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tv   Senate Democrats Delay Attorney General Nomination Vote  CSPAN  January 31, 2017 11:17pm-12:06am EST

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the attorney general lisa last night was a problem and we need to be here as republicans to get the job done. stand at ease until we get a quorum again.
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>> we have seven present. senator hirono, you are next. >> i understand you raised a question about the two hour rule. it's my understanding leader schumer will use the two hour rule. >> let me respond to that. what people do is meet at 10:30 and immediately have a vote. >> thank you very much. i served with senator sessions throughout my time in the senate and respect him as a colleague opposed the nomination as attorney general because i have
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deep concerns about how senator sessions would use its prosecutorial discretion to address a number of critical issues. i also have concerns about his independence from president trump. he has tests for immigrants people are being stranded in airports and cut off from their livelife in america because thee muslim. during his confirmation hearing i asked senator sessions if he would support the enhanced vetting of those with extreme views and i also asked him if he thought someone's religion was enough to qualify him or her as holding extreme views and i didn't receive a satisfactory answer. during the confirmation hearing i asked senator sessions if he would honor the historical role of the attorney general and maintain strict independence from the white house. again, i did not receive a satisfactory answer. i am particularly concerned about this issue because this
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morning, last night president trump fired the acting attorney general because very important t because she refused to be a rubber stamp for what i consider his despicable order in effect establishing a muslim man. by firing sally yates, he sent a message that hthe message that e attorney general to do what he wants and not what the constitution or the law requires. to understand how the attorney general shall discharge his or her responsibility we need only to look at an exchange between the confirmation hearing in 2015. senator sessions at her confirmation hearing said do you understand in this political world there will be people calling and demanding, pushing and insisting on things they do not know what they are asking
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for? and india to be corrosive of the rule of law and diminish the respect of the department of justice to diminish the rule of law in the united states are you aware of that? you've already learned in the time that you have been here and it was said you are right, senator i am not from here i've only been here for a couple of months that i can tell you i am committed to the department of justice. i care deeply about the mission and i will do everything in my power to protect the integrity and the department that is the department of justice. senator sessions went on you have to watch out because people will be asking you to do things and you just need to say no about. do you think the attorney general has response ability to say no if he asks for something that is improper and if they are unlawful should the attorney
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general of the deputy attorney general say no? i believe that the deputy has the obligation to follow the law and the constitution to give their independent legal advice to the president. she did that and we all know what happened to her. and attorney general that will stand up to the president to defend the constitution and especially when the president is wrong. my colleagues know that i'v that get in hyperboldo notgive in hys moment, less than two weeks into the presidency, i cannot overstate the message president trump is sending to the administration and the american people that he will not allow anyone to tell them that he is wrong. therthere's a number of other is i would like to address as well. i also pressed him for the
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commitmenfurthercommitments to y citizen's right to vote particularly with regard to section number two of the act safeguards americans from discriminatory voting walls and we all know that after the decision was made by the supreme court actually did the voting rights act and that is one section that remained, section number two that allows for looking at the law from the point whethe whether there is a discriminatory effect. at the time when the president is making false claims of massive voter fraud, we need an attorney general that will vigorously protect the right to vote. senator sessions did not provide me with a satisfactory answer that he was scrutinizing voter laws for the discriminatory effect under section two of the voting rights act.
