tv U.S. Senate Senators Merkley Wyden Blumenthal on Federal Law Enforcement... CSPAN July 22, 2020 4:40am-5:10am EDT
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> oregon centers jeff merkley and ron wyden and senator blumenthal spoke about their opposition to the use of border patrol agent's. senator merkley asked for unanimous consent that the consent toit or -- scaling back law enforcement agents and require them to be identified in crowds. it was blocked by oklahoma senator james inhofe. time,n in the course of
america should find a president in the oval office who chooses to bring the police tactics of dictators around the world to the streets of america, than that is the moment it is incumbent upon every member of this chamber who has sworn an oath to our constitution, who is determined to practice civil rights of america to stand up and say not now, not here, not ever, and we put an end to it. why i brought forth this amendment. stop secret policing in america amendment and asking for it to be debated on this bill because it involves police powers, military powers, the united states of america, and it's happening right now.
what am i talking about? well, let me give you some sense of what we have seen on the streets of america in the past few days. and as i note here, authoritarian governments, not democratic republics and unmasked and unmarked authorities after protesters. well, this is what we saw, customs and border protection in military uniform in combat cam flowj, no -- camouflage, no marking what they are. they said, no they had markings and identifiers, but here they are. and to make it even worse, they look a whole lot like protesters from the far right who come to make trouble dressed in camouflage and they actually have things that look more like badges than the actual representatives of customs and
border protection. and what else did we see? here's a navy veteran standing in the street who said he came down to the protest to simply say, are you honoring your oath to the constitution? here we have cbp officers beating him, here's one baton, here's another, they broke one of his bones while this man here pepper sprayed him in the face. a peaceful protester standing, being attacked by unmarked war-prepared, dressed in camouflage forces deployed by the president of the united states. and then what else happened? well, they decided not to consult with the city and not consult with the state and not think carefully about what weapons they are carrying and how they use them, so impact
munitions. this protester right here in the silhouette, he's standing, he's holding what appears to be a sign above his head or maybe it's a radio. moments later in the video that shows this, he is shot down. you see him collapse on the street, peace protester standing, making his case, as guaranteed by the constitution of the united states of america, and he is shot square between the eyes by president trump's forces deployed without permission and no coordination with the local representatives or the governor of the state of oregon. this young man struck down, shot in the head in the hospital in critical condition. he's doing better now
thankfully. and then these forces deploy away from the federal buildings, go into the streets and start snatching protesters and throwing them into an unmarked van, advance like this one -- -- vans like this one right here. one young man said i was terrified. he said i didn't know who these people were. they wouldn't identify themselves. there's a video of people saying, who are you all? and they wouldn't answer. they grab him. he thinks they might be the folks from the right-wing protesters who come in camouflage. he might be kidnapped, he doesn't know. even after he was thrown into a jail cell, it's not explained why he was grabbed off the street. secret police, unmarked, throwing people into unmarked vehicles and sweeping them away, that's what you get from authoritarian dictat, not a
country -- dictators, not a country, a republic where we have a constitution and we have rights. that's what's going on here. that's what has to stop here in america. some of the headlines, federal law enforcement use unmarked vehicles to grab protesters off the streets. a navy vet asked federal officers in portland to remember their oaths, they broke his hand. that's the navy vet in the white sweatshirt who is being attacked by two officers while another sprays him with pepper spray. federal officers deployed in portland didn't have proper training, d.h.s. says. they shouldn't have been there. we need a bill to stop secret police in america. we need a bill done as an amendment on this bill right now, on this bill we're considering about military
force, a bill which says your organization has to be identified on your uniform. it says there has to be unique identifier so you don't think you can just get away with anything and eye abuse people and never -- abuse people and never be held accountable. and a bill which says, if you defend monuments and buildings, you defend monuments and buildings. you have to have the permission of the mayor or governor. and if the federal government in transparency in our democracy has to tell us all as participants as this we the people government that they are disclosing how many people from where are being sent to what city. and this isn't just some small issue. this is the president saying yesterday, after bragging about what he has done in portland to violate the rights of people,
saying he's looking at new york and chicago and philadelphia and detroit and baltimore and oakland deploying these secret police tactics all over this country. and all i do right now is stand here and say, i want a vote on any of these -- ending these secret police practices in america. i say to every republican colleague and every democratic colleague, i want a vote. i'm here in full partnership with my colleague from oregon who shares this indignation, this outrage, or the violation of the constitution, who shares these thoughts and then together we will ask to have a vote. what is this chamber if it cannot take on and hold a debate or discussion over authoritarian secret police strategies brought to the streets of america? my colleague. wyden wyden i --
mr. wyden: i thank my colleague this afternoon because he speaks today with passion and facts and clearly outlines what our constituents told us at home this past week, and i thank him for this partnership that oregonians are seeing again on the floor of this great senate. madam president, donald trump has deployed a para military squad to our hometown in portland. his secret police are terrorizing my friends and neighbors. now people across the country need to understand that yesterday donald trump announced to america that your friends and your neighbors are next.
