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tv   Senator Blumenthal on Associate Attorney General Nominee and Special...  CSPAN  May 17, 2017 5:57pm-6:13pm EDT

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tomorrow deputy attorney general rod rosenstein will give a closed all senators briefing on the firing of fbi director james call me. that is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. eastern. senator of connecticut will oppose all judicial nominations until there is a special prosecutor to investigate senato >> mr. president. senator from connecticut. >> thank you, mr. president. und the senate has under consideration rachel brandt for associate attorney general of the united states. one of the very top positions ie the department of justice and in law enforcement.
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it is a position of consummate trust and responsibility requiring full public confidence i will oppose this nomination. i will oppose all nominations for the department of justice until public trust and confidence in the rule of law is restored and sustained by appointment of an independent special prosecutor to investigate russian interference in our last election and and potential links to the trump campaign and trump associates. i oppose rod rosenstein nomination. in fact, i was the only member of the judiciary committee to vote against it and one of six on the floor to oppose it for exactly the same reason. i say this to him publicly and n privately: the only way to
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preserve his own reputation, the departmen , and the trust and confidence in the department of justice was to appoint an independent prosecutor and so f far regrettably, he has failed to do so. that question will be first, my priority when the full senate meets with him tomorrow and we will demand to know from him firing of director comey who said what to whom, why hishe memorandum was written, and whether he will now commit after these most recent startlingrday revelations, just yesterday that the president of the united states suggested, indeed expressly demanded, the director comey stop his investigation
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involving potential ties to michael flynn of russian interference in our election. chilling effect raised in the last several days now raised serious questions about obstruction of justice by the president of the united states. we consider this nomination at a truly unusual, very likely unique, and unprecedented time in our country. the revelation last evening the president trump asked the fbi director to shut down the federal investigation into his then national security advisor,c michael flynn, is evidence of a severe, political interference and possibly wrongdoing in an ongoing criminal investigation. the evidence of obstruction continues to mount. we are witnessing an obstruction
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of justice unfolding before our. eyes in real-time. revelation after revelation continue to shake this country's confidence in our government and this administration.l the need for an independent, special prosecutor has never been so clear and convincing and so unquestionably necessary and i call on my republican colleagues two rows to this challenge, to shine in the light of history and to commit an independent special prosecutor will be appointed to uncover the truth and hold accountable anyone who has committed wrongdoing. nom because so far we have no such special prosecutor, i will oppose this nomination but i also have disagreements with
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rachel brandt. i respect her record of public service and i believe that she is simply not the right person to serve as associate attorney general because of her long-standing apparently deeply held philosophy on the use ander proper application of government when the federal government engages in actions that threaten the privacy rights of innocent americans, ms. brandt has advocated nonaction. i believe that the united states must protect the privacy of her citizens. that fact is only one among many that cause me to disagree with her. but the failure to nominate and appoint an independent special prosecutor will lead me to oppose all of the nomination
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that are set forth by this administration, including anyone nominated for the fbi and, i think, it should now be clear that if it was not before, thatn it is necessary for a special prosecutor.n parallels have been drawn by members of both sides of the aisle to the watergate scandal.d to this day, we do not know whether president nixon ordered the watergate break-in or simply was a beneficiary of the crime. just as we don't know now whether donald trump colluded with russians interference in the 2016 election or simply benefited from russia's criminal the watergate scandal gave rise to the same, the cover-up is worse than the crime.
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in this instance what we know is that russian interference was aimed at the. [inaudible] of our democracy. it's far more serious than the watergate break-in. what we do know about nixon and the facts became the basis for the first article of impeachment was that he attempted to indirectly interfere with an fb- but very simply while nixon may not have directly threatened to fire the fbi director, if that director continue to investigate nixon's associate, he made clear that his preference as head of the executive branch was that any such investigation should ra cease. history doesn't repeat but it rhymes. as a saint that has profound
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truth we now have credible reports that president trump attempted to do directly what president nixon sought to do indirectly. he stopped a lawful, ongoing criminal investigation. nixon ordered his staff to work for the cia through pressure the di fbi to drop the watergate investigation. president trump simply summoned director comey into the oval office, according to reports which certainly need to be verified and ordered everyone else to leave the room,ro suggesting then that the director drop his investigation. he did so just two weeks after having told director comey thatd he might not have a place in the trump administration and makingy clear that director comey his loyalty to him might well direc determine whether comey would keep his job or not when
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director comey rejected trump's. suggestion, in fact, he was fired. that is the line of fact established by this mounting c evidence. it is a serious charge. we should be cautious. if director comey did not write that memo or for some reason there is a question about the truth perhaps this positions are unfounded but there is credible and significant evidence and director comey has established to both his critics and his friends that he is a man of on and dedication to public service . we cannot feel confident about r
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nominations for any of these positions whether it be director of the fbi or associate attorney general from a president who has demonstrated such contempt for the rule of law and for law enforcement which is the job of the department of justice. the white house timeline and justification for the decision to fire director comey certainly , now, at this moment, fails to meet the hedge of credibility.nt we know from the president's own words and interviews he conducted late last week that the fbi's investigation into possible collusion between individuals with the trump campaign and russian government was on the president's mind when he decided to fire fbi director. in at least two conversations, the president asked the fbi director about this investigation and the related
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investigation into former national security advisor, michael flynn. late last night the times revealed the details of one such conversation. it occurred in the oval office the day after flynn resigned. the account written by director me comey which seems to me the full test of credibility is absolutely chilling. t quote i hope you see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go. ". good according to that he's a good guy and i'm quoting again i hope you can let him let this go". when the fbi director continue to pursuit the investigations president trump fired him.
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we are witnessing this are s real-time. these revelations are shaking our country safe in the independence of our nations highest ranking law enforcement agency, our rule of law and our national security. it is a best of our democracy, literally a threat to our national security from russian meddling in the election and potential trump ties and links to that interference in our democracy. it is the core foundational exercise of democracy-voting. waiting for two and half weeks when then deputy attorney general sally gates warned that michael flynn was a vulnerable as national security advisor. blackmail from the russian.
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he was fired days later. then when the investigation into that russians meddling and trumps ties to it continued director comey was summoned to be told that the investigation should be shut down and fired when he refused to do so.n relat very likely, part of that decision related to the request for additional resources that director comey made to rosenstein shortly before he was fired and his refusal to rule out the president as a target of that investigation when he came before the judiciary committee. the facts will eventuall perform a mosaic and that mosaic may show dramatically a picture
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of criminal conduct. that is the process of investigating and prosecuting from wrongdoing. right now, that activity requires a fidelity to the rule of law and getting all of the evidence including transcripts, tapes, memos and other documents they must cease immediately. they should not be destroyed or concealed. so they are preserved and produced. that must be done without delay, including testimony under oath,t in public from director comey, attorney general sessions, deputy attorney rod rosensteine and the president's counsel. they should be called to testify by the judiciary committee under oath in the public. u i hope that my colleague willy indeed rise to this challenge and shine in the light of
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history committee now to an independent special prosecutor who can assure that the truth is uncovered and that the accountability is imposed for any criminal wrongdoing. and that we will prevent any obstruction of justice becauseca the american people deserve it and they needed, they demand it. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. >> senator blumenthal calling for a special prosecutor earlier and in the meantime, this headline from the wall street journal: former fbi director robert muller named special counsel for russian probe. rod rosenstein insights public interest in naming mr. muller to that post. now, local police chief testified to the challenges that


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