Skip to main content

Charles Schumer
  Senate Democratic Leader News Conference  CSPAN  July 18, 2018 5:32am-5:58am EDT

5:32 am
senator rubio has a bill that targets the 2018 election. there are potential town lease if the russians do it again. there is a possibility that we may well take up legislation related to this. in the meantime, i think the russians need to know that there are a lot of us who fully understand what happened in 2016 and it better not happen again in 2018.
5:33 am
sen. schumer: ok, good afternoon, everyone. i'm proud to be joined by three of my colleagues, senators menendez and shaheen. yesterday marked one of the worst days of any president of the united states and his actions and memory. on foreign soil, president trump said the united states was equally to blame with russia in the state of the relationship countries,ween the trashed american intelligence, took the word of the kgb over
5:34 am
the men and women who work so hard at the cia. the president's behavior has left everyone in the united states scratching their heads. his behavior was so bizarre, so to americaneterious interests and our national security that millions of americans are left wondering if putin indeed has something over the president. that is indeed the most logical explanation of the president's behavior. now the question looms -- what will the senate do in response? republicans seem to be shrugging their shoulders. some of them claiming they have done all they can. statements are not enough. we need action. republicanst unless and join us in bipartisan action. here are a few things that the senate can do immediately in response to the president's disastrous summit. we can ratchet up
5:35 am
sanctions on russia and not water them down. in the senate, they have not been even fully implemented. we want to make sure that they are not weakened in any way at all as some on the house republican side may be attempting to do. second and probably most importantly, our republican colleagues need to immediately join us in demanding open and public testimony from the president's national security team that was in helsinki and any others who might be privy to what happened. we are worried about what the president said publicly. are more worried about what the president said in those two hours when the president was alone with mr. putin. does anyone believe he was tougher on putin in secret
5:36 am
then he was publicly? why did he not want anyone else in the room if he was so confident to stand and live to public scrutiny? we need these people to come. tary pompeo.e there is talk that we may, but we need coats, ambassador huntsman, and many others. it's too important to get the full story out in front of the american senate and the american people. where are the notes from that meeting, the contemporary notes? what did the president agree to? was secretary pompeo briefed afterwards? did he write anything down? -- contemporary contemporaneous notes should be
5:37 am
turned over to congress immediately. i'm calling on leader mcconnell and his leadership team to immediately request a hearing with the people i mentioned -- pompeo, coats, huntsman, and the rest of the national security team. and i'm calling on leader mcconnell to join us in demanding the contemporaneous notes that were taken. friendsr republican must and the attacks on the department of justice, . do we want to pass legislation? , the most important legislation that we can pass is the bipartisan bill to protect the special counsel that senator cowans, tillis, and graham author along with senators lighthouse and blumenthal and that passed the judiciary committee. put it on the floor immediately
5:38 am
-- immediately. if you mean what you say, leader mcconnell, if you are going to walk the walk i and not just talk the tal. fourth, the president must release his tax returns and insist on the extradition of the 12 russians indicted for election interference. need, given all the innuendo, this president should have released his tax returns before elected, but what happened yesterday makes that release imperative. he should do it. our republican colleagues should join us and asking him to do it. and finally, we must move to protect our election security. to its credit, the senate in bipartisan fashion, led by some of the people around me and many million in the80 last omnibus for election security.
5:39 am
and moreis needed protection is needed, more substantive legislation. there is legislation by senator klobuchar. there's legislation by senator van hollen. there's legislation by senator harris and others that's necessary. hardly sufficient, but it's necessary to do. we hope our republican colleagues won't just go tsk ts k, but will actually act to protect the security of america and join us in doing it in a bipartisan way. menendez: thank you, mr. leader. as someone who has served 26 years on the senate and house foreign relations committee, on a foreign policy you, i believe yesterday was a day of infamy for the united states. the world saw a supplicant american president capitulating,
5:40 am
fawning, and ultimately aligning , and authoritarian leader who orchestrated an attack on our democracy and continues to do so as we speak. the president turned his back on our own intelligence community, which unanimously agrees that the russian government carried out attacks attempting to disrupt and interfere with our elections and continues to do so. it disregarded his own government, disregarded the advice and expertise of foreign-policy professionals from military leaders, and diplomats who have served this country for decades. his oath of office to protect and defend the constitution of the united states. his comments polite any justifiable expiration for someone who seeks to uphold american ideals, advance american interests, and protect america's security. to suggest that it was a great offer for president putin the
5:41 am
senate intelligence officers to cooperate in the investigation where they are the perpetrators of the crime is beyond belief. republicansk my colleagues, is the price of siding with putin against our own democracy where the agenda of the tax cut and the supreme court nominee or are you going to exhibit the patriotism called for at this time? we as a nation must know exactly what the president discussed and what he may have promised to president putin. the american people have a right to know. hispresident putin and government are wasting no time capitalizing on yesterday's meeting and using it to advance the national interest. we cannot afford to be blindsided or outmaneuvered. today the russian ministry of defense publicly stated that it was preparing to start implementing an agreement that the president apparently struck in helsinki with president putin
5:42 am
, an agreement that neither the congress nor the american people have been informed about. on the senate foreign relations committee, we want to know the answers to these questions. what specific topics did you discuss? what were the suggestions that president putin made to you? did you discuss any changes to international security agreements? if so, what are they? did you advocate for the extradition of the 12 russian intelligence officers indicted last friday? did you make any commitments about the u.s. role regarding syria? did you press russia to return to compliance with inf treaty and halt its nuclear threats against europe? did you discuss u.s. sections on russia, including caps off sanctions? if so, what did you agree to? did you call on president putin to withdraw from crimea and eastern ukraine so it could return to the sovereign government of ukraine? did you discuss nato military exercises scheduled for this fall?
