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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 23, 2015 8:00am-10:01am EDT

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d out of the shadows transcends the issue of immigration status. this is a matter of civil and human rights. so let me ask you do you believe that a person enters the country unlawfully, that is perhaps used false documents or otherwise interfere as a civil right to citizenship? >> senator, i'm not for me with the context of his comments. i sorely think that you do touch upon the difficult issue of how do we handle the undocumented immigrants who come to our country. i believe for the life that we often are ugly because of the founders that -- >> i don't want to interrupt you but the question is you agree with that statement? ..
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who would like to work and like to be a citizen, to demand that contrary to the laws of the united states? and when congress doesn't pass it is that a right that they are entitled to demand? >> sir, i think that citizenship is privilege certainly a right for those of us born here. i think it is a privilege that has to be earned. with the panoply of civil rights recognized by jurisprudence i don't see one that you're describing. >> i certainly agree. surprised it took you that long but the attorney general statement was breath taking to me. peter curseneau commission of
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civil rights responded to that some sometime ago. he said, quote to equate amnesty for breaking immigration laws with civil rights betrays incoherent and ahistorical understanding of the civil rights movement. law-abiding, black citizens, of the nights united states were not seeking exemption from law. they were seeking application of such laws in the same manner that was applied to whites. close quote. would you agree with his analysis. >> certainly think with respect to the civil rights movement and the role of african-americans in it, it certainly was a movement designed to assure equal access to law, equal application of law. >> well on the 50th anniversaries of the selma approach march was approaching. people were denied fundamental rights of citizens of the united states of america. that was historic event. it changed america.
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i think that is important that be remembered. i them e tell you quite different as he points out to demand your lawful rights as an american insist civil rights apply to those who enter the country unlawfully to have these benefits. well the president's action would give people who game here unlawfully the right to work the right to participate in social, in social security and medicare when congress has not done that. allows them to stay for at least a period lawfully. let me ask you this. in the work place of america today, when we have a high number of unemployed, we have had declining wages for many years, we have the lowest percentage of americans working, who has more right to a job in this country a lawful immigrant who is here a green card holder, or a citizen or a
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person who entered the country unlawfully? >> well, senator i believe that the right and obligation to work is one that is shared by everyone in this country regardless how they came here. certainly if someone is here regardless of status, i would prefer that they be participating in the work place than not participating in the work place. with respect to -- >> now that was, so you think that a person, anybody that is here lawfully or unlawfully is entitled to work in america? >> senator i'm not sure if i understand the basis for your question as to whether or not there is a legal basis for them to work or not. >> i asked you who we're talking about rights. who has the most rights? does a lawful american immigrant or citizen have the right to have the laws of the united states enforced so that they might be able to work or does a person who came here unlawfully have a right to demand a job? >> certainly the benefits of
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citizenship confer greater rights on those of us who are citizens than those who are not. >> well, do you think a person that is here unlawfully is entitled to work in the united states when the law says that employers can't hire somebody unlawfully in america? >> i believe -- go ahead. >> go ahead. >> sorry sir. i think certainly the provision you refer to regarding to the role of the employer in insuring the legal status of those who are here is an important one and that we have to look at in conjunction with this issue in terms of preventing undocumented workers who as you have indicated before, are seeking employment again we want everyone to seek employment but we have in place at this point in time a legal framework that requests or requires employers to both provide information about citizenship as well as not hire individuals without citizenship. >> all right. do you think that someone given
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i understand that you support the, the executive order olc's opinion, is that correct? >> i don't believe my role at this point is to support it or not support it. my review was to see whether or not it did outline a legal framework for some of the actions as requested, as it noted there was not a legal framework for other actions that were requested. >> let me wrap up by asking this. are you if a person comes here and is given a lawful right under the president's executive amnesty to have social security and work authorization card, what if somebody prefers to hire an american citizen first? would you take action against them? do you understand this to mean that those who are given executive amnesty are entitled as much as anybody else in america to compete for a job in
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america? >> well i don't believe it would give anyone any greater access to the workforce. certainly an employer would be looking at issues of citizenship in making those determination. >> would you take action against an employer who says no, i prefer to hire somebody that came to the country lawfully rather than someone given executive amnesty by the president? would you department of justice take action against them. >> when you answer that i will move on. >> thank you. with respect to the provision about temporary deferral i did not providing legal amnesty that is that permanent status there but a temporary deferral. with respect to whether or not those individuals would be able to seek redress for employment discrimination, if that is the purpose of your question, again i haven't studied that legal issue. i certainly think you raise an important point and would look forward to discussing it with you, realizing on your thoughts an experience as we consider that point.
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>> thank you senator sessions. now senator schummer. >> thank you. i think that even in the short while it is clear to my colleagues why you are such a tremendous, while you have been such a tremendous u.s. attorney, in my home state of new york and home borough of brooklyn and why you make such a great attorney general. you have just knocking them out of the park. speaking of sports analogies there is another point i would like my colleagues to know, another testament to your perseverance to your loyalty in the face of incredible adversity, with all due respect to mr. tillis, you're not a tarheel or blue devil you're a knicks fan. a lot tougher being a knicks fan going through these questions today. i would just like to go over a couple of points my colleagues made. first on prosecutorial
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discretion. there is a myth out there that prosecutor ral discretion is tantamount to failure to enforce the law. you i will when force the law aggressively and continue to do so. as is the administration. some of my friend across the aisle that seem to be suggesting that the announcement policies of department of moment land security is tantamount to announcement of enforcement of immigration laws. we know woe have 11 million undocumented immigrants in the united states. congress, this body, only allocates enough money for dhs to deport 400,000 of them. 11 million illegal immigrants, enough money to deport 400,000. obviously you have to have make some choices here. i'm sure when my dear friend jeff sessions, and he is a dear friend, was u.s. attorney in alabama, he used prosecutorial
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discretion. i know he did a good job going after violent drug dealers and criminals. would we want our, we want our prosecutors to go after the highest level crimes if they don't have the resources to do all of them. doesn't it make sense to have a general rule to prosecute in a prosecutorial office with limited resources to go after bank robbers before you go after shoplifters? obviously there can be occasional exieption. as you mentioned, the president's executive order allows for that occasional exception, but this idea that going after having an office go after the higher level more dangerous crimes first is part of how law enforcement has gone on for hundreds of years and it should. i don't even get this idea that this is a an illegal act by the president. we arm our law enforcement officials with an array of laws but limited resources.
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they have to make hard choices. and a straightforward allocation of resources is not political activism. it is what prosecutors are doing in every jurisdiction of this land right now. immigration is like any other issue. we have limited resources. it makes eminent sense to go after hardened criminals going after low level offenders. let me ask you a question here. don't u.s. attorney offices all over the country consistently have to make these general type of prosecutorial decisions on a day-to-day basis? and how do you? >> yes. senator. with respect to the exercise of discretion and setting of priorities one of the privileges that i have had of being the u.s. attorney in the eastern district of new york, and working with my colleagues across the country has been getting to know them and learning about how different every district is. how a crime problem in brooklyn may not even appear on the west coast.
