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tv   Members of Congress Testify on Oversight of Justice Department FBI  CSPAN  March 24, 2023 3:20am-4:37am EDT

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>> the subcommittee will come
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to order. welcome, everyone to this first hearing of the select subcommittee. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. gates, to lead us in the pledge of allegiance. >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america. and to the republic, for which it stands, one nation under god, in, with liberty and justice for all. >> the chair recognizes himself her opening statement. >> november 18th, 2021, an fbi whistleblower discloses to republicans on the house
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judiciary that the fbi created a threat tag for parents voicing their concerns at school board meetings. april 26th, 2022, another fbi whistleblower discloses that the fbi employees are being run out of the bureau for attending conservative political events. may 11th, 2022, another fbi whistleblower disclosed to the dozens of parents with the threat tag designation to their name are investigating by the fbi. this also happens to be the same whistleblower who said the fbi leadership, not the rank and file members, is rotted at its core. his clearance has been revoked. he has been suspended. june 7th, 2022, another fbi whistleblower is retaliated against after giving feedback on an anonymous survey. july 27th, 2020 to -- another fbi whistleblower discloses that asians are pressure to reclassify cases as
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domestic violent extremism to hit self created performance metrics. september 14th, 2022, an fbi whistleblower discloses that the fbi views the bestie ross flag as a terrorist symbol. september 19th, 2022, another fbi whistleblower discloses that the washington field office is deliberately manipulating january 6th case files to make it appear that domestic violence extremism is on the rise. he has been suspended. november 8th, see some, november 4th, 2022, another fbi whistleblower discloses that the fbi except private user information from a facebook without the user's consent. the information is from only the conservative side of the political spectrum. this is only a sampling. in my time in congress, i have never seen anything like this. dozens and dozens of whistleblowers, fbi agents,
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coming to us talking about what is going on, the political nature of the justice department. it's not jim jordan saying, this now republicans, not conservatives, good fbi agents who are willing to come forward and give us the truth. this is just the fbi. americans have concerns about the double standard that the department of justice -- american some concerns about the disinformation governance that the department of homeland security tried to form. americans have concerns about the atf and what they are doing to the second amendment. of course, they have concerns about the irs and the thousands of new agents who are coming to that organization. finally, there are concerns about what we have learned in the twitter files. big government and big tech colluded to shape and mold the narrative and suppress information and censor americans. over the course of our work on this committee, we expect to hear from government officials and experts like we have here today. we expect to hear from
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americans who have been targeted by their government. we expect to hear from people in the media. we expect to hear from the fbi agents who have come forward as whistleblowers. we think many of them will step in for transcribed interviews as wounded on tuesday. we believe several of them will come and testify in open hearings. finally, we expect to bring forward legislation which will help protect the american people. we hope our democratic colleagues will work with us. the day the resolution greeting the saw committee was debated and passed, mr. jeffries, mr. nadler said democrats would, quote, fight us tooth and nail. we hope that attitude changes. we want to work with them. protecting the constitution should not be partisan. protecting the fundamental proposal of equal treatment should not be partisan. with that, i yield the ranking member for her own committing statement. >> thank you, chairman jordan.
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nobody disputes the important role of congressional oversight. i know firsthand how important it is to ask questions and demand answers of the federal government. in the ordinary course of business, in extraordinary times when misconduct in the executive branch threatens to undermine our democratic institutions, congressional oversight can serve to protect the integrity of our public. for example, i am proud of the role i played as an impeachment management in the second impeachment of president donald trump and the aftermath of the attack on the capital. that bipartisan work was both a measure of accountability and a sign to the american people that congress had no intention of being bullied into giving up on a peaceful transfer of power. there is a difference. my colleague's between
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legitimate oversight and weaponization of congress and our processes, particularly our committee work as a political tool. i'm deeply concerned about the use of the select subcommittee as a place to settle scores, showcase conspiracy theories, and advance an extreme agenda that risk undermining americans faith in our democracy. some of today's witnesses would have us believe that the department of justice and the federal bureau of investigation are part of a deep state cabal. warren even wrote a book describing the fbi itself as a threat to democracy. the department of justice and the fbi do not always get a right. history is full of examples of these agencies getting it very, very wrong. we have colleagues in this congress who have been subject to politically motivated hateful, racist investigations by our government. that does not logically follow
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that every investigation or a criminal inquiry by the department of justice is political or ideologically based. in our current climate, with domestic terrorism on the rise and hate speech normalized by national politicians, the department of justice and the fbi are doing their best to protect us from sliding into chaos. this past monday, the fbi captured two individuals, won a neo-nazi leader and founder of a group who were applauding a racially motivated attack on baltimore's power grid. they said their goal was to, quote, completely destroy this whole city, and quote. last week, the fbi infiltrated and disrupted a major cybercriminal group extorting schools, hospitals, and critical infrastructure around the world. last summer, the fbi engaged in a mass violent crime enforcement effort that took
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nearly 6000 violent criminals off of our streets. let's not forget the tremendous work of the fbi and the department of justice after the attacks on our homeland on september 11th 2001. similar vulcan colleagues love to talk about the threat of violent crime but appear oblivious to the fact that they are dangerous rhetoric and baseless accusations against the justice department and fbi itself at times pose a direct threat to those organizations ability to do the work they are doing to protect our communities. recent threats militants have highlighted a shocking increase in threats of violence against law enforcement agencies and a significant uptick after the fbi executed a search warrant. the federal law enforcement officers association has vehemently denounced what he described as, quote, politically motivated threats
