're supposed to ignore that and accept it. that would be absolutely irresponsible to do so. unfortunately i think some of our democratic colleagues feel this is more about political posturing than getting the economy growing again or seeing more money in our paychecks, more money that people can use on their family or for school or for retirement or for whatever they want to use it for. under our bill right now a family of four at median income, which is roughly $70,000 a year, will see a savings of 40% on their tax bill. that may be chump change to the folks here in washington, d.c., inside the beltway, but to
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hardworking texans and hardworking americans that's money they can use and put to good use. we owe it to them if we can come up with a fairer, simpler, more competitive tax code, we owe it to them to do so. i mentioned the 300 amendments that have been filed. it is important to note that chairman hatch, just like chairman brady in the house, ways, and means committee is taking this through the regular process. that means anybody who wants to participate in this can get an amendment and to vote on the amendment. you have an opportunity to shape the product. that's the way the house and senate are supposed to work. once the legislative houses come up with a tax bill, we reconcile those in a conference committee before we send it to the president. that's what we intend to do
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sometime before christmas this year. we've had 70 different hearings in the senate alone, countless working groups, white papers published. we've been working on this for years and now we finally have the opportunity to get it done. what's so strange about the criticism i've heard is that many of our democratic colleagues, both past and present, have called for many of the reforms included in this legislation that they are now criticizing. they were for it before they were against it. their previous support makes sense because we know tax reform can work. a new study by the tax foundation found that our proposal would increase the size of the economy by 3.7%. it will increase wages for
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hardworking american families almost 3%. it will create a million new jobs. if we reduce the business rate and don't chase jobs overseas, we can attract more investment and job creation here in america, and the tax foundation estimates that this bill will produce nearly one million new jobs here in america and it will, incidentally, provides more than $1 million in new revenue for the. there will be an after-tax income boost by 4.4%. in texas, for example, nearly 77,000 jobs are expected to be created with a middle growth in
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income for families surpassing $2,500 a year. by repealing the tax on poor americans, known as the individual mandate, which is half of it is paid by people who earn $25,000 or less who can't afford to buy the government-mandated health insurance, they pay the penalty, that amounts to a 43 billion-dollar tax on americans, we intend to repeal that and let them keep that over the next ten years in addition to the tax relief. it is not just the tax foundation who pointed out the positive impact of our plan. the nonpartisan committee on taxation has too. its analysis suggests that modern income folks, not the high-wage earners, will benefit
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most. in 1993 people in the middle of the income spectrum earning between -- those earning less, between $20,000 and $30,000 would see less than a 10% decline in their taxes according to that report. i know our democratic friends have trotted out their old talking points and claim that tax relief is only for the wealthy, but these facts show otherwise and it's not an accident because we tried on purpose to make sure that every taxpayer, every person across the spectrum, no matter what your tax rate, sees a reduction in their taxes. j.c.t.'s analysis proves that this is real. and while some of our colleagues
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can't resist the temptation to demagogue the issue, what i would suggest that a more productive time for them is to join us and make this product even better. madam president, i have one request for a committee to meet during today's session of the senate. it's been approved by the majority and minority leader. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. cornyn: i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. i rise in opposition to the nomination of steven g. brad bury. typically the department of transportation has been a bastion of corporation. there are no democratic or republican highways, no such thing as a democratic or republican traffic congestion. similarly, it has been the overwhelming position of the u.s. senate that support of
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torture is abhorrent and disqualifying for high office. mr. bradbury's nomination threatens both of these. based on his role of improved and enhanced torture techniques, i believe -- in addition, i'm deeply troubled by his failure to commit to recuse himself from all matters related to his former client, the now bankrupt air bag manufacturer ta catta whose -- takata whose product is responsible for 18 deaths. he was the acting head of the department justice's office of legal counsel and responsible for coauthoring numerous legal memos that authorized torture. during that period enhanced
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interrogation techniques included techniques that constituted according toure or cruel -- torture or cruel treatment. we would not accept such techniques being used on our service men and women being held in captivity, yet mr. bradbury -- bradbury approved it and by doing so endangered our men and women in uniform. mr. bradbury authorized the harshest detainee abuse including waterboarding and other forms of cruel treatment. not only did these legal memos authorize techniques that have been deemed abusive, they provided a green light to those willing to abuse enemy combatants in u.s. cu rch is -- custody. congress passed the detainee
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terrorist act of 2005 by a vote of 90-9, that prohibited detainee abuse by a military or other agency. however, legal opinions by mr. bradbury sought to provide a continued cover for continued use that ran counter to the intent of that law. our most respected military leaders have spoken out against the use of these unlawful interrogation techniques. a letter signed by 176 retired military leaders opposed the kind of torture techniques approved by mr. bradbury's office of legal counsel. having had the privilege to serve in the army of the united states, i think we understood that if we did it, our enemies would do it to our men and women and it would be unconscionable to give them a shred of -- to
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say we did what you did to others. the use of the techniques approved by mr. bradbury, quote, not only violated well-established law and military doctrine but also endangered u.s. troops and personnel, hindered the war effort and betrayed the country's values, damaging the united states stature around the world as a beacon of human rights and the rule of law. that is the voice of one marine speaking from years of experience and in combat, not simply to defend our ideals but to defend those men and women who serve today in uniform. secretary of defense mattis expressed his full support for the army field manual as a single standard for all u.s. military interrogations and advised president trump that
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such enhanced interrogation techniques are not needed to keep our country safe. under mr. bradbury's direction of d.o.j.'s office of legal counsel, approved opinions on enhanced interrogations were advanced. techniques that appeared and tended to meet the political inclination of the white house rather than the intent of u.s. laws against such cruelty. someone who has justified the use of torture in spite of an act of congress should not be allowed to hold a position responsibility of the united states government. indeed, it is for that reason that this body refused mr. bradbury as assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel in 2008. if approved as the general counsel of the department of transportation, mr. bradbury would again be called upon to render legal opinions that require sound, independent judgment. even forgetting for a moment his
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history of bending to the political desires of a strong-willed white house, his refusal to completely recuse himself from matters related to his former client takata means that he would enter office with a cloud of conflict surrounding him. madam president, public service is not an entitlement, but a privilege. for mr. bradbury, the resolving door should swing shult. his -- shut. his lack of judgment has -- should keep him from holding high office in this or any future administration. surely we should have someone who has demonstrated better judgment than mr. bradbury. with that, madam president, i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois.
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ms. duckworth: i thank my colleague, the senator from rhode island, and i join him in strong opposition to the nomination of mr. steven bradbury to be the general counsel of the u.s. department of transportation. mr. bradbury is a deeply flawed nominee for many reasons, including his unwillingness to recuse himself from issues involving his former clients and dodging commitments to forgo accepting waivers for recusals. however, my opposition to his nomination is rooted in his troubling record while serving at the department of justice during the bush administration. madam president, as you know, mr. bradbury was acting assistant attorney general at the department of justice from 2005 to 2007 and led the office of legal counsel there from 2005 to 2009. when he was nominated by president george w. bush to be attorney general in 2004, his
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nomination was so unacceptable that the majority leader at the time offered to confirm 84 stalled nominees -- 84 -- in exchange for the withdrawal of his nomination. let me repeat that. the senate majority leader at the time ways willing to accept 84 other nominees in exchange for president bush withdrawing mr. bradbury's nomination. what senators objected to then and the reason i am so strongly opposed to mr. bradbury's nomination now is that mr. bradbury is a chief architect of the legal justification that authorized waterboarding and other forms of enhanced interrogation techniques that we used to -- that we used to hear a lot about during the last bush presidency. for those who might not be familiar with the term enhanced interrogation, there's another term for it that most americans probably are familiar with. it's called torture. the torture memos as they're commonly referred to today
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represent a dark period in our nation's recent history that we must never repeat. in my opinion, his connection to these memos alone should disqualify mr. bradbury from government service. i understand that he's nominated to serve as the department of transportation and not the department of justice. but his very willingness in the past to aid and abetter tur -- abet torture demonstrates a failure of moral character that makes him dangerous to the american people, to our troops regardless of which agency he is nominated to serve in. those torture memos displayed a disturbing disregard for the intent of congress and throughouted both international -- and flouted both international and united states law. if confirmed, mr. bradbury will swear a solemn oath to serve the interest of the american public by providing honest and objective legal analysis to the department and the
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administration. i doubt that he can -- i doubt that he can carry out that oath. the american government would once again rely on his counsel to make sure that department of transportation employees do not subvert the law, the intent of congress or the united states constitution. unfortunately, he's let both the government and the american people down before, and i have no confidence that he is capable of carrying out this critically important role. public servants are supposed to serve the public interest, not the political whims of any president, democrat or republican. the public should be alarmed by mr. bradbury's history of demonstrating complete deference to a president's policy goals and we in the senate should do everything we can to prevent likelihood of that history continuing in the trump administration. follow my colleagues who may not be familiar with the programs mr. bradbury justified in his
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legal opinion, let me clarify. detainees under his opinion could be sleep deprived for up to 180 hours, approximately seven and a half days, forced into stress positions, sometimes they were shackled to the ceiling, subjected to rectal rehydration and feeding, confined in boxes the size of small dog crates. it was also mr. bradbury's legal opinion that led c.i.a. personnel to conduct mock executions. his opinion led to one man being water boarded to the point that he became -- and i'm quoting here -- completely unresponsive with bubbles rising through his open full mouth. end of quote. his legal opinion also led to another man being frozen to death. some of these abuses were authorized. others were not. but brutality once sanctioned is not easily contained.