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and how a crime problem in the midwest that is seeing increase in crime due to happy accident of increased oil reserves, may present issues that i would never face in an urban environment. my colleagues and i work together and we share our thoughts on the best ways to deploy our limited resources to deal with the crime problems in our districtses. my colleagues had a large number of native-american districts for example, have a very different base of problems than i do. they're just as committed and just as focused keeping those citizens safe as well. so all of us, look at the crime problems in our districts, to do that, we work very closely with our law enforcement partners, in looking at how they have determined the nature of the threat, be it terrorism be it narcotics, be it those that would target children. we work closely with our state and local counterparts, not just law enforcement counterparts but
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prosecutor counterparts in the district attorneys offices. many times i have a matter in my office subject to both federal and state jurisdiction. it may be more appropriate for the district attorney to prosecute that type of crime because of the nature of the sentence can be achieved because of impact on a particular victim or community or because of a legal issue involving proof and admissibility thereof. all of these things go into consideration of how we manage individual cases but also how we set priorities and then deploy our limited resources to best protect the people of our district. >> exactly. every prosecutors, whether it is the justice department, the u.s. attorney's office, sets priorities and has to. that is just what the president did in my opinion in the executive order. next one we're hearing a lot about executive action being unconstitutional and, so i would like to just talk about that. that is another myth out there. no federal court has struck down
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executive action. the most recent ral court to hand down a decision supported it. i heard it suggested that federal courts considered executive action unconstitutional. going back to justice rehnquist the supreme court repeatedly bolstered executive action and refused to review agency decisions in the law. two federal cases have been filed. one here in washington by/a pair yo notorious anti-immigration activist and that has been dismissed. one is pending in texas. no courts have struck down executive action. we're hearing speaker boehner and house republicans will be suing the president on this executive actions. i don't think that is a responsible use of executive action. speaker boehner and i disagree, if republicans disagree with
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president obama aboutlegality of this policy they can sue him and let courts decide. the confirmation of america's highest law enforcement officer is not the time and place to haven't frustration. so, let me just ask you a couple of questions. you've answered them but i want to underscore them because some people are concerned that the quote, rogue obama administration is lawless. will you commit to following court decisions and legal process? >> absolutely, senator. that is my first point of reference. >> and specifically if a court happens to strike down executive action, will you respect that court decision? >> i will respect that court decision. >> let's imagine congress, i don't think will happen i would try to prevent it as best i could, but let's say congress passes a bill ex-mission it hi prohibiting president obama's immigration actions a bill i find hard to imagine the president would stein sign. for sake of argument that such a bill would pass, will you commit
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to following new law. >> i will commit following tall the laws duly executed by this bod i. >> thank you. one other issue since i have a little time. work permits which ply good friend, senator sessions brought up. some have suggested it is illegal for the administration to issue work permits for recipients of deferred action. again they imply this is unprecedented. that is misleading. guess who did it in 1982? ronald reagan. they published ins regulations authorizing work permits for recipients of deferred action. 1982 reagan administration. that is not to say work place enforcement isn't necessary. it is. in fact, isn't it true, miss lynch, you have a strong record of enforcing work place immigration rules? tell us about the 7-eleven stores case you brought on long island. >> thank you senator. the case against 7-eleven stores
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and various franchises was very important one to my office because it was one in which we saw a corporate entity deliberately flouting the labor laws. individuals of mostly, of particular ethnic group who owned franchises at 7-eleven were reaching out to their own community members and hiring them to work in the stores. this would have been an opportunity for individuals to earn money for their families and to essentially become part of the american dream. instead however the workers were systematically victimized. they were forced to work double shifts, triple shifts, yet only paid for working part-time hours. they were only given their money in either 7-eleven debit card or cash as deemed appropriate by the manager. more, even worse than this was the evidence that we uncovered that the stores were aware that they were violating the labor laws. and simply flouting them. they also requested or they also required workers to all live together in company
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sanctioned housing. we essentially were creating a modern day plantation system on long island. and also throughout the virginia area with coconspirators of these franchise owners. we spent a long time working on the investigation in conjunction with our law enforcement partners. the matter is still being reviewed with respect to other states. wherever we find workers being victimized and being discriminated against certainly my office never hesitated to take action. >> thank you. my time's expired, mr. chairman. >> thank you. i were offer for the record a consent that article from the atlantic saying, headline, from by david frum. reagan and bush offer no precedent for obama's amnesty order. i think that is crystal clear. senator cornyn justice cornyn is next. >> good morning, miss lynch. >> good morning new york stock exchange congratulations again to you on
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your nomination. thank you for coming, i guess last friday, to visit about this hearing and and i should say congratulations to you for an outstanding career as united states attorney. the challenge i think that people have when they come to washington d.c. and they assume jobs that have political implications is that they sort of forget their basic mooring in the law and they become politicians, masquerading as law enforcement officers. that is a real challenge. and i won't claim it is only a challenge for democrats. it has been a challenge for republicans as well. but, i am concerned, let me for senator schummer's benefit, let me stipulate you're not eric holder, are you? >> no, i'm not sir. >> so no one is suggesting that you are. but of course, attorney general holder's record is heavy on our
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minds now and i agree with the chairman, about his concerns when the attorney general refers to himself as the president's wing man suggesting that he is not, does not exercise independent legal judgment as the chief law enforcement officer for the country. you wouldn't consider yourself to be a political arm of the white house as attorney general would you? >> no, senator. that would be totally inappropriate view of the position of attorney general. >> and i'm sorry and you would be willing to tell your friends, no if in your judgment the law required that? >> sir, i think that i have to be willing to tell not just my friends and acquaintances but colleagues, no if the law requires it. >> and that would be include the president of the united states? >> i think that the obligation of the attorney general is to when presented with matters by the president, to provide a full thorough, independent
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substantive legal analysis and give the president the best independent judgment that there is. and that may be a judgment that says that there is a legal framework for certain actions and it may be a judgment that says there is not a legal framework for certain actions. >> and while we've stipulated you're not eric holder mr. holder's record is certainly on our minds because i can't think of an attorney general who so misevaluated the independent role of the chief law enforcement officer and taken on that aspect of the president's wing man and operated as a politician using the awesome power conferred by our laws on the attorney general. the attorney general's been openly contemptuous of the oversight responsibilities of coequal branch of government. he has stonewalled legitimate investigations by the congress including the investigation into
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the "fast & furious" episode that senator grassley referred to earlier, making bogus claims of executive privilege in order to keep congress and the american people from finding out the facts. we know that the attorney general has repeatedly made legal arguments that have been rejected as unconstitutional by the united states supreme court and he has harassed states like mine and i suspect you will hear from another colleague about his state, on matters like voter i.d. when the united states supreme court has upheld the validity of voter i.d. as a means to protect the integrity of the ballot for people who are qualified to vote. and at the same time, the attorney general has failed to implement laws that congress has passed in order to provide, to protect voting rights of our military deployed overseas. he has also politicized the war on terror.
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he has declassifieded top secret legal memos exposing public officials in the intelligence community to not only ridicule but threats legal and otherwise, for performing actions that they were told by the highest legal authorities were legal and were necessary to save american lives. and indeed he reopened a criminal investigation into those same members of intelligence community after a previous investigation had not revealed any basis for criminal charges. so how do we know you're not going to perform your duties of office as attorney general the way eric holder has performed his duties? how are you going to be different? >> senator, if confirmed as attorney general i will be myself. i will be loretta lynch. i would refer you to my record as united states attorney on two
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occasions as well as a practicing lawyer to see the independence and that i have always brought to every particular matter. i certainly think that going forward, while i'm not familiar with the particulars of the issues that you raise they clearly are of concern to you and perhaps to this committee. and i do pledge to this committee that i want to hear your concerns. i want to listen to your concerns and i will always be open to discussing those issues with you. senator i'm sure that as we go forward, should i be confirmed while there it would be wonderful to think that you agree with everything that i do, that may not be the case. >> you may not agree with everything we do. >> that is perfectly appropriate. senator i will always be open to discussing with you why i have done something and basis for which i have made an action to the extent i'm able to do so. i found to be the most effective way of not just for me in terms of learning from people who i disagree, but working effectively with people who i may disagree on various points,
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with whom like you we share a common goal. >> miss lynch i've been married 35 years. i can guaranty you 100% agreement is an impossible standard for anybody to comply with. so we don't expect that obviously. but i want to ask you about your commitment to working with with the committee and congress and respecting our congressional oversight authority. senator, a recent letter sent to senator leahy on behalf of attorney general holder was dated september the 5th of 2014. responds to questions in the record in response to appearance before this committee on january 6th, 2013. roughly about a year-and-a-half more than a year-and-a-half later. can we expect a more timely response from you and the department of justice to the legitimate inquiries of this committee? >> certainly, senator. i believe that the oversight responsibility of this committee
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is important, not just for the functioning of the committee but also to the american people in terms of helping them understand the way in which the department operates and the way in which we all work to keep them safe. i commit to you absolutely i will work with this committee to insure that we provide as timely a response as possible. i'm not sure of the particular matters that you raise i'm not able to come men on that but certainly i would hope to be able to provide you with the information that you need in as timely a manner as possible consistent with the department's litigation and enforcement responsibilities. >> i would think make it possible to be a more effective attorney general. it would make it possible for us to be more effective in our respective roles as members of congress exercising our responsibilities as well. i want to ask you a little bit about prosecutorial discretion, which you heard something about here. my only regret from this morning's hearing, that senator schummer, the senior senator from new york, introduced you
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was not available for cross-examination by members of the committee but we'll have a chance to talk later but he was, seemed somewhat dismissive of concerns about this massive what i would consider in essence refusal to enforce existing law that is involved in these executive actions. there is a difference to your mind, isn't there between a case-by-case exercise of prosecutorial discretion and a refusal to enforce the laws that are on the books? there is a difference, isn't there? >> senator there is a difference and i do not view the department of justice certainly in my own practice as refusing to enforce laws but rather attempting to set priorities and then exercising discretion within those priority. >> let me ask you about that. isn't it incumbent upon the department of justice to ask congress for the resources to do the job that congress has said, that the department must perform
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before you can come back and say, well, we're just not going to pursue those crimes and those offenses because we don't have enough money? isn't it your responsibility, won't it be your responsibility as the next attorney general to come to us to ask us for those resources? i can't imagine if, attorney general holder or the president of the united states or secretary johnson or others had come to us and said we don't have the resources to enforce the immigration laws, so we're going to have we're going to have to in essence to decline to enforce them because we have those. don't you have the responsibility to ask for those resources before you decline to enforce the law based on lack of resources? >> certainly, senator i'm not aware of the department of homeland security's budget requests before this body or congress in general. with respect to the department of justice, i have been involved in reviewing the budget as part of my work on the attorney general's advisory committee. and certainly during sequestration, spent a great deal of time looking at budget
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to insure that we did maintain the appropriate resources to carry out our core mission of protecting the american people within the con restaurants that were placed upon us at that time. and it is my understanding that with respect to budget requests that the department of justice made that those requests do include information about goals and priorities across the board as a way of explaining to congress why specific resources are needed. >> so you do need more monty? >> i would probably join all of my agencies saying that, sir, but i can't speak for them. >> that's what i thought. >> thank you, senator. now senator durbin and next republican will be senator lindsey graham. >> miss lynch, thank you for being here. i will be objective although i am differential to women named lore rhettta. i've been married to one for 47 years. i'm glad that you're here today. when your father lifted you up on his shoulders, at that greensboro church you were a
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young girl at the time but a witness to a moment in history that changed america forever and literally changed your life. there was no way you could know that. one of the central issues raised during the civil rights movement was the right to vote. a right which chief justice roberts said sitting in that very same place in quoting a court decision, as preservative of all rights. we are now in a unique position some 50 years later about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of voting rights act. the supreme court in shelby county versus holder, struck down major provisions of the voting rights act and congress, which historically had renewed the voting rights act on bipartisan basis is now with few rare exceptions split along partisan lines as to whether or not there will be a renewal of some sections.
