tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN July 17, 2018 2:15pm-4:16pm EDT
russians need to know that there are a lot of us who fully understand what happened in 2016, and it really better not happen again in 2018. >> leader mcconnell, on trade -- [inaudible conversations] >> still waiting for remarks from the senate democrat leaders but at this point we'll go live now to the floor of the senate for more debate on executive nominations. families out of their hard-earned savings, that monetary policy helps workers find and keep a job that keeps a living wage. during his time -- during his time with the fed, randy quarles
has done the opposite. time and again mr. quarles has sided with wall street, not with workers. look what happened with the stress test. the fed allowed the seven largest banks to redirect $96 billion that should be used to pay workers, to reduce fees for consumers, to protect taxpayers from bailouts. instead, they plow that money into share buybacks, in dividend that reward, you guessed it, wealthy executives and investors. two investors had captain -- two banks are capital below the amount. now the fed will have new rules to make stress tests easier, giving banks more leeway to design the exams they will much more likely pass. the fed, under mr. quarles' leadership, wants to loosen limits on big bank borrowing,
opposed by sheila baird. the fed's proposing to weaken the involvinger rule, the -- volcker rule. in the -- and the fed is undercutting the rules of f stock in oversight of if foreign banks. again, a boon to wall street, a punch in the gut to american workers. wall street simply doesn't respect the dignity of work. the data from last week tells -- tells a story ohioans know too well, big banks and corporations are doing better than ever. workers still haven't gotten a meaningful raise. we install another nominee time that for 14 years who doesn't seem to understand that workers are the backbone of our economy. mr. quarles missed the 2008 crisis the last time he was in charge a decade ago. he spent his time at the fed
recently doing favors for wall street at the expense of working families. americans cannot afford a nominee who fails american workers and home owners and taxpayers. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. ms. cortez masto: i rise to speak out against the nomination of randal quarles. mr. quarles served in the bush administration's treasury department in the years that led up to the financial crisis of 2008, his failure to take action to prevent this crisis led to hundreds of thousands of foreclosures and evictions in my home state of nevada. nevada was ground zero for the financial crisis, we were the hardest hit of any state in the country, we had the highest foreclosure rate for 62 months straight and the highest number of under water mortgages.
banks took the homes of more than 219,000 nevada families. anyone driving through parts of las vegas and reno in 2009 to see boarded up houses, for sale signs an empty lots everywhere. on many streets you would see more houses with foreclosure than not. i tried to fight for home owners. we sued the big banks and secured $1.9 billion to create the home again home owner relief program to help nevadans stay in their homes. as all of this was going on, i know, and knew at the time, there was only so much we could do at the state level. we needed real change at the federal level to prevent the financial crisis from ever happening again. the federal regulators should have protected nevada home owners, but instead they protected the big banks bottom line. i ran for a seat in the senate because i wanted to change the
system. i wanted to put rules in place that would protect nevadans, not wall street bankers. that's why i cannot support randall -- randall awrls nomination -- quarles to the federal reserve. he was a policymaker in the bush administration who let the big banks write the rules. maybe things would have been different if he learned his mistakes and that radical financial deregulation only helps the big banks, but randle quarrels has been sitting on the fed board since last year and has weakened oversight of the financial system, let big banks gamble with depositors' money and undermine protections force consumers and home owners. over a decade has passed since the rules he wrote caused hundreds of thousands of nevadans to lose their homes. he is pushing the same agenda that led to the financial crisis
in 2008. the mistakes he made as a member of the bush administration devastated families and communities in my home state. now the senate is about to reward him with a position, the vice chair of supervision that he will hold for the next 14 years. he will be the lead on writing the rules that govern wall street and the banks, but i don't trust him to put families first. i don't believe he will make our financial system safer and more fair. randal quarles shouldn't be allowed to see our financial system for 14 minutes. i refuse to rubber stamp him for a position that lasts 14 years. thank you, mr. president. i yield he the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. mr. crapo: thank you, mr. president. i rise to support the nomination of the honorable randal quarles to be a member of the board of governors of the federal reserve
system. he was nominated with a bipartisan vote of 65-3 #. about you that term expired on february 1, 2018, and he has been serving as a member of the board in a hold-over capacity since. qimpleing mr. quarles to a new 14-year term will provide needed stability and allow for the prompt consideration of other board nominees. mr. quarles has a wealth of government and private sector experience dealing with domestic and international financial markets. in additions to his current service on the board, his government experience includes serving in multiple top posts in the treasury department. currently only three of the seven available board seats are filled and several other nominees to the board await confirmation. i have appreciated the important work caried out by mr. quarles at the board. including his role as regulatory and supervisory policy.