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in 2005, this body voted 90-9 to enact the detainee treatment act to prohibit cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. that law was enacted after the supreme court decided that terrorism detainees in u.s. custody were protected by the geneva conventions. however, mr. bradbury still found legal loopholes to allow torture to continue. even the department of justice's own office of professional responsibility criticized him for, quote, uncritical acceptance of the c.i.a.'s representations about the torture program. this is stunning and it cannot simply be dismissed. in testimony before the senate judiciary committee in 2007, mr. bradbury defended the president's questionable
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interpretation of the hum dum case where the supreme court ruled that president bush did not have the authority to set up military tribunals at guantanamo by famously suggesting the president is always right. this rubber stamp mentality is extremely dangerous, especially in the trump administration. what will mr. bradbury do if president trump asked him to come up with a legal justification to abolish laws mandating seat belt use or to come up with ways to negate drunk driving laws? let me be clear. mr. bradbury didn't make america safer and he certainly didn't make our men and women in uniform safer either. quite the opposite. the actions mr. bradbury helped to justify put our troops and diplomats deployed overseas in greater danger. this is personal to me because perhaps most disturbingly mr. bradbury -- mr. bradbury's efforts to enable torture comp
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mice our -- compromise our nation's values. our nation's military men and women are taught the arms of conflict, the proper way to handle detainees and the importance of american values. mr. bradbury's actions at the department of justice undermine those values. this type of twisted legal wrangling done at the -- at a desk far from the field of battle puts larger targets on the backs of our troops. if captured, are they now at greater risk of being tortured themselves? how we treat prisoners under our control affects how our troops are treated. let me read to you warren officer michael duranti's account of what happened to him when he was shot down and captured in so somalia. this is from his book. and i quote. the fear of being executed or tortured eased after several days in captivity.
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after being at the center of that enraged mob on the day that he crashed, he mostly feared being discovered by the somalian public. it was a fear shared by one of his -- one of the people guarding him. the propaganda minister had clearly grown fond of him. it was something he worked at, part of his survival training. the two men were together day and night for a week. one spoke italian and the other spoke spanish, language similar for them to communicate. he believed by treating the pilot humanely, he would improve the image of somalias in america upon his release. mr. durant talked at length about how he was treated when he was captured in somalia. he talked about going for days without his wounds being cared for, being dragged out of his downed blackhawk by a mob. he talked about being beaten.
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he talked about someone sticking a rifle into his room and firing and shooting him where he had to pull the round out of his own shoulder. he talked about being shackled. but all of that is still better than the treatment that mr. bradbury's justifications allow to happen now. it makes our troops' jobs harder and more dangerous and their job is already pretty dangerous. take it for me. our troops will do any job we ask of them but we shouldn't be trying to make shows jobs more difficult and more dangerous than they already are. i can tell you from firsthand experience as someone who has bled behind enemy lines, legal gymnastics are a luxury not afforded the men and women -- our men and women in the field. they are at battle and more importantly, these
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justifications does not protect our troops who are sitting on the floor of a p.o.w. cell. when you're stuck bleeding in a helicopter behind enemy lines, you hope and pray that the enemy finds you first -- if they find you first, they treat you humanely. when i was in flight school, i began the first of several periods when i was trained in the art of survival, escape, evasion and rescue. all pilots receive this training and then when we were deployed to iraq, we also as members of the united states troops overseas who identified as most likely at risk of being captured among u.s. troops deployed there receive additional training. this is what the army told me i could expect upon being captured. i could expect to be raped. i could expect to be beaten. i could expect to be starved. as i sat in my helicopter thanking god that there was another aircraft there to pull
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me out, even as the enemy were jumping into their pickup truck, speeding towards us to try to capture us. the very realities of what mr. bradbury was justifying happened to me. it is not something that you can look at from the safety and security of a desk in washington. our troops face this every single day. this is why this nomination is so incredibly troubling. if the war lords in somalia recognize the geneva convention and treat it -- chief warren officer durant's capture more humanely, what does that say about mr. bradbury and his willingness to allow far greater forms of torture than what the somalia war lords are willing to
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go -- are willing to do. hi don't think he can be trusted to stand up for the values i fought to defend, especially not the current administration. you don't just need to take my word for it, mr. president. mr. bradbury's record speaks for itself, but in case this point isn't clear enough, here's what retired marine corps general crulock wrote to the committee about this nominee just this year on june 26, 2017. and i quote. in his role as acting head of the department of justice's office of legal counsel, mr. bradbury displayed a disregard for both u.s. and international law when authorizing the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques to interrogate terrorism suspects. the general goes on further to say, these interrogation techniques when mr. bradbury repeatedly approved included methods that the united states has acknowledged and even
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prosecuted as torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. the use of these techniques not only violated well established law and military doctrine but also endangered u.s. troops and personnel, hindered the war effort, and betrayed the country's values damaging the united states' stature around the world as a beacon for human rights and the rule of law. we know that the united states is strongest when it remains faithful to its core values. the use of torture and cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment undermines those values. and mr. bradbury's continually represented their use as legal and advisable during his time serving in the bush administration. the general goes on to say further, in recommending these techniques, mr. bradbury also displayed a discomforting deference to the executive branch's wish tailoring his
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legal recommendations to fit the white house's preferred outcome and even testified in a senate judiciary committee hearing that the president is always right. mr. bradbury's recommendations also contradicted the intent of congress. in 2005, congress passed the detainee treatment act with a vote of 90-9. the law prohibited abuse of detainees by the u.s. military and agencies, but mr. bradbury authored a legal memo specifically designed to undermine the will of congress and to provide the bush administration with authorizization to continue using interrogation methods that constitute torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. i believe that this is more important than political affiliation. mr. bradbury has time and again shown his willingness to contravene, establish law, and the intent of congress in service to the will of the executive branch. though the position to which he's nominated likely will not
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involve decisions on national security issues, i believe that based on his past governmental service, mr. bradbury is not fit for this political office. i ask you respectfully to oppos his nomination. end quote. and that letter is signed charles c. crulack, retired, 31st commandant of the marine corps. also opposing mr. bradbury's nomination, 14, 14 former national security law enforcement, intelligence and interrogation professionals whose experience includes service in the u.s. military, the federal bureau of investigation, the center intelligence agency, the drug enforcement administration, the defense intelligence agency, the army criminal investigation command, and the naval criminal investigative service. and they wrote, and i'm quoting again, we write today to express our opposition to the nomination
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of mr. steven bradbury to serve once again in a position of significant responsibility within the u.s. government as general counsel of the department of transportation. our opposition stems from the necessary judgment and personal courage this office requires to provide candid and objective legal advice to policymakers that may be seeking politically expedient policy solutions. we dead caught our professional lives to keeping our nation safe. that word demanded using every resource at our disposal, including and especially our moral authority. our enemies act without conscience, but we must not. mr. bradbury spent many years serving in the department of justice, including as acting head of the office of legal counsel during the george w. bush administration. in this position, he prepared official memoranda that provided legal cover for other agencies in the u.s. government to employ a program of interrogation
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tactics that amounted to torture or crucial inhuman, -- or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. these violated international law, governing detainee treatment causing operational harm to our national security. as former interrogators, intelligence and law enforcement professionals with extensive firsthand experience in the field of interrogation, we were shocked by mr. bradbury's attempt to defend the tactics based on the incorrect assertions that their use would not cause severe physical pain or suffering and would produce valuable intellectual jeff sessions. in our professional judgment, torture and other forms of detainee abuse are not only immoral and unlawful, they are counterproductive in gathering reliable intelligence. they also tarnish america's global standing, undermine critical alliances and bolster our enemy's prop began davies.