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we are finding states across the nation many states, that are changing the requirements for voting. i chaired the constitution subcommittee of judiciary. i took the subcommittee, to public hearings and in ohio and florida. where there were new restrictions placed on voting by state legislatures. . .
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should you be our next attorney general. >> thank you senator. the rate is the cornerstone of victory democracy and one that every citizen has the right and in fact someone would argue to exercise it with respect to house voting rights handled in the country now, i think we aren't a time of great debate over these issues. the important issues and insert the opening on trade open to hearing all them. i also think every state does have the responsibility and obligation to ensure the vote is carried out freely, openly and i believe that is the goal of many elected officials if not most of the elected officials who deal with these issues every day.
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the concerns that are raised are when acts that are taken with a goal towards protecting and preserving the integrity of the vote at in a different day and act to suppress the vote or in some way prevent people from exercising the franchise. i would hope that the first house that through the political discourse and discussion that we cannot conversation about that and come to a resolution of practices and procedures to ensure the right to vote for him and also protect in the integrity of everyone's ballot. absent mac i believe it once or pass the department of justice has to look carefully at the impact in making the decision as to how to proceed. certainly there have been in consistent voter i.d. laws have received approval under what was previously known as preclearance because they sought to protect the ballot as opposed to act in a different way. but where there is indication
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the vote will somehow be harmed, the department of justice certainly has the obligation to review the matter to look carefully at facts and evidence and proceed accordingly. >> i couldn't agree with you more. i find that ironic and painful at this moment in our history when we celebrate and talk about the 50 year anniversary of the voting rights act that many state are making it more difficult for americans to vote without any evidence to back up those changes in southern date is estimated some 600,000 voters are basically precluded because of new voter i.d. requirements. in the same state and many throughout veteran was turned away. a 7-year-old dr. turned away. people turned away by new laws.
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these were people who had a right to vote and it troubles me amidst all the celebration of the civil rights movement that we are finding a reversal of the most fundamental principle preserving the right to vote. i appreciate what you had to say about it. i would say a word about this murder sentencing act should i introduce to senator lee from utah. a bipartisan measure with 32 cosponsors in an effort to look at the reality not only does the united states have more prisoners per capita than any other nation, but lengthy prison sentence is do not serve justice and deny resistance we need to keep our communities safe here attorney general holder has been an outspoken supporter of this bipartisan measure and i hope although it won't put you on the spot without giving you a chance
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to look at it. let me add one other element. as chairman of the constitution and the civil rights committee which was its name before this new congress, we had solitary confinement. the united states and the prison system has more than any other and we had testimony from those who 10 years on death row in solitary confinement in texas in an even longer. it time on death row in the state of louisiana and ultimately exonerated and they were not found to be guilty here the devastating impact on the human mind and spirit with so many of these people who served time many who were ultimately released in the prison are all addressing. you've been a prosecutor for many years. what is your view when it comes
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to incarceration for solitary confinement? >> senator, you raise important issues about the management of our system which is with seeking to harm americans but also doing so in a manner that is constitutional effective and protects the safety of the inmates and those who are guarding them. these are balances we have to strike in 19 review as we look at these issues, one of the benefit of discourse like this and i hope to have going forward is continued discussion on those issues. there are a number of municipalities are looking at this very same issue. new york city is looking with respect to juvenile detention and looking to remove solitary confinement as an option for juvenile detention as well. based on many similar teddies
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you're talking about i believe we have to look at those studies. we have to listen to the evidence that comes before us and make the best determination of how to handle what can be a dangerous prison population but how to handle that in a way that is constitutional and effective. >> thank you very much. thank you mr. chairman. >> senator graham is next. >> thank you for a much ms. lynch. congratulations on being chosen by the president. truly an honor i am sure. do you support the debt tunnel to you? >> senator, the death penalty is in effect a penalty. my office most recently was able to achieve. >> how about yes. >> yes. >> okay good. that is good from my point of view. sequestration. have you had a chance to look at the impact of sequestration will
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create on your ability to defend the nation as attorney general, all those who work for you? >> with that to sequestration i've had an opportunity to review the matter very closely through my work on the attorney general by three committee and also united states attorney dealing with budgetary limits they came down with the implementation of sequestration. as you are familiar, far more than i did constrain the federal budget greatly. >> is this a fair statement? if congress continues to implement sequestration will devastate the department of justice ability to effectively defend the country? >> that is not only fair statement but one that warned there is discussion about how to manage budget and responsible manner which is important to this body, but also given the tools we need to protect the american people. >> in her time in this business have you ever seen more threat
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to our country then presented today? >> throughout my career as prosecuting attorney received the highest number of threads i've seen not just from terrorist activity that the increased activity in terms of cybercrime is one that is not only increase numerically, but qualitatively in the types of threats we face. >> we made up our game fairly quickly. you agree with that? >> we need to make sure we have the resources to keep up a cybercrime and get ahead of these criminals in terms of detection and prevention before we get to the apprehension. >> terrorists also in the cyberbusiness. is that correct? >> senator connie felt in the greatest, the combination that a cyberattack carried out on behalf of a terrorist entity is one we take great pains to prevent, detect and disrupt but it is certainly an emerging
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threat and calls for resources beyond personnel in terms of our own technology also. >> does that also take a comprehensive approach to our cyberproblems and pass legislation that would modernize our ability to deal with this threat? >> certainly a complex approach is necessary. in the eastern district of new york in talking to my colleagues, all of us are struck in the prevalence of cyberissues in every case we prosecute no much more so than five or 10 years ago. we must have not only a comprehensive approach but one that allows government to work with private industry is about to come up with ways to protect against a threat. >> could you give an estimate what it would cost to deport 11 million people? >> certainly senator winfield to give you the estimate now and we would probably have to reach out to the department of homeland
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security would be charged with the action to provide the information to you. >> do you have a role in the deportation of people here illegally? do you have any role at all? >> the role in terms of deportation the world is handled by the department of homeland security. there are the immigration court to which individuals can seek asylum redress from deportation handled by the department of justice. that will be further along in the process. >> but that is part of the process? >> yes, it is. the mac if you could give us an estimation of what it would take to deport 11 million people, call the department of justice and see what they say, it would be instructive to see what the bill would need. do you think the national nsa is constitutional as it is today? do you think the nsa program
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that we have an effect today is constitutional? >> it is constitutional. certainly will abide by the corporate relations. but it's been a very effective tool. >> u. r. k. witt to be constitutional from your viewpoint? >> constitutional and effective. >> marijuana. is that a crime if the federal level? >> marijuana is a criminal substance under federal law and it is still a crime not only to possess but to distribute under federal law. >> under the doctrine of preemption, what the federal law preempt state to legalize substance? >> senator company raised important questions but this day and their ability to regulate
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criminal law that they also have a serious concurrent jurisdiction in terms of matters in which citizens of states have voted. with respect to the marijuana enforcement laws it is the policy of the administration and would be my policy to continue enforcing marijuana laws, particularly with respect to the money laundering aspect of it. where we see evidence marijuana as i've noticed in cases in my own district rings organized crime activities that create bubbles of violence. >> do you know michelle lam park, dea administrator? >> she's the administrator of the drug enforcement -- >> have you had a discussion about her views of legalizing marijuana? >> we have not had that discussion. >> could you have that discussion and report back to me what the results were? >> certainly senator. i look forward to speaking with you on this issue.