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challenging the law would be left to individuals and groups such as the naacp with their limited resources. i also asked senator sessions whether he would honor the department of justice dissent decree some 20 of them that enhance the accountability. senator sessions didn't adequately assure me that the department would uphold these agreements in fact he left the door open for renegotiating these agreements. i pressed further commitments to defend roe v. wade to guarantee the constitutionally protected women's right to choose. senator sessions didn't disavow his past comments that roe v. wade was one of the worst supreme court cases are decided and that the case wasn't based on the constitution when in fact the majority decision database the decision on roe v. wade in
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the constitution. should the court be presented with the case that provides them the opportunity to overrule roe v. wade i asked the senator what he would direct the general to do and he said this was hypothetical and didn't respond. the view on roe v. wade is clear what any of us be surprised as the attorney general he would support overturning roe v. wade should the opportunity to do so presented itself. i seriously questioned whether the president, his cabinet and advisors would protect a woman's right to choose. over the past two months i've heard from thousands of my constituency and a number of prominent civil rights organizations including a number
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that testified at the confirmation hearing. i will vote against the nomination as the attorney general because i am deeply concerned about how he would use the prosecutorial discretion and i would be concerned about his independence from the president. turning to the topic of the executive order establishing basically a muslim ban, we have heard senator sessions fingerprints are on this executive order stoking fear of minorities and immigrants is an unfortunate but undeniable part of the nation's history and this has been used to justify several things from the trail of tears to the treatment of african-americans in the country and in 1882, decades resulted in
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the passage of a tiny exclusion act and immortal wall that banned all chinese immigration. this and not others that followed created a cultural figure that culminated as they mass internment of japanese-americans during world war ii. the civil rights of the 98th birthday and japanese-americans were rounded up for the incarceration he was only 23 at the time and bravely resisted the internment all the way to the united states supreme court which upheld the conviction is being justified. 40 years later, documents that have been kept from the supreme court when they reviewed the
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conviction came to light and showed japanese-americans were not involved in the acts and it's not justified. he waited 40 years to overturn his conviction. president ronald reagan gave a moving speech in which he apologized for the internment, and i would like to read that speech now because it is important, it is a reminder that what we are doing right now isn't right. president reagan said we gather here today to write a grave wrong. more than 40 years ago after the bombing of pearl harbor, on hundred 20,000 person living in the united states were forcibly removed from their homes and placed in makeshift camps.
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this action was taken without trial or jury and was based solely on race for the 120,000 where american and japanese dissent. destination was then at four struggling for survival. we must recognize the internment of japanese-americans was just that, a mistake. throughout the war, japanese-americans and the tens of thousands remained utterly loyal to the united states. i-india, scores of japanese-americans volunteered for the armed services. many stepping forward with internment camps themselves. the regimental combat team made up of japanese-americans served with distinction to defend the nation. yet back at home t families were being denied and they were
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laying down their lives. the congressman is with us today it was 10-years-old when his family was interned. this is the norm speaking. my family was sent into the shower and lived in converted stables and others were in barracks. we were then moved to miami where we lived in one small room of the paper barracks. ..
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>> it has less to do with property then with honor. for here, we admit the wrong. here, we reaffirm our commitment as a nation to as a nation to equal justice under the law. i'd like to note that the bill i'm about to sign also provides funds for members of the community who were evacuated from the islands after japanese attack in 1942. this action was taken for their own protection the property that was lost or damaged and never replaced and now in closing, i wonder if you permit me one personal reminiscent. one prompted by an old newspaper report sent to me five rows. this is president reagan continuing. it comes comes from the citizen and is dated december 1945. this clipping said, arriving from washington the article
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begins, general joseph w been the distinguished service cross in the symbols ceremony in a shack in orange county. she was one of the first americans of japanese ancestry to return from relocation centers to california's farmlands. joe was there that day to honor mary's brother while mary and her parents were in and internment camp. in one action they ordered the men back in advance or have a fire calling for 12 hours engaged in a single-handed barrage of nazi positions. several weeks later, another loan advance, this time it cost him his life. the newspaper clipping knows that her to survive a broader
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others were with mary and her parents that morning. these two brothers, like the heroes have served in the united states army. after the general made their word louise, texas girl told how the battalion has been saved by the for 42nd. other show business personalities paid tribute. will rogers junior, and one young actor said blood that is soaked into the sad of a beach is all of one color. america stands unique in the world, the only country not founded on race it on an ideal. not in spite of, but because of our background we have had all the strength of the world. that is the american way. the name of that young actor? was ronald reagan. and yes, the ideal of liberty and justice for all is still the american way. making these statements,
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president reagan signed hr 442 so fittingly named in honor of the 442nd. he went on to god bless our country. this is how president rankin ended his remarks upon signing that historic legislation. the years that followed many american presidents also reflected on the injustices on japanese-americans on world war ii. in their record of service to the nation, excessive to the american presidents awarded the presidential medal of freedom to several men in different years. it is not not often that i can read into our record comments made by the president, presidents that awarded these metal freedom. so i would like to do so now. i'd like to read
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president clinton's remarks as he awarded the medal of freedom. quote, in 1942, and ordinary american took an extraordinary stand. he boldly opposed to the fourth internment of japanese americans during world war ii after being convicted for failing to report for relocation. he took his case all the way to the supreme court. the high court ruled against him. but 39 years later he had his conviction overturned in federal court empowering tens of thousands of japanese americans and giving him what he said he wanted most of all, the chance to feel like an american once again. in the long history of our country search for justice some names of ordinary citizens stand for millions of souls. plus he, he, brown, parks, tried to that list today we had the name of fred korematsu.