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if the senate confirms mr. bradbury, it would send a clear message that authorizing the use of torture is not only acceptable but is not a barrier to advancement into the upper ranks our government. we understand that mr. bradbury did not act alone in authorizing tortures but as his nomination is buff, we ask you to take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the ideals we strive to uphold by rejecting his nomination. torture is not a partisan issue. our respect for human dig night is timeless and we must never risk our national honor to prevail in any war. your vote to reject in nomination would reflect the morally sound leadership that this country needs and would not forget, end quote. and then another letter dated july 127 of this year, 2017, to the commerce committee: retired u.s. air force colonel steven
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kliman wrote, and i quote, i wait to express my deep concerns about confirming mr. bradbury to serve once again in a position of significant trust and responsibilitying within the u.s. government. i do not for a moment question his legal credentials. rather, my apprehension centers around the equally important elements of judgment and personal courage necessary to provide legal advice that might run counter to the positions advocated by his superiors. history records have been -- history records that we have been down this road once again with mr. bradbury and he was found sadly wanting. he served in senior positions within the department of justice, including as acting head of the office of legal counsel during the george w. bush administration. in that capacity, he prepared official memoranda that provided legal cover for other agencies of the u.s. government to implement a program of severely
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coercive interrogation practices. these practices included an array of tactics to include waterboarding that fundamentally violated domestic and international law prohibiting cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. as an officer with extensive experience in both strategic interrogation and in training members of the u.s. armed forces to resist hostile interrogation, i was taken aback by mr. bradbury's attempt to defend the use of the waterboard based on wholly unfounded conjecture that it would not cause severe physical pain or suffering. if the senate committee were to favorably report this nomination to the full senate, it would be sending a clear an undeniable message to the world and more importantly to the american public that definitive action to support institution at use of torture is acceptable. clearly mr. bradbury acted in concert with an untold number of others within the government and
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i am not asking that he be singled out for his actions. but at this time his nomination is the one before you and with it an opportunity for the committee members to act on behalf of all americans in taking a vital step towards reclaiming the moral high ground. from the perspective of this american, the debate over torture is not one that can be subject to partisan debate. instead, torture is something that is so inherently wrong and so contrary to this nation's traditional values that it can be one issue around which the entire country and the united states senate can rally. your vote to unfavorably reported this nomination to your colleagues would be much-needed demonstration of ethical leadership that would not soon be forgotten. and it is signed, very respectfully, steven m. lyman, colonel, u.s. air force retired. former navy general counsel alberto mora has written also, while acting as the head of
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legal counsel, steven bradbury proved himself to be an advocate for the brutal treatment of detainees and then when the congress enacted the mccain amendment to strengthen the legal prohibitions against cruelty, he counseled the administration on how to circumvent the law and the congress' will. in exercising its advice and consent duty with respect to the nominations of senior counsel to serve in this or any administration, the senate should take care to confirm only those individuals with a clear record of respect for the law and for the power of congress as a coordinate and equal branch of government. steven bradbury's record, unfortunately, demonstrate demoa disrespect for both, end quote. in a june 22, 2017, letter to the commerce committee, 14 human i think radios organization -- human rights organizations highlighted their objection to
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mr. bradbury's nomination. we write to express our serious concerns regarding the nomination of steven g. bradbu bradbury. mr. bradbury's role in justifying torture and cruel, and inhuman treatment markedder him as an architect of the torture program. not only should the senate be concerned about confirming a nominee who had a central role in the criminal violation of human rights, but his work during that period calls into question his ability to provide the independent analysis that is required of any top government lawyer. mr. bradbury was acting head of the department of justice's office of legal counsel from 2005 to 20089. -- 2009. during that time, he wrote several legal memoranda that authorized waterboarding and other forms of torture and
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cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. he is most prominently known as one of the authors of the torture memos. his analysis directly contradicted relevant, domestic and international law regarding the treatment of prisoners and helped establish an official policy of torture and detainee abuse and has caused incalculable damage to both the united states and the prisoners it held. mr. bradbury's role in the torture program was notorious, so much so that the senate refused to confirm him as assistant attorney for during the bush administration. the senate now knows even more about his record and the harm caused by his opinions based on oversight by the senate select committee on intelligence and its report on the central intelligence agency's use of torture and abuse. in mr. bradbury's time as acting head of the o.l.; he demonstrate
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and you waiving insince tense to defer to the president's wishes and his team instead of providing objective and independent counsel. during congressional testimony in 2007, mr. bradbury responded to questions about the the president's interpretation of the law by declaring the president is always right. a statement that is as outrageous as it is inaccurate. the objectivity and reasonableness of mr. bradbury's analysis, the d.o.j. office of professional responsibility reviewed the memos and determined that they raised questions about the objectivity and reasonableness of mr. bradbury's analysis, that he relied on executive branch assertions understand that in some cases mr. bradbury's legal conclusions were inconsistent with the plain meaning and commonly held understanding of the law.
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senior government officials from the bush administration who worked with mr. bradbury have said that they had grave reservations about conclusions drawn in the memos and have described his analysis as flawed saying the memos could be considered a work of an advocacy to achieve a desired outcome. moreover, mr. bradbury's 2007 memo -- for fewer memo was written with the purpose of evading congressional intent and duly enacted federal law enforcement the detainee treatment act of 2005, legislation that passed the senate with a vote of 90-9,, stated no individual in the custody or under the physical control of the united states government regardless of nationality or physical location shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. however, mr. bradbury's memo explicitly allowed the continuation of many of the abusive interrogation techniques that congress intended to prohibit in the d.t.a. perhaps most concerning from a congressional oversight
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perspective, mr. bradbury's misrepresented the views of members of congress to support his legal conclusions. specifically, in his 2007 memo, he relied on a false claim that when the c.i.a. briefed the full memberships of the house and senate intelligence committees, none of the members expressed a view that the c.i.a. detention program should be stopped or that the techniques were ink appropriate. sleep deprivation as torture both publicly and privately and at least four other senators raised objections to the program. as a senior government lawyer, mr. bradbury authorized torture and cruel treatment of detainees in violation of u.s. and international law. mr. bradbury demonstrated either an inability or an unwillingness to display objectivity and reasonableness in evaluating the president's policy proposals. we ask that in reviewing his
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nomination for general counsel at the department of transportation, another profoundly important position of public trust, you take these serious and disturbing factors into consideration. end quote. that letter was signed by the american civil liberties union, appeal for justice, center for constitutional rights, center for victims of torture, the constitutional project, the council on american and islamic relations, defending rights and dissent, human rights first, human rights watch, the leadership conference on civil and human rights, the national religious campaign against torture, the open society policy center, physicians for human rights, and win without war. earlier this year, a group of 176 of the most respected retired generals and admirals wrote to then-president-elect
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trump urging him to reject the very kinds of torture and cruel treatment mr. bradbury authorized. they wrote, and i quote, we have over 6,000 years of combined experience in commanding and leading men men and women in war and peace and believe strongly in the values and ideals that our country holds dear. we know from experience that u.s. national security policies are most effective when they uphold these ideals. for these reasons, we are concerned about statements made during the campaign about the use of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of detainees in u.s. custody. the use of waterboarding or any so-called enhanced interrogation techniques is unlawful under domestic and international law. opposition to torture has been strong and bipartisan since the founding of our republic through the administration of president ronald reagan to this very day. this was reinforced last year when the congress passed the
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mccain-feinstein anti-torture law on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis. torture is unnecessary. based on our experience and that of our nation's top interrogators backed by the latest science, we know that lawful interrogation techniques are the most effective way to illicit acts actionable intelligence. torture is also counterproductive because it undermines our national security. it increases the risk to our troops, hinders cooperation with allies, alienates populations who support the united states' needs in the struggle against terrorism, and provides a propaganda tool for extremists who wish to do us harm. most importantly, torture violates our core values a nation. our greatest strength is to the rule of law and the principles embedded in our constitution. our servicemen and women need doe know that we do not condone
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torture of any kind. end quote. i know some people might not understand why these enhanced interrogation techniques are a problem. so let me just take a few moments to explain why they are --er what they are. waterboarding. it is a well-known torture tactic. waterboarding creates the sensation of asphyxiation or drowning. the detainee is immobilized on his back and water poured on his face. far from the dunk in the water, internal c.i.a. reports instances of waterboarding as near drownings. detainees are often waterboarded repeatedly. khalid sheik mohammed was waterboarded at least 183 times. another detainee was waterboarded so often that it led him to at least once to become completely unresponsive with bubbles rising through his mouth. this torture tactic may also lead to bleeding from the ears,
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severe lung and brain damage and lasting psychological damage. if we waterboard our prisoners, they will waterboard our men and women when they become prisoners. walling. walling is a torture technique that involves encircling the detainee's neck with a collar or towel and slamming him against a wall. despite a requirement to use false wall to avoid injury, abu zabaida was initially slammed against a concrete wall. even if a false wall was used detainees suffered extreme injury. abu jafar suffered swelling of his head with the use of a false wall. if we use this technique on our prisoners, they will use this technique on our men and women in uniform if they were to capture them. sleep deprivation, the detainees were kept awake by being shackled, forced to stand
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or kept in stressed positions in an attempt to destroy the capacity for psychological resistance. this was combined with nudity or around the clock interrogation. though not overtly violent, extended periods of sleep deprivation can have painful and damaging mental and physical effects. after being forced to stand for 54 hours, abu jafar required blood thinners to treat his legs. following 56 hours without sleep, arsa khan suffered from violent hallucinations of dogs mauling and killing his family. if we the united states of america use this technique on our prisoners, our enemies will use this technique on our men and women in uniform should they be captured. standing on broken feet. an extreme form of sleep deprivation, two detainees were forced to stand for hours with broken feet despite recommendations that he avoid
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weight bearing for three months, abu underwent 52 hours of standing sleep deprivation on his broken foot. barely a month after his diagnosis. while injured these detainees were also subject to walling. again, when we do this to our prisoners, our enemies with do this to our -- will do this to our troops. solitary confinement, detainees are regularly confined with no opportunity to social interaction. this was often combined with nudity, sensory deprivation, total darkness or shackling. abu zebada was isolated naked in a cell with bright lights and white noise or loud music playing. at one point he was kept for 47 days. the dangers were recognized by the united states supreme court as early as 1890 in re: medley where the court described prisoners becoming insane,
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committing suicide and the partial loss of their mental activity. if we do this to our prisoners, they will do it to our troops. stress position. these positions are designed to cause pain and discomfort for extended periods and were often used with sleep deprivation. detainees were placed with their arms over their heads and forced to stand. one detainee was forced to improvise positions which led to the intervention of a medical officer who was concerned that his shoulders would be dislocated. abu zubada was confined to a coffin shaped box for a total of over 11 days. we do this to our prisoners, and mr. bradbury justified this, they will do it to our troops. rectal feeding and rectal exams. rectal feeding was used for prisoners who refused food and
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entails in search of a tube entered through the a nal passage. without medical necessity despite risk to the rectum or food rotting inside the digest ive tract. one detainee suffered a rectal collapse by overly hash -- harsh rectal exams. nudity, this form of humiliation relies on social and religious taboos and requires detainees to be partially or fully naked when shackled. nudity was regularly combined with cold temperatures and cold showers. one detainee died of suspected hyperthermia following 48 hours of sleep deprivation, half naked in an extremely cold room.
