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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 10, 2018 9:59am-12:54pm EDT

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plus to thank dr. mester here for coordinating as well. is there any students of the undergraduate program or graduate program, who would like to do these kinds of events, we have great people in economic policies -- again, thank you for all coming out. we hope to see you later. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> the u.s. senate meeting today to work on a nomination to the u.s. district court in kentucky with a confirmation vote set for 12:10 this afternoon. when the senate reconvene for two big teen eastern to debate
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on john ring to the national labor relations board. if confirmed he would give republicans a three to two majority on the nlrb. now live to the floor of the u.s. senate. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. o god and father of humanity, guide our lawmakers with your spirit of truth and love. during days of difficulty, help them to remember that you will never leave or forsake them. lord, provide them
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with the wisdom, courage, and patience to do what is best for our nation and world. give us all grace to maintain our faith and freedom with righteousness, fostering peace and goodwill for the glory of your name. hasten, lord, that perfect day, when pain and death shall cease, and your just rule shall fill the earth with health, light, and peace. we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic
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for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. monk business is closed -- morning business is closed. the senate will proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, claria horn boom of kentucky to be united states
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district judge for the eastern and western districts of kentucky.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: this week as i stated yesterday, the senate will focus on personnel business. six well qualified nominees are currently before the senate. they're awaiting the full consideration they clearly deserve. their nominations have been vetted. their expertise is well known. their positions sit empty waiting to be filled. the american people are waiting for their president to have his full team and for their federal government to be appropriately staffed. now, if last evening's vote to
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advance claria horn boom's district court nomination were any indication, we'd be in for a productive week. 96 of our colleagues voted in support, 96. with such broad bipartisan support, you might think that filing cloture should not have been necessary in the first place. with nominees as uncontroversial as these, you might think the senate would roll quickly through them and move on to other business. but unfortunately for more than a year now, our democratic friends used the partisan playbook to delay and obstruct even the least -- the least controversial nominees. so unless we can reach the kind of bipartisan agreement that was once the norm around here and process noncontroversial nominees more promptly, we're left with no choice but to proceed the hard way. and that's just what we've done.
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facing historic obstruction, republicans have confirmed ambitious reformists to crucial posts where fresh ideas were long overdue. and we've confirmed topnotch legal minds to the federal bench, including a record number of circuit court judges for a president's first year, and the generational choice of justice neil gorsuch who was confirmed to the supreme court one year ago today. now, i've already stated the senate will remain in session as long as it takes to clear this slate of nominees. following the confirmation of ms. boom, we'll move to consideration of john ring to serve on the national relations board. after mr. ring's comes nominees to the department of labor, e.p.a., and two more nominees to fill district court vacancies, all vetted, all qualified, all sitting right here in the senate. in at least one case, several of my democratic friends have already pro actively announced
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support for the nominee. so let's get back on track together. let's consider and confirm these nominees without delay. on a further matter, something exciting is starting to happen all across our country. in america's small towns and suburbs, main street businesses are dusting off help wanted signs. in our small decides, american manufacturers are expanding facilities and creating new products. in rural america, family farmers are investing in new equipment and looking forward to increased prosperity. mr. president, for years all these parts of our great nation were more or less forgotten. millions and millions of americans left behind. whether by accident or by design, the obama administration's economic policy brought some prosperity to some of the richest areas but our small towns, our suburbs, our smaller cities and rural areas and farming communities, year
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after year they saw next to no progress. this is the disparity that president trump and that this republican congress were elected to change. our democratic friends say they're proud of a record in which urban centers like new york and san francisco thrive but most other areas slipped behind. i wouldn't be proud of that record. republicans wouldn't settle for that kind of outcome. that's why this president and this congress took office, we began implementing an inclusive pro-growth agenda to reunite prosperity in every corner of our nation. we cut taxes for middle-class families and small businesses. we repealed one burdensome job-killing regulation after another. we're grabbing every tool we can find to make life a little easier for middle-class families who were neglected by the previous administration's policies. one prime example is our colleague senator scott's provision in last year's historic tax reform. his legislation let's economic
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depressed communities across the country be designated as opportunity zones, earning special tax treatment to make investment and job creation more attractive. in effect, this piece of tax reform will help struggling american communities set up big neon signs saying we're open for business. just yesterday in my state of kentucky, governor bevin announced the certification of 144 opportunity zones. my friends and colleagues on the state and local level are excited and optimistic again. this creative policy along with the rest of tax reform has the kentuckians i serve looking forward to a brighter future. more states are following suit and so from the west end in louisville and distressed areas in eastern kentucky to stockton, california and everywhere in between, this congress will have helped deliver new opportunity and new hope to many of the most vulnerable communities all across our country. all this progress all because
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republicans overcame lockstep partisan opposition and passed the historic tax reform law. the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: mr. president, last friday america lost a good and gracious person, a statesman and many of us in the united states senate lost a personal friend. senator daniel akaka was as kind as decent a man as you would ever meet in life. for three and a half decades danny akaka served the people of high in the united states congress with dignity, humility, and deep caring. the hawaiian concept of aloha is an equality that many think of when they think of politicians. aloha means mutual regard and affection. it means extending warmth and caring with no obligation to
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return, no strings attached. danny inouye, that giant of hawaii and its history once called danny akaka a true ambassador of aloha. when danny akaka announced in 2011 that he would not run for reelection to the senate, the hawaiian governor abercrombie said the words aloha and akaka are interchangeable. daniel akaka is hawaii. and now at age 93, senator akaka is gone. i first met him in 1983. i was a newly elected member of the u.s. house of representatives. and then we sat together on the house appropriations subcommittee on agriculture, the two of us next to one another, down at the far end of the table. danny had six years seniority on me. we served together, worked together, laughed together,