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which are unprecedented in recent history and absolutely unacceptable, and quote. unfortunately, examples of these threats are not hard to find. last year, someone threatened to plant a dirty bomb outside the fbi headquarters. another attempted to storm the cincinnati fbi field office while wearing body armor and carrying an ar type rifle. a third was arrested after he made a credible threat stating, quote, every single piece of expletive who works for the fbi in any capacity from the director on down to the janitor who cleans their expletive toilets deserve to die. you have declared war on us and now it is open season on you. these allegations are deeply struggling. i hope the members of the subcommittee will be mindful of the risks going hand in hand with heated rhetoric. a rush to accusations and subpoenas without a factual basis and without any effort to
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engage with agencies through the accommodation process flies in the face of due process and to means congressional oversight processes. it makes a mockery of our institution. as a former prosecutor, i'm even more troubled by the suggestion that this subcommittee might attempt to investigate ongoing criminal investigations. as the head of the reagan justice department saw office of legal counsel wrote years ago, granting congress accessed information about active criminal investigations will in effect make congress a partner in the investigation, creating a, quote, substantial danger that congressional pressures will influence in the course of the investigation and potentially, quote, hamper prosecutorial decision-making in future cases. this would not only damage law enforcement efforts, it would
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shape the public's confidence in the criminal justice system. i hope not. i suspect much of the investigation, the majority, potentially mock up involve criminal investigations into former president donald trump. i want to be crystal clear. my democratic colleagues and i will resist any attempt by this subcommittee to derail ongoing legitimate investigations into president trump, any other president, and others within his orbit. during the course of this subcommittee's work, i suspect we will hear both members and witnesses describe the events of january 6th, 2021 and weighs it simply do not mesh with reality. when this app, and i would encourage everyone watching today to review the impeachment record and report of the january 6th committee which lays out the true facts and shocking details. i recently sent a letter to the
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chairman noting that despite our policy and political differences i am hopeful that there may be matters of investigation within the stated mandate of the subcommittee under which you may collaborate. i meant this. i mean this. i still hope that we can find common ground and explore it in a bipartisan manner that respects the due process rights and interests of all involved. the chair and his colleagues continually use the moniker of protecting free speech. that sounds good. i hope they all recognize that there is speech that is not constitutionally protected. racist, hate, incitement to violence. i also hope, and if the protection of truth and free speech extends to all americans. we will see. i hope we can use this subcommittee to conduct legitimate oversight to help advance policies to address the
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real challenges that americans face every day rather than undermine every agent, officer, and prosecutor on the job. government abuses of power do not solely rest with the executive branch. it can, and we've seen it come from the legislative branch as well. on our present course, however, this exercise seems a little more than a political stunt designed to inject extremist politics into the legislative oversight function and the justice system. the american people deserve better than that. i yield back. >> thank you, ranking member. without objection, all other opening statements will be included in the record. we will now introduce our first panel of witnesses. senator chuck grassley has represented iowa and united states senate since 1981. he's currently the ranking member of the committee on budget. he's former chairman and ranking member of the committee on the judiciary and the committee on finance. welcome, senator grassley. senator ron johnson has represented the state of
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wisconsin in the night in state senate since 2011. he has served as the chairman of the -- we welcome you, senator johnson. representative jamie raskin, congressman raskin has represented maryland's eighth congressional district since 2017. he currently serves as the ranking member on the committee of oversight and accountability. we have with us for remember tulsi gabbard who represented hawaii's second congressional district for eight years. for nearly 20 years, she has served our country in the hawaii army national guard and the u.s. army reserves including deployments in iraq and kuwait. we thank all of you for your service. our long-standing committee practice is to not ask questions of our colleagues and former colleagues that appear before us. in light of that practice, our first panel will have ten minutes to deliver their testimony. we thank you for being here. the senator from iowa is recognized for ten minutes. >> thank you, chairman jordan and ranking member plaskett for this opportunity to appear. i thank you for inviting me to
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come here. what i'm about to tell you sounds like it is out of some fiction spy thriller. it actually happened. it happened in our own government. congressional oversight is a constitutional demand. we dedicated our careers to it. i have, that least. during the course of my service, i have run countless investigations. in the past few years, i've never seen so much effort from the fbi, the partisan media, that some of my democratic colleagues to interfere with and undermine very legitimate congressional inquiries. it's because of a triad of disinformation and outright falsehoods. look at crossfire hurricane. bit by bit, piece by piece, it has been deconstructed and shown to be politically
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motivated investigation, which it was. we all know now that it was the democratic national committee along with the clinton campaign who colluded with the russians. they used to former russian spy, fusion gps, and a law firm to create a fake dossier and then tried to cover it up. the most recent example of this trade war our efforts against my and senator johnson's ongoing biden family investigation. that investigation started on august 14th, 2019 when i was chairman of the senate finance committee with a letter that i wrote to the treasury department. my letter was about a questionable financial transaction is subject to the committee on foreign investment that related to a matter
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involving the biden family. as our investigation continues and advanced, democratic leadership and partisan media began their attack on our investigation. this is where that spy thriller starts to heat up. on july 13th, 2020, then minority leader schumer, senator warner, then speaker pelosi and then chairman schiff sent a letter with classified attachment to the fbi. that letter expressed a purported belief that congress was the subject of foreign disinformation campaign. the letter was targeted at the johnson grassley investigation. however, the classified attachment included on --