some argue he is responsible for the housing crisis. he wasn't on the federal board when the housing crisis occurred. some argued he tried to weaken stress tests. yet today the chairman of the federal reserve testified to the banking committee that the stress test they applied this year are the strongest stress tests they've applied yet and that they have not given anybody a pass. in fact, those who did not completely pass the test are still required to maintain their capital requirements as they were last year. if confirmed, i'm confident that mr. quarles' experience and skill will continue to be effective in terms of helping the board promote the effective operation of the united states economy and serving the public interests. he has previously received, as i said, bipartisan support being confirmed last year as vice chairman by voice vote and as a board member by a vote of 65-32.
earlier today, the senate's cloture vote on mr. quarles nomination was 66-33. yet again another indication of strong bipartisan support for this nomination. i urge all my colleagues to support mr. quarles' nomination today and vote for his confirmation. i yield my time, mr. president. the presiding officer: under the previous order, all time has expired. the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the nays are 33. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of andrew s. oldham of texas to be united states circuit judge for the fifth circuit signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of andrew s. oldham of texas to be united states circuit judge for the fifth circuit shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the role. -- call the roll.
the presiding officer: does any senator wish to vote or change his or her vote? if not, the yeas are 50. the nays are 49. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary. andrew s. oldham of texas to be united states circuit judge for the fifth circuit. mr. grassley: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: as i've done two or three times before in the last week, i would take some time of my colleagues to discuss the nomination of judge
kavanaugh to serve as an associate justice of the supreme court. i think the debate surrounding his confirmation has highlighted the deep divide between how conservatives view the role of the judiciary versus how liberals view it. the reason liberal outside groups oppose judge kavanaugh's nomination is quite simple. they don't think that he will promote their preferred policies and the outcomes of those policies while on the bench. well, i can't think of a better example that demonstrates how differently liberals and conservatives view the role of the judiciary, so let me tell you how i and most americans view the role of the judiciary. pretty simple things we learned
from high school government courses about checks and balances of government. just pretty simple, pretty common sense, because it's all about the purpose of the constitution of the united states. under that constitution, we have three branches of government. congress makes the laws. the president enforces the laws. and the judiciary interprets and applies the law and the constitution. the judiciary's role as a coequal and independent branch of government is significant. it's confined, or the words from the constitution, they can only deal with cases and controversies. as alexander hamilton explained in federal paper -- federalist paper number 78, the judiciary,
quote, may truly be said to have neither force nor will, but merely judgment. end of quote. in other words, the judiciary must stay in its lane, a very slow lane, calling balls and strikes as the courts see them, without trying to encroach on congress' authority to make policy through the legislative process. when the supreme court goes beyond its mandate and enters a policy making arena, it threatens the structure of our constitution. to preserve the judiciary's independence, justices of the supreme court are appointed for life. they're not accountable directly to the voters for their decisions. the american people can toss
those of us in congress out if we make bad policy decisions. but if a judge ends up legislating, we're stuck with the judges that made those bad decisions for life. the benefit of this arrangement is that judges can make decisions according to the laws, not based on the whims of political opinion because they are immune from that political opinion. but the down side is that some judges can see their independence as a green light to override the policy choices of congress or the states and substitute their own policy preferences. the threat that this poses to self-government should be very self-evident.
instead of the people's representatives making policy choices, unelected judges who aren't answerable to the american people make them. conservatives believe that judges must rule according to the law as written. in any case, the law might lead to a liberal political result or it might require a conservative political result, but the judge can't take that into consideration. the law must be interpreted regardless of whether the judge agrees with the political results of the decision. a good judge will oftentimes personally disagree with the result he or she reaches. many liberals view the role of the judiciary very differently.