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>> august 29, 2013, deputy attorney general james cole advised enforcing marijuana laws with those in compliance with state marijuana laws would not be a priority of the doj. did you get the memo? >> all u.s. attorneys received that memo, as it died. i believe the deputy attorney general policy seeks to work with state systems that have chosen to take admittedly a different approach with the federal government with respect to marijuana and determine the most effect way to burst the marijuana cases consistent with the states and the choices they have made. the policy as it has been implemented still requires federal prosecutors to seek prosecution of marijuana cases particularly where children are at risk where marijuana is crossing state lines particularly where you have
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marijuana traffic from a street that has chosen a legal framework into a state that is not chosen a legal framework and the intended harms they are in as well as those driving under the influence. a great concern within the department and those of us looking at issues the availability of the edible products and the risk of those fallen into the hands of children and causing great harm there. >> is a state is intending to legalize personal consumption and a small level of marijuana, what would your advice be to that date? >> certainly as a favorite to reach out to the department for his fears, i don't know if that has happened or what advice has been given, but the department would have an obligation to inform them of the current federal status of narcotics laws in the department's position that the federal narcotics laws will still be enforced by the
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department of justice. >> in 2006 he signed an amicus brief supporting planned parenthood opposition to partial-birth abortion. is that correct? >> yes, one of a number of officials although the amicus brief was focused on the issue at the facial issues of the law and how it might impact perception of long worsening discretion and independent. >> the only reason i mention that is if there is a republican president in the future and an attorney general nominee takes an opposite view on an issue like abortion, i hope our friends on the other side like knowledge it is okay to be an advocate for a cause as a lawyer. it doesn't disqualify you from serving. same-sex marriage. of course we wrestle with this issue. this may go to the supreme court very sad. the supreme court rules same-sex
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marriage bans are unconstitutional. islet the u.s. constitution to limit marriage between a man and a woman. that is clearly the law of the land unless there's a constitutional amendment to change it. what legal rationale would be in play that would prohibit polygamy? what is the legal difference between a state a ban on same-sex marriage been unconstitutional but a ban on polygamy being constitutional. could you articulate how one could be banned under the constitution and the other not? >> senator, i have not been involved in the argument or analysis of the case that has gone before the supreme court and i'm not comfortable undertaking legal analysis about the ability to undertake a review of the relevant facts and the precedent they are.
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is certainly not be able to provide you with the analysis at this point in time, but i look forward to continuing discussions with you. >> -- rhode island ask his question. this had been my plan and you tell me if this should give you enough time. senator lee and then senator klobuchar. they'll take us until 12:45 and i was thinking about coming back at 1:30. is that going to give you enough time? >> yes indeed. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ms. lynch welcome to the committee. congratulations on your nominee. i look forward to working with you on a considerable number of issues as we go award. since there's been a significant amount of commentary about the president's immigration measures , the ranking member has asked me to put into the record letters from law enforcement
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leaders in ohio utah iowa and wisconsin supporting the president's policies and concluding while the executive reforms to improve a broken immigration system, they can achieve only a fraction of what is accomplished and we continue to recognize that our broken system truly needs is a permanent legislative solution and urge congress to enact reform legislation. there is a similar letter to member organizations a national task force and violence and a statement for the record of said marek of texas, president and the go to have unanimous consent has been made part of the record. without objection. there has also been considerable commentary about attorney
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general holder in a hearing at which he does not have the opportunity to defend himself and it is that you a different amount of the commentary but not withstand his ability to defend himself if he were here. let me say in response to god there are legal arguments and policies that fall outside a particular ideology. that does not make them outside the mainstream and it does not politicize a department to make those arguments or pursue those policies. i argue it is the effort to constrain the department within that ideology that would be politicizing. out further notice a former united states attorney that the department that attorney general holder inherited was in a very
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great state of disarray and that is just a matter of opinion. the office of legal counsel wrote opinion that were so bad so ill-informed, so ill fated to the case law that pertained that when they were exposed to. you, they were widely ridiculed and ultimately with john by the previous administration. we witness suffers to manipulate the united states attorneys and i know that you are one ms. lynch, the cost of very public rebellion among sitting u.s. attorneys at the time and true in past u.s. attorneys appointed by republican and democratic president. we were exposed to higher practice in the department on their face overtly political and had political litmus test for higher in first in the department's history and we haven't gone down that way before. and ultimately a series of other
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issues that led to the resignation of the attorney general of the united states. it is easy to critique attorney general holder and blame him for politicizing the department but i think history's dispassionate judgment will reflect the attorney general brought the department back from a place where it had been sadly politicized and i can say first hand a lot of my u.s. attorney colleagues from republican and democratic administrations were very very concerned what is happening to the department back then is i shouldn't waste the time of the hearing on that, but all the things that have been tagged without them having the opportunity to defend and rebut, i wanted to say that. i think we need to work together ms. lynch, when you are confirmed, which i hope you will be. senator graham raised the issue
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of cybersecurity. he has been an extraordinarily helpful member of the senate and protect in our country of cyberattacks. on behalf of chinese industries or the really dangerous that of laymen to cybersabotage traps that can be detonated later on in the event of a conflict. i am concerned about the structure within the department for handling cybersecurity. i'm investigative level is spread across program of the fbi, secondarily secret service. it falls under the rubric of the criminal division of the national security division i hope with the assistance of the
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office of management and budget, uni in the office of management budget and other senators can continue a conversation about what the deployment of resources and structure should look like against the cybersecurity threat future. what you agree to participate in such a process? >> certainly, senator. you have outlined an important issue. i look forward to working with you and relevant partners on this committee and congress making sure the department is situated to handle the growing threat. >> there is considerable bipartisan legislation and i hope it is one where we can get something serious accomplished in the months ahead. another area where there is considerable bipartisan legislation is on and the reform. senator durbin mentioned hayes and senator of these legislation at the front and.