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that attempted and failed to tie our work to a russian agent named andre. unsurprisingly, those unclassified elements were linked to the press to support a false campaign accusing senator johnson of relying on material from our russian agents and thus advancing russian disinformation. of course, it was pure nonsense. the irresponsible media portrayed this as with the truth. guess what? chairman schiff claimed without any evidence whatsoever that our oversight work was rooted in russian disinformation. you know, he conveniently left out that our oversight work was actually rooted in official
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u.s. government and obama administration records. guess what? senator blumenthal also wrote an op-ed in the washington post accusing our investigation of, quote, perpetuating russian disinformation in the u.s. senate, and quote. guess what? minority leader schumer and ranking member white and try to offer a resolution in the senate disparaging our biden investigation. they innocence were basically calling us stooges. it's pretty simple. that violated senate rules in their efforts and were appropriately shut down. on july 16th, 2020, days after the july 13th letter, ranking member's widen and peters wrote
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a letter to me and senator johnson asking for a briefing from the fbi's foreign influence task force. our staff and the ranking member staff had already -- remember, we had already received a briefing march 2020 that put the issue to rest. why another riffing? the point was that there was no real purpose for another briefing, let alone a member level briefing other than to further undermine our investigation. some of our democratic colleagues were not interested in anything but using that briefing to try and destroy our investigation. these democrats insistence, the fbi caved. in august 2020, senator johnson and i had the infamous briefing
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from the fbi. because we had fears, the contents of the briefing were later leaked to the washington post even though the fbi had promised us confidentiality. that leak outrageously and inaccurately connected that fbi briefing to our investigations in another effort to falsely label our good government oversight work as russian disinformation. the wall street journal editorial board was on top of it because that board did the right thing and wrote about the briefing titled, quote, the fbi 's dubious briefing. did the bureau set up two gop senators at the behest of democrats? simply put, the briefing was
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unnecessary and completely irrelevant to the substance of our investigation. it was only done because the democrats wanted to do so. they could try and smear us. the fbi wrongly did the bidding. to this very day, director wray refuses to provide senator johnson and me as constitutional officers records relating to that breeding including the alleged intelligence basis for it. director wray has consistently failed to perform duties required of his position. another example of this democratic disinformation campaign involved a george can't, former state deputy assistant general. senator johnson and i ran a
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transcribed interview with george can't. before the interview, democrats acquired material from the russian agent, the same one i mentioned earlier. that the interview, democrats, now republicans, democrats asked mr. can't about the same material. he said it was disinformation. think about that! after all of the spears that democrats were throwing out the two of us, in the end, it was the democrats who introduced russian disinformation from a russian agent into the investigative record as an exhibit. a foreign agent who our own intelligence committee warned was actually seeking to influence u.s. politics. not me or senator johnson, not
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our staff, it was the democrats who inserted disinformation from the russians into our official record. the partisan media and democratic leadership ought to be ashamed of themselves for fake information if they spread -- that face right about our investigation. in the end, they all field to stop senator johnson and me. on august 23rd, 2020, senator johnson and i released our first biden investigation reports. i know there has been a lot of talk in this town about treasury records. you ought to pursue them. and that 2020 report, we made public the contents of many treasury records. we did not stop there. we issued another report november 18th, 2020. our report exposed extensive financial relationships between
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hunter and james biden and chinese nationals connected to the communist regime. more precisely, chinese nationals connected to the chinese government, military, and intelligence services. senator johnson and i transitioned to be ranking members. we had not forgotten about what the triad of partisan media -- fbi, democrats, and leadership did to us. we don't stop. we did what any congressional investigator worth their salt would do. we gathered even more records to prove them all wrong! we acquired authentic bank records that substantiated findings of our previous reports. we linked under biden and james biden to entities and
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individuals connected with the communist chinese regime. we also acquired business records with hunter and james bidens signatures along side those same chinese nationals. how were they supposed to be paid? according to bank records, there were wires from companies linked to the communist regime. in three floor speeches, we made those bank records public and asked this question to our partisan detractors, the same ones that i mentioned throughout my remarks and maybe a lot of others. are these official bank records russian disinformation? we also shared hundreds of pages of bank records with u.s. attorney weiss. he failed to respond. as our investigation continues, whistleblowers approached my office with allegations that the fbi created an assessment
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in august 2020, the same month that the fbi briefed me and senator johnson. according to these whistleblowers, that assessment was used by the fbi headquarters to improperly discredits negative hunter biden information as you might expect. >> as a result, the scheme allegedly caused investigative activity to entirely cease. it's a further alleged to me that in september of 2020, senator johnson and i released our first report. those fbi headquarters began placing their analysis of the credibility of reporting related to the biden family in what i've been told is a restricted access sub file. further allegations of might of this involve fbi personnel at
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the washington field office who improperly ordered information to be closed by the fbi related to hunter biden's potential criminal conduct in october of 2020. just before the election, even though it was verified horsehair viable. other whistleblower disclosure to my office made clear that the fbi is within its position very significant impactful and voluminous evidence with respect to potential criminal conduct by hunter and james biden. these disclosures also alleged that joe biden was aware of hunter biden's business arrangements and may have been involved in some of them. we still aren't sure what's been done with this information. the fbi's track record does and create much faith that the information is going to be followed up on. it's clear to me that the
