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tv   House Democratic Leaders News Conference  CSPAN  October 29, 2019 12:37pm-1:00pm EDT

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administration's response during the impeachment inquiry process. log on to our impeachment inquiry webpage at c-span.org/impeachment. you're fast and easy way to watch c-span's unfiltered coverage anytime. >> for 40 years c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy thence from washington, d.c. and around the country so you could make up your own my. mind. created by cable 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. >> both the democratic and republican leaders in the house briefed reporters after the caucus meetings. they touched on the impeachment inquiry and other legislative matters. here are their remarks starting with the republicans.
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>> good morning, everyone. this week the house democrats will continue our efforts to lower healthcare costs on behalf of the american people with a focus on driving down the high cost of life-saving prescription drugs. we continue to move forward with the effort around h.r. three, which has been appropriately renamed in honor of elijah eugene cummings. one of the issues that was of utmost important to chairman cummings and the people that he was so privileged to represent and did in such a phenomenal way over 23 years here in the united states house of representatives, and we will advance that bill at the appropriate time to drive down the high cost of
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life-saving prescription drugs. it's unacceptable, and everyday americans understand this, that they are paying sometimes five or six times as much for the same drug manufactured in the same location as people in other developed nations like canada, great britain, france, germany, or australia. our legislation, in honor of elijah cummings, will drive down the high costs of medication by giving the federal government the power to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of the american people by using its bulk price purchasing power. and we are as committed as ever to making sure we deal with that issue and protect people with pre-existing conditions, strengthen the affordable care
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act, and lower the costs of premiums, co-pays and deductibles. at the same time we will continue our efforts to hold this president accountable for the conduct that had taken place in connection with the trump ukraine scandal. we will follow the facts. we will apply the law. we will be guided by the united states constitution. we will present the truth to the american people, operating under the principle that no one is above the law, not even the president of united states of america. with that i yield to my distinguished culture, our distinguished culture, vice chair of the house, democratic caucus, katherine clark. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. and good morning to all of you. this week the house will
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continue our work for the people here today we're going to vote to recognize the armenian genocide. we're also going to vote on three bills to protect and conserve over 1.5 million acres of public lands, preserving cultural sites, and protecting wildlife, wilderness, and waterways from oil and gas development. as the chairman said, , we are going to be building on our commitment to lower prescription drug costs, and we will vote on legislation to increase transparency in negotiations between pharmacy benefit managers and drug manufacturers, health insurers, pharmacies, and consumers. additionally, we will take steps to tackle the public health crisis facing many people but especially young people in america by passing legislation to require in person age verification upon the delivery
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of online purchases of e-cigarette and paper products. the change is that we are voting on this week will ultimately make healthcare cost more affordable for american families and we are legislating as well as investigating. the question remains as we move forward with the impeachment inquiry, who do our colleagues on the other side of the aisle work for? donald trump or the american people? >> can you explain how this impeachment resolution vote on thursday could be challenging for some members in your caucus who have swing districts or are skeptical of the impeachment inquiry? and how they could be turned around against them so they don't ultimately support that or --
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>> we have to make a decision based on their conscience and how they decide to most effectively represent the districts they are privileged to serve. the overwhelming majority of the house democratic caucus are publicly on record supporting the impeachment inquiry. the resolution that will be on the floor which will be unveiled by chairman mcgovern and the rules committee, relates to the next phase of an ongoing impeachment inquiry that the overwhelming majority of the house democratic caucus already publicly support. that doesn't seem to me to be a challenge. >> that's not a a problem for e of the because impeachment ought not be popular in some of the statistics. congressman peterson -- 31 votes. >> that's a question you have to -- >> you don't worry that they put