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senator cornyn and i have almost parallel bills that relate to the end of the sentence and how to encourage incarcerated people to get the type of job training drug and alcohol rehabilitation anger management mental health care, family reconciliation job training, whatever they do when they're put back into society they have less chance of going back to a life of crime and receipt of dating. we have made a lot of progress on that and we have very good legislation and i hope you in the department will continue to be supportive of our efforts. >> certainly, senator. you have raised next challenge is to look at how to raise our prison population in the issue of crime, which is how we help people who are going to be released return to the communities from which they claim and be productive citizens
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as opposed to returning to prior behavior that not only landed them in prison, but creates music tones. that will certainly be an important part of my focus within the eastern district of new york who had very strong participation and reentry programs that are sponsored by our colleagues at the brooklyn district attorney's office in one of the most difficult neighborhoods in my district in brownsville. we work extensively with those reentry after and those reentry after his work exactly as you said focusing on job training and focusing on building skills so that those coming out of prison can become productive members of society as opposed to those who continue to harm others in society. you have raised very important issues and i look forward to continuing the discussion with you and people on the committee. >> thank you. we will be working thanks to the
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courtesy and care of our chairman, senator trent lott in of the delinquency prevention act, which has been 12 years since the last reauthorization and i appreciate very much the chairman has been willing to work on this and has made it one of the priorities for this committee. the way in which juveniles are treated in our correction system and are detained has been an issue for the department and i ask for your cooperation and active support of our process going forward to reauthorize the jj dpa. >> certainly, senator. the way we handle juveniles in the criminal justice system is something that is of great concern to me in terms of my practice in the eastern district of new york and talking to my colleagues, the other u.s. attorneys who face these issues it is incumbent upon all the to look at the latest research on how juveniles develop and how
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they manage the sales in certain environments. and i'll always be open to reviewing those. i look forward to working with you and others in discussing the statue. >> in my last seconds, you and i both had the experience of being united states attorneys and i suspect we both had the experience of finding people who are targets of criminal or snuffer who if we look back into their past might have avoided our attention had they managed their drug or alcohol addiction or gotten the mental health treatment they needed. it is sort of -- it's a societal sorrow with the treatment they need them up in the criminal justice system and a great burden for the taxpayer. ..
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>> thank you very much. now senator lee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you ms. lynch, for joining us today. thanks for your service to our country. i also appreciate -- appreciated our visit recently came to my office and grateful to you for our support for sentencing reform. the bipartisan legislation i'm working on with senator durbin he referenced a few minutes ago
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is important and i appreciate your views on that as well. want to speak with you briefly going back to transcend it as a former prosecutor i assume you would agree with me there are limits to prosecutorial discretion in this sense at least it's intended to be an exception to the rule and not to swallow the rule itself. would you agree with me that our? >> certainly. i believe in every instance every prosecutor has to make the best determination of the problems presented in their own area. in my case in my district and set priorities. within those priorities exercise discretion. >> right. so prosecutors inevitably have limited resources, and so it's understandable why they would choose when they've got to prioritize to perhaps put more resources into punishing, for example, bank robberies than they do into punishing pickpockets. perhaps they might put more resources into going after that doctors than they do after going
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after people who exceed the speed limit -- pickpocket first. but at some point or limits to this end that doesn't mean that it would be okay i would be a proper exercise of hospital discretion to issue permits for for people to speak, right? >> certainly, sir, think of a prosecutor handed event to prioritize when i'm all for another you would always sought to retain the ability even if there was an area that was not an immediate priority. if, for example, it became one it has a particular neighborhood was being victimized or i can teach your issued a speeding, there were deaths resulting from that, you would want to have the ability to steal if you could take resources and focus on that issue. it might not be the first priority but you'd want to have the ability to go back and deal with that issue. >> and for that reason prosecutorial or law enforcement authorities typically don't go out and say we are only going to punish you for a civil violation
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involving a traffic offense, if you speed and results in an accident with injury. they leave open the very real possibility and a deed unlikely that someone can and will be brought to justice in one way or another for any civil violation they commit while speeding. >> certainly i can't speak to all law enforcement agencies. i know that depending on the agency sometimes the priorities are known, sometimes they are expressed. every office has guidelines. certainly the law enforcement agencies are aware of certain guidelines in terms of for example, a dollar not involving certain types of crime. >> ism without incident going to issue a permit that they may go to one of miles an hour without receiving a ticket, that would enlist the brochure also in charge of making the law in the jurisdiction, that would be -- by which our laws are making would you agree by that? >> again without knowing more
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about him that they would respond to the hypothetical. its survey doesn't like something a law enforcement officer would be engaged in it again without knowing more of the facts, i'm not able to respond to your hypothetical. >> okay, thank you. let's shift gears for a minute. do you agree that citizens and groups of citizens should not be targeted by government, should not be the recipients of adverse action by the government based on their exercise of first amendment rights to? >> certainly i think that the first amendment is one of the cornerstones of a free society. and i believe that our jurisprudence has set forth great protections for individuals as well as groups in the exercise of their first amendment rights to make sure that they are protected and not targeted. i also would say that certainly as a cover prosecutor and u.s. attorney there is really no place for bias or personal view
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in terms of how we approach the types of crimes that we pursued. >> and presumably he would say the same with respect to select exercise with the rights under the fourth or fifth or sixth or the seventh amendment. someone should be punished by government for exercising their rights under those provisions of the constitution. >> i believe there are safeguards in place to prevent that. i think we always have to balance that with the possibility of an extreme situation in which we may have to move quickly, for example, to protect someone or there's an imminent threat therein. but at least our protections set set up for the very purpose. >> second amendment rights as well presumably then, right? >> i believe in serving the supreme court set forth clarity on this issue and so therefore, regardless of the amendment that certainly that is a protected right. >> are you aware that there's a program called operation choke
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point within the department of justice, and that through this program the department of justice and some other federal law enforcement agencies have on some occasions put financial pressure on legal businesses, including hard-working americans who happen to be involved in the business of selling firearms and ammunition by essentially telling banks not to do business with them the? >> i'm generally familiar with the name operation choke point, and my understanding of it with respect to the department of justice current work again i have been involved in either the implementation or the creation of it but my general understanding of is that it looks to target financial institutions that are involved in perpetrating fraud upon consumers and where the mighty financial institution that is facilitating, for example, consumer bank accounts being looted or consumers essentially losing their bank account, that
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that's a target of the. i'm not familiar enough with the specifics of the to know about the underlying businesses that the transaction might have originated from but that's my understanding of the program. >> i assume it's safe to assume should you be confirmed you will work with me to make sure legitimate law-abiding americans are not targeted for the exercise of their second amendment rights. >> on that and any other issue important to you. i look forward to hearing your concerns and working with you on them. >> thank you. i want to talk to civil forfeiture for a minute. do you think it's fundamentally just and fair for the government to be able to seize reporting from a citizen without having to prove that the citizen was guilty of any crime, and based solely on a showing that there was probable cause to believe that that probably wasn't so we used in connection with a crime? >> senator tom i believe civil and criminal forfeiture order
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important tools of the department of justice as well as our state and local counterparts through state laws in essentially managing or taking care of the first order of business, which is to take the profit out of criminal activity. with respect to civil forfeiture, certainly as implemented by the department, it is done pursuant to supervision by a court, it's done pursuant to court order and a believe the protections are there. but i will -- >> what he just ask the average person on the street whether they thought the government could or should be able to do that? should the government be able to take your property absent a showing that you did anything wrong. thereafter requiring you as a condition for getting a whether it's a bank account that has been seized or frozen, whether it's a vehicle that has been seized, that you get to go back and prove your innocence. so you're guilty innocence until proven innocent, at least guilty
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in the sense that your property has gone. do you think your average citizen would be comfortable with that? >> i certainly can't speak on what the average citizen would be unaware of there. there's been discussion and concern over asset forfeiture as a program as express by a number of people. >> particularly at the state level such that some states have adopted in response to a pretty widespread citizen outcry laws restricting the use of civil forfeiture proceedings for that very reason, which leads to why i raise this with you. it's my understanding that the department of justice has in many instances being used as a conduit through which law enforcement officials at the state and local level can circumvent state laws restricting the use of civil forfeiture within the state court system. in other words, where under the state court state lost our
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system, that kind of forfeiture is prohibited. people can go through the department of justice, the department of justice, the department of justice will take out of the, maybe 20% of the valley of assets seized and those can be returned if the process caching is a process known as adoption. don't you think most americans would find that incident of the federal government is facilitating efforts to circumvent state laws that are designed to prohibit the very thing they are doing? >> i think that a number of people would've questions about how the department of justice manages its asset forfeiture program, and my understanding is those questions have been raised about various aspects of it. my understand is that the department is undertaking a review of its asset forfeiture review program and certainly as u.s. attorney i am aware of the fact that the adoption program that you just described which did raise significant concerns for a number of parties has actually been discontinued by the department or that's the guidance we recently received,
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with some exceptions for items of danger, explosives and the like. but it is part of an ongoing review of the asset forfeiture program and certainly shouldn't be confirmed i look for to continue with that review. i would also say senator i look forward to continue these discussions with with you as you express concern and interest on behalf of constituents are others as an important part of the department being as transparent as possible in explaining how it operates. asset forfeiture's are a wonderful tool to we return money to victims take the profit out of crime but as with everything that we do we want to make sure we're being as responsive as possible to the people we are serving. >> thank you. i look for to those additional discussions and ac my time has expired. they give very much. >> thank you very much. thank you so much to you. i understand i am the only thing that stands between you and your lunch, and this entire room and their lunch. so we'll have a good 10 minutes.