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justice department and the fbi are suffering from a political infection that if it's not defeated will cause the american people no longer to trust these storied institutions. it will also threaten the american way of life. unfortunately, what you've heard for me, this story of government abuse and political treachery is scarier than fiction. it really happened. mister chairman, your committee here assembled has an opportunity to help us write the last chapter in this real life drama. you must relentlessly produce the facts and the evidence. senator johnson and i will do the same and are willing to work with you. >> senator johnson? >> chairman jordan, ranking member plaskett, members of the select committee, thank you for
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inviting me to testify about our personal knowledge of an experience with federal agencies being weaponized against u.s. citizens. senator grassley has described the most egregious example undertaken by multiple actors and agencies to undermined and sabotaged our joint investigations. to begin, let me be clear, throughout my testimony, i am not talking about the men and women of government who can tuck themselves with page -- at the outside, it is important to recognize corrupt individuals within agencies that i am talking about are not acting alone. they operate as vital partners of the left wing political movement that includes most members of the mainstream media, big tech, social media giants, global institutions and foundations. democratic party operatives, the elected officials. as the files reveal, these actors work in concert to
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defeat their political opponents and promote left-wing ideology and government control over our lives. my eyes began opening to this reality with the disclosure of how the obama administration weaponize the irs to harass tea party groups by denying them tax exempt status. my personal knowledge and experience with the injury to hate corruption began in 2015 when i became chairman of the senate committee on homeland security and governmental affairs. my first investigation ultimately revealed the extensive editing of that fbi director james comey of his july 5th 2016 stay man to that exonerated secretary clinton regarding her use of a private email server for official business. the edits were made to downplay the seriousness of her actions. it is important to note those partisan edits were made by the
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same cast of characters in the fbi who had initiated drive the corrupt russian trump collusion investigation. during our investigation, the fbi's involvement in the russian collusion hoax, senator grassley night uncovered and made public highly partisan text messages between fbi and employees peter strzok and lisa page. struck december the 15th 2016 test, quote, i think our sisters have begun leaking like mad. score, and worried, political, they are kicking into overdrive. it's never been given the attention it deserves. in 2022, and interviewed jeff girth, struck said he now believes that, quote, it is more likely the tax came not from the cia, but from senior levels of the u.s. government or congress. who might those leakers be? why are we receiving the leaks
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outrage that being fed out -- why haven't they blown the whistle on the leakers. why didn't the mainstream media investigate how they were all duped? the answer is, they were not duped. they were complicit in creating and fostering the political turmoil our country has been experiencing over the last six years. those leaks were a key ingredient in the most destructive political dirty trick and u.s. history. the creation and promotion of the false russia trump collusion narrative. to be most effective, however, the narrative relied on coordination between government actors and the media. the left had allies in the fbi. unable to verify the dossier, the fbi authored christopher steele $1 million to provide verification.
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by december 2016, the fbi knew they had investigated steele's primary sub sources as a russian spy. in the main body of the department of justice the inspector general reports on pfizer bias, fbi official bill barry stack is quoted and saying the fbi, quote, didn't have any indication one so ever unquote of russian influence on the steele dossier. our investigation uncovered reacted footnotes to that same document that completely contradicted that statement. why would the fall statement up here in the report, but the truth be hidden in classified footnotes? 14 months later in february 2018, the fbi still briefed the senate intelligence committee, the dossier had lately. when they found no evidence of
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collusion, the left engineered an impeachment of president trump. the cooperation between the house intelligence committee and the impeachment whistleblower remains murky. then chairman adam schiff, allegedly denied his committee, he had contact the whistleblower via filing the complaint. acclaim shifted later to back. the genesis of the impeachment saga has yet to be fully investigated. it needs to be. prior to the impeachment proceedings, hunter biden's obvious conflicts of interest in ukraine became public. senator grassley and i began investigating. we didn't target joe and hunter biden. their actions demanded it. on december 9th 2019, the fbi issued a grand very subpoena and took possession of hunter biden's a laptop from john pyle mckissick, a computer shop owner in wilmington, delaware. as the fbi last a shop with
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left up, mr. mike isaac recalled one agent saying this is our experience that nothing ever happens to people that don't talk about these things unquote. the statement was the opening salvo in a coordinated effort over the next ten months to sabotage any public revolution of hunter biden's a laptop, or any wrongdoing connected to the bidens. senator grassley has provided a number of examples of that sabotage. we will release a report that goes into far greater detail than we have time for today. when available, i hope everyone will read it. perhaps the most egregious and effective act of sabotage against the truth was the public letter signed by if you own former intelligence officials who claim the laptop had, quote, all the classic
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earmarks of a russian information operation. that letter itself was an information operation that interfered with and impacted the 2020 presidential election to a far greater extent than anything russia ever could've hoped to achieve. each of those intelligence officials needs to be interviewed to determine how that letter was mastermind. i'm condemn the violence of january, sixth we all condemned the violence on january 6th. the further and with the fervor in with the department of justice has pursued those protesters and riders stand in stark contrast to the lack of interest in the summer of 2020 riders. serious questions regarding instances of unequal application of justice and violation of january six
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defendants do process rights remain unanswered. swat team arrests and treatment of prisoners are legitimate concerns. neither the senate nor house investigations adequate explained why the capitol was so woefully unprepared nor how many federal agents and informants were in the crowd. covid has expose the awesome power that can be misused by government officials. the loss of basic freedom has been nothing less than breathtaking. our response to the pandemic has been a miserable failure, and a miserable failure. over 1 million lives lost. the human toll of the economic devastation caused by shutdowns that did not work. they loss of learning and other psychological homes charge filled run. federal health officials denied patients early treatment.