5:43 am
and did you agree to roll back and change the nature of those exercises? discuss u.s. security assistance ukraine and make any concessions regarding their continuation? what if anything did you commit to? i simply say the secretary of state has to come before the committee in open session and talk about what has transpired here. and we need to have the administration fully implement the mandatory sanctions. the congress spoke 98-2 for mandatory sections against russia without waivers of an administration. it spoke been of the concern that congress had that this president might not implement sanctions if he was given waiver authority. the first time in all the sanctions that i have ever helped write that there was mandatory sanctions without waivers. we need to see those implemented. we need to show the american people what it means to be a patriot over a partisan, especially at a time when the
5:44 am
essence of our democracy is under attack by a foreign government. attacked under any view, republican or democrat, must unite us together because it's an attack against our country continues to undermine our elections, which is the secretary part of our constitution. : yesterday president putin said he was not engaged in interfering in our election. that did not surprise us. it was a lie. we know that. we know that he interfered in our election. now the president of the united states says he believes mr. payton rather than -- putin rather than our intelligence agency. horrible day for america, our national security, our global leadership, and are of a credit allies around the world that look to the united states for leadership. today we had a hearing since the summit took place in helsinki.
5:45 am
that hearing was on the 10th anniversary of russia's invasion of georgia. mr. putin saw an opportunity to invade georgia. he saw that there was an opening and took advantage of it. he sought opening in ukraine and take advantage of it. he sought opening in u.s. elections in 2016 and went forward with it. he sees openings in europe and did the same thing. now he has the president of the united states that what he did in 2016 was ok and that he didn't do anything. it makes us so much more vulnerable to mr. putin's activities going forward. we are at risk in our 2018 elections because mr. putin knows he can interfere and has the president of the united states on his side. a very sad day for our country and for our democratic institutions. we need to take action to protect ourselves and the
5:46 am
republican leadership that controls the agenda in the house and the senate, we need to use the independence of the congress to protect the national security of america, particularly in light of what president trump has done with mr. putin. that means our committees have to be actively engage in oversight hearings, bringing key people to know exactly what happened. senator menendez raised a lot of questions we need answers to. that listening to press conference, we are worried about what those answers may be. we have a right to know what happened in that room. the american people have a right to know what happened in that room. six months ago, the senate foreign relations issued a report about mr. putin. they talked about his use of his arsenal, including the us of his military, but also the use of propaganda, the use of corruption, the use of energy, the use of ways to bring down democratic institutions.
5:47 am
that report spelled out that we need to take action in america to protect our social media platforms from invasion from russia. congress has provided resources. this administration has not used those resources. we have got to demand that we protect ourselves from the attacks from russia. we need to protect our election system. we need to have all agencies coordinated in the defense of america. congress needs to step up and take action and make it clear that president trump's actions unacceptable. that is our responsibility as an independent branch of government. i think our leader for bringing to attention those items that must be acted upon by congress. and with that, senator shaheen. shaheen: yesterday
5:48 am
president trump handed global stature free of charge to vladimir putin, to a man who brutally murders his own citizens who disagrees with him and rules a country with an economy that is half the size of california. now make no mistake -- despite what the president said, patent iputin is not a competitor. he is an adversary. i pure and simple. it was disgraceful to watch mr. the kremlin over the american intelligence community. these public servants need a president who will have their back. president trump owes them an apology. going forward, he owes them his unwavering support. congress must convene public hearings as my colleagues have said with administration officials on the helsinki summit. believe the senate foreign relations committee should hold
5:49 am
a hearing with the american translator who was present during president trump and president putin's private determine what was specifically discussed and agreed to on the united states behalf. that translator is an official of the u.s. government. it is imperative that the american people and this congress know precisely what the president shared or promised the kremlin on our behalf. yesterday's events make it explicitly clear that congress must exert its authority to be a check on the presidency. on thursday i was with senator tillis at the nato summit in brussels. i repeatedly heard from our allies there who are asking the question, should we go it alone? is the united states going to be there when we need them? are we going to hold up our article five commitment that we agree to in nato?