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your dad seemed to enjoy that one. i think everyone knows you have impressive resume and the one thing that has not been brought, something i read it this weekend in the profile about you as was thinking about this old saying we have in our household, that the obstacles of life's path are not just obstacles. they are the path and no one represents that better than you, loretta lynch. whatever to put the story about you scored so well on a test in elementary school that they didn't believe that you take the test, and she took it again and scored even higher. the obstacles on the path. was a time that she became the valedictorian of class and a school official said that he would be too controversial if you were the only valedictorian. s.o.b. added some other students to be valedictorian. i was thinking all the senators in this building. i do think that ever happened to them. so i thank you for your courage and your perseverance and your parents courage and perseverance
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that brought you to a study. i was going to start with the question i know you touched on what senator schumer. as you i'm a former prosecutor. i lead a 400 people come we worked really well with the u.s. attorney's office from the u.s. attorneys you know that it worked with todd jones, now the head of our pure of alcohol tobacco and firearms and also the u.s. attorney under bush and a guy named andy lugar who you are also aware of. and it's been very important that relationship that we have had with local prosecutors and the u.s. attorney's office. i wonder if you would talk a little bit more about how you would do that as the attorney general in terms of how you would like your u.s. attorneys to work with a local prosecutors you know can be inundated with a lot of cases and sometimes we would see the u.s. attorney's office getting luxury while we
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be handling tens of thousands of cases coming in our doors. >> thank you senator. you touch upon an important part of my practice. one of the benefits of being u.s. attorney is getting to know the other prosecutors, not just my fellow u.s. attorneys but also the numerous state and local prosecutors with who we worked so well. i am so privileged in brooklyn to have a strong relationship with the district attorneys in my district in all five counties also even outside of my district into manhattan come into the bronx and beyond. we talk often on issues affecting our community. we talk often on issues affecting the entire district. i was privileged to be able to share starting a prescription drug initiative with the brooklyn district attorney's office and also work to close with district attorneys in nasa and suffolk county in handling the problem of prescription drug abuse would just like unfortunately and lead to violence and effective death. >> you know the stats lately are
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the four out of five hair when users started with prescription drugs and then they turned to heroin. i think people are shocked by that, you see the connection with heroin as well skip we do indeed because of the opioid substance of both drugs and we are, in fact seeing a resurgence in heroin notches in my district that abortion across the country. this problem like so many others is one that must be dealt with in a cooperative and collaborative manner. and i'm incredibly proud to say that all of my kind of attorneys colleagues take very seriously the opportunity and privilege to work without stay a local counterparts in crafting prescription drug initiative heroin initiatives along with our violent crime initiatives. we work closely with our state and local counterparts to determine where is the best place for a case to be brought. we look at things like the type of sentence that can be achieved or the type of evidence that is admissible into different proceedings. we cannot have those discussions with building on the positive
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working relationship. and it has been a hallmark of the u.s. attorney community. should i be confirmed as attorney general i intend to drop on the strength of the u.s. attorney colleagues as well as all of my state and local counterparts throughout the country. people who are at the ground zero of these problems often come up with the best solution. they pulled in the health care community. april in parents. they pulled and community leaders and they come up with solution that works that can often be replicated in other places. i've seen that happen with my u.s. attorney colleagues particularly in the area of heroin abuse, and some of the initiatives that they are working on as well. so if confirmed as attorney general i intend to rely very heavily on my prosecutorial colleagues. >> thank you very much for that answer come at some point i think we talked about this before but senator cornyn and i get the drug take back bill and we finally got the rolls out from ea on that and we look
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forward to working with you on that. something else i think i will talk to you later about your work in rwanda but the fact you've done some very important international workers will but you also can't prosecution of international terrorists here at home. and what lessons have you taken from those cases. i will play with this is important from a host of perspective. as you know we have our u.s. attorney's office in minnesota indicted and successfully prosecute a known number of al-shabaab members who had gone over to somalia. we also had the first person killed in syria fighting with isis was actually a minnesotan. underuse attorney recently issued some indictments against others which have been recruited to fight over insurgent. there's a pilot program that just about as involving three cities, l.a. boston and any up with st. paul. it will be and extremism conference coming up but can you talk to but your experience with these kind of cases and too
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how you think is a program should be funded. we are concerned because it's coming out of general funds and if he would support some kind of specific funding for the program? thank you. >> certainly does talking initially on the subject of combating violent extremism, what are the most difficult things to see our young men and appraisal young women, many of them american citizens who are turning to this radical brand of hair, and being recruited to go overseas and become trained and are being sent back to protect the perpetrator threats against the homeland. the sources of this and the reasons for this are debated endlessly at a think we need further discussion about that. but we must take steps to combat this. we must take steps to understand the level of disaffection that these individuals are feeling with their current society, and also help them and their families understand the risks that are facing. some of the most difficult
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conversations i have had have been when i visited the mosques in my district and had frankly wonderful interaction with the participants of their and wonderful interaction with the residents of there. but we've talked about violent extremism and i've talked to parents who have said to me you know, i just don't understand why the government is targeting my youth. we've had very frank discussions about how it's difficult for any parent to know what their children are seeing on the internet and how they are responding to what it being put forth on the internet and the harm that it does not just in our society but also to those families. because they lose their children. they absolutely lose them when they are sucked up by the radical extremism and only to come back to be dealt with as they will, by the american justice. certainly with respect to the number, the types of cases my office has seen, we've seen individuals who started off as
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relatively peaceful individuals global retail but were dragged into radical extremism, did travel overseas, were recruited to then returned to the u.s. and perpetrate attacks there. we've seen that on more than one occasion. >> and the funding of you are aware of the pilot program we have going in the twin cities speak with yes. yes, it very important program given the nature of the problems that have emanated from that community about its the devastation that it has essentially brought within those families and within that community. i think those issues are very very important for certainly i look forward to working with you in finding the most effective way to fund those programs because they have a lot to teach all of us who are working on this issue. >> the last thing i'll ask about is sex trafficking, and i know you've done an impressive job of prioritizing the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases. this is something senator cornyn and i again have a bill on sex
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trafficking, which is called the safe harbor bill which is over but a lot of the groups which creates incentives for states to enact laws which treat the victims of sex trafficking the children, as true victims and not as perpetrators themselves but we think we can build better cases that people come and testify against those of running sex rings. could you talk about your work in this area and how you view the safe harbor lost? >> certainly i think the safe harbor laws are an essential next step in helping the victims of this horrible scourge. my office has been privileged to lead the way in prosecuting numerous individuals who have essentially tricked women through lies deceit, also coercion and duress, even rape before they are brought to this country and forced to work as sexual slaves. it is a tremendously degrading process to these women come and
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one in which they find it difficult to escape because of either a language barrier or the fact that sadly often their children are being held in their own country to force them to behave and to force them to continue this activity. and certainly some of the work i most proud of husband efforts my office has undertaken with a number of the organizations that help victims of human trafficking and also with other governments to reunite these children with their mothers after the cases are over. >> thank you. and also look forward to working with you. we have a number of domestic victims i think 80% of the victims are actually from the u.s. as well especially when you get the oil patch in north dakota and those can places with u.s. attorney's office has played a major role. so thank you very much. thank you for your grace grace under pressure to take grace under pressure today and hope that you will let you get some lunch. thank you. >> thank you senator. >> is it going okay for you to speak with yes. and thank you for inquiring, mr. chairman. >> we went out but you're into
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1:35 p.m. -- we will now adjourn until 1:35 p.m. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> in early november 2014 president obama nominated loretta lynch didn't loretta lynch another nomination comes to the full senate floor. were joined on capitol hill by todd ruger was been following this to work for cq roll call. weekly in a capsule form look at the last six months in a particular first four months of
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the 114th congress and the process by giving loretta lynch's nomination to the senate. >> guest: it starts almost six much aggression mentioned. 34 -- the democrats were in control of the senate and have the ability to bring up loretta lynch in a quick manner if they have focused on that. they focus instead on a lot of judges. part of that was the white house also deferred to the new republican senate majority that was coming in, who are calling for pushing loretta lynch's nomination off until 2015. so in 2014 they didn't hold any nomination or anything for her and i started this year. >> host: the republicans in control and is in the 114th they took up her nomination in the judiciary committee in february took a pass in the judiciary committee with republican senators come