unmarked vans full of unarmed men in military gear snatch people off the street. they interrogate them without ultimate maition and ultimately without -- ultimate made yums and ultimately without charges. a close personal friend, sharon miron, an e.r. doctor and a mom was protesting peacefully and was teargassed without provocation. she felt like she was seeing democracy pass right in front of her eyes. millions of americans have seen the video of that local navy veteran who was repeatedly beaten and pepper sprayed and left with broken bones.
and people ask me, ron, what was his offense? i'm sure senator merkley gets exactly the same question. what did he do wrong? he was standing, madam president, motionless, hands by his side, speaking up for the liberty that he served to protect. people are stunned that this is happening on the streets of our hometown. we've seen reports of agents ripping a mask off of a protester who is obeying commands with hands in the air only to pepper spray the protester's face. the secret police even threw flash banes and tear gas at a wall of moms. here they are. here they are in our hometown.
you can see them over the last couple of days moms and dads and now their kids are asking to come to peacefully sing songs and protest for justice. oregonians just standing up for what's right. only the cowards of the trump administration would try to convince america that these peaceful protesters, the wall of moms, represent some kind of anarchist threat. it's nonsense. i condemn violence by anybody -- always. and i spent much of last week working for nonviolent solutions in my hometown and fresh
approaches that reduce tensions on our streets. the fact is, the protests in portland have been overwhelmingly peaceful. crime in portland and across oregon was down before donald trump sent in the secret police. donald trump did not send that paramilitary force -- this expeditionary force -- to keep people safe. donald trump is doing this to create an image of chaos, to air them on far-right television, scare the country, turn them into campaign ads. but these are the people that senator merkley and i are honored to represent. these are the people donald
madam president, the president's first and most important job is to keep americans safe. residents of portland are less safe and less secure since donald trump deployed the secret police to our streets. the same thing -- and i say this to colleagues wherever you're from. the same thing will happen in your communities where donald trump chooses to send his prayer military forces -- his paramilitary forces. frankly, donald trump always talks about targeting portland and other cities, senator merkley. i wish he would target the coronavirus. i wish he would put a fraction
of his passion for going after our cities into dealing with the coronavirus because while donald trump's secret police are out terrorizing portland's moms and doctors and other peaceful protesters, we face a raging pandemic, record-high unemployment. i want us to renew the supercharged unemployment benefits that people are essentially going to lose this weekend. donald trump isn't doing any of that work. what he's doing is making americans in cities less safe and not dealing with the coronavirus on top of it. he's attempting to cut resources for covid testing and treatment. his administration covers updated the public health professionals rely on to do
their jobs. he is -- and he says it repeatedly -- anxious to cut the lifelines of 30 million jobless americans, sending them tumbling off an economic cliff, right in the middle of the worst employment crisis since the great depression. he's not doing his job. he's ignoring his responsibilities. and both on the streets of portland and in washington, d.c., when he walks away from dealing with the coronavirus, he isn't keeping americans safe; he is putting them in more danger. as i've said and said repeatedly, donald trump ought to attack the coronavirus pandemic and not the people of portland. so that's why very shortly senator merkley and i will offer an amendment that will block donald trump from using these
paramilitary forces in portland or other cities where they are unwanted. what we're seeing in our hometown is we're seeing these paramilitary squads brutally unleashed against peaceful protesters -- moms and veterans, doctors, activists. all they want to do is speak out for liberty and justice. what donald trump is now doing is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy laid out by our founders and expanded throughout the generations. i believe what donald trump is doing, in light of his statement yesterday to america that he's going to go after one city after another, what donald trump is doing is totally out of control.