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again, we do this to our prisoners, and mr. bradbury wrote the legal justification allowing this to happen, they will do this to our troops. we do not want this man in the united states government making more decisions about what is right and what is wrong and how to protect the american public. he was willing to do this and allow this to happen, what can we trust him to have good judgment on? in a september 6, 2006 article by sean alfono entitleed u. army ban of prisoners he wrote, mentioning forced nakedness and other procedures that have become infamous since the september 11 terrorist attacks. treatment of prisoners, the new
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army field manual was released wednesday revising a previous one from 1992. it also explicitly bans feeding prisoners, sexually humiliating them, threatening them with dogs, depriving them of food or water, per forge mock executions, shocking them with electricity, burning them, causing other pain and a technique called waterboarding that simulates drowning said lieutenant general john kimmons. officials said the revisions are based on lessons learned since the u.s. began taking prisoners in response to the september 11 attacks on the united states. release of the manual came amid announcements about the u.s. handling of prisoners which has drawn criticism from u.s. bush administration critics. the pentagon announced a policy statement on prisoner operations and president george w. bush acknowledged the existence of
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previously secret c.i.a. prisons around the world where terror suspects had been held and interrogated saying 14 such al qaeda leaders had been transferred to the military prison in guantanamo bay and will be brought to trial. an international outcry about prisoner rights began shortly afterward. human rights groups in some nations urged the bush administration to close the prisons at the u.s. naval base in guantanamo bay, cuba, since not long after it opened with prisoners in the campaign against al qaeda in afghanistan scrutiny of u.s. treatment of prisoners shot to a new level in 2004 with the release of photos showing u.s. troops beating, intimidating and sexually abusing prisoners at abu ghraib in iraq and new secret facilities. defense officials earlier this year -- though defense officials earlier this year debated writing a manual to keep them a secret from potential enemies, kimmon said there is no secret section to the new manual. defense secretary rumsfeld said
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from the start of the counter terror war that prisoners were treated humanely and in a manner consistent with the geneva conventions. president george w. bush decided shortly after september 11 attacks that since it was not a conventional war, unlawful enemy combatants captured in the fight against al qaeda would not be considered prisoners of war and, thus, would not be afforded the protections of the convention. the new manual caught human intelligence collector operations applies to all the armed services, not just the army. it does not cover the c.i.a. c.i.a. which also has come under investigation for mistreatment of prisoners in iraq and afghanistan and for allegedly keeping suspects in secret prisons elsewhere around the world since the september 11 attacks. 16 of the manual's 19 interrogation techniques were covered in the old manual and three new ones added on the basis of lessons learned from the counter terror war he said. the additions are that the
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interrogators may use the good cop bad cop tact with prisoners and they may use separation basically keeping prisoners apart from each other so enemy combatants can't coordinate answers were each other. the last will be used only on unlawful combatants, not p.o.w., only with exception and permission of a high level commander. the pentagon on wednesday released a new policy directive that says the handling of prisoners must at a minimum abide by the standards of the geneva conventions and lays out the responsibilities of senior civilian and military officials who oversee detention operations. the revisions took time, deputy assistant secretary of defense khalid stimson said at the briefing. it took time to get it right and we did get it right. it's interesting that the department of defense took the time and the effort to rewrite
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their manuals as a result of the abuseses that came about following mr. bradbury's legal justification for use of torture. here's what the army field manual 2-22.3 says. this is the human intelligence collector operation manual dated september 26, 2006. this is what the army now teaches our soldiers. all captured or detained personnel regardless of status shall be treated humanely and in accordance with the detainee treatment act of 2005 and d.o.d. directive 2310.1 ecl. department of defense detainee program, no person in the custody or under control of d.o.d. regardless of nationality or physical location shall be subject to torture or cruel or human or degrading treatment or punishment in accordance with and as defined in u.s. law. all intelligence interrogations debriefings and tactical qetions
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to gain intelligence shall be conducted according to applicable law. this includes u.s. law, the law of what you, relative directors, including d.o.d. directive 3015.09. detainee debriefings and tactical questioning, d.o.d. directive 2310.1e. the department of defense detainee program, d.o.d. instructions and military execute orders. use of torture is not only illegal but also it is a poor technique that yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts and can induce a source to say what he thinks the human collector wants to hear. use of torture can also have many possible negative consequences at national and international levels. all prisoners and detainees regardless of status will be treated humanely. cruel and human and degrading
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treatment is prohibited. the detainee treatment act of 2005 defines cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment as cruel, unusual or pun sht provided by the fifth, eighth or 14th amendment to the u.s. constitution. this definition refers to an extensive body of law developed by the courts of the united states to determine when under various circumstances treatment of individuals would be inconsistent with the american constitutional standards related to concepts of dignity, civilization, humanity, decency and fundamental fairness. all procedures for treatment of prisoners, detainees, and detainees have been reviewed and are consistent with these standards as well as our obligation under international law as interpreted by the united states. questions about applications not resolved in the field by reference to d.o.d. publications must be forwarded to higher headquarters for legal review and specific approval by the appropriate authority.