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through this, day refuse to acknowledge the extent of significant injuries caused by the covid vaccines. emails between anthony fauci and the francis collins reveal how they intended to use their awesome government authority and power to accomplish, quote, devastating published takedown, unquote, of scientists who offer a different approach to handling the pandemic. emails often reveal fauci's attempt to hide the agency's role and funding dangerous research that might have led to the creation of the deadly coronavirus. we don't know because those agencies won't provide the unredacted documents. federal health agencies have not been honest or transparent. i've written over 50 oversight letters. the vast majority of the questions i have asked have either received an adequate response or no response at all.
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i have requested information that the public has a right, has a rights to, no. doctors who had the courage and compassion to treat covid patients using their off label prescription rights have been vilified, censored, and their careers destroyed. other health professionals who have noticed told the line and remained silent. parents who are concerned for their children questioned school boards administrators and have been labeled the pant domestic terrorists and must now fear scrutiny from the federal government, federal law enforcement. with release of the twitter files and louisiana lawsuits against the biden administration, we are getting a clear picture of how active government officials suppressed beasts who, beach control the
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narrative. it is also becoming audience that the world health organization has been captured by the chinese government, the glue institutions in general have been captured by the left, and some terrible foundations are exerting far more power over public policy than should be allowed. chairman jordan, members of the committee, you have important work before you. although you have been generous in granting ten minutes to offer my testimony, i have barely scratch the surface and describing the complexity, power, and nature's that we face. . -- they also need the government power was something to fear. that's why the devised a set of checks and balances to limit governments power and influence over our lives. ideally of free press would hold all government officials equally accountable.
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we are today's medium mostly bias to the left, congressional oversight is needed now more than ever. because the administration is not co-operative an transparent, congress needs whistleblowers from agencies throughout the federal government. i urge men and women with integrity to come forward and reveal the truth. senator grassley and i will do everything we can to encourage bipartisan oversight in the senate. and stand ready to assist your efforts in any way that we can. >> thank you, senator johnson, we look forward to your report. we hope that is coming shortly. now recognize representative raskin for his testimony. >> chairman jordan, ranking member plaskett, dear colleagues. our framers were enlightened thinkers who wrote us and enlightenment constitution. they wanted government to operate on the basis of facts, science, common sense, not ignorance and superstition.
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they wanted america to usher in an age of reason, but the separation of powers, the framers constitutional third of motion checking every action with an evil and office it reaction. congress an article one was given the central role of legislating and making progress for people. the oversight function is not specified an article one. the supreme court has always said it's implied, something necessary and proper for the legislative function as madison famously said, those who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives. dear colleagues, your subcommittee can absolutely become part of a proud history of serious bipartisan oversight stretching from the teapot dome investigation to the boeing investigation, into the watergate hearings, to the tobacco hearings, to the select committee on the january 6th attack. or you could take oversight
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down a very dark alley filled with conspiracy theories and disinformation. what a place where facts are the enemy and partisan destruction is the overriding goal. millions of americans already fear that representation is the right name for the special subcommittee. not because representation of the government is its targets, but because weaponization of the government is its purpose. what's in the name? well, everything is. the autonym of the opposition subcommittee constitute a case of pure psychological protection. former president donald trump in his followers accused you of doing something, they are usually telling you exactly what their own plans are. by establishing a select subcommittee on weaponization, they are telling us that donald trump's followers who obviously control the subcommittee will continue weaponizing any part
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of the government they can get their hands on to attack their enemies defined as anyone who stands in the way of their quest for power. to be clear, that's not explicitly partisan opposite reparation, they proven that they will weaponize the government not just against other parties, but against anyone who refuses to bend to the will and win of one donald trump. whether that's a lifelong republican state election official, like georgia secretary of state brad raffensperger, foreign head of states like president zelenskyy, or political movement, like black lives matter, a once close personal friend and ally of trump's, like his personal lawyer michael cohen from many years, or even a sycophantic trump appointee a lifelong republican like attorney general william barr. if these people break from the habits of lying and lawlessness that define life as a camp
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follower in the coat of donald trump, if the weaponize campaign isn't partisan, it's entirely political. it's got an overriding electoral focus. you know what it is. it's all about restoring donald trump that the, twice impeached former president, to the office he lost by 7 million votes in 2020 and try to steal back in a political coup and violent insurrection against our constitutional order on january six 2021. do you disagree? well, please don't take my word for it. as our chairman would say, listen to what chairman jordan himself had to say six months ago. at the action conference in dallas, where he was predicting gop victory in the 22 elections and promising that oversight of hunter biden's laptop when the claim that the federal government is treating moms and dads like the ones in this room like terrorists would be the centerpiece of the gop's work in the house.