liberals believe that an independent judiciary unaccountable to the american people is a very convenient way to achieve policy outcomes that can't be achieved through the democratic and representative process. that is why in nearly every case before the supreme court it is very predictable how the four democrat appointed justices will rule. in most cases they'll reach the result that achieves liberal political goals. how else can you explain the fact that the democrat appointed justices have voted to strike down every restriction on abortion, a right that appears nowhere in the constitution, but would uphold restrictions on political speech or gun rights. after all, these rights are
expressly covered by the first and second amendments. the unfortunate reality is that liberal jurisprudence is thinly veiled liberal policy making. and i'm very generous when i say thinly veiled. this explains many of the left-wing attacks now going on about judge kavanaugh. judge kavanaugh has a track record of putting aside any policy preferences that he has and ruling according to the law as it is written. i think this is a virtue. indeed, it is necessary for judges to do that, to show their impartiality, to show their judicial temperaments. but liberal outside groups and
their senate allies see this as a threat. they want judges who will impose their policy preferences, only have those policy preferences disguised as law, of course. they want politicians hiding under their judicial robes. that is why many of the attacks on judge kavanaugh are based on policy outcomes. left-wing groups are spending millions of dollars to convince the american people that judge kavanaugh is hostile to their preferred policies. this effort, i believe, will be unsuccessful. what the american people see in judge kavanaugh is a judge who will rule according to the law, not for or against various
policies. nine ivy league justices and their cadre of mostly ivy league law clerks aren't equipped to replace congress' exclusive lawmaking function. one attack that i've seen on judge kavanaugh is that he represents a threat to the affordable care act's protection of people with preexisting conditions, so i want to tell you why numerically that just doesn't work out. because the same five justices who upheld the constitutionality of the affordable care act, and did it twice, are still on the court. justice kennedy, who judge kavanaugh would replace, voted to strike down the affordable care act. in other words, even assuming
you could predict judge kavanaugh's vote one year from now or ten years from now on the affordable care act, his vote would not change the outcome. moreover, as judge kavanaugh had two opportunities to strike down the affordable care act on the d.c. circuit where he now serves, he did not do it. so where do you get the idea that he'll, he's a predictable vote to undo the a.c.a.? for those of us for repeal, we maybe ought to vote against him because he hasn't voted that way on the d.c. circuit. those of us that thought the affordable care act should be repealed, because he may not be a sure vote to do that. and even if he were, there's
still five votes to preserve it. the left-wing groups might want to put away then their crystal ball. even "the new york times" fact checker threw cold water on the argument that kavanaugh was a sure vote against the affordable care act. "the new york times" labeled the left-wing attacks, quote, unquote, exaggerated. another attack on judge kavanaugh is that he's hostile to abortion rights. but this attack misrepresents his record on the d.c. circuit. there, judge kavanaugh acknowledged that the court must decide the case based on roe v. wade and subsequent abortion decisions. he applied the precedent as presidents requires judges to so
do. we hear the same fearmongering over abortion every time that there's a supreme court vacancy. i remember from 38 years ago when sandra day o'connor was going to be the first woman appointed to the supreme court, there was a real worry then that roe v. wade was in jeopardy. but she's one of those that preserved it. in the casey versus planned parenthood case 12 years later when she got on the court. yet, roe v. wade is still the law of the land. justices have a way of surprising us. i think justice kennedy now leaving the court was one of those because even though we didn't pursue this in depth with him at his hearing, those of us that are pro-life, and i'm one of them, were pretty assured
that kennedy might be one of those votes to override roe v. wade, and yet, in 1992 in the casey versus planned parenthood case, casey was one of the majority that voted not to do any harm whatsoever to roe v. wade. so there's no way to predict how a justice will rule in a particular case. many times this senator has been disappointed by what he thought a judge might do -- a justice might do if approved. who could have predicted that justice scalia, for example, would strike down a ban on flag burning? we saw how justices appointed by
republican presidents can reach decisions with liberal political results because that's what the law requires. in sessions versus dumia, justice gorsuch sided with an immigrant who challenged a statute under which he could have deported -- could have been deported as unconstitutionally vague. in carper versus the united states, our chief justice roberts, who most of the time is considered a conservative, held that police were required to obtain a warrant before searching cellphone location datas. if you're a law enforcement person, you consider that a bad decision. if you're a private -- privacy rights person, you consider chief justice roberts to be right. it's sad, very sad, but not