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those are president clinton's comments. california declared that day january 30 in perpetuity. other other states have followed including hawaii, virginia and florida. i want to read into the record president obama's speech awarding gordon the medal of freedom in 2012. gordon what it was like to stand alone as a student at the university of washington he was one of only three japanese americans to defy the executive order the force thousands of families to leave their homes, their jobs and their silver rights behind and moved to internment camps during world war ii. he. he took his case to the supreme court and he lost. it would be another 40 years before that decision was reversed, giving giving asian americans everywhere a small measure of justice.
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in gordon's words, it takes a crisis to tell us that unless citizens are willing to stand up for the constitution it is not worth the paper it is written on. president obama won on to say, this country is better off because of citizens like them who are willing to stand up. and his open defiance of discrimination against japanese americans in world war ii, gordon demanded our nation live up to its founding principles. gordon's legacy reminds us that patriotism is not and a thickness city but in our shared ideals. the same goes for the other person whose comments i would like to read upon his receipt receipt of the medal of freedom. that is, -- in 2015. quote come on saturday night in march of 1942 he left his law office, he was a lawyer to what graham portland, oregon. it oregon. it was an ordinary act that defied to screwed discriminatory
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curfew imposed on japanese americans during world war ii. he took the case to the supreme court and loss. the decision he fought for the rest of his life. despite. despite what they endured, suspicion, hostility, forced removal, he never stop believing in the promise of his country. he never stop fighting for equality and justice for all. he said we believe in the greatness and the great ideals of this country. we think that there is the future for all humanity and the united states of america. today, his legacy has never been more important. it is a call toward national conscience. a reminder of our obligation to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. in america worthy of his sacrifice. the internment of japanese americans is another example that when we do not stand up against unconstitutional actions like the muslim and we will be
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complicit in what follows. i hope that our republican colleagues will join us on the right side of history. i commend our republican colleagues senators graham, mccain, hatch, and others for their statements. i particularly want to note the joint statement made by senator lindsey graham and john mccain. i very much admire the position that they took. their joint statement said quote, our government has a responsibility to defend our borders but we must do so in a way that makes us safer and oppose all that is decent and exceptional butter nation. it is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that president trumps executive order was not properly vented. we are concerned about reports of this order went into effect with
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little to no consultation with the department of state, defense, justice and security. such a process risks harmful results. we should not stop green card holders from returning to the country they call home. we should not stop those who have served as interpreters for military and diplomats from seeking refuge in the comfort country they risked their lives to help. we should not not turn our backs on those refugees who have shown through extensive vetting to pose it no threat to our nation. and who have suffered unspeakable horse, most of them women and children. ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism. at this very at this very moment american troops are fighting side-by-side with our iraqi partners to defeat isil. this bans iraq it pilots from coming to military bases in arizona to fighter, and enemies. our. our most important allies of the vast majority of muslims who reject hatred.