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some of the numbers at risk? >> no. this is about the united states constitution. this is about the rule of law. this is about national security. this is about abuse of power. this is about the fact that the president betrayed his oath of office and the american people. and also undermine the integrity of our election by soliciting foreign interference in in the0 election. the evidence of wrongdoing is hiding in plain sight, but we will continue to proceed in a serious and solemn fashion. the timetable and the votes that we take will be dictated by the facts and the truth, and nothing else. >> thank you. we are hearing from republicans in reaction to the planned activity that it's then illegitimate process and thursday will not fix anything. they're just good across their arms and say we are not going to
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play. >> my republican colleagues continue to embarrass themselves because they cannot defend the indefensible as it relates to the presidents abuse of power. a federal court has now said that the ongoing impeachment inquiry is legitimate and that the arguments are being made by the administration have no weight. they are not credible. and my colleagues in the house republican cover-up caucus will ultimately have to decide, when will they put the constitution ahead of corruption? that's not clear, and it's unfortunate that they continue to do the bidding of donald trump and behave like a wholly owned subsidiary of the trump administration as opposed to a
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separate and coequal branch of government. we will see what happens on thursday, but history will be watching to determine how we all are going to proceed and will be the ultimate judge of our conduct. [inaudible] >> hold on. let me let catherine respond. >> the republicans don't have any excuse for the conduct of this president. from the letter that the president -- from the transcript that the president released, his own summary, shows those keywords, do us a favor though. and that is what they cannot escape, and as we have more patriots coming forward giving their testimony that corroborates, and today with colonel denman, we have --
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colonel denman, , with firsthand knowledge of this call and reaction. they are not only just focusing on process because they anyway to explain away his evidence and the abuses of power that we are witnessing, but they are also now turning to character assassination of these witnesses. they need to remember their oath, and they need to stand up for the constitution. and it certainly shows, the chairman mentioned, we had a federal judge ruling on friday that this process is fine, and as we move into the second phase, the open hearing, the public hearings to put these rules in place to make sure that we are transferring evidence from the intelligence committee to judiciary to the open hearings in a methodical way that preserves the confidentiality of some of this
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testimony, that should be something that republicans welcome. but you can see a specious arguments have then by their reaction to this resolution. >> the other part of the argument is that anything that comes out of this is tainted, you know, fruit from a poison tree, et cetera, et cetera. [inaudible] >> i mean, it's not even clear what they're talking about as it relates to the process being tainted and the fruit of the poisonous tree. to the extent you have a whistleblower complaint that has been repeatedly validated by trump's own appointees, the intelligence community inspector general said that the complaint filed by the whistleblower relates to a matter of urgent concern and is credible. he's a trump appointee. the general counsel of the cia
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was so troubled by the whistleblower complaint that she referred the complaint to the department of justice for possible criminal prosecution. she's a trump appointee. the acting director of national intelligence testified in front of the american people that the whistleblower acted in good faith and followed the law. the acting director of national intelligence is a trump appointee. what in the world are my republican colleagues in the house talking about when they refer to the fruit of the poisonous tree? the american people care about lowering health care costs him and that's what we're going to
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continue to work on. the american people care about fixing our crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, and mass transportation system. that's what we're going to continue to work on. the american people care about defending our democracy and upholding the rule of law. that's with this impeachment inquiry is all about. at the end of the day, they don't care about process, and everything about the process is transparent, is legitimate, and his constitutional. >> can you explain the political wisdom of -- [inaudible] the judge in equivocally sided with democrats on friday, you don't need hold vote to formalize this inquiry. and my understanding talking to democrats, a lot of these procedural questions can be answered with the intel committee and voted in there. so why would you take to to the floor, in such a tough spot and fueled by republican talking points?