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relaxing with a friendly interviewer, the majority gave the game away entirely. all those things need to be investigated just so you have the truth, he said. plus, that will help frame up the 2024 race when, i hope, and i think, president trump is going to run. we need to make sure that he winds. we need to make sure that he winds. this call to arms for the 2024 presidential election was made with law wild applause from the cpac audience. i urge every member of the subcommittee to go and watch the interview. of course, a serious bipartisan committee focused on weapons asian of the governments with zero in quickly on the trump administration itself, which brought weaponization to frightening new levels across the board. consider a few examples i have time. for illustrative of dozens i could provide to the subcommittee. one, in a six-week period in 2020, donald trump fired or
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removed five different departmental its vector generals, simply for doing their jobs and not in the political demands to cover up different forms of administration, wrongdoing, misconduct. april 3rd, 2020, trump inform congress that he was firing intelligence community inspector general michael atkinson who had received a whistleblower complaints and august 2019 about improper demands made by trump to ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy. in may 20, 20 trump fired steve lenox, later claiming he had no eye the who he was and saying that he fired him only at the request of secretary pompeo. that investor general was investigating pompeo's decision to bypass congress in sending billions of dollars in arms to saudi arabia. i don't have time for the details of the others. may 20, he fired matt bevin, the transportation deputy ig. be relieved of duty glenn fine,
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acting ig for the defense department. he removed christy graham, the acting inspector general of hhs. second, breaching the traditional separation between the president and department of justice criminal prosecutions, trump and his obliging sycophantic attorney generals like sessions and barr repeatedly pressured career prosecutors to go hard or go soft in particular cases and only seeking to reward trump's friends or to punish his enemies. if weaponization of the department has any meaning, this is at. consider the egregious case of gregory craig, a white house counsel under obama, who was targeted by the doj for alleged valuations and finally indicted on a single count of making false statements. he was acquitted unanimously by the jury in less than five hours. one of his lawyers observe the department of justice had hounded his client without any evidence and without any purpose. former u.s. attorney jeffrey
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berman said that craig never should have been prosecuted. consider the case of michael cohen, the president's former lawyer and confidant for many years. august 2000, 18 he pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations over large hush money payments here range before the 2016 election to keep porn star stormy daniels and karen mcdonald for talking about sexual fears they had with donald trump. remember this one. well, after barr became attorney general in february 2019, he worked to kill further investigations related to those payoffs and suggested that mr. cohen's conviction on campaign finance charges itself be reversed. even though six months had already passed since cohen had entered a guilty plea. amazingly, after cohen was in prison for years and then transferred out of prison to home confinement during covid-19, barr in the doj intervened to block his
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transfer because cohen would not immediately accept as a condition of his ankle bracelet home confinement not to engage in first amendment activities. specifically, writing and publishing a book about donald trump. or saying anything in public on tv or on social media about donald trump. cohen had already been home for two weeks is when this unconstitutional man from doj appeared. when he is an attorney dare to ask questions about, it three federal marshal showed up with an caution shackles and he was returned to the correctional institute. there he spent 16 days in solitary confinement before they're able to get the case before federal district judge who immediately found that barr's purpose, quote, in transferring cohen from a furlough and home confinement back to custody was retaliatory in response to cohen desiring to exercise his first amendment rights to publish a book critical of the president and
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to discuss the book on social media. can you think of a more agreed a example of weaponizing the department of justice for political purposes then imprisoning and putting in solitary confinement the presidents own former? lawyer simply because he wanted to exercise his first amendment light? consider the john dorman investigation. the urging of republicans including the good chairman, that john berman special counsel investigation was set up in 2019 by barr to find out wrongdoing by intelligence or law enforcement agencies in the origins of the mueller investigation. and we've heard some of the marines about this today. after four years and millions i'm dollars spent. the investigation closed as a total flop without unearthing anything like the deep state conspiracy that republicans have been denouncing around here for years. it couldn't find anything of substance to it. barr and durham kept pressing
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in abusive ways. i hope your subcommittee well investigated. when doj prosecutor robert left skin, who represented two witnesses before the durham probe told the new york times he was shot. this stuff had my head spinning, he said. when do these guys drink kool-aid? who served it to them? amazingly, when prosecutor is participating in this case chase actually came into possession of evidence of a real offense from italian government officials of a potentially major financial fine, committed by donald trump, how diorama suddenly deputize to investigate it. the full investigation mysteriously disappeared without a trace. trump's enablers now warn the subcommittee not to examine the dunham durham dropped a vocal as a case study and dangers representation of the justice function, but to think of the baton from the defeated and
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demoralized durham team. to keep the wild goose takes going today. third, the former president had no qualms about weaponizing our nations law enforcement and military against first amendment activity for his political purposes. i commend to you the debacle that took place on june 1st 2020 and lafayette square where they mobilized an inter agency law enforcement troop and then unleashed them on horseback with pepper spray on batons and billy clubs and rubber bullets against the lawfully presents crowd. mister chairman, i want to be, clear i'm not suggesting that any of the investigations have taken place over the last two years have been perfect. i'm sure they could have been improved. that's a legit thing for you to ask. it's one thing to engage and systematic oversight driven by a commitment to fact and the
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truth. something radically different to set up a platform for a series of hit and run partisan attacks that are vindictive and driven and meant to frame up a presidential campaign in 2024. some of the new rhetoric we've been hearing can be dangerous, as the ranking member was pointing out. after a lawful search warrant in palm beach in august of last year, politicians and figures began denouncing the fbi and agents in vitriolic terms. since, then the fbi and dhs have observed an increase in violent threats posted on social media against officials and facilities including a threat to place a dirty bomb in front of fbi headquarters. fishing carles forcible war and armed rebellion. we've heard these calls before in this chamber. on august 11th, a person wearing a technical vests and armed with an ar-style rifle and nail gun attempted to forcibly enter the fbi