surprising that left-wing groups and their senate allies oppose judge kavanaugh's confirmation based on policy concerns rather than on legal concerns. luckily a majority of americans and a majority of senators believe that the mark of a really good judge is someone who does what the constitution assigned to them to do, interpreting the law as written, regardless of whether the result is liberal or conservative or even anything in between. as justice gorsuch said, judges wear robes, not capes. in his 12 years on the d.c. circuit, judge kavanaugh has a clear record -- a clear track record of setting aside any policy preferences and ruling
according to law as congress wrote it. criticizing the results of certain decisions says more about his critics than about the judge himself. we're already seeing an attempt at borking judge kavanaugh. i was in the senate when liberal groups and some of my colleagues smeared the highly respected judge bork after he was nominated for the supreme court. judge bork was very candid with the senate judiciary committee. he was unfairly attacked for being so candid. we're seeing liberal groups and their senate allies try to replace -- replicate this shameful episode. but since the nomination of
justice ginsburg to the supreme court, the tradition has been for nominees to, in her words, give, quote, no hints, no forecasts, no previews, end of quote, of how she would vote and it applies to how he would address certain cases. the minority leader in a press conference last year affirmed that, quote, there is a grand tradition that i support that you can't ask a judicial nominee about a special case that might come before them. that's exactly the ginsburg rule. and i expect if he wants to be on the supreme court, not only for the sake of being on the supreme court, getting there, but to serve the role he ought to serve as an impartial justice, that he's going to follow this ginsburg rule when
he comes before my judiciary committee. i implore my colleagues not to try to extract assurances about how he will rule in specific cases in exchange for the confirmation vote because they caught to get an answer from kavanaugh that ginsburg would give, and as far as i know every one of the nominees since then. the only question that matters is this, does judge kavanaugh strive to apply the law as written by congress regardless of his personal views? and from what i know about judge kavanaugh, and i haven't gone through all of his 300 opinions yet that he's written as a circuit judge, but the answer appears to be yes. i suggest the absence of a
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, if there's one thing we've been able to rely on the past half century or so is democratic hysteria over republican supreme court nominations. no sooner does a republican president announce a nomination than the democrats are off and running. it doesn't matter who the nominee is. the playbook is the same. the democrats warn that equal rights are in jeopardy, that our system of government may not survive. in fact, that americans may not survive. that's right, mr. president. in the leadup to justice
gorsuch's confirmation the head of one liberal organization stated that there was, and i quote, that there is substantial evidence that if gorsuch's egregious views were to become laws, americans lives would be put at risk in untold ways, end quote. i'm happy to report that after justice gorsuch's tenure on the supreme court, americans seeped to be -- seem to be okay. fast forward to judge kavanaugh's nomination, and once again democrats have predicting that the sky will fall in a republican supreme court nominee is confirmed. but faced with an imminently well-qualified mainstream nominee, they've been forced to resort to destorgses or outright conspiracy theories to make their case. their statements have been so extreme that they already have been called out more than once by the mainstream media. the "new york times," not
exactly known as an apologist for the republican party, publish a fact check with the heedline, -- headline, democrats overstate kavanaugh's writings on the affordable care act. "the washington post" published a fact check that described the democrat characterization of kavanaugh as an, and i quote, extreme distortion. end qoament. and two -- enquote. and two tweets with an absurd conspiracy theory about justice kennedy's resignation received four by invokeos from "the washington post," a rating that qualifies the tweets as, and i quote, whoppers. mr. president, at the root of the democrats' frenzy is their belief is that the only supreme court justice is a supreme court justice who shares their political beliefs and who will rule in support of them. and that's a very disturbing point of view. our system of government is
based on the rule of law, but the rule of law depends on having judges who will rule based on the law and the facts, not on their personal opinions. once judges start ruling based on their political opinions or their feelings about what they like the law to be, then we've replaced the rule of law with the rule of individual judges. but that's exactly what democrats are pushing for. they are looking for supreme court judges who will rule based not on the law but on their personal beliefs. and more specifically, they are looking for judges who will rule based on democrats' beliefs. just look at the democrats' statements since judge kavanaugh's nomination. democrats aren't interested in whether judge kavanaugh is qualified or will rule in accordance with the law. instead they are concerned about his views on specific issues and whether those views line up with democrats' opinions. democrats want a supreme court that will ratify the opinions of