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this sends a signal, intended or not. america does not want muslims coming into our country. that is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment that improve our security. that is the the end of the joint statement made by her colleagues. >> president trump has described >> may i ask how long? >> were coming to the end. >> i think we have everything worked out. >> man proceed? >> he is described the recent order to temporarily reduce investigative burdens on relevant agencies. at this point i strongly strongly urge the new administration to move quickly to rescind the executive order. i joined my colleagues, my democratic colleagues who statements are the record in up
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posing jeff sessions for attorney general. >> i yield the floor. >> and then we'll go to white house and then the way it looks we will have an agreement that senator franklin will speak tomorrow and the way will vote when he's speaking. if we could do a time certain tomorrow for you to speak and have a vote i would appreciate that very much if you would communicate, not right now, think about it. senator cruz. >> i was agreeing to the concept >> thank you mr. chairman. as we prepared to confirm a new attorney general i would like to speak about keeping this country safe and the rule of law. i like
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to speak about three issues in particular. number one, the threat this country faces israel. it is country faces is real. it is a threat from radical islamic terrorists. it is a threat, unfortunately the prior administration engaged in willful blindness for eight long years. indeed, the oversight subcommittee of this committee conducted a hearing where we heard from a whistleblower at the department of homeland security that described how the previous administration scrubbed the records to dhs to remove any reference to muslim brotherhood, radical is one, to alter and delete roughly 800 records to be blind to the threat we face. indeed, this threat is real. i would note, a lecture that i joined with jeff sessions in 2015 and again in 2016 and another in 2016 pointed out our investigation identified at least 40 individuals who, since september eleventh, were initially admitted to the country as refugees and who are
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convicted of or implicated in terrorism. this is a real real problem and it is an ongoing problem. i would note in france reading from the washington post, on a crisp morning last october 190 migrants arrived on the greek island. hiding island. hiding among the more for men with a different agenda. the four were posing as war rerelease syrians. washington post goes on to note the refugees who came and went on to carry out the worst attack on french soil since world war ii. as for vet team, james,, the director of the fbi who i would note was appointed to that position by president barack obama told the united states house of representatives that the team was ineffective, particularly in the syrian war zone. he said we can only query
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against that which we have collected. if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in syria and the way that would get their identity or interest reflected in our database, we can query it until the cows come home. we are not going to, there will be nothing to show up because we have no record on that person. given that the fbi has told us they cannot to vet refugees coming from war zones where there is a serious and persistent problem with radical islamic terrorism, the threat is real. for eight years we had an administration who is willfully blind to that threat. that was i believe one of the major issues in this past election. america wanting a president and administration to prioritize and protect this country to keep it safe. second point i would make there has been much focus on the president executive order regarding refugees.
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the heart of that order is a commonsense step that the vast majority of americans support. you would not know this from the hysterics and fire we see on the media. but, the heart of that order is a four month pause in refugee programs until the team can be implemented. i would note, that follows quite similarly to legislation i introduced in the previous congress. legislation that would impose a moratorium on refugees coming from countries where isis or al qaeda controlled substantial territory. that is a basic commonsense step. another component of it that has considerable consternation among her colleagues is the fact that
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president trump's order reverses the eight-year pattern of discrimination against persecuted minorities, in, in particular christians in the middle east. the blindness of the obama administration to plight of christians in the middle east is one of the great tragedies of the modern day. the syrian publishes roughly 10% christian. yet fewer than 1% of the refugees admitted from syria is christian. that is all the more striking given that isis is engaging in systematic torture, genocide and and torture targeted and middle east christians. although you would never get it to watching the mainstream media, what this order did quite reasonably was focus on persecuted religious minorities in and the obama segregation among middle eastern christians. the my come to the actions of the last 24 hours at the department of justice and the
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action of the acting attorney general, sally, sally yates. we have her democratic colleagues on this committee praise sally yates's action is somehow admirable. i will say it is said that sally yates conduct in the last 24 hours entirely four hours entirely consistent with a two years of a lawless obama department of justice. now, several have said at this hearing that an attorney general is obliged to be independent and stand up to the president who instructs him or her to disregard the law. that is absolutely correct. that is the application of the attorney general to follow the law. but, this order had explicit statutory authorization indeed.