5:50 am
the international order that the united states established is indispensable to peace and prosperity. it has kept that stability for the last 70 years and we must never waver from our transatlantic commitment. we are not going to let vladimir putin unravel the international order that we have built in the last 70 years. sen. schumer: thank you. i think my colleagues, all three, well said. before i take questions, while we were speaking, president trump tried to squirm away from what he said yesterday. it is 24 hours too late and in the wrong place. if the president can't say directly to president putin that right andg and we are that our intelligence agencies andright, it's an effective
5:51 am
worse another sign of weakness. it tells president putin continue to take advantage of donald trump because he does not have the courage, the strength, maybe not even the conviction to say the pittance face -- putin's face when he tried to say a few minutes ago. the acts that congress will be taking. how will you work with senators who face reelection? will you see that as a downfall klash? sen. schumer: this is not a democratic issue, republican issue, red state issue, blue state issue. this is an american issue. in every state, they worry about security. in every state, they worry that the president is no longer protecting the security. the congress will be strong and united in protecting the
5:52 am
security of our country because the president won't. >> the senator rubio and mullen .ill we should've taken action on this kind of legislation long before today. it's a good thing. it's necessary but hardly sufficient. there are a lot of other actions that must be taken as well because american security is at risk. summit and of the the supreme court debate that you are about to have, how would you characterize the state of the 2018 elections? what would change with the democratic majority? sen. schumer: we will work to protect our security. putinl not kowtow to whether we are in the majority or minority. if we are in the majority, we will be more effective and see a lot stronger things attacking american security than you will with this majority, who seems so afraid of president trump.
5:53 am
a republican majority, many of them seem as afraid of trump as trump is afraid of putin. [inaudible] sen. schumer: i would first like to have dan coats come and testify and see what he heard the president say. what did he say to the president? is he pushing back on the president? is he going along with the president? coates is somebody -- i talked to him last night. i'm not going to reveal his conversation, but i think there are a lot of people in the administration who really have regrets about what the president did. they have to be more forthright about that only because i know that's not easy to do. when the security of our country is at stake and you have an adversary as senator shaheen said and not a competitor running circles around our country because of the president trumps weakness. you need them to be forthright
5:54 am
of people in the president's administration. >> to follow up on chats question, is there a point where tears and family reunification, are those issues and republicans need to push back on or will it be a liability for republicans? sen. schumer: today is not a day to make this political. our nation's security is at stake and americans of all this different stripes are worried about it. >> what is your worst case scenario? sen. schumer: who the heck knows? line is veryttom simple. it is likely knowing how the president acts that what he said privately was even more compromising to american security than what he said publicly. we are worried about it and not just the senate, but the american people have a right to know what happened in that room. >> will you trust anything
5:55 am
president says? sen. schumer: trust but verify. >> [inaudible] do you agree that president trump's actions were treason? sen. schumer: the bottom line is different people will characterize it differently. president trump undercut our a brutalnce, elevated dictator who is taking advantage of the united states and maybe most importantly refused to confront president putin and onse, sort of gave him a pat the back for undermining our elections. that is just disgraceful. that is the way i choose to characterize it. thank you, everybody. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018]
5:56 am
[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. morning, this chris condon on federal reserve policy and the u.s. economy. then democratic california, richmond brad sherman talks about the fallout from president trump's meeting with russian president vladimir putin and the molar probe. and claudia tenney on u.s.-russia relations. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern. this morning, join the discussion. >> here's a look at what's live on wednesday. the house continues work on the 2019 interior and financial
5:57 am
spending package. that's 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. on c-span two, the senate debates a judicial nomination for the u.s. district court. on c-span3, federal reserve chair jerome powell is on capitol hill. he will testify before the house financial services committee about monetary policy and economy. that's a 10:00 a.m. eastern. in the afternoon, the head of the national institute of allergies and infectious diseases discusses this past year's flu season, which the government says was one of the most severe in the past decade. nationalks at the press club begin at 1:00 p.m. eastern. at 2:00 p.m., a hearing on the impact of tariffs on u.s. agriculture. >> next, the european union's negotiator talks about the impact of britain's exit from the eu. he sat down for a discussion at an