U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell on Election Security CSPAN July 29, 2019 7:41pm-8:09pm EDT
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i'd like to welcome all members back to the senate for a busy week, but first there is something i need to address. over the last several days i was called unpatriotic, un-american , and essentially treasonous by a couple of left-wing pundits on the basis of bold-faced lies. i was accused of aiding and abetting the very man i've singled out as an adversary and opposed for nearly 20 years, vladimir putin. this was less than 24 hours after the outrage industrial complex was disappointed yet again by special >> they were crushed a few
months ago when the mueller report clear the president during the 2016 campaign. and now with a special counsel that has fallen flat once again. but the conspiracy theories but there are too many people who have invested too much time to simply wind it down the outrage industrial complex needed a new target and that's where i come in. mitch mcconnell one of the foreign policy conservatives who spent decades pushing back on rush every way i can think of was accused of what amount to treason by multiple media outlets within a couple of
hours. these absurd smears put out there by anonymous twitter accounts. no. this modern day mccarthyism that i am a russian asset ran in the opinion pages of the washington post. the accusation i am un-american was broadcast on msnbc. this is the state, mister president, left-wing politics in 2019. but with outrage instead of dollars. they have worn out the volume knob so loudly they have nothing left but the most unhinged smears. welcome to mccarthyism. for everyone to see out in the
open. in a major cable channel run by a - - nbc here was my crime. bless me. while i sin. here it is. last week i stopped democrats from passing a bill through the senate by unanimous consent that was so partisan it only received one republican vote in the house. my democratic friends i ask for your unanimous consent that everybody knows is not unanimous and never would be unanimous. so i objected. these theatrical requests happen all the time here in the senate for i promise that nobody including my friend the democratic leader who made a request actually thought he would get a republican senate
to instantly pass a bill that got one republican vote in the house. this kind of objection is a routine occurrence here in the senate it doesn't make republicans traders or un-american it makes us policymakers with a different opinion. for the outrage industrial complex doesn't let a little thing like reality get in their way. but to distort and tell lies and fuel the flames for partisan hatred and so they did. starting with the angry lies on msnbc. saying that i dismiss russian interference in the 2016 election. of course i have never said any such thing. know i have spoken extensively
about russia unacceptable interference of 2016 i constantly discuss all we have done to correct the obama administration failures to respond more absurd - - assertively including security. let me make this crystal-clear. for those who have not actually followed, every single member of the senate agrees it is real and is real and we all agree the federal government and the private sector all have obligations to take the threatsl seriously and defenses. claims to the contrary are just lies. not partisan distortion. just total fabrication at
least this is honest what it offers and it is not injournalism. with a string of false claims calling me an american another panel has chimed in and here is what he said. we are at war. isem time for the americans to wake up one - - democrats to wake up and we will not play fair. not necessarily going to play fair. well i should say not mister president. remember how msnbc jumped into ethe conspiracy fever swamp over the past two years. they give airtime to individuals who publicly ortreated among other things that a former white house advisor talked about being executed for espionage and thenre chief justice roberts and chief justice marshall to threaten the president. utter nonsense. they hope these are the
conspiratorial voices in just a few days ago one former host pointed out msnbc build segment after segment and show after show on building anticipation for a big reveal. but then the molar report one - - the mueller report took their stories off the table. and then the last week the special counsel testimony disappointed the political left again. so the conspiracy theories needed a new target and a few hours later a new pundit who spent much of the obama administration carrying water for the failed foreign policies and excusing president obama's weakness on russia.