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traveled together, and came to be friends. here was a man, a great politician, who didn't have a personal ego. politics was always about someone else, about helping other people. in fact, he went out of his way to avoid the spotlight. but don't think for a minute that he was weak. i have memories seared in my mind. certainly october 11, 2002, when 22 members of the democratic caucus in the senate voted against the resolution authorizing president bush to invade iraq. the iraq war resolution, danny akaka opposed. i can recall nearly at 1:00 in the morning when the roll call ended and he left the floor after that historic vote. soft spoken, yes. but capable of making hard, meaningful, courageous decisions, certainly. that was a lonely vote. i believe history has judged it
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to be the right vote. danny akaka's vote like so much of his work in the senate was deeply frud by his own -- influenced by his own experience in the u.s. military. 17 years of age he witnessed the japanese attack on pearl harbor. two years later after serving as a welder and diesel mechanic with the army corps of engineers he entered active duty with the army and served in several years across the pacific. after the war, he used his g.i. benefits to go to college and only later did he realize he was still carrying a wound from that war with post-traumatic stress disorder. he said that a bachelor's and master's degree in education and working as a public schoolteacher and principal, his first profession, helped him to cope with ptsd. in politics, his second korea, he used his influence to help members of the military, veterans and their families. in 2 dhow 8 as chairman of the senate veterans affair committee, senator danny akaka
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cosponsored the post-9/11 g.i. bill of rights. that new g.i. bill of rights included a provision that i asked danny to include, to include care for veterans wounded by another of the often invisible wounds of war, traumatic brain injury. senator akaka's leadership helped to pass that important new law. two years later then chairman of the veterans committee, i appealed to danny akaka again for another provision. it was an idea actually authored originally by senator hillary clinton of new york. it was called the caregivers program. the idea was to allow members of disabled veterans' families to care for them at home, to provide necessary medical care, support in a home setting that they'll -- that they all wanted to be in. it was the right thing for our veterans, the right thing for our budget, the right thing for america. danny akaka embraced it. he became a leader on the caregivers and veterans omnibus health services act of 2010
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providing those family members with training and modest stipends. the stipends amount to only a fraction of what would have been spent on these veterans had they been in a different setting sponsored by the government. well, danny akaka is gone but his legacy of service lives on. millions of veterans and military families whose lives are better because of his quiet but fierce commitment. in 1996, senator akaka spearheaded an effort to require reevaluation of the service records of asian americans who fought in the 442nd regimental combat team and 100th division during the war. as a result, as a result of danny akaka's perseverance, almost two dozen medals of honor were bestowed, some posthumously on asian american veterans, many of them japanese americans. the most prominent recipient, his colleague, senator danny inouye, who had lost an arm fighting in world war ii in
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italy for the united states. it was a long overdue justice for heroes whose courage had been largely ignored for decades because of racism, and danny akaka helped to make it happen. danny akaka helped bend the arc of the moral universe another time, in 1993 when he and senator inouye successfully pushed through a resolution in which the federal government apologized for its role in overthrowing the hawaiian monarchy the year earlier. as a child, danny akaka listened to his parents speak their native hawaiian language in whispers. they didn't want danny and his seven brothers and sisters to hear them because of a territorial law allowing children to be punished if they spoke the native hawaiian language in school. that little boy, little danny akaka, grew up to be the first native hawaiian ever elected to the united states senate. danny akaka was a champion of native hawaiians and native americans, champion of good
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government and the men and women who do that work in government. he was a deeply spiritual and religious man who once considered following his brother into the ministry but decided instead to help others in his own way, as a teacher and a public servant. he was a life well lived. last night, i had a telephone conversation with danny's wife, millie akaka. what a team. 69 years of marriage, just a few weeks away from celebrating their 70th anniversary. they were inseparable. he was the senator, but she was the driving force in his public career. she managed every one of his campaigns. she knew everyone in every direction. she never forgot a name, and she was always there to finish his sentences. we talked for a long time last night about the times that we were able to get together. my wife loretta and millie and danny, and the good times that we had and the great people we met in the process.
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i also talked about the time when danny came before the senate democratic caucus luncheon. we used to have a great tradition where every few weeks, senators would get up and just tell a little bit about their personal lives, things that don't make the headlines. i still remember danny akaka's presentation. he talked about growing up in a very modest family, but having a mother with a very caring heart. his mother just couldn't stand to see someone who was struggling to find a home or a meal. she was always inviting somebody in, even though they didn't have a lot themselves, they were always sharing with people. bring them over to dinner, danny. let's meet them. then after they had met them, they would offer them a room. danny told the story of people who came and lived in his home with him, perfect strangers who became part of their family and lived with them for months and even years. some of those people they befriended went on to greatness. one, a medical doctor who became
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famous and never forgot the kindnesses extended by the akaka family. that mother's lesson was learned by danny akaka. it was shared with us in the united states senate. it was an indication of truly a caring heart and a person who was really prepared to serve every day of his life. i join my colleagues in expressing our condolences to danny's wife millie, to their five children, their grandchildren, their great grandchildren. may your love and memories be a comfort in this time of loss. and to my friend, senator danny akaka, i say aloha and mahalo, farewell, and thank you. mr. president, i ask consent to make an additional statement in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i have come to this floor over 110 different times to introduce to the senate and to the people who follow our proceedings, remarkable people who live in
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the shadows of america. these are dreamers, children who were brought to this country by their parents, some at the age of 2 or 3, brought into this country, perhaps on a visitor's visa and stayed. grew up in america. then when they were 10 or 12 in most cases, their mother and father sat down and said we need to tell you the truth about who you are and where you are. these children are undocumented. their parents didn't file the necessary legal papers. they live lives without a country. they have grown up here. they always believeed they were -- they always believed they were americans. went to our schools. stood every day in class and pledged allegiance to our flag. they really believed they were a part of america, but legally, no, they were dreamers. i have tried for 17 years now to pass legislation to give them a chance to earn their way to legal status and citizenship.