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isn't it amazing that it took the army to contradict and to come up with the procedures to counter the very actions that mr. bradbury was willing to condone, and we want this man back in government. he doesn't belong back in government. this is a man who has as his first priority not america's values, not the morality of this nation, not humanity. his first value is what is it that my boss wants me to say and i'll find a way to do it. and he said just as much in testimony. that is not who we want as a top lawyer over in the department of transportation. simply not acceptable. in that same army field manual, there's a section of that talks
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about how interrogation should be conducted and the prohibited actions included which are not limited to forcing the detainee to be naked, to perform a sexual act or pose in a sexual manner. using duck tape over the -- duct tape over the eyes or forms of physical pain, waterboarding, using military working dogs, inducing hypothermia or heat injury, conducting mock executions, depriving the detainee of necessary food, water, or medical care. the manual goes on to say, while using legitimate troargs techniques -- troargs may approach the line of prohibited items. it may be difficult to determine
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where permissible actions end and begin. in attempting to determine if a contemplated approach to a technique should be considered prohibited and not included in an interrogation plan, consider these two tests with before submitting the plan for approval. one, if the proposed technique were use the against one of your fellow soldiers, would you believe the soldier had been abused. two, could your conduct in carrying out the proposed technique violate la law? if you do not consider your actions to constitute abuse, the law may be more restrictive. boy, i wish that those questions had been made available to mr. bradbury when he was writing up his memo because the actions he condoned in his memo certainly would have failed this very simple two-question test. the manual says if you answered yes to either of these questions
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to contemplate an action should not be conducted. if the human collector has any doubt that an interrogation approach and the plan is consistent with applicable law or if he believes that he is being told to use an illegal technique, the human collector should seek immediate guidance from the chain of command and contain review of the proposed technique. if the human collector believes that it is unlawful during the interrogation of a detainee, the collector must stop the interrogation and contact the chain of command for additional guidance. this? not something that steven bradbury did or even now has stated that he had wished he had done because his memo which allowed all the torture techniques that i have already detailed would truly have failed these two tests and he would
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have failed in moving forward in his memo to do the basic thing, which is to stop an illegal activity from occurring. at this point, the army field manual provides some cautions to include, and i quote, although no single competence source finds coercion, certain acts are prohibited. physical coercion may be obvious such as if physic i -- such as physically abusing the person. or threats, subjecting the person to degrading treatment, implying harm to the individual or his property. other prohibited actions include implying a deprivation of applicable protections guaranteed by law because of failure to cooperate. threatening to separate parents
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from children or to guide u.s. forces into a dangerous area. where there is doubt, the memo says, you should consult your supervisor or services judge advocate. this is the problem. mr. bradbury, in writing this memo, showed absolutely no attempts or even desire to figure out whether what he was trying to justify was truly legal in keeping with american values, was the right thing to do for the united states. he simply moved forward with writing and drafting this memo because the president of the united states wanted it to happen. that is not the democracy that we live in. we don't live in a dictatorship. we are the greatest democracy on the face of the earth because we are individuals who have the right to exercise a moral authority and to speak up. mr. bradbury showed none of
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that, and even in testimony has expressed no regrets -- no regrets in the legal wranglings that he went through in order to justify torture. no -- he showed no interspecks, no thought as to whether or not it was the right thing to do. as far as he was concerned his superiors wanted him to do this, so he did it. so what is he going to do at department of transportation? what he is going to do when somebody there tells him that, well, you know, the air bag manufacturers have decided that it is just too expensive and so we need you to come up with justification to -- for us to stop using airbags. what is he going to do when people come to him and say, you know, we really want to increase alcohol sales, so i think we should get rid of drunk driving laws.
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what is he going to do? he has shown he will do whatever his superiors have asked him to do and that is he just the right guy for the job if you want a lawyer who is going to execute legal gymnastics to find a way to make something happen. do we really want that person at the very top of the legal department at the department of transportation, not to mention the fact that once he is senate confirmed and in the department of transportation, it is that much easier to move him to another senate-confirmed position, and there is no guarantee that he won't make his way back over to the departmentt of justice to create more harm. i ask my colleagues, if you care about this country, if you care about our troops who are in harm's way right now, please understand what it means to our troops who are down range right now in all the corners of the globe facing the enemy, facing potentially being captured in their execution of their duties,
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protecting and defending our constitution of these great united states to know -- to know that the enemy believes that america tortures and to know that they are at that much greater risk of being -- if they were to be captured to be tortured themselves. mr. president, i can't oppose mr. bradbury's nomination strongly enough. his most prominent work was to justify unlawful torture and detainee abuse. his comments in testimony during his confirmation hearings did not aloofate -- alleviate any of my concerns. i know many of my colleagues are considering voting yes on this man because they think, well, he's going to be over in the department of transportation, that was years ago. he won't have to write legal justification for the use of torture again.
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and we've passed laws about it since then. but he has shown that despite existing laws previously he was able to find a way to get around them to justify torture. so how do we know that he won't do the same thing again at a department of transportation -- at the department of transportation when it comes to the public safety? what about our kids who ride school buss to school? they deserve protections. the american public deserves protection. what they don't deserve is a man who has no moral -- compass when it comes to right or wrong but only when it comes to what his bosses want him to do. if in your conversations with mr. bradbury he promised you that -- he promised you that he would be independent. i just ask you to look hat his -- look at his record. he's never been independent.
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in fact, when asked if he would recuse himself from various cases he, in committee, actually avoided answering those questions, did not answer them straightforwardly and showed that he is simply not willing to commit to doing what is right. and i don't know how anybody can vote for him. i don't know what he has said in private conversations, what he says he thinks he will do at the department of transportation. all i can ask is for my colleagues to please look at the evidence and the evidence is overwhelming. this is a man who cannot be trusted with the values of this country. he cannot be trusted to do what is right on behalf of the american people. he is not someone who will speak truth to power and if anything this is a time in this country that we need more people who will speak truth to power, not someone who will kowtow to
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power, and that's exactly the kind of person mr. bradbury is. he is an unprincipled law who is paired with an -- who will be paired with an unprincipled executive, and that is a dangerous combination regardless of what agency he serves. again, i ask my colleagues to please vote no on mr. bradbury. i cannot oppose his nomination strongly enough. and if you have any questions, please come talk to those of us who have worn the uniform of this great nation, who knows -- who know what it's like to be in jeopardy of being captured by the enemy, who know what it is like to hope and pray that the nations around the world who look at america's conduct as the bellwether for how we treat others, know that they will be treated in the same manner that we treat our prisoners and those trips are in harm's way right now know that because of mr. bradbury they are less safe,
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less able to do their jobs. now when troops get in harm's way, they should focus on the job they are doing and not on what will happen if they are captured. i ask my colleagues again to please say no. mr. president, i thank you for time that. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the -- the clerk will call the roll. the senator from california. fine -- mrs. feinstein: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. feinstein: i thank the senator from illinois. not only did she serve this country, she sacrificed for this country. i, for one, as i see her rolling up and down the isles and through -- aisles and throughout
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the halls, i am so thankful to her and her family and for her work and i thank you for these comments. i think they are very worthy and i'm delighted to be your colleague. thank you. mr. president, i too rise in strong opposition to the confirmation of steven bradbury to serve as general counsel in the department of transportation. steven bradbury has a troubling history of disregard for united states and international law and seems unable to offer objective legal analysis. both of these troubling characteristics were on display when he helped justify the c.i.a.'s torture program. i was on the intelligence committee during this period of time, still am, and one of the things that we wanted to see were the office of legal counsel memoranda. the o.l.c. memos were never
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given to us, although individuals from the department came and spoke to us about it. steven bradbury was head of the justice department's office of legal counsel from 2005 to 2009. during that time, he wrote four legal memos, finally declassified, finally here, and this is what they look like. those memos provided the legal foundation for waterboarding and other interrogation techniques that were tantamount to torture. the first memo written on may 10, 2005, concludes that the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were lawful. this memo, which addressed torture techniques, including waterboarding, was written to
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replace the previous classified office of legal counsel opinion. the second memo, also written on may 10, found that the use of multiple interrogation techniques would not violate u.s. law because there would be no severe mental pain or suffering, just physical distress. the third memo, written on may 30, 2005, reaffirmed a previous o.l.c. opinion that the c.i.a.'s use of torture, such as waterboarding, was not prohibited by the convention against torture so long as it was done overseas. that memo also concluded the constitutional prohibitions against cruel, usual, and inhumane treatment of punishment or punishments did not apply. the fourth memo, written on jult
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the continued use of six enhanced interrogation techniques by the c.i.a., including forced nudity, extended sleep deprivation, did not violate the detainee treatment act or the war crimes act of the geneva convention. by writing these four memos, bradbury not only proil the feeble foundation -- provided the feeble foundation upon which the c.i.a. violated well-established law and military doctrine, he also endangered united states troops, as the senator from illinois has pointed out, betrayed our country's values, and compromised our standing as a world leader. the tactics used by the c.i.a. were not only more brutal than was known, they also didn't produce actionable intelligence. we have a 7,000-page document
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with 32,000 footnotes which took six years of reviewing cables and information all factually, not declassified -- a summary was declassified, and to date nothing in it has been contradicted. capturing terrorist suspects and torturing them in secret facilities failed. period. among bradbury's many troubling conclusions in these memos were that neither the constitution's prohibitions against inhumane treatment nor the u.n. convention against torture applied to the c.i.a.'s activities outside u.s. territory. that's interesting. even more troubling, bradbury's 2007 memo was written with the purpose of evading congressional
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intent. it's stunning that the head of the office of legal counsel would knowingly work to find loopholes in the law to justify the use of torture. on october 5, 2005, the senate voted 90-9 to approve the detainee treatment act of 2005. this law stated, and i quote, no individual in the custody or under the physical control of the united states government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. end quote. however, less than two years later bradbury's fourth torture memo explicitly allowed the c.i.a. to continue many of the
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abusive interrogation techniques that congress clearly intented to prohibit in the detainee treatment act of 2005. these include forced nudity and extended sleep deprivation. there should be a disqualifier for continued service in the united states government regardless of the position, i believe. it's true that congress settled this matter in june of 2015 when thanks to senator mccain, we voted overwhelmingly to prohibit torture in that year's national defense authorization act. but that doesn't change the fact that bradbury did his best to bypass congress a decade earlier by writing those torture memos. it's also true that as general counsel of the transportation department, bradbury wouldn't be tasked with duties connected to detainees.