here is the headline. , mitch mcconnell is a russian asset. that is a smear and based on more lies. with all efforts to raise defenses against russia meddling but i have championed that work between congress and the ministration that are primarily responsible for elections. and then the senate has passed major provisions on this subject this year. i have spoken frequently on the floor for the need to keep up and what's more a specific piece of legislation he claims that i literally have never opposed the online column links directly to a bill and it's something i have never
opposed. you think columnist leveling the smears would at least consult the fact checker before accusing an elected official to aid and abet vladimir putin and is not even a confidence piece now ironically he is frequently written pieces lecturing republicans who he feels as impugned others patriotism. back in 2013 the same guy wrote a piece insisting the political opponent is not the
enemy. and 2015 he criticized the patriotism and say it had to be thrown out to have a civilized debate. and then to be criticize those left-wing pundits calling for civility but when it's time to smear somebody on the other side but now as recently as 2017 this columnist wrote cormac let's pause to remember we are all american people and we all love our country". and to speak at length of russia's attack ond our hundreds of millions
of dollars to improve defenses and applauded the government seffort they continue to carry out we may not sell any newspapers were held a democratic fundraiser but the facts are the facts and that this administration has made huge strides over election securities since 2016 and to make a noticeable impact and to secure the 2018 election as we head into 2020. a few weeks ago every senator had the opportunity to look at a classified briefing that has been underway since 2016 i have been in a lot of classified briefings over the years and it's not exactly common for members to break
out spontaneously applause let alone bipartisan but that's exactly what happened in the classified briefing. behind closed doors they were applauding the progress made since 2016. this administration thanks in large part to our friend and former colleague mister coates who i'm sorry to hear stepping down has increased and improved the intelligence on these matters. and with a more functional relationship with the state election authorities and has enlisted moreer help from the srivate sector to influence campaigns work closely with foreign allies and partners who face similar threats from russi russia. he is imposed real cost on russia for the misdeeds cutting down on the ability of russia to operate inside our country. and in particular department
of homeland security has spatial capabilities in all 50 states for protecting malign activity. with the security advisors all across the country operates thert national cybersecurity and communications integration center to support the election infrastructure and information sharing and analysis center. dhs offer cybersecurity assessments protection and prevention tools and training and career development for election officials free of charge. and using the hundreds of millions of dollars congress sends to the states, the authorities actually conduct the elections on the front lines need to be better prepared. this is a long list of significant achievements that my democratic colleagues applauded and cheered behind
closed doors when the administration briefed us a few weeks ago. but in public works in public? in front of the cameras? some of my colleagues quickly pivoted with hysterical accusations to only fan the flames of this modern-day of mccarthyism. these pundits are lying. lying. that they dismiss the work that has been done. they lying when they insist i personally have actions which i objected and the senate has passed. they are lying when they suggest they are defending our democracy. this work is essential and it will continue. over two years ago. to take a hard bipartisan look at the russian threats of 2016
and the steps the administration took with the obama administration to defend against it. here was the headline december 26 nbc news mcconnell back senate investigation of russian hack. it was serious detailed investigation not a political sideshow. i'm impressed and grateful for the nonpartisan work of the committee and the leadership of chairman burr and chairman warner. the committee's reports with the aspects of the threat are now being released and will add vital context and analysis so what to do about this ongoing threat. i am sure all of us will be open to discussing further steps with the state and private sector to defend our elections against foreign interference.
any further legislation must be informed by this report and all the steps the government has already taken. already taken. at the a same time mister president you can be sure with the efforts to seize on the crisis and to use that to advance their other long-held partisan goals of the political process. some of these changes they sought long before the 2016 meddling so no, i will not elect lot one - - let them use russia's attack on our democracy as a trojan horse as wish list items that would not make our elections any safer. i will not do that. our position is that they properly belong with the states in any way that has followed my career through
congress even the new york times editorial board over the weekend we counted while they certainly degree - - agree with all my views but my record goes back decades and that the democrats are playing folitics"to introduce legislation that has no chance of passing the senate that serves only to harden partisan divisions. that is the new york times this weekend. so mister president with those complicated matters of election law that we used to be able to have without the mainstream media outlets screaming that one side as traders. this congress and this entire etcountry only works with those smears over real debate. benjamin franklin said we have
a republic if we can keep it and among other things that means we cannot let modern-day mccarthyism when. so here is my commitment. no matter how much they lie, no matter how much they beg i will not be intimidated. for decades ia and protect the ud states of america. i'm proud of my effort. i'm proud that it's right there in black and white, and liars cannot gaslight it away. in the 1980's, as a freshman senator, i proudly stood with president reagan on missile defense and other aspects of his soviet policy. soviet policy. the liberal media was shrieking, shrieking that reagan, bush foreign policy would not work and i was honored to support it with my vote and then watch communism combo.