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cincinnati field office. when officers responded, he fled the scene in a pursuit followed during a standoff with fbi, the man fired multiple shots at a state highway patrol. mr., chairman in the public is skeptical about the strange new venture with the strange new name that's being launched. so many members involved have done everything they can to block the january six committee's investigation of the worst insurrectionary domestic violent attack on an american election and american congress in our history. the public wonders whether members who refused to comply with congressional subpoenas themselves should be issuing congressional subpoenas to other people. oversight must be organized around a comprehensive search for the truth. truth that will lead to progress. not around revenge, which will lead us as a country to chaos and ruin. i hope the subcommittee will find a way to embark upon a truly bipartisan agenda with
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all members participating from agreeing on a common agenda. i wish you well, godspeed on behalf of this difficult venture that you are about to proceed on. >> i can assure the gentleman from maryland that we respect the fbi agents. particularly the ones who have come to us, the doesn't have come to. us we will focus on the facts. something i felt was not exactly presented in the proper way in your testimony. i understand that the senator from wisconsin has a number of documents he'd like to ask to be entered into the record. without, objection, those will be entered. we will get those w, sunder johnson. we turn to our former colleague, the former democrat on the estate of, hawaii, congressman get. >> thank, you, members, aloha, thank you for the opportunity to be here to speak with you today. benjamin franklin said without freedom of thought there can be
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no such thing as wisdom and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech. i love our country and i cherish our god given freedoms that are in shined and the constitution. like every one of you, i took an oath, both as a soldier and as a member of congress to support and defend the constitution of the united states. against all enemies foreign and domestic. i have the privilege of serving alongside many of you in congress for eight years, representing the people of the second congressional districts, serving on of services and foreign affairs committee, i'm honored to serve as lieutenant colonel of the army reserves for almost 20 years. during that time, i deployed three war zones and participated and multiple overseas training exercises, i had the opportunity to see firsthand what life is like in countries where there is no first amendment. where there is no free press, were governments deems itself to be the moral arbiter to its
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people, dictating to them what is right and wrong. and what can and cannot be said. who can speak, who cannot, who is free to warship, who is not. our founders understood the importance of enshrining our god given freedoms in the constitution and beloved rights to ensure that no matter which party or person may be empowered at any given time, our founding documents serve as a reminder of these freedoms that are guaranteed to every american. thomas payne said he that would make his own liberties secure must guard even his enemy from opposition if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself. we cannot be so shortsighted as to thinking silencing speech that we don't like today will not result in our own voices being silenced tomorrow. the work you've been charged within committee effects all americans. it is too important to allow it to fall victim to partisan
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politics. no matter how deep your differences, we must all agree to stand on the side of liberty. on, fortunately, right now we live, in a country where many americans are afraid to speak freely. afraid to express themselves, afraid to actually have real open dialogue and debate. afraid of losing their job, being canceled, or being accused of a crime. it could happen if recently introduced legislation criminalizing hate speech is passed into law. speech, no matter how poor, and is still protected on the first amendment. this fear and this culture of fear and self censorship is not unfounded. we have individuals in our government off and working through their arms and mainstream media and big tech doing exactly what our founders rejected. trying to control what we the people are allowed to see and say. under the guise of protecting us from so-called misinformation or
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disinformation. of course, then point themselves as the sole authority, a voice of truth, of information. backed by the most lethal flores on earth with the power to target anyone they deem a threat. they alone are the ones, self designated to get to decide what's true and what is false. and what is information and what is misinformation or disinformation. they say they're doing this for us. they are doing this for our own government, to protect the people. the truth, is they think we're too stupid to think for ourselves. too stupid to discern for ourselves and to draw our own conclusions. the idea that we must blindly accept whatever the government or those in power tell us is true goes against the very essence of our constitution and bill of rights. they were created as a resounding rejection of the reign of kings, churches, and authorities. they tell us we must blindly trust them or face the consequences. even though our government has
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a long history of lying to us. just to cite a few, examples we rely to about the weapons of mass destruction in iraq. which spurred the war that i and so many other served in and so many others sacrificed their lives in. they lied for almost two decades claiming success in afghanistan, when in fact, we saw failure after failure, after failure coming at a great cost to this country. we saw lies about vietnam that revealed the release of the pentagon papers. we saw lies about our own government illegally surveilling americans. these are a few examples. there are many more. ranking member plaskett talked in her opening comments about how individuals in the fbi also throughout the country's history have abused their power, weaponizing those agencies to advance their own political interests. this is not and cannot be reduced to a partisan fight. the stakes are too high. we all must recognize our own
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responsibility to stand against such abuses. as we sit here today, the danger is that if we choose to reject or challenge whatever those in power declare as the so-called truth, we are accused of being anti authority. we are accused of being a danger to society. accused of spreading misinformation and are then targeted, smeared, and called things like russian asset, white supremacist, bigot, racist, sexist, extremist, trader, so on. more dangerous than any baseless smear, our own government institutions, which exist to serve the people, they are weighing weaponized. the department of homeland security declared a heightened domestic terrorism threat do, to three factors, the first of which is, quote, the proliferation of a false or misleading narratives which sow discord or undermine public trust and u.s. government
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institutions. and of quote. they are the ones who get to decide what those false or misleading narratives are. former cia director john brennan said in 2021 at that, quote, members of the biden team are now moving in laser -like fashion to try to uncover as much as they can about what looks very similar to insurgency movements that we've seen overseas. and unholy alliance frequently of religious extremists authorities, bigots, racist, nativist, and even libertarians. and of quote. attorney general garland charge has nearly created domestic terrorism unit with targeting those who hold, quote, anti authority views. that included parents who dared to protest the board of education meetings, concerned and standing up for the rights for themselves to have a say in their children's education. a draft copy of the department authorities certain review