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senators graham conflict and orrin hatch voting in favor. what's that republican support look like now going into the vote on her nomination transferred in addition to those three there have been two other republican senators, susan collins of maine and mark kirk of illinois, who have voiced their support for loretta lynch. add that to all the democrats voting and they might come or they would come have enough to first of all jumped over a procedural hurdle of cloture whether we did a majority of the votes of the senators present, and then they would move on to an actual final confirmation vote for her be about 165 or 166 days after she was first nominated. >> host: and to the cloture vote the first procedural vote we should see on nomination about 11:45 a.m. thursday trip to the threat. senator mcconnell got up and announced there was an agreement between everybody in the senate
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for scheduled to go be two hours of debate tomorrow prior to that 11:45 cloture vote. you can expect republicans to get up there and talk about the issues that have with loretta lynch, namely on immigration and her support for obama's immigration executive action that was announced also in november and you see a lot of democrats get up there and defend loretta lynch is someone that is noncontroversial in terms of her qualifications for doing the job. then if you cloture is invoked, then they would take another two hours to do debate and have a vote. so that the would happen sometime around 2 p.m. it would seem. >> host: what type of experience does loretta lynch bring to the attorney general's position? >> guest: she has a long career in law all of that is in prosecuting. currently she's the u.s. attorney for the eastern district of new york which is a
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very active district when it comes to criminal gangs, traffic -- narcotics trafficking and also such even pending in front of the senate there've been a lot of terrorism related cases that have been filed in her district. so she's a very experienced in tackling a lot of these large complex cases as well as managing an office. and she has won almost universal praise for her ability to work with all sides of the issue. she got praise from police officers and law enforcement leaders, and she's also gotten civil rights leaders praise her. so there's a lot of contentious issues shall have to face at the doj. she's got the ability to make friends on both sides. >> host: let's go back to the republican option which seem fairly strong after the the senate judiciary committee. you write in cq about senator
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sessions and headlines sing senator sessions said he will not force a long debate on the lynch nomination but he is opposing. why is he opposing? y. in general republicans opposed to her nomination? >> guest: republicans are really upset about obama's immigration executive action most of all when it comes to loretta lynch and her nomination. he took those actions announcing prosecutorial discretion, he would be using on millions of illegal immigrants allowing him to stay in the country. and that is something that senators have said is beyond his ability to do company does have the authority to do that. but the president leaned on the department of justice to give him the legal authority for the. and went senators asked her at her confirmation hearing about the issue, she first tried to distance yourself herself but eventually had to say that she did agree or it was a reasonable position
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that the justice department took. and so in that case senator sessions, one of the most vocal opponents, especially said it's a moment separation of power issues. the president is taking too much of his authority, and this is not the time to be putting in an attorney general who is not going to be standing up to the president when it comes to those executive actions and other things. there's some other issues like independent prosecutor for the irs and whether they were targeting conservative nonprofit groups and other issues like that. >> host: read more of todd ruger's reporting at cq roll call. thanks for joining us. >> guest: sure thanks. >> the senate gavel in and momentarily come and attend those versed vote at about 11 11:45 a.m. eastern this morning on moving forward with the nomination with final passage vote final confirmation vote at
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approximately 2 p.m. now to the senate floor here on c-span2. the president pro the the senate will come to order. the prayer will be offered by guest chaplain lane reverend dr. ralph e. williamson of the
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first united african methodist episcopalian church. the guest chaplain: let us pray. most gracious master and our god, who has safely brought us to another day, grant these elected men and women in the united states senate wisdom and your divine guidance, as they seek to take care of the business of this nation. may your invisible presence watch over and refresh their minds, encourage their thoughts, and invigorate their spirits to find peaceful solutions and excellence for which they were elected. allow every moment to serve as opportunities to resolve their differences and move our great nation forward. we pray in the name of god the creator and sustainer of us all. amen.
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the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: today we'll consider the president's nominee for attorney general loretta lynch. last month i said the senate would consider this nominee as soon as we passed an all-important anti-slavery bill, and today we'll consider the nominee. we couldn't have been more pleased to see the legislation the justice for victims of trafficking act passed by an overwhelming margin of 99-0
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yesterday. senator correspondent nip and the entire republican contemporaries made this anti-slavery bill a priority because the cuffing of these victims is simply -- because the suffering of these victims is simply unconscionable. we decided these victims had waited long enough. we wanted to make it an early legislative priority. it was time to act and to finally give the victims of modern slavery the help and hope they'd long waited for. now we can finally say that help is on the way. victims, advocates and all the members of this body who negotiated in good faith and senator cornyn in particular, who never gave up, should take heart in yesterday's outcome. i would urge the house and the president to enact this bill quickly. on another matter, last night we saw the latest example of committees getting back to work in a new congress -- and a new congress getting back to work for the american people. the finance committee passed an
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important bipartisan bill, a trade promotion authority with broad support from both parties 20-6. 20-6. the chairman and ranking members of that committee, senator hatch, senator wyden worked hard to achieve the result that we saw last night. along with chairman ryan in the house, they put together an agreement that reflected the kind of honest compromise that they can take pride in. it protects and enhances the role of congress in the trade negotiating process while ensuring that presidents of either party -- and i would remind our colleagues, this is a six-year trade promotion authority bill; it will give to the next president the authority to negotiate additional trade agreements and send them to congress for approval. these agreements can boost our economy and support more high-quality american jobs. now, this bipartisan bill will move to the senate floor and it is my hope to pass it during the current work period.
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on the subject of committees getting back to work in the new congress, we witnessed more evidence of that last week when the senate foreign relations committee unanimously approved the bipartisan iran nuclear agreement review act. it's a bipartisan bill with many republican and democratic cosponsors, and it will ensure the american people are given a voice on one of the most important issues of our time. chairman corker worked closely with members of both parties to both craft this compromise bill and to advance it. many have admired not just his hard work on this issue but his determination as well. after all, who would have imagined that the white house after trying to kill this bipartisan bill for months, would find itself forced to pull a near total about-face. it is no wonder, though, because the core principles that's always underlined the iran nuclear agreement act is that
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congress and the american people deserve a say in any nuclear deal that the president tries to cut with iran is more than just common sense. it is really a no brainer. after all preventing the world's foremost sponsor of state terrorism from gaining access to a nuclear weapon should be the goal of every senator and every american, regardless of party. it's not a partisan issue. it's one of the greatest challenges to regional stability and the stakes are very high. iran's support of hezbollah the assad regime, shia culpable with its determination to expand not just its nuclear capabilities but also its ballistic missile and conventional military capabilities represents an aggressive effort to expand the iranian sphere of influence throughout the greater middle east. iran's belligerent quest for nuclear weapons capabilities, its fierce determination to undermine america's standing in the region, and its violate
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pursuit of -- violent pursuit of hegemony represent a grave grave threat, not just to nearby nationsnations the northeast not-- in the middle east, but to the entire world. so the stakes are indeed high and as we know, president obama has been engaged in negotiations with the iranians for sometime now. initially -- initially we were led to believe that the point of these negotiations was to prevent -- prevent -- iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. but the administration's focus appears to have shifted from reaching an agreement that would end iran's nuclear program to reaching an agreement for agreement's sake. that's the only way to interpret the interim agreement we saw recently. it would effectively bestow an international blessing for iran to become a nuclear threshold state forever -- forever on the edge of obtaining a nuclear
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weapon. the direction of these negotiations have taken should be very worrying for americans of every political stripe, and what that simply underlines is the need for a measure like the bipartisan iran nuclear agreement review act. here's what it would do: first, it would require that any final agreement reached with iran be submitted to congress for review. second it would require that congress be given time to hold hearings and ultimately take a vote to approve or disaapprove any iran agreement before congressional sanctions are lifted. third, the final deal ultimately does go forward it would require the president to certify back to congress every 90 days that iran remains in compliance with the agreement and if the
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president is unable to do so, it would empower congress to rapidly reimpose sanctions. in short passing this bipartisan bill would give congress and the american people important tools to assess any agreement reached by the administration before congressional sanctions can be lifted. remember it was due in no small measure to the congressional sanctions authored by senator mark kirk, which passed this chamber 100-0 four years ago that iran was forced to the negotiating table in the first place. the obama administration fiercely opposed those bipartisan sanctions back then, just as it opposed the bipartisan bill before us soon -- until very recently. but those sanctions have been so effective that even the administration has had to embrace them. congress was right then. and congress is right now.