in the 19 '90s i used my place on the state foreign subcommittee to sound the alarm on president clinton when he was too soft on russia. here's "the wall street journal" mb1994, kentucky senator handed keys to foreign aid to be the most potent foe of clinton's russia policy. here's what that article said. the real challenge to the administration's policy of mcconnell's plan to attach stiff political condition to that aid getting a cut off unless russia stops meddling in its neighbors affairs. let me say that again. as early as the 19 '90s i was on record as laser focused on russia's meddling beyond its borders and making sure the russians were held accountable. mr. president, i asked consent the article be placed in record.
>> without objection. >> on the other hand of the clinton administration i used earrings to grill representatives who were optimistic about president-elect putin and did not share the faith that they would be our friend. i asked consent the two exerts for my committee statement from april 4th, 2000 calling for a tough and stance on the [inaudible] vladimir putin appear at this point without objections. the goddess of who is in the white house, regardless of which way the political wind is blowing i have consistently treated russia like the threat that it is. even under a republican in ministration and spoke out when i was afraid the u.s. was not doing enough to stop the erosion of democracy and rule of law in russia. the managers remain gravely concerned with the deterioration
in systematic dismantling of democracy and the rule of off in russia and we pushed president bush's demonstration a republican administration to do more. of course, i helped lead the charge against the obama administration completelypo feckless russian policy. president obama marked his 2012 opponent for taking russia to seriously and his administration sought a naïve reset with the kremlin and for eight years i helped lead the charge against that weakness.lp in 2010 i stood with john mccain to oppose the new start treaty, a watered-down placeholder for the sort of tough stance we knew was necessary. the vladimir putin build up his missile arsenal we had to push president obama to commit to deploying capable missile defenses to europe. in 2012 firmly supported sweeping legislation to
authorize heavy sanctions following the killing of surrogate ministry in russian prison. the obama ministration flinched and tried to tiptoe around our legislation to mess up their charge offensive but we back them into a corner and the president signed the bill and the law. inly 2014 i and other republicas constantly press president obama to get tougher on russia with respect to putin's aggression in ukraine.es i mr. president, i asked that the news article dated march 4, 2014 entitled mcconnell obama's passive foreign policy is a mistake appear in the recordar without a objection. >> since 20 something i continued reminding everyone that putin is not our friends. russia is going to continue that we need the company as a strategy to contest russian aggression and that alliances like nato are criticat for standing up to our adversaries.
once more, for good measure, mr. president, i asked consent that the news article dated august 15th, 2018 entitled u.s. senator top republican lichens rush into old soviet union be included in the record. >> without objection. >> i don't normally take the time to respond to critics in the media when they have no clue what they are talking about but this modern-day mccarthyism is toxic and damaging because of the way it warps our entire public discourse. facts matter. detailed matter. history matters. if our community loses the ability to discuss discourse without screaming treason, that matters. in the middle of the 20th century the original mccarthyism hurt america strength and diminish our standing in the cold war by dividing us against
ourselves and letting lies from innuendos and baseless accusations crowd out reasonable politics. it's politicized which aren't distracted from legitimate efforts to contest the soviet union, including more sober efforts to reach out real soviet agents. in his shorts, mccarthyism's did the work for them. mccarthyism did the work for the russians. here we are in 2019 and again putin and russians seek to provoke fear and division in our country. to undermine faith in our institutions and to exacerbate our political differences until we tear ourselves apart and once again it seems there are some who blindly take the bait.
american pundits calling on american officials treasonous because of a policy disagreeme disagreement. if anything is an asset to the russians it is disgusting behavior like that. >> here on c-span2 tonight "the communicators" is next with republican representative bob latta of ohio. secretary of state mike pompeo talks about u.s. foreign policy toward iran, russia and north korea. after that a look at reconstruction efforts in afghanistan with special inspector general. later, president trump welcomes first responders to the white house to sign a bill extending the 911 victim compensation fund through 2090.
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