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i have had some luck from time to time, but we have never quite been able to find the necessary votes in both the house and the senate in the same year. a number of years ago, i appealed to my former senate colleague, barack obama, and asked president obama to do what he could to help these dreamers. he created a program called damn by executive order. and under daca, these young people could come forward, submit themselves to a criminal background check, pay a filing fee, and be protected from deportation for two years at a time. they had to renew this so if there was any problem, they could lose their protection. that daca program finally brought 790,000 americans, people who had lived in america out of the shadows for the protection of daca. initially, we thought new president trump was going to give these young daca recipients a break. he said a lot of kind things about them, even though his rhetoric about immigration has
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been very harsh. he said good things about them because he realized, as all of us do, that many of them are the victims of unfairness and injustice, and that they should be given a chance to prove themselves and be part of america's future. but then on september 5 of last year, president trump reversed himself. he announced that he was eliminating daca, eliminating the protection these young people had. he challenged congress, said come up with a law that protects daca and dreamers. i accepted the challenge. so did lindsey graham, republican of south carolina. we put together a team of six senators, three democrats and three republicans, and worked for months to come up with an alternative which would protect the dreamers, protect those who were under the daca program. i think it was a good proposal. i think it was balanced. parts of it i didn't like. parts of it i did. that's the nature of a little compromise. it was bipartisan. we look it to president trump, but he rejected it.
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just rejected it. and there we were, empty-handed, coming to the floor of the senate a few weeks ago for four different votes to try to solve the daca crisis. none of our proposals passed. the one with the most votes was the one that senator graham and i worked on, that nor coons and senator rounds -- that senator coons and senator rounds brought to the floor. it even included the president's you will wall. -- the president's wall. some of us think this is a waste of taxpayer dollars. we were prepared to say to the president if you will give 1.8 million of these dreamers a path to citizenship, we will at least start building your wall, one that was supposed to be paid for by mexico. president trump rejected it. rejected it. and so march came and went. the deadline for daca ended. protection under daca started disappearing. there were court suits that were
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brought. two federal courts stepped in and issued injunctions and said to the president stop the threat of deportation against these daca-protected young people. two of those injunctions now stand and under those, our federal government, the department of homeland security, is allowing those who were once protected by daca to renew their status. now, of course, those who are newly eligible, for instance, reaching the age of 15, which is the age of eligibility, can't sign up, but if you were protected, the 790,000 protected, you can renew your daca protection by these court orders. so how long are these young people going to be protected? we don't know. that court protection could end next week, next month, six months from now. we just don't know. so they live in absolute uncertainty, with the danger that at any minute, daca protection ends and they conditioned deported. when i have come to the floor to tell their stories, people
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understand that these young people are extraordinary. think about growing up as a teenagers and all the uncertainty and challenges and things that come to your life. imagine doing that with the knowledge that at any minute you could be deported or some misstep by you might deport your entire family. that's what easy young people have grown up with. and yet, they are determined, they are resilient, and some of them are nothing short of amazing in what they have done with their lives. i have come to the floor to tell their stories so that you can attach a face to the issue and daca isn't just another government program that turns out to be something that is significant in their lives. and today i want to tell another one of those stories about another one of these dreamers. this lovely young lady here is gloria rinconi. gloria rinconi is the 113th dreamer that i have had the honor to introduce to the senate and to those who follow our proceedings.
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gloria was brought to the united states at the age of 1 from mexico. she grew up in north carolina and in texas. her family had so little money that at one point, her parents slept on the floor of a trailer. gloria slept on a make-shift bed made out of a piece of cardboard and a blanket. gloria's parents told her she was undocumented but, quote, you are loved by many, regardless of what you might hear on tv. her family was poor, but gloria was a hard worker and an extraordinarily good student. in high school, she took the advanced placement courses and was a member of the national technical honor society. she received the tyler independence school district award. she was active in extracurricular activities, worked on the school yearbook, member of the pep squad, drill prep. she competed in pageants, winning the american miss state
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pageant. gloria graduated from high school with a medical assistant program certification. she is attending richland college, majoring in psychology. she also works as a medical assistant for a surgeon. her dream is to become a clinical psychologist and work with low-income families facing mental health issues. gloria, this lovely, amazing young lady sent me a letter. here is what she said. daca is my entire life. it's the only thing i have that allows me to work, give back to my community, and continue with my future plans. without it, my life as i know it would be gone. mr. president, this is what the daca debate and the dream act debate is all about. it's all about the aspirations and hopes of amazing, talented, dedicateed young people who just want to be part of america's future.
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would we be better if we ended up deporting this young lady, sending her back to mexico, a place she has probably never even visited in her entire life since she came here at the age of 1? i don't think so. i think everyone understands that a young person like this deserves a chance. we now face the possibility that daca protection through court order may protect those who are already under daca from deportation but may not protect them for some period of time and allow them to work, because that's the second part of daca. you can legally work in the united states. a lot of them have graduated college and do work today. i have met doctors and lawyers, engineers, teachers. there are some 20,000 teachers across america who are protected by daca and allowed to work. what president trump has said recently is it's over, as far as
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he's concerned. they should be deported. i hope that his position does not prevail. i hope for gloria's sake and for the thousands just like her that we will do the right thing, the just and fair thing, that we will do something immediately to provide daca protection and protection to dreamers and a path to citizenship. how did we get into this crisis? president trump's decision, september 5, 2017, to end daca created the crisis we face. we need to work toward a solution. the president has rejected six bipartisan proposals. i don't know what it will take to bring him around. i'm skeptical now of any statements that he would make publicly that he wants to solve this problem, but i also know that we face, as gloria faces every day the uncertainty for these young people. i urge my colleagues on both sides, don't quit on this issue.
