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tv   U.S. Senate Sens. Wicker Schumer on Mike Pomeo Nomination  CSPAN  April 26, 2018 2:47am-3:04am EDT

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of the chamber. >> madam president i. rise in support of the nomination of mike pompeo our current cia director to be the next secretary of state and i must say i have watched with interest they perceiving the day before yesterday in the foreign relations committee. and i appreciate the fact that accommodations were made so mike pompeo's nomination could be presented to the full senate with a positive vote. i am disappointed that so many of my democratic colleagues have
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stated that they will oppose this nomination and i keyed the admonition of one of the members of the democratic party on the confirmation vote for the committee when this member asked that senators not question the motives of anyone who takes the position one way or the other with regards to the nomination of mr. pompeo. so i will heed that admonition madam president and not question the motivation. the vote is either yes or no of this nomination. i would simply observe this. mike pompeo is a highly qualified nominee, a distinguished former member of the house of representatives. he served with accomplishment
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and great dignity and ability as director of the cia. he graduated first in his class in the united states military academy at west point and went on to serve to graduate with distinction at the harvard law school and served as editor-in-chief of "the harvard law review." this is a manin of great intellt and ability and great accomplishment so without impugning the motives of anyone who would vote no i think they observe they will be voting a highly accomplished and qualified nominee. when the shoe w was on the other foot during the obama administration i along with members with an almost unanimous majority of members of my caucus
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in favor of the confirmation of hillary benton to be secretary of state i voted yes along with virtually unanimous vote on both sides of the aisle for the nomination of our colleague john kerry to be the successor to hillary clinton as secretary of state. i would simply note to my doubtingdo friends who are standing on the other side of thele aisle that the overwhelmig public opinion from the news media has come down on the side of mr. pompeo. the wall street journal headline today says we need to secretary of state a mic pompeo should be confirmed. the "chicago tribune" in an
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editorial states why the senate should confirm mike pompeo. the "washington post" on the editorial page confirm mike pompeo. president trump need to secretary of state and i would add madam president that this country needs a secretary of state. because of internationalti diplomacy we need ads secretaryf state or because of human rights around the world we need a secretary of state. "usa today" said to confirm mike pompeo a secretary of state. i will not question the motives of any of my colleagues. i will only say that things are surely different around the united states senate nowadays than they were previously.
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when we rose up almost unanimously and confirmed john kerry and hillary clinton and stood with the proposition that a president of the united states is entitled to his or her team and that person is in strong support but i want to say that at a moment when our country needs to send a strong message of resolve to our allies to the entire internationalin community -- we send a strong signal of unity that the vote we make today later this week in confirming mike pompeo might have been a signal of partisanship and division and i regret that. i think this unfortunate narrow
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vote will come and go and perhaps not even a standard that we operate under in future times. i would only say for those colleagues who are still looking for an answer and still wrestling with how they should vote i would commend to them the example of previous days and sending a strong signal around the globe that this president is supported in his efforts and international diplomacy and that he is entitled to the team that he has t chosen. with that madam president i urge my colleagues to vote yes and i appreciate the distinguished minority leader for indulging me and allowing me to go forward.