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but by ignoring the intent of congress in order to justify the c.i.a.'s continued use of torture, bradbury ignored the law to achieve a desired result. and that is unacceptable. even the justice department found fault with bradbury's actions. after the o.l.c. torture memos came to light, the department of justice conducted an investigation of the facts and the circumstances surrounding those memos and d.o.j.'s role in the implementation of the c.i.a. interrogation program. on june 29, 2009, the justice department found serious concerns -- that's in quotes -- about the objectivity and reasonableness of bradbury's work. this included evidence that he gave in to pressure in order to
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produce opinions that would allow the c.i.a. torture program to continue. the department of justice report cited several bush administration officials who believe bradbury was producing opinions with the goal of allowing the program to continue. jim comey, who served as deputy attorney general at the time of bradbury's memos, said there was significant pressure from the white house, specifically vice president cheney and his staff, to allow the program to continue. comey said, and i quote, one would have to be an idiot not to know what was wanted. comey also said that in his opinion, bradbury knew, and i quote, if he rendered an opinion that shut down or hobbled the interrogation program, the vice president would be furious.
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end quote. john bellinger who in 2007 served as legal advisor to condoleezza rice, wrote to bradbury and stated that he was concerned that the 2007 bradbury opinion careful parsing statutory and treaty terms would be considered a work of advocacy to achieve a desired income. a work of advocacy to achieve a desired outcome. that's the quote from secretary rice. the d.o.j. was also concerned that bradbury relied too heavily on the c.i.a.'s reviews of its own interrogation program which, of course, were positive. during a time when we needed independent voices in government to check the c.i.a.'s actions, bradbury failed to rise to the
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occasion. he failed to fulfill the responsibilities of his position. the senate twice refused to confirm bradbury as assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel during the bush administration because of this very issue. nothing has changed since that time, mr. president. and i urge my colleagues to oppose his nomination. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mccain: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be suspended and that i be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, i rise today to speak in opposition to the nomination of steven bradbury to be the general counsel of the department of transportation. and i must say to my colleagues of the years that i have been here, i never thought that we would be considering the nomination of a person who supported -- who supported the commission of what the geneva convention says is war crimes. that is a serious, serious issue. the constitution charges the senate to give its advice and consent to senior executive branch nominations.
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as a check against the appointment of people to important government positions who because of one failing or another should not be entrusted with the interest of the american people. i do not believe that mr. bradbury deserves that public trust, and i will oppose his nomination. mr. president, i am astonished -- i'm aston independenter that we -- astonished that we are considering the nomination of a person who was responsible for violating the geneva convention. steven bradbury served as the acting head of the department of justice from 2005 to 2009. during this time he had written what has come known as the
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torture memorandums, which included enhanced torture techniques. the term, my dear friends and colleagues -- the term enhanced interrogation techniques is a euphemism. these memos provided the framework for use of mepth odds, in -- methods, including waterboarding which is an exquisite form of torture where the victim has the sensation of drowning. we are speaking of an interrogation that has been around since the spanish inquisition. it is among the crime for which japanese war criminals were tried and hanged following world war ii and was employed in
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cambodia. the japanese war criminals were tried and hanged following world war ii for, guess what, waterboarding, and of course the kamir rouge was one of those that we know about. in the years that i have been here in the united states senate, i never believed that i would be voting against an individual who justified the practice of torture. all you have to do is read the geneva conventions of which the united states of america is a signatory to and you will see that mr. bradbury is, quote, memos justifying basically torture is in direct the convention -- contravention to.
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the memos mr. bradbury was the author of provided justifications for the inhumane abuse of detainees using facial and abdominal slapping, dietary, striking in more than 48 hours of sleep deprivation. i would challenge mr. bradbury to go through 48 hours of sleep deprivation before he signs off on another memo. worse, the legal justification for these techniques were interpreted to permit their use simultaneously over long periods of time which constituted what i had -- i and many others familiar with these techniques believes is torture. torture inflicted by a nation founded on the ideal that all people are born with equal dignity and even enemies who scorn our ideals, once they are
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our prisoners, are to be spared cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. the memos offered in part by mre of these techniques under article 16 of the ewe nighted nations convention against torture and declared them not in the convention of article three of the geneva convention which prohibits outrageous upon personal dignity. that is the geneva convention to which the united states is signaturery, and violence to the life of a person. most people, including i'm sure mr. bradbury, have never been tightly bound, made to remain in a stressed position and deprived of sleep for 48. anyone who has suffered such treatment will know they've been tortured. the two main memos mr. bradbury wrote and signed were entitled,
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quote, application of the united states obligations under article 16 of the convention against torture to certain techniques that may be used in the toargs of high -- interrogation of high-value al qaeda, in article three of the geneva conventions to certain techniques that may be used by the c.i.a. in the interrogation of high-value detainees. in the study of the detention and interrogation program, these two bradbury memos were cited for them to be permitted to use enhanced interrogation techniques. this amounted to torture. mr. bradbury's memos were permission slips for torture.
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sometimes i wonder -- i wonder if somebody who is responsible for what he justifies, i wonder how you sleep. i wonder how you get rest. doesn't the face of that person who has been deprived of sleep for 48 hours ever pop in your mind? in the select committee -- senate select committee on intelligence, the study of interrogation, these two bradbury memos were justification for enhanced interrogation techniques. put simply, mr. bradbury's memos were permission slips for torture. i repeat to my colleagues, we're about to vote for him. his memo were permission slips to torture. i've long said that i understand
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the reasons that govern the decision to approve these interrogation methods and i know though who employed them in the interrogation of terrorists were dedicated to prevent the american people from harm. i know they were to prove to our enemies that the united states would pursue justice relefntsly -- relentlessly and successfully. i know their responsibilities was grave and urgent. i admire their dedication and love of country, but i argued then and i argue now that it was wrong to use these methods and that it contradicted the ideals that define us and which we have sacrificed so much to defend. while mr. bradbury's justified his work on the torture memos, as the duty after lawyer
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representing his client, the commander in chief of the united states, i believe he had a higher duty, as do all who serve this country, to defend our most cherished ideals from wholesale violation in the name of self-defense. leave aside the fact that intelligence gathering tools, torture is mostly useless, and has been proven so by the intelligence committee. we have led by example and sacrificed to advance our ideals around the world only to undermined our reputation in which we allowed fears to get the better of our decency. while it's true, as mr. bradbury and his supporters claim, that the memos issued under his name improved upon the sloppy and more expansive legal work done by his predecessors, i do not think that absolved mr. bradbury
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in his -- of his role in this dark charter in american history. a justification for torture is still a justification for torture. let's not pretend there was no direct connection between the legal work done by mr. bradbury and the abuse it's that followed. the memos that bear his name made it possible for sheikh muhammad to be waterboarded 183 times. i repeat, khalid mohammed was waterboarded 183 times. this technique was used so gra ought to lusly -- those who did it believed there was no use to
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continue but were ordered to do so anyway. the memo made it possible for an alleged al qaeda operative to being waterboarded two to four times a day, rendering so distressed, he could not speak. the effects of waterboarding cannot be overstated. the waterboarding session, resulted in immediate fluid intake and involuntary arm and leg spasms and his ter cal pleas. in one session he was unresponsive with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth and required medical intervention. the memos made it possible for libyan detainee and his wife to be rendered to a foreign country where that woman was bound and
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gagged while several months pregnant and photographed naked as several american intelligence officers watched. i wonder what our average citizens would think if we tell them that an agent of the american government was -- took a woman who was bound and gagged, several months pregnant, photographed naked as several american intelligence officers watched. i'm told that picture still exists somewhere in the archives that record this shameful period in our history. i'm voting against mr. bradbury's nomination as i also voted last week for similar reasons against mr. steven engles's nomination. i will not support any nominee
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who justified the use of torture by americans. the laws of war were carefully created to be precise and technical in nature but also to leave room for interpretation even at the risk of abuse by the executive branch. this makes the duty of law -- government lawyers all the more significant. they must serve as guardians of our ideals and our obligations under national law. there are safeguards and checks on the conscience of our government. i cannot, in good faith, vote to confirm lawyers who have fallen short in this awesome responsibility. i will cast my vote against mr. bradbury, not because i believe him to be unpatriotic but because i believe that what is at stake in this confirmation vote, much like what we stand to gain or lose in the war we are still fighting, transcends the
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immediate matter before us. ultimately this is not about mrt terrorists, this is about us, who we are and who we will be in pt future -- in the future. this is about what we lose if by official policy or neglect that we allow those who fight this war for us to forget that best sense of ourselves. this is our greatest strength that when we fight to defend our security, we also fight for an idea, not a tribe, not a land, not a king, not a twisted interpretation of an ancient religion, but for an idea that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights. it is -- it is indispensable to our success in this war that those who we ask to fight it know that in the discharge of
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their responsibilities to our country that they are expected to never forget they are americans and the defenders of a sacred idea of how nations should be governed and conduct their relations with others, even our enemies. and those of us who have been given this enormous duty are obliged by history and the many terrible sacrifices made in our defense make clear to them that they need not risk our country's honor to prevail, that they are always, always, always americans, and different, stronger and better than those who would destroy us. mr. bradbury's work many years ago did a disservice to our nation and its defenders. i cannot in good conscience vote to give him our trust to serve again. i am confident because of the way the system works that
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mr. bradbury will be confirmed proudly, but this is a dark, dark chapter in the history of the united states senate. we are legitimate -- legitimatizing offenses against the geneva conventions. we are harming the commitment that our forefathers made that we are all created equal. and unfortunately, we have now betrayed that sacred trust. mr. president, i ask -- i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. a senator: i ask unanimous consent that all postcloture
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time be yielded back. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. a senator: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the roll call be vitiated. mr. tillis: i ask unanimous consent that all postcloture time be yielded back. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the question occurs on the bradbury nomination. mr. tillis: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not, the yeas are 50. the nays are 47. and the nomination is confirmed. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: the senate is
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not in order. the presiding officer: order, please. the senate will be in order. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that with respect to the bradbury nomination, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we the understand signed senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of david g. zatezalo to be secretary signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is it the sense of the senate that debate on the
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nomination of david g. zatezalo of west virginia to be the assistant secretary of labor for mind, safety and health shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, on this croat, the yeas are 52, the nays are 45. the motion is agreed to.