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don't quit on these young people. every time i go home, every time i go home and meet with these dreamers, it's an emotional meeting. few of them can tell me their life stories without breaking down in tears. when new england mention their parents, who have been vilified by some, these young daca recipients break down in tears as well. they say to me, wouldn't you have done everything in your power to help your children, even if it meant breaking a law? yes, i'm sure i would have. should their airports pay a price? well, under comprehensive immigration reform, we had a fine that they had to pay. we delayed any eligibility they had to become citizens. bur we didn't deport them and break up their families. if they had no criminal record and no difficulties and problems, we gave them a chance. not amnesty. a price had to be paid, but a
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chance to become part of the future of america as well. this issue is not over because we have failed in the senate. the issue is still there. the question is whether senators from both political parties can summon the courage to solve this problem. mr. president, i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. schumer: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: mr. president, yesterday f.b.i. agents at the direction of the u.s. attorney of the southern district of new york seized information from president trump's personal attorney michael cohen. it was reported that the referral to the u.s. attorney's office originated with special counsel mueller. but the raid itself was under the direction of the u.s. attorney's office and new york f.b.i. agents. we don't know the reason for special counsel mueller's referral. we do know that any referral must have been signed off by deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. furthermore, the u.s. attorney's office in new york would have to be convinced that whatever
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information mr. mueller passed along was worth pursuing. and the u.s. attorney would have to convince an independent magistrate judge, nonpartisan, that there was probable cause to believe that seizing information from mr. cohen would yield evidence of a crime. that's a serious and high standard. -- that had to be met. i go through these details because it's important to understand that yesterday's events could only have been the result of a rigorous legal process with checks every step of the way and with a very high burden of proof. and yet last night president trump said the f.b.i. raid was a disgrace, part of a witch hunt, an attack on our country, and mentioned that many people have encouraged him to fire mr. mueller. we'll see what happens, he
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concluded. let's break this down. the president suggests that the latest events are part of a partisan conspiracy against him. i'd remind the president that the source of the referral, special counsel mueller, is a lifelong republican. the deputy attorney general who signed off on the referral, rod rosenstein, is a republican. -- appointed by president trump. the attorney general, jeff sessions, a republican appointed by president trump. and the u.s. attorney for the southern district in new york which sought a search warrant based on that information is a republican, appointed by president trump. the agents in new york who carried out the seizure are under the direction of christopher ray, a republican appointed by president trump. so if president trump believes this to be a partisan conspiracy, he once again ignores the fact that every
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major player is a republican and all but the judges appointed by president trump himself. but the partisan affiliation of those involved really doesn't matter. these are all law enforcement officers simply doing their job, a job enshrined by the constitution of the united states the president also tweeted this morning that, quote, attorney/client privilege is dead. mr. president, attorney/client privilege is alive and well but there's an exception when the attorney might be involved in a crime or fraud. it's well knowns a the crime fraud exception. and that exception is obviously in play today. law enforcement officers believe there's a good chance that the
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attorney for president committed crime or was involved in fraud where they couldn't have gotten the okay from the magistrate to make these seizures. president trump also said that the implication of his personal attorney for potentially serious federal crimes constitutes an attack on our country. that's what he said. an attack on our country. with due respect, president trump, america has been around for over two and a half centur centuries. an investigation of your personal attorney is not an attack on our country. the japanese bombing pearl harbor was an attack on our country. 9/11 was an attack on our country. when russia interfered with our elections, that was an attack on
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our country. investigating your personal lawyer with a high standard to be met is certainly not an attack on our country. it is what america has always been about and still is, rule of law. president trump said the raid was a disgrace. i say to the president, mr. president, you have it wrong. interfering with the investigation would be a disgrace. calling it an attack on our country is a disgrace. what matters is the rule of law. in this country no man is above the law, not even the president. mr. president, your comments were the disgrace. now, if the president is thinking of using this raid to fire special counsel mueller or
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otherwise interfere with the chain of command in the russia probe, we have one simple message for him. don't even think about it. special counsel mueller has uncovered a deep and detailed pattern of russian interference in our elections. it has led to several indictments and guilty pleas. it has also led the trump administration itself to level sanctions against russian individuals for meddling in our elections. that is proof positive that mueller's investigation is not a so-called witchhunt. if the president's own administration has leveled sanctions against russian individuals for meddling in our elections, how can the president say it's a witchhunt? it's being pursued by his own administration independent of the mueller investigation. and the investigation by special counsel mueller is critical,
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critical to the health of our democracy and the security of future elections. it must, it must be allowed to continue. the president seems to have a view that the department of justice's sole purpose is to protect the president and go after his enemies. i emphatically state to the president that is not the role of the department of justice. their role is to enforce the law and go after anyone who breaks it. that's their role. and it is not subject to the president's political interests in any way. so president trump should not have any contact, any contact with the new u.s. attorney in the southern district, with his office, or the department of justice officials overseeing an investigation of mr. cohen.
