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tv   Sens. Coons Flake on Protecting Special Counsel  CSPAN  November 14, 2018 4:39pm-4:56pm EST

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and suffice to say that i would not be here without her love and support over 23 years. if you were to look in the dictionary at the word remarkable, you would see her picture. my beautiful daughter mckenna is a junior at adams high school. she played for the varsity basketball team. she's a brilliant young woman and she's hoping that today will cover her for her ap u.s. h history class. my son is a fourth grader at st. joseph grade school. he's smart, kind and he's also a fierce hockey player. when i asked him what i should tell the committee about him, he told me to say we're buddies foreverment i am is sprr proud of both of them. my dad and mom are here. my father, ron, is a retires educationer of 40 years, he has been my teacher for longer than
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that. my mother, sharngs once a registered nurse devoted her time to genealogy and grand kids. they have been married 54 years and have always been loving parents. in addition with me is brian dilly. as steadfast friend of mine of 3022 years, she's ach a lekty a anyone. >> thank you for being here. we'd is ask for unanimous consent to bring the special counsel independent out to the floor. this was legislation that passed the ju ware committee on the 26th. it's rare there's such bipartisan legislation in the u judiciary committee, yet it passed. in the intervening time, we have sent 49 nominations district and circuit court judges to the senate floor for a vote and 50 are received a vote. there was one in cue.
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so it's not that everything from the judiciary committee has been lying here waiting for action. these have been good votes. we've needed to move these ju judges through, but this is priority now. given in april for not bringing it to a floor vote. clearly it's not the case now. attorney general has been fired. and the authority and oversight from rod rosenstein. who has expressed hostility to the mueller investigation. so senator. >> thank you, senator flake. i appreciate the ongoing working partnership on the judiciary committee and on foreign relations.
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we just called for a unanimous consent vote and the majority leader came out and objected. i appreciate there are many colleagues mostly in the other part who said there's nothing to worry about here, thereno reaso be concerned but they support mueller completing his investigation. i couldn't agree more. we need to realize that a week ago, the reason he fired attorney general jeff sessions was because he recused himself. the president just the same day that he compelled the resignation tweeted about mueller investigation being a hoax. he has replaced the attorney general not with the deputy attorney general, which would have been appropriate, but with matt whitaker, whose ideas are
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well outside the mainstream, whose experience is significantly below that. those questions, the constitutionality of the deployment have been challenged now. the larger issue that concerns me and my friend senator flake is public questioning the conduct of the special counsel's investigation. if not now, when? it seems to me it's important for us to remember the whole reason there is a special counsel, president trump fired the fbi director and then went on television himself to say he did it because of quote that russia thing. the president has now taken another i think precipitous step in compelling the resignation of his attorney general in replacing him not with the appropriate successor but a hand picked suck says sor with a history of making public statements challenging. this would be an easy step to take. it is a bipartisan bill that has been ready for foreign action for months.
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we are confident it would get 60 votes if given a vote. it is the majority leader who controls the floor agenda and by compelling through a unanimous consent request action today, senator flake has put us in a place where it's clear that there's an unwillingness to add. my hope is that we will in the days ahead find additional colleagues who are willing to join up with senator flake and me, this is the bill that continues to enjoy the support of his four cosponsors, senator graham, senator booker and i'm confidence we'll get 60 votes across the r floor. so with that, i think it's time for us to move from speeches to action. i appreciate senator flake's action today and i'm hopeful we'll find other colleagues who agree as they reflect on the very perilous situation this special counsel's mueller investigation is under today as of if t's anchors a week ago. >> mr. mcconnell said there's no need to do that. does he know something you don't? is that wishful thinking? where do you think that comes
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with doing nothing comes from? >> well, the president has said he's not going to move on the special counsel. that doesn't, that's not enough. it's not enough and perhaps that's what gives comfort to the majority leader. i would ask him. it doesn't give comfort to me when this was brought to the floor in april, it was said there's nothing to see here. there's nothing going on. but now that it clearly is not the case. when you have the attorney general fired, and the oversight for the investigation moved to someone who is not received senate confirmation, who has expressed open hostility through investigation and i think most of our colleagues feel the same way. >> should matt whitaker recuse himself from overseeing the investigation? >> yes, absolutely. >> yes.
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>> he shouldn't be in that position at all to have to oversight over the investigation. that's what's seems uninstitution u unconstitutional or to step out of the succession that you have. the same time, the deputy who is already performing that function, so it wasn't as if they leapfrogged over the deputy. they took this gags from him and gave it to somebody who has nod received senate confirmation. that does not seem constitutional to me. >> yesterday, chuck grassley said he was not going to have hearings before the end of if year with matt whitaker. >> september a letter to ask asking about his conduct and whether r knot he'll recuse his conduct. >> when you hear the statements and what's been unearthed in
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statements he's made in the past. with regard to his own jurisprudence to say that that was wrongly decided. kind of undercuts our entire system of justice here. that we've enjoyed for a couple of centuries, so that's the type of thing he would be asked if herp subjected to send confirmation. as u.s. attorney in iowa, they don't receive nearly the scrutiny that somebody who is going for attorney general would receive. >> as a candidate, as a candidate to the united states senate matthew whitaker said he believes in the principle of nullification. that it's possible for states to full fi federal requirements. we fought a civil war over that. a fairy foundational principle of american jurisprudence.
