U.S. Senate Sen. Minority Leader Schumer on Supreme Court Nomination CSPAN October 4, 2018 6:26am-6:48am EDT
then pursuant to last week's agreement of a delay no longer than one week, the senate will vote on this nomination this week. the senate will vote on this nomination this week. when we do, we will be voting on one of the most impressive, most stunningly qualified supreme court nominees in our nation's history. we'll be voting to confirm a new supreme court justice who possesses sterling academic credentials, widely acknowledged legal brilliance, and exemplary judicial temperament and a proven commitment to complete fairness on the bench. that is exactly what the senate will do this mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: mr. president, first i'm glad that the majority leader and i get along.
i'm glad we're able to do certain things together like the opioid bill and the appropriations bill, but that cannot hold me back from responding to the blatant falsehoods he tells day after day after day on this floor. first, from the man who single-handedly delayed the filling of justice scalia's seat for ten months to complain about a one-week delay to get the truth. give me a break. it is classic diversionary blame-the-other-person tactics when he himself is the master of delay. it is galling, appalling to hear day after day the majority leader get on his high horse about delay when he almost invented the word when it comes
to judicial nominations. second, he blames democrats for the delay, which is about the most blatant falsehood i have heard uttered on this floor in a long time. the majority leader knows darn well that he has the sole power to determine when to put the kavanaugh nomination on the floor. he could have done it two weeks ago. he could have done it last week. he is now insisting he'll do it this week. democrats have no say. he talked about an agreement that caused a week delay. who was the agreement with? three republican senators. the majority leader knows, knows that it was republicans who caused him to delay, both for the f.b.i. investigation and for judge kavanaugh and dr. ford to testify. he didn't have to do that. he had the power. he's to blame for the delay, but he couldn't do anything
otherwise because his own republicans insisted on it. again, it is a blatant falsehood i'm so tempted to use the "l" word, but he is my friend, to say the democrats caused the delay. mr. leader, assert your power and determine what's put on the floor and be a man, man up and say it's your decision, not ours. we have nothing to do with it. and third, he says one of the most qualified nominees we have ever seen. we know what's going on here. everyone, everyone, everyone, including the majority leader himself, knows that kavanaugh is a deeply flawed candidate for a whole lot of reasons. knowing that, the majority leader and the republican majority have to divert attention from kavanaugh, so they are focusing on people who did nothing wrong, like senator
feinstein, like judiciary democratic minority, like the democratic party. it's outrageous, but they know that kavanaugh is not very good, and they know his testimony hurt him across america. i was talking to a c.e.o., a republican, of a major company. he said his board was happening to watch the debate, and every one of them changed their mind after seeing kavanaugh testify. they said this guy doesn't belong on the bench. we can do better. that's the overwhelming reaction of americans. judge kavanaugh hurt himself dramatically, permanently by his screed, his nasty partisan screed. that's something about new unschooled, two-bit politician, not someone who wants to be on
the supreme court of the united states. and he hurt himself. leader mcconnell knows that. the republican leadership knows it. donald trump knows it. but they can't -- they have to get the focus off kavanaugh, and so they come up with these stra men and women. they come up with these false innuendoes, distortions and dishonesty. it's not going to work. it's not going to work. now, let me turn to the president. let me condemn in the strongest possible terms the comments by president trump last night about dr. ford. president trump's outright mockery of a sexual assault survivor, riddled as it was with falsehoods. let me say that again. president trump's outright mockery of a sexual assault survivor, riddled as it was with
falsehoods, was reprehensible, beneath the office of the presidency, and beneath common decency from one person to another. president trump owes dr. ford an immediate apology. for too long, far too long, survivors of sexual assault have been afraid to come forward because they thought that powerful men would shut -- shout them down and destroy their character. the president of the united states, the most powerful man there is, confirmed those fears for millions of women in the most despicable way possible. president trump should send a message to the women of america right now that he's sorry for saying what he said about dr. blasey ford, that survivors of sexual assault should not only be heard but treated with dignity and respect and compassion. you don't have to believe
everything dr. ford said, and i do, to refrain from the nasty, vicious attacks riddled with lies in sort of a mobocracy-type way, and yet donald trump shows no restraint, no regulator. he is the prime example of why the norms in america, regardless of politics, regardless of party , are declining. and we don't hear a peep out of my colleagues on the other side, with a few notable and noble exceptions. he's ruining the norms of america. he's so degrading the way people treat each other. it's pathetic. and it does permanent damage to this public unless his own party members or other close to him
speak up. anyone who watched dr. blasey ford saw a credible, courageous woman who elected to relive the worst night of her life because she felt civic duty to come forward. she is not the first. that action took courage. it's not unusual anymore. we know thousands of women who were hurt and then afraid to come forward, mainly because they thought they would be ridiculed, disbelieved, just as president trump appallingly and despicably, lowly did last night. dr. ford's actions took courage from a woman who admitted she is far more honest than donald trump, who admitted that she was terrified to speak in public about her very private pain and trauma. i have been disappointed by president trump's comments before, but this is a new low.