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the text of title viii to the united states code reads as follows, whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or any class of aliens into the united states would be detrimental to the interest of the united states, he may by proclamation and for such time as he deems necessary suspended the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants are non- immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem appropriate. that that is explicit statutory authority. this executive order was pursuant to that statutory authority. when the attack and the acting attorney general instructed the department of justice to refuse to defend the president's order, it was an active reason partisan lawlessness. it was not based on law. it was based on a policy disagreement. ms. yates apparently agrees with president obama and her predecessors at the department of justice that allowing on
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vented refugees into this country who the fbi has told us they cannot ascertain if there terrorists, that is a policy mandate. it is the safety and security of americans is less important than that. that action was nothing short than lawlessness. once again i am always pleased to see my colleagues on either side of the aisle speaking up for rule of law. i'm curious where the sentiments calling for an independent attorney general were in 2009 and 2010, 2011, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. for the life of me i cannot. for the life of me i cannot recall a single instance in which eric holder or the the red lynch stood up to brock obama on anything. time after time when the irs illegally targeted american citizens based on their political views the attorney general refuse to appoint a special counsel and assigned the
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case to a major democratic donor who had given over $6000 to barack obama and the democratic party. that was lawless. it was brazen, it was a a partisan, repeatedly at this committee i asked would you appoint a special counsel who is not a major democratic donor to investigate the obama irs using the powers of government to persecute those who disagree with the president. they both defiantly refused to do so. and not a people's heard from her democratic colleagues on this committee. not a word of word of criticism was heard. i would note. i agree, the senate should stand up to any president who is disregarding the law and i have a record of standing up to george w. bush, president my own party. and arguing that in order he put
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in was contrary to the long contrary to the constitution. i would inquire of this committee when the democratic members in the last eight years ever raised any issue with president obama's assertion of unlawful authority and the department of justice complicity in it. the department of of justice has a bipartisan tradition on both the democratic side of things of staying outside of things. i'm proud to be an alumnus of the department as are many on this committee. it is fitting at the end of the doj sally yates defined the president refusing to follow the law and giving the president is no other choice but to relieve her of her duties. i commend president trump for firing sally yates last night. when an attorney general decides
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her partisan political commitments more pregnant following the law, that acting attorney general gives the president no choice but to relieve them of their duties. i would would encourage this committee to move expeditiously in confirming a attorney general, someone we know and respect and will be faithful to the law. faithful to the constitution not following a political agenda as has been that record. but instead being faithful of his oath, to to defend the constitution and the rule of law. with that, i yield the floor. >> mr. chairman, my understanding is that we are going to conclude six minutes from now at 2:00 p.m. there was a suggestion by the chairman that senator franken would give remarks tomorrow.
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given that only six minutes remain, i asked that i be included in tomorrow's schedule to speak prior to senator franken and then to move from there to the boat. >> u.s. for 20 minutes? >> that will more than suffice. >> senator franken could i put put you down for 22 minutes? >> you can. >> death longer than me. >> listen, it may semi-gets a rhetorical question, but i would like to make sure that i can announce a certain time will have a boat tomorrow. >> i will try. >> okay. so the we will reconvene. [inaudible] we will reconvene at 10:30 a.m. a.m.
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have a vote around 11 or 12. i would say that we still have five minutes before the two hour rule. i have two republicans that have not spoken yet. if. if you'd like to divide that six minutes, i should give you the courtesy. it is not much time but if you want to speak i would be happy to have you speak about senator kennedy. >> thank you mr. chairman. i can do it less than six minutes. an honorable american who happened to be president at this time of his policies i disagree once said elections have consequences. and he was right. the president of the united states has nominated people in whom he has confidence to be in his cabinet. one of whom is senator jeff sessions.