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any attempt, any attempted contact by the president or the white house should be reported to the department of justice immediately. one final point. when president trump implies that the mueller investigation is an assault on our country and our values, he's not only dead wrong. he's wrong in a very dangerous way. special counsel mueller, the f.b.i., federal prosecutors, and u.s. attorneys are following the due process of our legal system. calling that an attack on our country undermines the rule of law, the bedrock principle of this great nation for centuries, the reason above all that the rest of the world looks up to these great united states of
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america. the only person engaging in an attack on american values, what we all stand for, the rule of law is unfortunately president trump. it needs to stop. it's gnawing at the core of america. you know, mr. president, it's difficult to know when you're living through a historic time in this country. our nation has prevailed through many dark times. we all hope that in the sweep of history, our current moment is not one of peril. but we have witnessed this sustained attack by the president of the united states on the rule of law in this country and we may be getting to that point. we've seen that any institution with the power to check the president's power, the federal judiciary, the department of justice, the f.b.i., the congress, the press suffers his
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disdain and dereetion. if we fail to defend these institutions which represent the rule of law and the constitution, the balance of power in our country that the founding fathers so brilliantly enshrined, then we are letting our grant democracy diminish. i beseech my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stand up and say what the president is doing is wrong. make it clear that firing mueller or interfering in his investigation crosses a red line and is a threat to our constitutional order. let us also be clear that the president does not have the authority to order the special counsel's firing without cause. and finally, let us take steps to protect the special counsel from political interference. we have several bipartisan bills
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designed to do just that. majority leader mcconnell should bring them to the floor and let us debate them very soon. for months republicans have said that legislation to protect the special counsel is not needed because they've been assured by nameless people that the president won't fire the special counsel. that assurance has been shaken by the president's comments last night. by his own words, it's clear the president may, may be considering firing the special counsel. this congress must respond forcefully and on a bipartisan basis by reaffirming our belief that the president cannot fire special counsel without law -- without cause, and by passing legislation to ensure that any attempts to remove robert mueller will be unsuccessful. we should not abide the
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president's attempt to desault on the rule of law in america. the eyes of history are upon us. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
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majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, today we have a joint commerce and judiciary committee hearing on online privacy and the abuse of data obtained from social media platforms. ordinarily i wouldn't come to the senate floor to talk about an individual legislative hearing, but this is no run of the mill event. the c.e.o. of facebook will be testifying, and i believe that his company and other parties have some important explaining to do. one question is whether face -- what facebook's priorities are and whether they are what they should be. facebook of course is a publicly traded company and it has a fiduciary duty to his shareholders, that which is shares with every other shareholder enterprise. but its business model is
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unique. it collects information on billions of people and uses that data to help drive its profits. but one wonders whether it's -- at what point that profit motive can sometimes come at odds -- be at odds with protecting the privacy of individual users. to me that's one of the fundamental questions that mr. zuckerberg is going to have to answer today. from testimony released yesterday, we know that facebook will admit that it made mistakes, that it didn't take a broad enough view of its responsibility and prevent its tools from being used in ways that it says it did not intend. that act of contrition is one we all welcome, of course, but it won't matter much without additional action, some of which might be even foundational to facebook's entire business model. those changes we're told can take some time.
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meanwhile, americans will still wonder about their privacy, about who is acquiring data, about their political opinions, their personal tastes and preferences without their informed consent. how much have any of us read the terms of service for the social media platforms that we use? they are written by lawyers for legal purposes, which is basically to prevent any lawsuits from being filed, successfully filed against the company. but in terms of informed consent, which is what we ought to be focused on, focused on here, how much do consumers really understand about how the data they turn over to these social media platforms, how that data is used? mr. zuckerberg has an opportunity today to explain whether consumers are really being protected in any meaningful way. it's good that facebook has in
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recent months shut down accounts with links to the russian government that were used to meddle in our last election. that's surely one actor we know that has used facebook in improper ways. but it never should have reached that point. the company should have spotted this attempted foreign influence much earlier and contained its spread. now is the time to demand a comprehensive accounting of internal monitoring efforts moving forward, as well as the full extent of infiltration and manipulation of that and other social media platforms in the past, not just by russia but by other foreign actors, including rogue actors as well. in addition to its response to the russia allegations, facebook, we have been told, has limited which online apps can literally vacuum up information from users' profiles. once again, this announcement only tells us so much.
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we need to understand which apps are still being allowed to mine that data and under what conditions. we have all heard about one egregious case of this happening, a political consulting firm using facebook improperly access the private data of some 87 million users. this data was used as a symbol of a psychological profile to assess how people might respond to political advertising and how they might vote in the -- in an election. well, i doubt that when people access facebook to trade pictures with family and friends or communicate with family, talk about your most recent vacation, i doubt they realize that data could be acquired by a third party like cambridge analytica
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and not only use that information but all the personal data of their friends and relatives in order to target political messaging for use in an election. facebook has historically been a platform for all ideas, as they say, but now the company realizes that because of its business model, it has more responsibilities. it is not just a neutral platform. it must defend against false information, foreign government subterfuge, and other destructive conduct like child pornography and human trafficking. we know as a result of the most recent legislation we passed with relative to human trafficking that we actually expanded the responsibilities of social media platforms in the human trafficking arena because of the threat it poses to so many innocent people.