president trump should apologize immediately. i repeat that. and now what will my colleagues on the other side of the aisle do? ignore president trump's comments, sidestep president trump's comments, spend their time blaming democrats, even though we had no say in the delay? that was three republicans. we know what they'll do. it's shameful. the president is day by day tearing down the norms that have built this country up. we have had the greatest norms, the greatest character, the greatest behavior of any nation ever, but it's declining now because people of goodwill allow trump to do it without criticize ing. it's about time they did. it's about time they did. now, shifting focus back to events here in congress, we have to get back to reality and truth and focus on treating the
supreme court nomination debate the right way. when all is said and done, this is about the nominee's credibility and temperament. i've said it before. i say it again. there are many who say what happened when someone was 15 and 18 doesn't indicate their personality and what kind of person they are when they are 53. well, i believe dr. ford. and i believe what she said is very relevant. there are many who don't want to consider that. but there is an issue that should matter even to them, and that is the credibility and temperament of judge kavanaugh. this is what he is at 53. if he can't tell the truth about previous encounters, engagements, behavior, and activity, which we have found over and over and over again
with judge kavanaugh, he doesn't deserve to be on the bench. that's why we need an f.b.i. investigation. that's why republicans stymied leader mcconnell in his headlong rush to have a vote and demanded an f.b.i. investigation. it wasn't democrats. we know that. because they wanted to get to the truth, because credibility of a justice on the supreme court is a very, very important characteristic, and right below it is temperament and lack of partisanship. and unfortunately, at least from initial indications, judge kavanaugh is not high on any of those three lists. that's why we need the investigation, and that's why we need it to be thorough. but we still don't know how thorough of an investigation the f.b.i. is conducting. as of last night, dr. blasey
ford and her list of corroborating witnesses have not been interviewed, while deborah ramirez has reportedly been interviewed, her list of witnesses have not. nbc news is reporting at least 40 people with information have not been contacted by the f.b.i. i've heard this story over and over again. people call the tips line. that's what they're supposed to do. and they don't get a call back. this may be vital information. we want to know the truth. it can all be done in a week, the week that senator flake and senator collins and senator murkowski asked for. not the democrats asked for, although we certainly agree with them, but that's not what caused leader mcconnell to delay, and every republican senator knows it. so that's why we need this to be a thorough investigation. without a clear sense of what
the white house has told the f.b.i. to look at in this investigation, we have no idea if the f.b.i. is doing a real investigation or simply preparing a fig leaf at the direction of the white house for republicans to vote yes. i understand the difficulty of the f.b.i. i have a great deal of respect for director ray. he's been pushed around. they have been ridiculed by the president, brave men and women who risk their lives for us, a part of law enforcement. but the f.b.i. has a duty to do, and director ray has a duty to the reputation. and if he's being constrained by the white house, he has an obligation to let us know. and certainly counsel mcgahn has an obligation to let us know what constraints he has placed upon the f.b.i. so here's what needs to happen. first, the white house must
publicly release in writing what the white house counsel has instructed the f.b.i. to pursue. if the f.b.i. is not interviewing these witnesses that ms. ramirez's torn presented to them -- attorney presented to them because counsel mcgahn or donald trump has said don't do it, we ought to know that. certainly not just we ought to know that. the senators who requested the f.b.i. investigation ought to know that. second, leader mcconnell should arrange an all-senators briefing from the agent in charge of the investigation before the vote. we should know what he did and what he didn't do and why. and, third, the findings of the f.b.i. investigation upon completion should be released publicly, with any personal information redacted. this is not the usual practice but it's been done in the past when it's needed, and it's sure needed now. the f.b.i. should do it. these three steps would go a
long way to ensure the public's faith that the investigation has been conducted fairly, fully, and properly. this debate, this nomination, mr. president, is about whether judge brett kavanaugh has the character, the credibility, the impartiality to serve on the nation's highest court. in order to be an effective judge at any level you need to be impartial, dispassionate. we don't ask our judges to be perfectly neutral but we can't tolerate judges who are nakedly partisan either. judge kavanaugh himself has said that most obviously a judge cannot be a political partisan. those are his words, and that's just what he has shown us he is. in his long history and now in his recent rant. the testimony judge kavanaugh prepared for the judiciary last thursday -- prepared testimony.