the democrat party whether those opinions are in line with the law or the constitution. mr. president, of course political -- i should say, of course judges have political opinions. of course judges have personal feelings. but when you're a judge, your job is to leave those things at the courtroom door. your job is to judge based on the law and the facts even when you don't like -- especially when you don't like the outcome. as justice gorsuch has said, and i quote, a judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge. stretching for results he prefers rather than those that the law demands. mr. president, i don't know how judge kavanaugh would rule on the cases he would face as a member of the supreme court, but i do know that in each and every case he would look not for the
results he prefers but for those that the law demands. in a 2017 speech at notre dame law school judge kavanaugh said, and i quote, i believe very deeply in those visionings of the rule of law -- visions of the rule of law as a law of rules and as the judge as umpire. by that i mean a neutral, impartial judiciary that decides cases based on settled principles without regard to policy preferences or political allegiances or which party is on which side in a particular case. end quote. that's it, mr. president. that's the job of a judge to serve as the umpire, to call the balls and strikes, not rewrite the rules of the game. mr. president, when you're considering a candidate for congress, political opinions like those the democrats are demanding matter. but when it comes to judges,
there are really only two important questions. first, is this judge well qualified? and second, does this person understand the proper role of a judge? and when it comes to judge kavanaugh, the answer to both questions is yes. his qualifications are outstanding. he's a graduate of yale law school. he clerked for a supreme court justice. he's a lecturer at harvard law school. and most importantly, as a judge on the d.c. circuit court of appeals he has handed down thoughtful, well-respected decisions that reveal his deep respect for the law and the constitution and his understanding that it is a judge's job to interpret the law, not to legislate from the bench. it's unfortunate that democrats believe that the only good judges are liberal judges is
preventing them from giving an outstanding nominee like judge kavanaugh a fair hearing. but, mr. president, there's still time for them to abandon their political opposition and take a real look at judge kavanaugh's qualifications for the supreme court. and i hope that they will. mr. president, i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the democrat leader. mr. schumer: well, i join with my -- the presiding officer: we're in a quorum call. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. now, i join with my colleagues this afternoon to talk about the president's deeply embarrassing and disgraceful meeting with president putin yesterday. but first -- but first, let me take a drink of water.
first, allow me to comment on what we just heard from the president just a few minutes ago president trump seemed to say he accepts the findings of the intelligence community that russia meddled in our election. well, welcome to the club, president trump. we've known since the middle of the 2016 election that they've meddled. for the president to admit it now is cold comfort to a disturbed public who watched him bend over backwards to avoid criticizing putin directly. president trump may be trying to squirm away from what he said yesterday, but it is 24 hours too late and in the wrong place for the president to take a real stance on putin's election meddling. amazingly, president trump after reading his statement that he accepted the intelligence community's conclusion that putin meddled added in his own
word, could be other people also. a lot of people out there. this is just like charlottesville. he stepped -- made a horrible statement, tried to back off but couldn't even bring himself to back off. it shows, mr. president, the weakness of this president. it shows the weakness of president trump that he is afraid to confront mr. putin directly, and like a coward tries to squeeze -- squeal away from it when he's several thousand miles away. what is president putin going to take out of the president's actions today? that the man is weak, that he's afraid, that he's cowardly, and that putin will feel that he can take even further advantage of donald trump. the president is now asking the american people not to believe their eyes and ears about what he told the world in helsinki
yesterday. even in his completely inplausible effort to correct his words, he departed from his text again to claim that the hacking could have been done by someone other than russia. if the president can't say directly to president putin that mr. putin, you are wrong and we are right, our intelligence agencies are right, it's ineffective and worse, it shows such weakness. it tells president putin continue to take advantage of the united states because president trump doesn't have the courage, the strength, maybe not even the conviction to say to president putin's face what he tried to say a few minutes ago. the president's comments a moment ago changed very little. the questions still -- the question still remains, what will the senate do in response?