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the basic questions are whether facebook is responsible for misinformation, using its -- using its platform. for outright falsehoods, for attempts by foreign governments to meddle in our elections by sowing discord and misinformation. there are also questions about whether facebook is consistently using the data that it collects in a way that obviously benefits it financially but is not used, not shared on an equal basis with law enforcement -- when law enforcement and the intelligence community needs that information to solve crimes or to keep the country safe. a lot of ideas have been tossed around about how to respond to this -- these difficult questions. perhaps we should treat social media platforms as information fiduciaries and impose legal
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obligations on them as we do with lawyers and doctors who are privy to some of our most personal private information. to me, one of the most important questions is who owns that data that we share on social media platforms? and whether the data that is shared is shared with fully informed consent so that consumers can protected against consequences they had no way of anticipating and which is damaging to their personal privacy. other ideas involve increased transparency partnering with the federal trade commission or passing new data privacy laws. they involve giving consumers more control and requiring companies to disclose in plain english and in a nontechnical ways what information they collect before users are presumed to have given their consent. i look forward to exploring these and other related ideas at
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the hearing later today. facebook and other social media platforms need to come clean with the american people. an apology while necessary and welcome is not enough. these companies must back up their words with actions that better safeguard the american consumer, and their right to privacy. technology can be a good thing, but it can also be abused in ways that we need to reckon with and come to grips with, and this afternoon's hearing will be the beginning of those efforts in a very substantial and comprehensive way. mr. president, on another separate matter, we have a lot on our plate here in the senate. apart from conducting the hearing that i just mentioned, one of our items on our to-do list is to continue to confirm the president's nominees which have faced an unprecedented level of obstruction from the
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minority. the majority leader, senator mcconnell, has been forced to file cloture, a formal piece of paper on six important nominees, many of whom will be confirmed with strong bipartisan support, but because our colleagues on the other side refuse to consent to expedited consideration of these noncontroversial nominees, we'll have to burn up literally a week of the senate's time during which we could be doing other important work. in addition to the six nominees that we will confirm this week, i want to talk about two in particular, two outstanding individuals who have been nominated by the president to some of the most important positions in the federal government. those posts are director of the central intelligence agency and secretary of state. gina haskill has been nominated for the first position.
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she joined the c.i.a. in 1985 during the final years of the c.r. she is a career intelligence officer and has served for more than 30 years, both overseas, around the world, and in washington. she has held various leadership roles at the central intelligence agency including deputy director of the national clandestine service. you can imagine, this is some of the most sensitive and important work being done in the intelligence community, and she has been right in the middle of it. she has also worked in the counterterrorism center where her first day of work was september 11, 2001, that fateful day when the twin towers fell and the pentagon was attacked. throughout her career, miss haspel has held some of the most demanding and least publicly acknowledged assignments in faroff reaches of the globe, in places like africa and the middle east. she did not always seek out
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these difficult roles. she took them because she saw it as her duty. and that's the challenge honestly when it comes to somebody with an incredible career like gina haspel, because so much of what she has done, she has done in a classified setting. and we can't really talk about the details without jeopardizing the sources and methods of our intelligence gathering or revealing information which could undermine our national security. there has already been some attacks on miss haspel, which i think are honestly a caricature of her 30-plus years of service to the country, but we ought to applaud, not denigrate, people who are willing to sacrifice their safety, their comfort, and their security to make us safer and more secure as the american people. but unfortunately, that doesn't
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always happen. she has received numerous awards which lend credence to her reputation and illustrate that other accomplished professionals hold her in high regard. she is awards include the presidential rank award, the most prestigious award in the federal civil service. she has also received the intelligence medal of merit, among others. her integrity and professionalism are beyond question. a bipartisan group of intelligence officials who served in previous administrations have testified to her qualifications and her fitness for this particular position as director of the c.i.a. for example, director of national intelligence, former director james clapper who served for 50 years in the intelligence community under republican presidents and democratic presidents says he thinks the world of miss haspel.
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she is capable, smart, experienced, and well respected by agency rank and file and a great person, he says. leon panetta, who served as chief of staff to bill clinton when he was president and later served as c.i.a. director and secretary of defense under president obama, he said he is glad that we will have the first woman as the head of the c.i.a. and that gina knows the c.i.a. inside and out. former c.i.a. director john brennan, who also worked under president obama, has cited her ability to provide unvarnished, apolitical, objective intelligence to president trump and to others. and just yesterday, 53 former senior u.s. officials sent the senate select committee on intelligence a letter in which they expressed their wholehearted support for miss
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haspel. this group included former secretaries of state henry kissinger and george shultz and former attorney general michael mukasey, among others. now, as i said, we know that some partisans have already sought to twist and distort miss haspel's record and the decisions made in real time by accomplished professionals at a time when our country was under attack. in his haspel's case, there have been questions about intear occasion tactics used in the early days of the war on terror following 9/11. these questions are really pretty easily answered. the program complained of was investigated twice by career lawyers in the justice department. one under president bush and another under president obama, and miss haspel and others were found to have done nothing unlawful. as my colleague, the junior senator from arkansas, has said haspel did not go rogue or make these policies on the fly.