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president obama did the same thing. secretary of state hillary clinton would have done the same thing had she been elected. now, you may not like the political positions of the president you may not like the political position of the president's nominees. you may not like his nominees votes. you may not like who his nominees support for president. you may not even like the region of the country from which his nominees hail. and that is fair. this is america, you can believe what you want. that want. that is what is great about our country. but i don't think any reasonable person can conclude that senator
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jeff sessions is not qualified if you do find qualified as being capable of being a great attorney general. if you just look at his record, he supports the rule of law. he has has demonstrated that by his words as well as his deeds. in a former life i used to be state treasurer. i wrote a lot of checks i did not agree with. and i have no doubt that senator sessions, once he becomes attorney general will enforce the lot whether law whether he agrees with it or not. i believe senator sessions has demonstrated that he respects the bill of rights. i think think everybody holds that document sacred, as we should. i think senator sessions understands the purpose of the bill of rights, let me put it this way, a high school quarterback of the prom prom queen do not need the bill of rights.
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it is the unprotected. it is the people who choose to be different in america. it is why it is such a great document. and document. and i think jeff sessions respects that. his experience, he has been a united states senator. i assume we should give that some merit. he has been a state attorney general. he has been a u.s. attorney. i noticed during the hearings that senator sessions body language changed and his eyes lit up when he talked about what it was like to be a u.s. attorney. i have only been here a short time, but i have had a number of conversations with jeff sessions and i'll tell you what impresses me the most. his humility. he places himself intentionally lower than the people. it has not escape my intention
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in the four weeks i have been here that there are more than a few people around here that act like they were one of the founding fathers. jeff sessions is not one of them. i think he will be a great attorney general and he has my unqualified support. >> the committee will sit stand in recess until tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. i hope that all republicans and democrats can be here around 1110 - 11:15 a.m. thank you very much. [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]
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[inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] >> the senate judiciary committee meets again to vote on set under jeff sessions nomination to be attorney general. that is coming up five at 10:30 a.m. eastern on c-span2. scott pruett's nomination to be epa administrator is slated for a vote be you for this senate vote of public works committee. five coverage on c-span three will get underway at 10:45 a.m. eastern.
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>> in case you missed it, here here are a few program c-span viewer saw last week. cancers congressman mike pam pale swearing-in as cia director. >> that i will uphold the duties of the office on which i'm about to enter. >> so help me god. >> congratulations. >> senators questioning secretary of health and human services nominee, tom price. >> you bought over 400,000 shares at discounts that were as much as 40% cheaper than the price on the australian stock exchange. you were sitting at the time on committees that have jurisdiction over major healthcare programs and trade policy. yes, or no? doesn't this show that judgment?
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>> british lawmakers discussing prime minister's visit to washington. >> in the fourth coming meeting with president trump she will be prepared to offer up the sacrifice the opportunity of american company to come in and take over part of off our public services. >> president trumps visit to homeland security. >> the secretary of homeland security working with myself and my staff will begin immediate construction of a border wall. >> house democratic leader nancy pelosi reacting to trump's claim of voter fraud. >> all we want is the truth for the american people. i frankly feel very sad about the president making this claim. i feel sorry for him. ivan pray for him. but then i prayed for the united states of america. >> liz cheney addressing enhanced interrogation. >> i do support enhanced
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interrogation. i think it is something that clearly has helped us in the past to prevent attacks and save lives. i was glad to see president trump take that step. >> go to for more programs. >> democratic members of the senate finance committee decided not to attend a meeting today to vote on two of the president trumps cap that nominees. congressman tom price and steve nugent. committee chair, or and and had just said he is very disappointed. other gop senators spoke. here is the the nearly 40 minute meeting. >> i'm really disappointed that my friends on the other side, are democrats on the other side are deliberately boycotting


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