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there are a number of statements that he's made in the past. he ought to come in front of the judiciary committee and explain why he's the appropriate person b to be serving. >> it so seems like your best avenue for the protection bill is something leveraged with like the proep ration process. the it likely you can get enough people on board to protect mu mueller? >> i'm an appropriator. i've discuss wd with several others. we're not there yet. december 7th is the date. but jerry nad lehr, the likely next chairman of the committee in the house has suggested an interview appropriation bill might be the right vehicle. i think what senator flake and i have done today is right for today. we can do this right now. we could have a four-vote today. no need to put at risk the ongoing funding and functioning of the government of the united states. we'll cross that bridge when we
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get to it. >> senator flake, would you be willing to r consider that? >> oh, sure. ooip not an appropriator, but when it comes to votes o tn floor for the appropriations bill. >> is there any other leverage that you think you have? >> i have explained today, i have committed not to advance any more nominees through the judiciary committee. we've had hearings for 21. they're awaiting action. some of them tomorrow and they will not receive my vote. and with the margins we have in the judiciary committee, it means they will not move forward. also, i will not vote for any who come to the floor, there are 32 awaiting action on the floor. now theoretically, if the vice president comes an breaks a tie, if all republicans are for and democrats against, it would fill pass. that's not where my leverage is, but i'll use what i have. >> one of the criticisms of the president is that you don't act on it at times. you go in to mr. kavanaugh and other judges.
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is there any sense that you night waiver on that? when it comes town to it. >> i've made this, i've viewed this leverage once. with regard to judges. it was to receive a vote. on tariffs, which we did. and i didn't vote on any until we receive that vote. i'm fully prepared to carry through with this. >> this may be a dumb question, but you can see that the president would never sign this bill even if it got out of congress and on to his desk. what real protection would this off terrify special counsel beyond saying the senate doesn't want you to do this? >> the president said he would never sign the bill that provided for mandatory sankss against russia. it passed the senate by 98 37b 2. history showed he signed it. >> on specifically what you're threatening or saying you will do, if you get a vote, would you
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li lift the hold on these judicial nominees or are you insisting on database >> we're insisting on a vote. that's the letter i sent to the majority leader on friday. he's known this is coming. we are insisting on a vote now. we have a vote that will pass overwhelmingly. as the president will have to sign it. we just need the vote. >> have you spoken to your friend paul ryan about the house doing something with this as well? >> i haven't. not yet. >> can't they just can't wait you out >> sure. there are a lot of judges to get through if they want before the first of the year. 21 are awaiting action in the
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judiciary committee. >> it's not like the senate is changing hands they can bring them to the floor, bring them through the committee again. >> have to start over again. it's a tougher process. >> how did leader mcconnell react to that bus on elections the republicans were on judicial nominations he said next year judicial nominations transparent number one key thing. how do you react in your conversation when you said you can hold these conversations up. >> this conversation came before with regard to the vote on tariffs, with regard to the motion to instruct and we got that vote. i don't think we would have had the threat not been made or had i not held for a couple of weeks these nominees in the judiciary committee. you use what leverage you have. this is priority now. between april and now the attorney general wasn't fired. it wasn't this blatant of a move
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on a special counsel. there has been now and that's reason why we're doing this. thank you. >> thank you all very much. join us tonight for the 74th annual radio and television congressional correspondent's dinner. arizona senator jeff flake will deliver the keynote address. see live coverage this evening starting at 7:30 evening on c-span 2 or listen with the free c-span radio app. when we study the history of
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memphis, tennessee there's pre-april 4th, 1968 and there was post-april 4th, 1968. ♪ you know, memphis was the place of a lot of racial tension but it was also the place of a lot of racial harmony. >> had there been no cotton economy there may not have been a need for a transportation hub. it's possible without cotton memphis would not exist in the 21st century. >> this weekend c-span's city tour takes you to memphis, tennessee. beginning saturday at 7:00 p.m. eastern on book tv the author talks about his book "down to the crossroads, black power and the march against fear." and author charles hughes on his
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book "gun soul." on sunday 2:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv the history of cotton in memphis during the mid-19th century. then a visit to the national civil rights museum. watch c-span cities tour of memphis saturday at 7:00 p.m. eastern and sunday at 2:00 p.m. on american history tv on c-span 3 as we explore america. newly elected members of the 116th congress are in washington this week for orientation. this morning they posed for a class photo. here's a look.


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