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she dutifully executed the approved policy as determined by the department of justice, and moreover, she did so at one of the most dangerous moments in our nation's history. i'm confident miss haspel will be confirmed, because if she is not, it sends a horrible message to other highly qualified women who feel the call to serve our nation, and it would send a horrible message to other c.i.a. officers who follow lawful orders and protect our country on a daily basis. it would make our intelligence professionals more risk averse and consequently endanger our national security and american lives. mr. president, i'd also want to commend to the senate the nomination of mike pompeo as the next secretary of state and express my support for his nomination. after graduating first in his
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class at west point, and serving in the united states army, mike pompeo attended harvard law school. he had a successful career in law and business before transitioning into public service as an elected official. he served in the house of representatives as kansas' -- as the congressman from kansas' fourth congressional district, and he served in the house on the permanent select committee on intelligence. he was, of course, named by president trump to lead the c.i.a. after president trump was elected. director pompeo is smart and well respected by all. he has developed a keen sense for the delicate nature of global diplomacy and the crucial and indispensable role that america plays in world affairs. i know he has great personal rapport and the confidence of the president, and i think he
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will make an excellent secretary of state. earlier this month, a group of influential conservatives sent a letter applauding director pompeo's nomination. they praised his management of the c.i.a. and the trust he has earned of career officials there. they noted director pompeo's firsthand knowledge of the legislative process, something that is always handy for an executive branch official. they also noted his congressional relationships. as we know, relationships are very important here as well. but also his experience serving in the military, which gives him a unique perspective on a wide variety of issues. many of us have worked with the director on a number of occasions, including recently we worked together on the reauthorization of the foreign intelligence surveillance act, section 702 program, which the intelligence committee uses to
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monitor the communications of terrorists and other people who are a threat to the national security of the united states. without the director's stalwart support, we would not have been successful in renewing that program for six more years this last january. the director never waivers from a fight, even under pressure, and he understands that -- the important role that our intelligence officials have in responding to national security threats, and characteristic of his -- not backing down from a fight -- is going to be important as secretary of state because inevitably you're involved in controversial matters. but i believe he has the personal tact and the skill and intelligence to be able to deal with our allies and to address our adversaries on the world stage in a way that will help the united states, help us lead
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in the world. once he's confirmed, americans will be fortunate to have mike pompeo's critical eye trained on difficult conflicts like that in syria. upcoming negotiations on deenergyization with north korea, and the growing threat posed by china and its dictatorship and a new and evolving forms of russian aggression, including meddling in our elections. mike pompeo is not naive about these dangers. he's thoughtful. and i expect that once confirmed he will be direct, respectful, and collaborative in working with the white house and the congress. i strongly support the president's nomination of mike pompeo for secretary of state, and i would urge my colleagues to do likewise. mr. president, i yield the floor. i'd note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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mr. daines: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: mr. president, later today the c.e.o. of facebook will come before the u.s. senate to discuss facebook's leak of an estimated 87 million users' data. now, as someone who personally spent over a decade in the technology business in cloud computing, i know how important tech jobs are. i know how important internet connectivity is and how important social media is to our growing economy. but i'm also the father of four children, and i know the importance of ensuring that as
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technology continues to rapidly evolve, our children's security and privacy must be protected. in fact, recently in montana, we had a breach of our children's data at calispel middle school. that is why today i'm reintroducing the safe kids act. this bill prohibits websites and programs that are designed for students ranging from pre--k through the 12th grade from selling or disclosing our children's personal information. it takes control of our students' data away from operators and places it back where it should be, and that's into the hands of parents and the students themselves. this is a smart, timely, and
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important bill. our children's information shouldn't be used and abused, and i encourage and i ask my colleagues to join me in support of the safe kids act.
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a senator: mr. president. ms. warren: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: the senate is not in a quorum call. ms. warren: do i have permission to speak? the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. ms. warren: thank you, mr. president. i'm here to urge my colleagues to oppose the nomination of two trump nominees. john ring nominated to the national labor relations board and patrick pizzella who has been nominated deputy secretary
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of labor. these two nominees have been selected to hold critical jobs to protect workers. that's what these jobs are about. and i'll be blunt. i start with a pretty high bar here, since despite his campaign rhetoric from two years ago, the president's track record on standing up for workers has been absolutely miserable. from the day he nominated andrew pudzer, an executive who delighted in mocking and belittling his own low-wage workers to run the department of labor, this administration has delivered one gut punch after another to america's working people. the national labor relations board is responsible for protecting the rights of workers to organize and bargain for better wages and benefits. so as we consider president trump's latest nominee for the board, it makes sense to look at what his nominees so far have
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already done. look at the new republican majority's very first week back on the job. back in december, in just five days the board mowed its way through a giant wish list of areas where giant companies were begging to be let off the hook for violating workers' rights, allowing employers to shirk their collective bargaining obligations by contracting out workers. check. making it easier for employees to control the outcome of union elections. check. opening the door for workplace rules that chilled workers' ability to join together on the job. check. allowing cases to be settled without input from the workers whose rights were affected by this settlement. check. just as troubling as these antiworker decisions themselves are, are the egregious conflicts of interest behind them.
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from the moment he was nominated by president trump, i've repeatedly raised concerns about board member william emanuel's history of representing big corporations that have abused their workers and about his mile-long list of potential conflicts of interest. and sure enough, after just a few months on the board, nlrb's inspector general determined that mr. emanuel participated in not one, but two important decisions involving his former law firm, which directly violated his ethics pledge. in response, the board vacated one of its most consequential decisions of the last year. and member emanuel lost any remaining credibility that he could be an impartial board member. so i called on him to resign. now the president wants us to put john ring on the board.
