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tv   [untitled]    May 10, 2017 10:25am-10:37am EDT

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we're live once again from capitol hill as we await testimony from state fish and game directors for florida, arizona and rhode island. they're all appearing at this senate environment and public works committee hearing on ways to potentially modernize the 1973 endangered species act. we will have live coverage when it gets underway here in a couple minutes on cspan 3, should start with senators return from a vote in the senate chamber. we'll show you remarks now from the senate majority and minority leader this morning on the firing of fbi director james comey. >> one final matter, what
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everyone thinks of the matter in which director james comey handled the investigation into secretary clinton's unauthorized use of a private server and her mishandling of classified information, it is clear what our democratic colleagues thought of it. both at that time, and consistently there after. last year, the current democratic leader said it appeared to be an appalling act one that said goes against the tradition of prosecutors at every leader of government. the prior leader when i asked if james comey should resign given his conduct of the investigation, he replied of course. yes. it's also clear what our democratic colleagues think of the man who evaluated mr. comey's professional conduct and concluded the bureau need adchange in leadership. the democratic leader just a few weeks ago praised mr. rosenstein
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for his independence and said he had developed a reputation for integrity. mr. president, our democratic colleagues complaining about the removal of an fbi director whom they themselves repeatedly and sharply criticized that removal being done man, rod rosenstein who they repeatedly praised. mr. rosenstein recommended mr. comey's removal for many of the very reasons that they consistently complained about. two investigations are currently ongoing. the senate intelligence committees' review of active measure and intelligence activities and the fbi investigation disclosed by
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director comey. today we'll no doubt hear calls for a new investigation, which could only serve to impede the current work being done to not only discover what the russians may have done, also to let this body and the national security community develop countermeasures in war fighting doctrine to see it doesn't occur again. partisan calls should not delay the considerable work of chairman burr and vice chairman warner, too much is at stake. deputy attorney general rosenstein was just confirmed on a bipartisan vote 94-6. 94-6. that sort of fair consideration should continue when the senate receives an fbi director nominee. as i said yesterday, once the senate receives a nomination to
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fill the position we'll look forward to a full, fair and timely confirmation process. this is a critical role that is particularly important as our country continues to face serious threats at home and abroad. >> mr. president. >> the democrat leader. >> yesterday the president fired the director of the fbi, jim comey, who was leading an active investigation into the trump campaign's possible collusion with russia. the president provided no reasoneni reasoning for the firing other than he had the recommendation of his attorney general who has already had to recuse himself from the russia investigation for being too close to the president and his deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein. mr. president, there is little reason to think that mr. rosenstein's letter is the true
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reason that president trump fired director comey. why? because if the administration truly had objections to the way director comey handled the clinton investigation, they would have had then the minute the president got into the office. but he didn't fire director comey then. the question is why did it happen last night. we know director comey was leading an investigation into whether the trump campaign collude would the russians, a serious offense. were those investigations getting too close to home for the president? the dismissal of director comey establishes a very strubling pattern. this administration has now removed several officials to conduct investigations of the president and his administration from acting attorney general
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sally yates, and now jim comey. what should happen now, what must happen now, is that mr. rosenstein appoints a special prosecutor to oversee this investigation. deputy attorney general rosenstein sat in the judiciary committee and promised to establish a prosecutor at the appropriate time. he said, quote, i'm willing to appoint a special council when i determine it's appropriate. so my colleague, senator coons asked is it vital to the confidence in our democracy, that any investigation into these matters be fair, free, thoroughly and politically independent? mr. rosenstein answered, yes. i do. if there was ever a time when circumstances warranted a special prosecutor.
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it is right now. mr. rosenstein expressed concern that director comey damaged the integrity of the fbi. the attorney general has had to recuse himself for being too close to the president. if mr. rosenstein is true to his word, that he believes this investigation must be fair, free, thorough and politically independent. if he believes that the american people must be able to have faith in the impartiality of this investigation, he must appoint a special prosecutor and get his investigation out of the hands of the fbi and far away from the heavy hand of this administration. mr. rosenstein has the authority to appoint a special prosecutor right now. he needs no congressional authorization. this would simply be a step he could take as outlined in the
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department of justice guidelines and in a law passed after watergate to get an independently minded prosecutor who would be insulated from various pressures. a special prosecutor is not subject to day-to-day supervision by the attorney general or anyone at the justice department. that means a special prosecutor would have greater latitude in who he can subpoena, which questions they ask, how to conduct an investigation. the special prosecutor can only be removed for good cause. such as misconduct, not to quash the investigation. third, there is built in congressional oversight. congress is notified whenever special counsel is apointed, removed or finished with the investigation. the appointment of a special prosecutor would be a welcome step in the right direction. but it is not the only action that should be taken. there are a great many
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outstanding questions about the circumstances of director comey's dismissal, the status of the executive branch investigation into the trump campaign ties to russia. and what the future holds for these investigations. so i will be requesting that the majority leader call a closed and if necessary, classified session, all senators briefing, sorry. i will be requesting that the majority leader call a closed and if necessary classified, all senators briefing, with the attorney general and the deputy attorney general separately. at which they can be asked questions. some of the questions. why was attorney general sessions who had recused himself from the russia investigations able to influence the firing of the man conducting the russia investigation? did deputy attorney general
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rosenstein act on his own, or at the direction of his superiors or the white house? are reports that the president has been searching for a rationale to fire the fbi director for weeks true? was director comey's investigation making significant progress in a direction that would cause political damage for the white house? why didn't the president weight for the inspector general's investigation into director comey's handling of the clinton e-mail investigation to conclude before making his decision to fire him? was this really about something else? no doubt, we'll have an opportunity to question mr. comey now a private citizen about what happened. we need to hear from this administration about what happened and why.
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and what is going to happen next. and that is why, again, i am requesting that the majority leader call a closed and if necessary, classified all sessions briefing with the attorney general and the deputy attorney general separately at which they can be asked these questions. i hope the majority leader agrees with me. we need to get to the bottom of this and get a handle on all the facts so that we can grapple with them. i remind him and my republican friends that nothing less is at stake than the american people's faith in our criminal justice system and the integrity of the executive branch of our government. i yield the floor.

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