tv U.S. Senate Sen. Blumenthal D-CT on Yemen War CSPAN December 16, 2018 5:04am-5:29am EST
help them. that is not good for the united states or the war in yemen. for thet good humanitarian catastrophe in yemen and is certainly not good or our allies like his real. i yield the floor. mr. president, i want to begin by thanking a number of my colleagues who have contributed so much to bring us to this point on senate resolution 54. i have been pleased and honored to work with them in cosponsoring these measures in the past, most recently in march , to end all united states involvement in the saudi led war in yemen that is killing innocent civilians and murdering
children and committing arguably war crimes. the united states should have no complicity in the actions that betray our values and national interests. would direct the removal of all united states armed forces from hostility. , senator many to thank sanders and lee, senator menendez, my colleague from connecticut senator murphy, but i want to thank some people who have been unmentioned during this proceeding. and before the khashoggi, that is before the civil war in yemen and the saudi involvement and the brutal, heinous killing of
the american journalist among show the there was 9/11. -- american journalist cudjoe -- there was -- cut show the the victims are friends and heroes. they have fought relentlessly to hold the government of saudi arabia accountable for its culpability, not yet proven in court, but they are seeking to hold the monarchy accountable for its possible involvement. they have been largely absent from the discussion on this floor. championshe original of holding responsible the saudi's for any and all possible
involvement in supporting the 9/11 attack on our nation. make no mistake, their loved ones were victims. it was an attack on our nation on the twin towers, on our defense department. on a plane that was forced to crash in pennsylvania. the united states is pursuing justice for jamal khashoggi. he is a journalist, and an opinion writer for an american newspaper with two young children who are united states citizens. the united states has a moral support for aend in thisnt that engages kind of heinous murder.
that is intelligence points directly to the highest levels of the saudi monarchy, mainly to the crown prince mohammed bin someone -- mohammad bin salman. the united states ought to end its support for the humanitarian crisis caused by the saudi led war in yemen. attackand is a saudi led and the kingdom is responsible for it. this monarchy was doing bad things and engaged in bad behavior well before the yemen khashoggi'sd jamal tragic death.
they have a long record of violating human rights. they have funded extremism that .ed to the rise of terrorism they may well have provided financial support and even training for the saudi's who went to the united states and thereafter enabled and led and participated in the attack on this nation. we should never forget the and the loved ones of 9/11. we should never overlook the saudi role in that horrific attack. we should never relent in supporting those 9/11 families. we have made progress in holding saudi arabia responsible for its culpability. in 2016 this congress
unanimously passed the justice against sponsors of terrorism victimsllow terrorist their day in court their fair opportunity to hold accountable state sponsors of terrorism including the saudi arabian government. this september the senate unanimously passed my resolution to release all classified documents related to the 9/11 attack. these documents are absolutely essential to giving those families their day in court because they are the evidence to establish the link the united states has intelligence dating from those ago thatseemingly long inculcate the saudi's.
must support the continued investigation into 9/11 by our law enforcement and intelligence agencies and we must support 9/11 families to ensure the are made public and the necessary individuals and governments be held accountable. the families of victims who perished on that horrific day deserve answers about those events and circumstances surrounding the terrorist attack. that their pain and them.are very much with we should respect their loss and .onor it with action those heroesognize like brett eagleson of connecticut and the families of
connecticut, new york, new jersey and all around the country. many are from our area of new york connecticut and new jersey. justiceinue to demand and have done so year after year this year well before resolution came before us. i say to my colleagues today we need to keep our resolve alive and well to never forget and never yield to hopelessness, never allow our support for 9/11 , nevers to diminish cease our quest for justice in the name of brett eagleson's dad and his family and every family who still suffers the pain and grief from 9/11. the role of the saudi government in perpetrating the 9/11 attack, the brutal murder
of jamal khashoggi and the saudi inflicted humanitarian crisis, this reevaluation of the u.s. relationship with saudi arabia is long overdue. the saudi led war has consisted of an aggressive campaign as murder of jamal khashoggi, indiscriminately killing civilians. day after day the humanitarian colorad --amine, era, other medical afflictions and simple trauma to those children trying to grow up in the midst of exploding bombs continues to get worse. the united nations warns that 14 million yemenis could face starvation.