this was not just on the spur. this was not a -- it showed who he was and is it was steeped in partisan resentment and acrimony. he tried to implicate sitting senators in a calculated and orchestrated hit job. that's what heed said to the senators he was being interviewed by. he denounced left-wing opposition groups who don't have close to the power the hard right has had in pushing our republican colleagues around to rush this nomination through. we don't hear about them. and then topping it off, he portrayed the recent allegations against him as revenge on behalf of the clintons. i dare say that dr. ford didn't have the clintons on her mind once when she wrestled and struggled with whether to come forward. it's an absurd charge. absurd. he even told democratic senators what comes around -- what goes
around comes around, which to many here sounds just like a threat. a judge telling people what comes around goes around -- goes around comes around. a judge, a supreme court justice says that when he's nominated? we can certainly do better. even if someone is with the same ideological as kavanaugh is chosen, someone who doesn't do things like that should be before us. i hope that person won't be chosen, of course. , if he has judge kavanaugh's ideology which is why one of the main reasons i was against him to begin with, and should never forget it's likely judge kavanaugh will greatly impede a woman's right to choose. it's very likely he will get rid of health care, including preexisting conditions. it's likely he'll allow
presidential overreach. those three substantive bases motivated us to come out against judge kavanaugh even before his awful testimony. i understand judge kavanaugh felt his character was under assault. i understand how he's feeling angry and upset. i understand responding to questions in the heat of the moment with words you might later regret. but these were prepared remarks. it takes a partisan to see a partisan conspiracy against him. as conservative -- a conservative fellow, the brookings institute, former kavanaugh defender benjamin whit ease wrote in a column i know judge kavanaugh but won't confirm him, judge kavanaugh's statement was an outburst of emotion from a would-be judge. i do not begrudge him the emotion, even the anger, but i cannot condone the partisanship which was raw, undisguised
negative conspiratorial for somebody who asks for public faith as a dispassionate and impartial judicial actor. his of performance was wholly inconsistent with a congress we should expect from a member of the judiciary. that's from somebody who is abconservative and a -- a conservative and kavanaugh supporter. the courage that both kavanaugh 's friends and observers like whitease is showing realizes this guy is too much. i wish we saw a little more from the republican side because they know deep in their hearts this guy shouldn't be on the bench. we know they know. now the judge's partisanship at hearing raises questions, as i mentioned, but the biggest issue against judge kavanaugh, in my judgment, is credibility credibility, the number-one issue. does kavanaugh always tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. whatever you think of what he did as a 17- or 18-year-old,
what judge kavanaugh has said as a 53-year-old matter. whether you think think the 17- or 18-year-old behavior should be part of the decision, which i do, or whether you don't. the harsh fact of the matter is that judge kavanaugh has repeatedly, repeatedly danced around the truth on issues large and small. in 2004, his first confirmation hearings. 2006, his second. and now again in 2018. on things like what happened when -- what he did in high school and law school to things like it grand jury proceedings and white house controversies, again he has danced around the truth and never been direct and often tried to mislead. we cannot have a supreme court justice whose credibility is in doubt. that will hurt the nation for a generation. so i ask my colleagues whatever you think about what judge
kavanaugh did at 17 or 18, think about what he said at age 53. think about the credibility of the man now as a grown adult and a judge. think about whether we want to put someone who has been so partisan, with questionable credibility on the court, or whether there is someone better. mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i unfortunately don't have enough time right now to respond to everything the democratic leader said, but i do want to say this the most accurate statement that the minority leader made as he was against judge kavanaugh from the start. no one should be confused about this being a search for the truth. this is about searchnd