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i yield the floor. >> madam president the senate is considering the nomination of mike pompeo to be the next secretary of state. i must admit that even after his confirmation the directorship of the cia i remained concerned about mr. pompeo when he was in the congress. i talked to him directly. i told him not deeply disappointed i was and how he handled the benghazi hearings and how partisan they were. told him some of his comments about minority groups muslims in particular were way over the top overet the course of his tenuret langley had met m with them several times after that first meeting where i had given him my views on some of the things that disagreed with him that he did. i'd have to say those meetings were good meetings. he was very candid with me and
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obviously very smart. he is obviously well-informed about foreign policy far more informed than secretary tillerson was when he came before the committee for his nomination hearing. and what particularly gave me some good feeling was that mr. mr. pompeo was strong on russian sanctions even showing separation from the president as we met. so i began to think that mr. pompeo was better than my first impression which is guided particular by his performance which was a very poor performance in the benghazi hearings. when he was nominated for secretary off state that's a whole different ballgame. anyone nominated for such a critical position, security position deserves the most careful and scrutiny. with that in mind i met with
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mr. pompeo privately were interviewed him on foreign policy. frankly w he was far more hawkih than i or for our diplomats be preferring to my views were probably on this issue a little closer to the p president who remembered as i do that iraq we spend over a trillion dollars andsn lost close to 5000 of our bravest men and women and iraq doesn't seem much better off today than it was then. so my view was it was too quick to recommend strong military action when diplomacy might do. but at the same time i believe the president should get to pick his team. president trump wanted a more hawkish secretary of state which is concerning to me but it is
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his decision and mr. pompeo answered my questions with the same candor and forthrightness. i thought it would wait for this hearing because speaking in public and speaking privately to a member of the senate before making the decision mr. pompeo's hearing became very disappointing. first the president has shown he often directs foreign policy by impulse or radically and consistently. the fact that we were contending with several hotspots in the world north korea iran syria yemen venezuela and russia means we need summer at the state department who not only prices diplomacy but is willing to check the president's worst instincts. unfortunately mr. pompeo's testimony and of course public testimony is the real test it did little to convince me that he would be a strong influence
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on often erratic president. he didn't convince me that what he would be the kind of secretary that most of us believe secretary mattis is who is able successfully to check the present when the president might go off base. even more disappointing was mr. pompeo's tepid responses to questions that commitments to bedrock principles like rule of law. as important and difficult as there foreign policy decisionse, are the nation is taking a great test. the president rule of law in america when it comes to the investigation of whether there was collusion in this administration his campaign and russia. an investigation to look into this and to look into russian interference in our election and whether there was participation of members of his campaign or
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administration is vital to the bedrock of america. if the president says i can undo this investigation one way or another is our day trying to in terminated but fortunately mr. mueller or mr. rosenstein are intimidated. a key position like secretary ot state should able to speak out on this kind of issue. america is recognized throughout the world as the country that most of the price is the rule of law. the retiree doesn't speak out strongly above it -- about if it's not only bad for country but it's not good for his job. unfortunately i was deeply disappointed. mr. pompeo responded when put
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the question is whether he would stand up to the president would he resign or otherwise protest and the president's actions that would undermine the rule of law and his answer was weak. he did not say he would resign if the president fired mueller or rosenstein. toet me a cabinet officer should do that. he did not even unequivocally state that he would publicly urged the president not to fire mr. mueller so that's was not good enough. but i thought i owed mr. pompeo a direct d discussion because he is a talented man and the president does deserve the benefit of theso doubt. i called them into my office for one final meeting. i asked him pointedly whether he'd able to say publicly that the president should fire
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special counsel mueller before we voted. i asked him what he would do if the president fired the special counsel mr. rosenstein. his answers were extremely insufficient. i also asked him if he'd be willing to recant or undo some of what he said about muslims in indian americans in lgbtq americans and women's rights now that he was in line to be our had to deal with countries that might be affected by his remarks. again he demurred. when he left that evening i emerged with a clear conscience that a vote against mr. pompeo's nomination was the right thing to do. i still believe the president deserves his team and disagreements on policy alone are not a t sufficient reason to reject the nomination but i gave mr. pompeo the benefit of the
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doubt with three chances to answer the questions that i thought were extremely important and assuage my broader concerns about his nomination. he did not answer those questions in any way that was satisfying. so with a clear conscience i will be voting against his nomination. let me be clear. this is not about politics. this is not about denying the president and his team just for the sake of it. it's about the role of congress and frankly the cabinet to provide a check on the senate. i'm sorry. it's a roll about congress but also the cabinet to provide a check on the president who might go off the rails and undo the respect for rule of law the tradition of rule of law that we have had in
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this country for so long. it is my view that the next secretary of state in this moment of history with a president who seems a radack and with little regard oftentimes for niche in history of president whose constitutional order. that secretary must he willing to the country first and stand up for our most sacred fundamental foundational values and the rule of law through the idea that no person not even the president is above the rule of law. unfortunately mr. pompeo in these difficult and troubled times times didn't meet that task as much as they wish he did i don't doubt that the president could nominate someone with the right experience, the right values and the right commitment to our core national principles to earn my vote is secretary of state but i do not believe


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