the senate cannot allow this to happen. that's why senator merkley and i are calling for the senate to act. i thank my friend and colleague for his leadership. he's made it clear that 100% of oregon's united states senators are going to keep pushing and fighting until this chaplains. madam president, i yield the floor. -- until this changes. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. merkley: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: the support is felt throughout oregon to stop secret policing in america. but it is a coast-to-coast feeling, and i yield to my colleague from connecticut to speak from the other side of the country. mr. blumenthal: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: i want to thank from my heart our two colleagues from oregon, who are standing up and championing not just their hometowns, not just
the constituents of their state. they are speaking for every hometown, every citizen of our country from every party from every corner of our great nation. and met me just say -- and let me just say very simply. these pictures of heavily armed, unidentified individuals in camouflage fatigues, driving unmarked vehicles, grab individuals, throwing them into their car, would be something we would associate with the worst nightmare of a two-bit dictatorship. and here we see it in the united states of america. i spent almost my whole career in law enforcement before i came to this body, and i am embarrassed and ashamed that this kind of sadistic, cruel,
hate-filled abuse was done in the name of law enforcement. what we witnessed in oregon was in no way law enforcement. it was a violation of the law and of individual rights. and it is coming to your hometown as well. the president has specifically named chicago, philadelphia, detroit, baltimore, oakland. it will come to hartford and my hometown, stanford, and other cities in connecticut. have no fear. if the president will go to these abusive extremes on the other coast of america, he will come to the east coast as well. so let me just say, the requirements of this amendment -- identification of each officer, limiting federal agents to their proper role in protecting federal property,
transparency, and deployment of these officers, identification of them and accountability -- are basic tenets of law enforcement. we should not have to address this issue on the floor of the united states senate. and we're doing it only because the president has broken the norms. he's disrespected the law. every senator in this body, regardless of party, should be standing up and speaking out in support of this amendment. i thank my colleagues for speaking our truth to power. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. merkley: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: on behalf of the two oregon senators and my colleague from connecticut and the 34 other senators who are standing up for democracy, for
rights, and against secret police, i ask unanimous consent to call up amendment 2457, an amendment to limit federal law enforcement officers for crowd control, that there be two hours for debate equally divided between opponents and proponents, that upon disposition of the tester eight of, the senate vote in relation to the amendment with no amendments in order prior to the vote with all other provisions under the previous order remaining in effect. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. inhofe: reserving the right to object -- the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: well, first of all, i don't know how long i've sat and listened to this. it's a long time. probably not as long as it seemed.
secret police, sadistic, cruel. i'm beginning to come to the conclusions that they're not going to be supporting donald trump for reelection. i rise to object to my colleagues' request for unanimous consent. this body has worked together to carefully consider each and every one of the 739 amendments filed on the ndaa. never happened before. we've opted -- adopted those amendments that have broad-based, bipartisan support. the majority and minority worked together to determine which amendments would be brought up for a vote. senator merkley's request for a u.c. circumlent vents that -- circumvents that process. further, this morning the senate adopted my commonsense amendment that will ensure that law enforcement has the right equipment and the right
training. senator merkley's amendment flies in the face of that responsible approach. his amendment would hamstring federal civil law enforcement and our military, even when operating in a title 32 status under the control of a state governor. this would hinder their ability to keep our communities safe. for these reasons, i object. mr. merkley: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: i say to my colleague from oklahoma that if these secret police were loosed on the streets of tulsa, you'd be done here defending your constituents. but you have a responsibility to defend all constituents across this country, the rights of all citizens of the united states of america. i'm not asking you to support my
bill. i'm not asking you to make the arguments for it. i'm not asking the -- i'm asking the simple courtesy that this chamber do the job it's vested with under the constitution, take serious issues that arise in america, hold a dialogue about them on this floor and take votes to show the american people where we stand and hope to solve problems. i have no doubt that i wouldn't get 100 votes. you raise some interesting points. you note that my request to debate a very serious issue in america circumvents process. i can tell you that for 200 years, this chamber believed it was here to address serious issues it, and they didn't raise process issues to keep serious issues from being debated. you didn't need unanimous consent. just a few decades ago, i was here watching this chamber,
working the tax reform act and watching each amendment completed and as soon sasse it was done, the next -- and as soon as it was done, the next senator asked for the recognizeddition of the chair. it was all of a sudden mr. president -- now it's often madam president -- but they were getting the attention because the next person who spoke got the next amendment. this -- this system has taken away the fundamental responsibility of senators to be able to introduce important issues in america, have them debated and voted on. my colleague says we have a new process where the majority leader and the ranking member of the committee consult and decide what should be considered. that concentration of bowr is totally at -- power is totally at odds with the division of this chamber. mr. inhofe: will the senator
yield? mr. merkley: no. you said it sir circumvents process and you said it takes equipment and training away. my bill doesn't deal with equipment or training. so clearly that doesn't stand. you noted title 22 status under the control of the governor. but this bill says an expanded role of crowd control occurs under the permission of the governor, note without it. so this is why these issues should be debated on this floor, and i call on all of my colleagues to return to the senate to a police where serious and important issues regarding the rights of americans can be considered and not shoved aside because one member doesn't want them addressed. that is a challenge for this chamber, but we have a bigger challenge, which is how do we defend the rights of our citizens if we can't put an
amendment on the floor and have it debated and voted on. to my colleagues that secret police have no role in america, that unidentified officers delegated without proper training, without coordination who are beating up peaceful protesters have no place in america, that being flown into a van and you don't know what that van is or who those people -- that has no place in america, and that the tactics of putin and turkey who have no place in government, those completion i thank and let's bring this -- those colleagues i thank: the chair reco