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we should not be negotiating away the leverage that previous sanctions have given our country for a bad deal, especially agreed to for agreement's sake. look no piece of legislation is perfect. senators who would like to see this bill strengthened, as i would, will have that chance during a robust amendment process that we'll soon have heightright here on the floor. this bill will be open for amendment and those who seek to improve it will have an opportunity to do that. this bipartisan bill is underlined by a very solid principle and a lot of hard work. it represents a real opportunity to give the american people more of isa say on this important issue and we look fiewrtd forward to a vigorous debate on it next week.
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the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: this morning i extend a warm welcome to reverend ralph williamson from nevada. for a dozen years dr. williamson has served as senior pastor. during that time, he has helped shepherd the first african-american episk pall episcopal church through expansion. he is a devoted pastor and he's beloved by a growing congregation that includes senator cory booker's mother. corey's mom and aunt live in las vegas, and it was there that his good dad died. ithey are so proud of their son
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cory as well they should be, as they're proud of having wore shipped in this church. the apostle paul wrote "as we have there opportunity let us do good to all men especially unto them who are of fanal." williamson has heeded this admonition doing good for his flock and the people of all southern nevada. through his leadership, the first african-american episcopal church has become a -- his tireless efforts have produced programs for youth seniors, and the underprivileged. he has pioneered summer lunch programs health ministries just about everything that deals with helping people he's done it.
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i appreciate his joining us today. i didn't have the chance to tell him -- we met earlier today-- i welcomed to washington 60-70 people today. he offered a prayer for those assembled and it was very warm and nice. what i didn't get it a chance to tell you is i believe the first leader of the flock of this church in southern nevada was a man by the name of albert dunn. he was responsible for starting this first congregation. he was my friend, reverend dunn. he was a very, very devoutly religious man and to show you how far he went to help people in the community, in a quftion
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with his wife one day she said, you know, i wish you had talked to reverend dunn because he oftentimes would get up in the morning and he's given away all the food to people who need it. so i have warm remembrance of this church and reverend dunn. so dr. williamson, thank you very much for your leadership. appreciate it very much. mr. president, on another subject, i look forward to the returning to the debate on the situation dealing with iran. it's a very, very difficult issue. so important for the country and the world. now, i hope that there can be some further negotiations that when they finish these negotiations in june, it will be something that will be received with popularity here in the senate. the democrats and republicans
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we'll say that's great. we're finally able to get something done. iran now can no longer use nuclear weapons because we've stopped them from doing so. i hope we've arrived at that point but we're not there yet and i wish so fervently that the negotiators can arrive at some agreement in the next couple months. we're going to move to this bill as soon as we can. i hope we can do it sooner rather than later. the debate on these amendments that the republican leader talked about are really significant. they should be -- this should be as the republican leader said, there should be amendments offered. if people think they can improve the bill. there should be amendments offered if there's stuff in the bill that they don't like. if they don't like the whole process, let them offer an amendment. we need robust debate. we have to make sure attention
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is focused on this issue and nothing else. i look forward to seeing what i can work out with my friend, the senior senator from kentucky, the majority leader of the senate to see if we -- when we can move to this. mr. president, let's see here. i've got a few papers to shuffle here today. mr. president, "the wall street journal" had a great editorial today. to show you how senseless it was, i'll read a line from it. the headline: "the g.o.p. used its advice and consent power to beat harry reid." think about that, mr. president. a major newspaper in this country that is the audacity to say the g.o.p., the republicans
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used its advice and consent power to beat harry reid. reading the editorial what they're talking about is the republicans were really smart in delaying loretta lynch to be confirmed. mr. president, the reason that she was delayed is because a very vital issue came up with the trafficking bill that dealt with women's reproductive rights and it took a long time to work that out. in fact, it took us a long enough time to work it out until the republicans capitulated to what we wanted. we protect the women's right to choose. the hyde language no longer allowed, as was in the underlying legislation no longer allows the hyde language to apply to nontaxpayer money. so for them to say that they beat harry reid, they didn't beat harry reid. what they did was beat up on
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themselves. loretta lynch it took longer to confirm her than if you take every attorney general who has been submitted to the senate for confirmation, add them all together from the time we were a country until today add them all together and they didn't take as long as it takes to confirm this good woman. so to think that they beat harry reid i repeat, all they did was beat up on themselves. later today the senate will do something that it should have done months ago: confirm loretta lynch as the 83rd attorney general of the united states. i repeat: prior to 82, add all the time together how long it took to confirm them and it wouldn't add up to as much time as the republicans have stalled this good woman. she's as qualified a candidate as i've ever seen during my time in the senate which is more than three decades. so qualified in fact that today will mark the third time she's
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been confirmed by the united states senate. twice before unanimously confirmed as u.s. attorney for the eastern district of new york. by all accounts, loretta lynch's confirmation should have sailed through the senate. after awhile it seemed that it would. we had senators, republican senators who were saying what a wonderful woman she is. she's great. they were very vocal in their support. the senior senator from utah, the senior senator from south carolina, senior senator from arizona. but it soon became apparent the republican leader pressed these people a little bit and suddenly they weren't as interested in moving the lynch confirmation along, even though that's what they said it they should do. her nomination dragged on, has dragged on for months. in fact, i repeat, she's waited longer to be confirmed in the first 54 attorneys general
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combined longer than attorneys general nominated by every president from george washington to woodrow wilson and beyond. what should have been a quick confirmation will be anything but that. instead mrs. lynch became the first attorney general nominee in history to be filibustered. the editorial from the newspaper is really insulting mr. president. they said that reid accused republicans of racism and sexism. i dare, i dare anyone to find a single word that i said dealing with race or sex. i didn't do that. but maybe that's something the republicans hoped i would do, but i didn't do that. there was even a hunger strike. listen to this, the depth of this editorial from the "wall street journal". reverend al sharpton vowed a
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hunger strike until ms. lynch received a vote, and they have in parenthesis "al please go through with it." i guess i was naive in thinking my republican colleagues would treat loretta lynch with the dignity that she and her office deserve. perhaps my mistake was forgetting that for republicans this isn't about loretta lynch. it's about president obama. because republicans will do everything and anything they can to make president obama's life more difficult. they said they would do that when he was elected and they've stuck with it. president obama's cabinet officials have been treated worse than any president in history. today's vote on loretta lynch marks the seventh cloture vote the republicans forced on a cabinet official during the obama administration. forcing cloture, that is
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terminating a filibuster is something that was rare in the entire history of this country. it was used only in most extreme circumstances. but once ms. lynch was confirmed, five sitting members of the president's cabinet will have been filibustered by senate republicans. put that in contrast, it rarely happened before. rarely. unlike today's senate republicans, democrats showed restraint in our disagreements with presidents over appointments. we showed great deference to his choice for president. by that i'm talking about george w. bush, the latest bush who was president. some say that's water under the bridge. there will be those republicans who after confirming lynch today will say all's well that ends well. they're wrong. i'm pleased that she will be confirmed as attorney general. her nomination process is proof of all that is wrong with the republican leadership.
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senate republicans made loretta lynch's nomination linger more than ten times longer than the average attorney general and you've heard what i said before about that, just to spite barack obama. the viciousness with which the majority leader's party has treated the president is unconscionable and is bad for our country. republicans have become so blinded by their nastyness that they even named filibusters of -- made filibusters of cabinet officials the norm around here, the first time we had a secretary of defense filibustered they did it. the first time attorney general they did it. how sad that in the future we can expect delays and filibustered nominations like loretta lynch to no longer be the exception but the rule. how unfortunate this is how republicans pretend to govern. mr. president, what is the order of the day? the presiding officer: under the previous order the leadership time is reserved. the senate will proceed to executive session to consider
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the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of justice loretta e. lynch of new york to be attorney general. the presiding officer: under the previous order there will be two hours of debate equally divided in the usual form. mr. reid: mr. president, i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: i ask consent the quorum call be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president i didn't realize the time on a
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quorum call would be equally divided so i would ask unanimous consent that the time would be charged equally to both sides. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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