peopleion innocent facing starvation. efforts in coordination with the united nations and european allies are vital to establish a peace framework and ensure civilian access to humanitarian aid. in the absence of meaningful action from the u.s. the humanitarian crisis in yemen will only worsen. regional instability will be exacerbated. american standing in the global community will be further undercut. diminished. in march of this year i wrote a letter to the department of defense with my colleague senator jack reed of rhode island along with many of our colleagues in the senate armed services committee stating our concern regarding u.s. support for saudi military operations in
dod'sand asking about the involvement apparently without appropriate notification of congress in its agreements to provide refueling support to the saudi's and the saudi coalition partners. were concerned the dod had not appropriately documented reimbursements for aerial refueling support provided by the united states. , just dayss later ago, the department of defense responded to our letter and admitted that it has failed to appropriately notify congress of its support agreement and failed -- adequately charge saudi arabia and the united arab emirates for fuel and refueling assistance. that admission eight months
after our inquiry is a damming indictment. these errors in accounting mean the united states was directly funding the saudi war in yemen and has been doing it since march of 2015. in november the administration the united states aerial refueling support for saudi military operations in yemen but we still must determine whether the department of defense was incompetent disingenuous or both in failing to charge the saudi's for previous refueling assistance. we need accountability. a full explanation from the department of defense.
the department won't be seeking -- won't be seeking reimbursement for their fuel and support. i will continue to conduct oversight to get to the bottom negligence.rent aware of mythe dod concerns and i will evaluate whether an inspector general is necessary to determine the extent to which united states taxpayer funds, potentially millions and a tens of millions of dollars were used to fund the saudi war. without the it legally required acknowledgment and approval from the congress of the united states. the united states should not be funding this for or supporting this war or providing intelligence or logistic support. inshould not be complicit
the indiscriminate targeting of civilians in yemen and the murder of children, the famine and humanitarian crisis that are ongoing. that is why today we should pass this resolution. it is all the more important today that the senate take a stand given the trump family ties to the saudi's and the president's habit of undermining the intelligence community. in the absence of leadership from the president congress must reassert its constitutional responsibility to authorize united states military support. to upholdke action the constitution as well as american values and interests. intelligent assessments indicate with high certainty that members of the saudi royal family including the crown prince
ordered and orchestrated the murder of jamal khashoggi. both president trump and his son-in-law jared kushner have undermined these findings. and tried to stifle the intelligence community conclusions. they have undermined not only these conclusions but more broadly the intelligence community itself. president trump has debased and dishonored brave intelligence professionals by demeaning their fact-based conclusions as feelings. president trump has falsely claimed we may never know all the facts surrounding the murder of mr. jamal khashoggi. who secretary of state and secretary of defense furtherately have
demeaned those findings by saying there is no direct evidence or there is no smoking gun. the fact is that there is powerful and compelling evidence. we know from public statements of my colleagues coming from by the intelligence community. we recently learned the white iuse middle east advisor, should put advisor", jared kushner, offered advice to his salmanriend mohammad bin about how to weather the storm during the warranted backlash against saudi arabia after the murder of jamal khashoggi. rather than hearing accountability, jared kushner is
inexplicably -- offering support. that saudiidence government lobbyists reserved blocks of rooms at the trump hotel in washington paying for an estimated 500 nights in a luxury hotel just three months after president trump was it -- elected, bringing veterans to washington to lobby against a bill i mentioned earlier, a bill that enabled 9/11 victims to have their day in court. that bill that upholds american interests and american values and american people. the effort of the saudi government to bring those veterans to washington and fund wasr stays in trump hotels
a despicable irony and insult to america. it yielded the trump $270,000 and millions of dollars by the president's own acknowledgment, indeed his boasting, go to the trump organization from condos, apartments, offices, rented or bought in new york and chicago and washington, d.c. to say that may beeals taken by the trump organization now or after donald trump leaves office. these kinds of payments and benefits directly implicate the emoluments clause of the united states constitution. they are part of the reason i
have enlisted almost 200 of my colleagues in the united states congress in a lawsuit called trump blumenthal -- blumenthal versus trump. i believe this lawsuit which claims the president is violating the chief anticorruption provision of the u.s. constitution will shed even more light on those payments and benefits from saudi arabia and other countries around the world . these friendships and conflicts of interest demonstrate the very flawed and likely corrupt basis for the trump administration's foreign policy -- foreign policy in saudi arabia, american credibility is at stake. we must end all united states involvement in the saudi war and we must sanction the top levels of the saudi monarchy under , we muststatutes
ensure the president removes u.s. forces from any hostilities against the yemeni people. reasons toountless vote for this resolution. i call my colleagues to support that the make sure united states support for this , theeptable conflict aggression and attack by saudi arabia on innocent civilians is ended. thank you. i yield the floor. >> during a saturday visit the arlington, national cemetery to visit volunteers laying read some headstones president trump spoke about expanding the and internet question
about -- looking to expand arlington national cemetery by acquiring land. we are working very hard on it. we will get it done. comment on the court ruling? >> it was a big rolling, a great ruling for our country. we will be able to get great health care. we will sit down with the democrats. we will get great health care from people. let's say repeal and replace. it was a big victory by a highly respected judge, highly respected in texas. on the assumption that the supreme court upholds we will get great health care for our people. we will sit down with the democrats to do it. thank you very much.
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