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>> the majority of democrats are already publicly on record in support of the ongoing impeachment inquiry. as katherine clark eloquently outlined, we're in a phase right now where we are moving from information gathering primarily through deposition into the public presentation of facts and the truth to the american people. and consistent with that process moving forward, it's been determined that it is appropriate to outline how the transition will take place from the investigation that's ongoing now into the public presentation of witnesses, documents, information, and the truth to the american people. >> that needs to be a floor vote, not an intel committee vote. has that been determined? >> it seems to me that that make sense in terms of having a floor vote, because multiple
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committees are involved. specifically as it relates to the resolution, which we haven't seen the text of yet because it hasn't been released by chairman mcgovern and the rules committee, but as i understand it, it will involve laying out the process for transferring information from the intel committee to the judiciary committee. and in that regard, seems to me that it makes sense that the entire house will weigh in on that question and that procedur procedure. >> does that mean they will be able to call witnesses for subpoena witnesses? what are the due process is? >> that's a question i think we'll have to be answered by chairman mcgovern, chairmanship and chairman nadler who i know are working through that issue. but as speaker pelosi has indicated from the very
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beginning, we are going to proceed expeditiously. we are going to proceed fairly and we're going to proceed comprehensively. we will continue together president trump every opportunity to present exculpatory evidence. guess what, none has been forthcoming. at the end of the day, all we have seen is the effort by donald trump to stop fact witnesses from testifying and to hide documents and information from the american people. if the july 25 communication between donald trump and the president of ukraine was a perfect phone call, why does the administration continue to hide facts, documents, and information from the american people? that's a question that the american people deserve an answer to, and we're going to work to provide it. >> a number of democrats have already announced they plan to
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-- [inaudible] how do you all feel about having a race potential on gender and racial lines for this important chairmanship in the middle of this impeachment inquiry? >> i think i will yield to katherine clark on that. no, also please say that -- >> i was ready. >> she's always ready. i will yield to her, but i will simply say that katherine and i, as the chair and vice chair of the caucus, have to preside over the election. and so i'm going to reserve comment as it relates to the individual members who are well within their prerogative to decide, to present themselves and their candidacies, the house caucus on the democratic side will ultimately resolve this question. the members will make their case, but we are in a difficult
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moment, not from the standpoint of our capacity to move forward thoughtfully and in a serious and solemn fashion as relates to the impeachment inquiry. we have been doing that and we will continue to do that. the difficult moment is that we have lost a legendary figure here in the capital, chairman of elijah cummings, who is a replaceable. >> i would just like to echo the comments of the chairman, that we all feel the loss of elijah cummings leadership, his personal friendship very deeply. but house rules require that we fill this chairmanship within 30 days of vacancy. so the timing is set by the house rules, and we will take this up as soon as we return the second week in november to meet those requirements. and as to the diversity of candidates, that is part of the
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strength of this caucus, is that we look like americans in our race, our religion, ethnicity and gender. and that makes for stronger forr democracy and a stronger group of candidates going forward. >> you have a lot of control over the narrative. [inaudible] and you worry about your going to be offering those open hearings on a public platform for the public to make their argument. are you concerned about the kind of spectacle that happened with say -- [inaudible] taking place them? >> well, cory lewandowski showed
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up on capitol hill and embarrassed a sense of because his only mission was to perform for his puppet master city in 1600 pennsylvania ave. we are now in the middle of a series and solemn and peaceful impeachment inquiry because of the abuse of power that donald trump has engaged in. we will make sure we keep the focus on the undermining of our national security, the integrity of our election and the betrayal that donald trump engaged in in terms of the constitution, his oath, and the american people. let me be clear, the timeline of events speaks for itself. congress, on a bipartisan basis, allocated $391 million in military and economic aid to ukraine. ukraine is the friend. russia is a flow. ukraine is a democracy. russia is a dictatorship. the united states is the only
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thing standing, perhaps, between vladimir putin and russia completely overrunning ukraine as part of his fantasy to re-create the golden era, in his view, of the soviet union. that is the stakes. that's why congress and a bipartisan way allocated $391 million to ukraine, because it is in the national security interest of the united states of america here in february of this year, the administration wrote the congress and said, the aid is on the way. but it never arrived. and then in may the department of defense wrote to congress again and said, the aid is on the way, and all necessary preconditions have been met the new ukrainian government,
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including the implementation of anticorruption protocols. that was the conclusion of the trump department of defense. yet, the aid never arrived. twice during the summer mitch mcconnell called the administration and asked, what happened to the $391 million allocated by congress to ukraine on a bipartisan basis? according to the information that is in the public domain, majority leader mitch mcconnell couldn't get a good answer from the administration as to what happened to the aid. then on july 25 donald trump pressures the president of ukraine to target joe biden, an american citizen, for political gain and thereby solicits for
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interference in the 2020 election. we have a rough transcript and a readout of the call, and donald trump's own words, do us a favor, though. five words that will live in infamy in the context of the constitutional crisis that we're dealing with right now. as a result of this pressure campaign, the president of ukraine appears to relent and then all of a sudden, thereafter, the aid is finally released. ..

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