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the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of labor, david g. zatezalo of west virginia to be assistant secretary for mine safety and health. mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, the senate has just invoked cloture on the nomination of david zatezalo of west virginia to be the assistant secretar secretary ofr mine safety and health. he knows the industry inside and out. he spent his career in mining, starting as a miner, as a member of a union, worked his way up to general superintendent at southern ohio coal and was a general manager at a.e.p. the health, education, and labor pensions committee approved his nomination and i'm glad the senate will have the opportunity
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to vote on his confirmation. mr. president, if i may for a few minutes turn to another subject, congress has turned its attention to tax reform and our principal challenge is to find tax breaks and loopholes to lower rates for taxpayers. at the top of the list should be ending the wind production tax credit. congress has already recognized the need to end the wind production tax credit by passing legislation to phase out the credit by 2020. and the draft house tax proposal reduces the amount available for new wind turbines by returning the credit to its original value instead of adjusting it for inflation. but we should do better. instead of phasing it out, we should end the wind production tax credit this year. ending the wind production tax credit on december 31, 2017, would save over $4 billion, which we could then use to lower
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tax rates for the american people. the wind production tax credit has been in place for 25 years. it's been extended ten different times by congress. it was originally set to expire in 1999. tax credits are best used to jump-start new and emerging technologies. it's been a quarter of a century. wind turbines are no longer a new technology. president obama's energy secretary steven chu testified that he believes that wind is a mature technology. it's time to end this wasteful and expensive subsidy for clearly mature technology. to date the wind production tax credit has already cost the taxpayers billions. for eight years, from 200 8 to 2015, the wind production tax credit cost taxpayers $9.6 billion. that's more than $1 billion per
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year. according to the congressional research service, the wind production tax credit is expected to tax taxpayers over $23 billion between 2016 and 2020. and the cost to taxpayers will continue until 2030. that's because when you extend the wind production tax credit for one year, it's really for ten years. to benefit from the tax credit, wind developers must just begin construction of a wind project before december 31, 2019. then those developers can reap the tax benefits for a decade. despite the billions congress has provided in subsidies, wind energy still only produces 6% of our country's electricity and 17% of our country's carbon-free electricity. by contrast, nuclear is 20% of
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our electricity and 60% of our emissions-free, carbon-free electricity. and the wind only blows about a third of the time. until there's some way to store large amounts of wind, a utility still needs to operate nuclear, gas, or coal plants when the wind doesn't blow. on average wind turbines are over two times as tall as the skyboxes at the university of tennessee's stadium and taller than the statue of liberty. the blades on the windmills can be as long as a football field and their blinking lights can be seen for 20 miles. this isn't the first time that i've been on the senate floor expressing my concern about the wind production tax credit. when i believe that the conversation about energy subsidies and tax credits -- and taxes is bigger than the wind production tax credit, this congress examines ways to reduce tax rates and to broaden the base, we must be willing to
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look at all tax subsidies for technologies, that includes oil and gas subsidies. i'm here today to challenge my colleagues to be willing to consider all energy subsidies for mature technologies -- wind, solar, oil, gas -- as candidates for elimination in a tax reform bill. those dollars could be better spent to lower rates for taxpayers. i thank the president. i yield the floor. mrs. murray: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i come to the floor today to highlight yet another dangerous nominee that has been put forth by this administration. during the campaign, president trump made promise after promise to workers. he said he'd put them first. he said he'd bring back good-paying jobs to our struggling communities. and, mr. president, while he
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made this promise to all workers, he specifically called out miners on more than one occasion. so it would stand to reason that president trump would prioritize the mine safety and health administration and nominate a leader who is committed to the agency's core mission. mr. president, msha is critically important to ensuring mining jobs are safe and that mining companies aren't unnecessarily endangering their workers' lives and safety. msha is responsible for inspecting the mines and holding companies accountable when they violate safety and health standards. msha's top priorities are to eliminate fatal mining accidents, reduce the frequency and severity of accidents, and minimize health hazards for workers through inspection enforcement. unfortunately, mr. president, we are already seeing msha safety standards lapse under the
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trump administration. earlier this year emsma was set to implement a rule that would require safety exams of mines prior to the start of a miner shift ensuring miners are safe before they are put at risk should not be controversial, and yet the trump administration has delayed implementation of that rule and proposed changes to actually weaken it. given this concerning record so far, it is so critical, absolutely critical that the msha administrator is committed to standing up for our miners. but instead of nominating an advocate for workers health and safety, president trump nominated one of the industry's worst offenders. david zatezalo is a mining industry executive who has made it clear he cares more about corporate profits than workers. as the c.e.o. of rhino
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resources, one of the mines under mr. zatezalo's control, received unprecedented safety penalties. a rhino mine was the first in history to be cited twice for a pattern of violations, an action that is only taken when there is clear and demonstrated disregard for workers' health and safety. and when the c obama administration issued commonsense rules to improve the pattern of violations process, the ohio coal association, with mr. zatezalo sat on the board of directors, sued to block that rule. and under mr. zatezalo's leadership, two separate mines owned by rino resources had injury rates that far exceeded the national average. as a mining executive, mr. zatezalo refused to play by the rules. his company violated the federal mine safety and health act by giving advance notice of an msha
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inspection, meaning the employees had the opportunity to cover up potential health and safety violations. and rino resources was sued by the eeoc for creating an unlawful, hostile work environment by allowing an employee to be targeted based on his national origin. the eeoc says zatezalo's company allowed discrimination to, quote, continue unchecked in the workplace, and cited rino for retaliating against the employee instead of reprimanding those who were doing the harassing. mr. president, it's clear to me that mr. zatezalo is wholly unqualified to serve at the mine safety and health administration, and i believe if he's confirmed he will put thousands of miners' life and safety at risk. i'm really disappointed that president trump and congressional republicans are once again breaking promises to workers, and i urge my colleagues to join me in standing up for our miners
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across the country and vote against mr. zatezalo's nomination. once again the contrast of democrats' vision couldn't be starker. under the leadership of senator casey, democrats are advocating for stronger enforcement abilities for msha so we can hold operates who show a repeated disregard for miners' safety accountable. so i really hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will join us and pass those commonsense reforms that will help prevent further mining accidents and deaths. we will strengthen our economy if we start prioritizing workers' health and safety and well-being over corporate profits. and i believe that must begin with rejecting president trump's extreme agenda and these nominees who appear all too willing to implement it without concern for our workers and families they are supposed to serve. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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mr. lee: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, i'd like to speak for a few minutes about the senate's blue slip procedure. as my colleagues know, when the president nominates someone who will be processed by the senate judiciary committee, the home state senators receive a letter informing them of the nomination and asking whether they approve of the nominee in question. that letter is printed on blue paper and thus the name. this is why we call it the blue slip. the question on the table is what should happen if one or both of the home state senators do not approve the nomination? in previous years the chairman of the senate judiciary committee has treated the blue slip as a de facto veto, but that's not how the blue slip originally functioned. between 1917, when the blue slip was first used, and 1955, the blue slip was never treated as a veto. instead it gave the home state
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senators a special ability to state their objections about a nominee during a hearing. the committee could then decide how to proceed. when james eastland, a democrat from mississippi, became chairman of the senate judiciary committee in 1955, he took a different approach. now why did eastland implement this new policy? no one knows for sure, but one scholar has written that eastland, an ardent segregationist might have been trying in part to, quote, keep mississippi's federal judicial bench free of sympathizers with brown vs. board of education. close quote. we're evaluating the -- we're evaluating the strength of a customer, it's a custom of recent vintage and its origin matters in how we evaluate its ongoing relevance to the united states senate today. eastland kept that policy in
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place for a whopping 22 years he served as the chairman of the senate judiciary committee. when senator ted kennedy took over from eastland in 1979, he immediately changed the status and functioning of the blue slip procedure. as the congressional research service reports, kennedy determined that the blue slip, quote, did not have the same power to automatically stop committee action as before. close quote. rather, kennedy affirmed his right to move forward with the nomination regardless of the blue slip. to make a long story short, since 1955, there have been eight chairmen of the senate judiciary committee, including eastland. by my count, two have treated the blue slip as a veto. the other six have either said the blue slip was not a veto or have at least not treated the blue slip like a veto. what to make of this history? well, for one thing, we often hear that the blue slip is a