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outlines their intent to target, quote unquote, and accurate information on a whole host of topics to include the origins of covid, vaccines, the u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan, u.s. support to ukraine. there misinformation, disinformation, malinformation team exist to, quote, counter all types of disinformation. once again, they get to determine what this disinformation is. meta c e o mark zuckerberg revealed on the show robin experience that facebook eliminated the exposure of the new york post under biden laptop story just weeks ahead of 2020 election. only after talking with the fbi. twitter took similar action. they recently apologized for doing, so recognizing that their decision was wrong. the cozy relationship between white house officials, the department of homeland security,
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the fbi, big tech, is now well-documented and results in private companies not restricted by the first amendment, doing the dirty censorship work of those in governments who are not legally allowed to do so themselves. the threat big tech modalities pose a real and serious. i've had personal experience with. this after the first democratic primary presidential debate in 2019, i was the most searched candidates of the night. unfortunately, suddenly, my google ads account was mysteriously suspended without any notice or explanation. there were no responses to the multiple attempts to resolve whatever problems could cause this, after sometime, past magically, my account was reinstated. again, with no explanation, or apology. their actions limited my ability to commit with voters who are actively seeking more information about my candidacy
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and why it was offering to serve them as president and commander-in-chief. this is not happening, to me it's happening to other candidates who run for various offices, joe can't running for congress in washington states. he's one i know personally. this happens all the time. these big tech monopolies interfering in our democracy by manipulating search results based on whatever it is that they want the american people to know about a particular candidate or issue that should be concerning to be one of us. >> recently, we learned that with the release of the twitter files, detailed by maktabi and others, high-level former fbi and cia another government officials were behind hamilton 68. their list of 644 social media accounts supposedly linked to, quote, russian influence activities online. now, hamilton 68 work was wildly cited as fact. by institutions like harvard
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and denver, like news organizations across the, board members of the house of representatives, and senate from both political parties, including the head of the intelligence committee. the problem is, it was false. twitter themselves determined that the vast majority of accounts that hamilton 68 targeted on this list of 644 were, quote, neither strongly russian, no strongly bots. and a quote. they were mostly anti establishment american voices from across the political spectrum. i was one of them. former secretary of state hillary clinton accused me of sitting member of congress a, soldier, a candidate running for president are being, quote, groomed by the russians. her baseless smear worked as intended. it was something that was
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repeated over and over, headline after headline, article after article, pushed online in every way. this had the harmful impact that was intended. i could give you many examples of interactions that i had had with people throughout that campaign and still today. i remember one in particular that had an impact. weeks after the statement is, made i was in south carolina to campaign and event, when an elderly woman came up to me,. i could tell that she was very disturbed. she came up, she put her hands on my shoulder. she looked into my eyes. her eyes were welling up. her hands were shaking. she said, look me in the eyes. i need to know if you are working for putin. she was serious. i couldn't believe that i looked her straight back in the eyes. i expressed her for my heart how much i love this country,
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so much than willing to die for it. more recently, u.s. senator rick mitt romney accused me of treason, a crime that is punishable by death under our laws. i challenged him to back this serious allegation up with evidence. what was this based on? there is no response. no explanation, no evidence, and certainly no apology. these accusations are often shrugged off as, hey, it is politics. people say things about each other all the time. that may be easy for some of you to say but, for somebody who wears the uniform, this is serious. it is serious not only to me but my fellow service members and veterans. every one of us making a decision at some point in our lives to raise our right hand, prepared and volunteering to
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lay our life down for this country. what does that mean in reality? it means before every deployment, in our own hearts, we have to make peace with the possibility that we may not come home. it means writing letters to loved ones, trying to find the words to express love and gratitude, knowing that may be our final goodbye. it means, for those of us who do come home, doing our best every single day to honor the great sacrifices of our brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate price. this is much bigger than me or anyone individual. when those who dare to challenge the establishment are targeted by this powerful conglomerate of government, corporate media, and the big tech, weaponizing all they have
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against people for their own selfish gain, it has a dangerous chilling effect on free speech. it sends a very powerful message. if you dare to challenge us, we will come after you. the more we allow this to happen, we start looking less and less like a democratic republic and more and more like a banana republic. instead of a government ordained to secure these rights, we are now increasingly facing a government determined to take those rights away. george washing ton warned, for if men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite their consideration of mankind, reasons that no use to us. at the freedom of speech may be taken away. dumb and silent we may be led like sheep to slaughter. we have to stop this insanity and protect these sacred
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freedoms. vanquish the fear and self censorship that is now pervasive. every one of us taking action to breathe new life into the open marketplace of ideas at the heart of a thriving democracy, encouraging vigorous and substantive debate. encouraging people to think for themselves so we can draw our own conclusions, where we can disagree without devolving into hate, we can respect each other as fellow americans and treat each other with aloha. the work you have before you is critical for all these reasons. the stakes are high. the consequences, for better or worse, will be long-lasting. for the sake of the american people, our freedom and the future of this country we left, i pray we can set aside our partisan differences and commit to standing to gather to defend the constitutional right of every american to live free. thank, you mister chairman. >> thank you, congresswoman.
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we appreciate those remarks. congressman raskin, we thank you for being. here senator johnson, we thank you as well for your testimony. the committee will stand to recess for five minutes, more or less, to get ready for the second panel.


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