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i've asked mr. ring to provide a list of clients and cases that might require his recusal. and to his credit, he has done so. but mr. ring's long list of clients is a huge red flag. either he'll ignore the ethics rules when they're inconvenient, like mr. emanuel did, or he'll likely have to recuse himself from important cases. and a large number of potential conflicts of interest isn't the only thing that john -- mr. ring has in common with mr. emanuel. like emanuel, mr. ring has also spent his career representing large employers against workers. and his few public statements on the nlrb express the belief that the board has been too friendly to workers and that corporations have gotten the short end of the stick. after decades of stagnant wages
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and skyrocketing corporate profits, does anyone other than insider lobbyists and lawyers think that washington is working for middle-class families and that big corporations are the ones under attack? i don't think so. that's exactly why an nlrb that looks out for workers is more important than ever. president trump's nlrb is failing miserably at that mission. working americans deserve board members with a demonstrated record of fighting for workers, not against them. they deserve board members who aren't ethically and legally constrained from doing the job. mr. ring does not meet those qualifications. workers need an nlrb that works for them, and they need leaders at the department of labor also who are going to be on their
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side, not on the side of giant employers and extreme right-wing donors. patrick pizzella has been nominated to the number-two job at the department of labor, and nothing in mr. pizzella's resume tells us that he meets the description of being on the side of workers. in the 1990's, mr. pizzella lobbied with jack abramoff to exempt the mariana islands from labor laws. that's what allowed companies to run sweatshops while slapping made in america labels on their products. later when mr. pizzella was in charge of data management and other operations at the labor department, the government accountability office found that the wage and hour division was egregiously mishandling wage theft complaints, consistently leaving vulnerable low-wage workers out to dry because of
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faulty data systems and other operational failures. and after leaving the department, mr. pizzella went to work for secretive far-right donor groups like the conservative action project, which secretly planned out the 2013 government shutdown to sabotage the affordable care act and undermine many workers' access to health care, all while mr. pizzella was its highest paid employee. the deputy secretary position should be filled by someone who's defended worker rights, not undermined them, someone who will make government work for the american people, not hamstring it for political purposes. mr. pizzella is the wrong man for this job. president trump talked a big game during his campaign about fighting for workers, but after a year of corporate tax cuts,
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rolling back commonsense protections for workplace safety, retirement security and more, we know that those promises have turned out not to be worth much of anything. the senate should send a clear message to this administration that we expect agencies like the nlrb and the labor department to stand up for working people, not to suck up to corporate lobbyists. rejecting these two nominees would be a good first step. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: i have seven requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leader. the presiding officer: duly noted. under the previous order, all time is expired. the question occurs on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: anyone in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 96, the nays are one. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. under the previous order, the under the previous order, the
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>> u.s. senate taking a break for the weekly party caucus lunches. senate lawmakers will be back at 2:15 p.m. eastern for for a vote to advance the nomination to the national labor relations board. if confirmed he would give the republicans a majority on the nlrb. more judicial and executive nominations coming up later this week and live coverage of the senate will continue when members return. >> you to tell us about that hearing that will take place on the senate side today with mark zuckerberg tony romm joints on the phone with the "washington post." he is a tech post reported. good morning to you. give us a sense of what's going to play out today during this hearing. >> guest: this is the most serious political task that facebook ceo mark zuckerberg hat probably ever faced and it's his first ever testimony toy capitl hill turkey will face off with more than 40 senators, almost half the entire chamberor with lots of questions about cambridge analytica, the
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companies privacy practices and even other unrelated issues like the weight facebook handled the russian disinformation during the 2016 election. with cambridge analytica the concerns are manyfold, questions as to whether facebook activity and allowing this firm to capture tens of millions of americans personal information without their permission violates a settlement that the brokered with the federal government a few years ago over another privacy mishap. that's the thingr that carries could reach in the billions of dollars so the stakes are really high. everyone wants to what he has so say as the phillies could be immense if all to make government finds it aired inhaling its consumer information. >> host: in the lead up to this what is he expected to say that his companies practices? >> guest: zuckerberg is expected to apologize for one thing. this is something the company has done many times now look for the cambridge analytica controversy and what happened with russian disinformation. facebook has to do better come
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has to protect information better against all sorts of threats on its platform. with that you can expect zuckerberg to point to some of thinks facebook as announced in recent weeks to shore up the weight handle personal information such as telling users over affected by cambridge analytica and doing an edit of all third-party acts that appear on the site. it's unclear if this is the sort of thing thatt will help regulators. if it's going to satisfy their many concerns. i talked to senator richard blumenthal and he said he felt this was safe facebook is unsae and unstated moment. a reference back when there was, trained all the attention onom automakers for failing to enough protections in place for passengers in vehicles that led to legislative onslaught with respect to the auto industry. the question is if his apologies are not to stave off -- the carmakers, not the entire tech industry including his companies but as for senators the ones
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that will be questioning him, are the interest in regulation overhaul or is this just a means of them saying police yourself out we will have to step in? >> guest: there are some of that and plenty of other lawmakers are threatening act regulation as well. folks who went to -- [inaudible] a longtime supporter of privacy regulation by the u.s. government. even some republicans have thrown their voices into the mix, congressman marsha blackburn of tennessee has put out a built a few months ago that would require companies to get permission before they sell personal information to advertisers bid that would be both tech companies like facebook and internet service providers by comcast but many, many times we've had these legislative bushes after major privacy for data security mishap. facebook has been apologizing for my than a decade and lawmakers have threatened bills and none of that has ever actually transformed into law.
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even when we had the major equifax breach were more than 140 million americans personal information was stolen by malicious hackers lawmakers still failed to pass a data security measure at that time. it's i think my to look at this with a bit of skepticism and question whether the noise will result in meaningful regulation drama tony romm of the "washington post" said it at that hearing that will take place today in front of the senate although mr. zuckerberg expected to appear in frontat of the house tomorrow. thank you for your time today. >> guest: thanks for having me. >> this week facebook ceo mark zuckerberg will testify before senate and house committees on facebook handling of user information and data privacy. today at 2:15 p.m. eastern on c-span3, he will answer questions during a joint senate judiciary and commerce committee hearing. on wednesday at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span3 he will appear before the house energy and commerce committee watch live coverage on
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c-span3 and online at and listen live with the free c-span radio app. >> james carvel carville campan strategist and former president bill clinton appeared at an election conference recently and talked about foreign interference in u.s. elections and the impact on the future of politics. the university of california at irvine hosted this event. >> all right. there are some stragglers but this is going to be their loss. we don't know what amazing things james a city for the gator. for anyone who doesn't know, the pennsylvania house race this editor james o, on that but play play-by-play zirconia and did he want to take those e-mails when they come in. for those of you from my generation, james carville needs no introduction. for any of you who are a little bit younger and not familiar with his history


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