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100-year-old tradition. in my view it should be equally powerful to note that the blue slip originated 128 years after the first congress. that's part of the senate's history too, and that too shouldn't be ignored. but there's an even more fundamental point, and that is that even in modern times there isn't exactly an unbroken and lengthy practice of treating the blue slip procedure as if it were a veto. the practice is even sparser when you consider that the blue slip takes on a different function depending on whether the president's party is in control of the majority of the seats in the united states senate. when the president's party does not control the senate, the blue slip is an efficient way to negotiate with the opposition party which, after all, can vote down the president's nominees. when you look at the relevant circumstances, here's what you find. the blue slip has been treated as a veto for a grand total of 28 years, when the president's
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party controls the senate. 14 of those years occurred under senator eastland who was waging a personal vendetta against civil rights including with respect to judicial nominees processed by the judiciary committee. so if the senate blue slip procedure is not a veto, what function should it play? as i've said, the blue slip is the chairman's prerogative. but if i were advising the chairman, here's what i'd say. the blue slip should not be a veto of a nomination so long as the executive branch has sufficiently consulted with the home state senators in advance of making this nomination. that rule is consistent with the appointments clause of the constitution which establishes a joint shared responsibility for appointments to federal office. it's important to note that contrary to what some of my colleagues have suggested, the appointments clause does not grant individual senators the right to pick nominees, whether
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processed by the judiciary committee or otherwise. that right -- that rule is also consistent with the best reading of senate custom. it's roughly consistent with the practice that unfolded between 1917, when the blue slip was first adopted, and 1955, when senator eastland brought about some changes. and it has at least as much support in modern practice. what counts then as sufficient consultation? it's hard to come up with a precise rule with a single mathematical definition. but in my view, the white house has an obligation to let the home state senators know who the white house might be considering for a vacancy. the home state senators have the right to review the candidate's record and share any concerns
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they have about the candidate. qualifications count. character counts. home state ties and ties to the community count. i don't think home state senators have the right to demand someone who shares their particular approach to the law necessarily, but they do have the right to insist the candidate believes in the law as something independent from politics, particularly where the candidate is being nominated to a life-tenured position in an article 1 court. there is a final point to make. in an article 3 court, rather. there is a final point to make. as we move forward, my colleagues across the aisle will charge us with hypocrisy, just as predictably as our prediction that the sun will come up in the east tomorrow. there are two things to say about this. first, my approach to the blue slip has remained consistent since i took office.
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i've followed the approach that i've just described. second, until 2013, the blue slip was a lot less important because the minority party could filibuster. that's no longer an option because the democrats changed the rules in 2013. when you change the rules, the actual written protections upon which we rely, when those are changed, then you're left relying on the customs. customs can always be changed. and in this case the custom we're dealing with isn't even a particularly strong one. it's not even a particularly long-lasting one. more broadly, in the senate we're trying to figure out how to process the president's nominees. we've improved the pace of confirming niece recently but -- confirming nominees recently but we're still significantly behind in modern historical terms from where we should be and from where other
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senates have been during the first year of other presidential administrations. and we need to find a solution to improve the pace, including by remaining in session longer so that we can complete this important work. mr. president, it is essential that we understand the difference between on the one hand the constitution and the other hand the rules, and on the one hand rules and on the other hand the custom. there is a significant difference here, and in this case, the custom isn't even all that long, not nearly as long as some have suggested, and it certainly hasn't been consistent. we can do better, and do better, we must. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. a senator: mr. president, as we cut taxes -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. daines: i ask is that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: as we discuss taxes, there is an important goal, we need jobs for hardworking montanans. the senate-draft tax bill that repeal a tax that fundamentally -- in fact, in
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montana alone, 75% of the people who pay this tax make less than $50,000 a year. in fact, in montana, 32.5% make less than $25,000. and this isn't just an antidote. in 2015, if you look across the nation, 79% of those who paid this tax make less than $50,000 a year. in fact, a little over 37% make less than $25,000 per year. mr. president, the i.r.s. pick pocketed over $3 billion from approximately 6.5 million americans, a majority of whom make less than $50,000 per year. this is a tax targeted at those in poverty. what is this tax, you might ask.
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where in the world did it come from? i'll tell you where it came from. it came from obamacare. it's the obamacare poverty tax, otherwise known as the individual mandate, which forces people to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. the poverty tax systematically taxes those making less than $50,000 a year. and if it wasn't enough, then obamacare plans were already too expensive for some of these folks, then the i.r.s. adds insult to injury by fining them, taxing them for not being able to afford it. some say that obamacare steals from the rich to give to the poor. but, honestly, obamacare's individual mandate is really robin hood in reverse. obamacare's poverty tax is like
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stealing from the poor to pay king john. it is unthinkable that that we would leave such a provision in the law when we have an opportunity to repeal it. by repealing it, we would save $338 billion over ten years. that is over $300 billion that we can put towards tax relief for small businesses and families. alternatively, if we do nothing, c.b.o. projects that we will increase because of this poverty tax $43 billion and that will be paid primarily by america's low and middle-class families, $43 billion in taxes on those who can afford it the least. obamacare's poverty tax must go, and there's no better time to get rid of it than right now. i urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to join me to fight on behalf of the
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local and middle-class of -- middle class of our nation. benjamin franklin is credited with saying, just two things in life are certain, death and taxes, that may be so, but we don't need to make them both quite so painful. that's why i am glad that we have a repeal of the obamacare tax. i urge my colleagues and the house of representatives to do the same. thank you, mr. president.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding rule 22, at 11:50 a.m. on
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wednesday, november 15, the senate proceed to the consideration of the following nomination: executive calendar 463. further, that that be up to ten minutes of debate on the nomination equally divided in the usual form and following the use or yielding back of time the senate vote on the nomination with no intervening action or debate, that if confirmed the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i further ask that following disposition of the esper nomination, all postcloture time on executive calendar 383 be considered expired. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: so for the information of senators, there will be three roll call votes at noon tomorrow. i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to legislative session for a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr.mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimos consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 121, s. 534.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 121, s. 534, a bill to prevent the sexual abuse of minors, amateur athletes by requiring the prompt reporting of sexual abuse to law enforcement authorities and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i further ask consent that the committee reported substitute amendment be withdrawn, that the substitute amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the commerce committee be discharged from further consideration of s. res. 318 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 318 honoring the portland thornes as the champion of the national women's soccer league in 2017. the presiding officer: is
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there objection? without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. mcconnell: i further ask the resolution be agreed to, the amendment to the preamble which is at the desk be agreed to, the preamble as amended be agreed to, and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. wednesday, november 15. further, following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day and morning business be closed. finally, following leader remarks the senate proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the zatezalo nomination. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: no further business to come before the senate, it stands adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the the presiding officer: the >> the senate finished up work for the day confirming steven
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bradbury to be the transportation department general counsel and moved ahead with a mine safety and health nomination. watch live senate coverage here on c-span2. attorney general jeff sessions took questions today on capitol hill from members of the house judiciary committee. here's a portion of his testimony. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> the judiciary committee will come to order, and without objection the chair is authorized to declare recesses of the committee at any time. we welcome everyone to this morning's hearing on oversight of the department of justice. i'll begin by recognizing myself for an opening statement. good morning. today we welcome attorney general jeff sessions for the judiciary committee's annual the president of justice oversight hearing. mr. attorney general, you have a long and distinguished career in public

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