i've seen a few of my republican colleagues shrug their shoulders claiming they've done all they can. that's bunk. as senators we have a responsibility and an ability, an incredible power given to us by the founding fathers to check and balance this president. as i said this morning, here are a few things the senate can do immediately in response to the president's disastrous summit. we can ratchet up sanctions on russia, not water them down. sanctions we passed 98-2 have not even been fully implemented by the trump administration. and now someone has inserted a loophole to water them down in the house defense legislation. second, our republican colleagues need to immediately join us in demanding public testimony from the president's national security team that was in helsinki.
secretary pompeo, d.n.i. director coats, ambassador hudsman and any -- anybody else part of that team should be testifying openly and directly to the congress. we need to know this because as frightening and damaging as the president's comments were to the public in helsinki, what he said behind closed doors is in all likelihood even worse. why the president wanted to close the doors, there are lots of explanations. none of them good. does anyone believe that president trump was tougher on putin in secret? why else did he not want anyone in the room? next, where are the notes from that meeting? what did the president agree to? can we have the translator come in and testify? was secretary of state pompeo briefed afterwards on what
happened? did he take notes? were any other members of the president's team? the notes need to be turned over to congress immediately. so, i'm calling on leader mcconnell and his republican leadership team to immediately request a hearing with pompeo, coats, huntman, and the rest of the president's national security team from hill sink can i -- helsinki and the translator so we know the full extent of what happened behind closed doors. because our national security is at risk. it's an unusual request for unusual times. next, our republican friends must end attacks on the justice department, the f.b.i., and particularly the special counsel and let the investigation proceed unimpeded. best way to do this? pass the legislation authored by bipartisan group led by senators coons and booker on our side, senator tillis and graham on the
republican side, that passed out of the judiciary committee. leader mcconnell, if you're serious about checks and balance, if you're serious about making sure that president trump obeys the law and protects our security, put that bill on the floor now. it will pass. fourth, the president must release his tax returns and insist that the 12 russians indicted for election interference are handed over. the president has refused to release his tax returns, but these bizarre actions that he has taken which seem so to indicate that president putin has something over president trump, something personal, and it might be financial. we need to see the tax returns. finally, we must move the election security legislation immediately.
senator klobuchar has legislation, bipartisan. senator van hollen has legislation, bipartisan. senator harris has legislation. we need to move it. leader mcconnell talked about it a little bit. let's move it quickly, but remember, the president still has control because the d.n.i., the director of intelligence, national intelligence has the ability to put out this report and he is, after all, a presidential appointee. i have some faith in the integrity of mr. coats, but he may not even be there after november, particularly given the way president trump treats his employees. his appointees, rather. and so that legislation is good, necessary, but hardly sufficient. i hope our senate will move. i hope our republican colleagues will not just talk the talk but walk the walk.
tsk, tsk is not enough when national security is at stake. action, bipartisan action is required. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: mr. president, i rise to follow my leader and talk about this issue of great importance, and let me just begin with something i cherish. i have a photo taken on december 1, 2016, of one of my children in snowyfields in lithuania in a u.s. military operation with nato troops called operation iron sword and the photo is of him taking the oath of office to become a captain in the united states marine corps. he was deployed with 1,200 members of his battalion on the border of russia between the black and the baltic sea to protect america against a nation that general joe dunford, the head of our joint chief of
staffs describe as our principal adversary. 1,200 men and women deployed far from homeworking together with a nation on the russian border to protect them and to protect our country. my son was not alone with marines. there were also troops from many nato nations and lithuania and also troops from other service branches in the united states. now, you'll forgive me for being a little bit marine centric. the marine motto, semper f.y. means always faithful. i think it applies to not just marines but all who wear the uniform in the united states, certainly all those who were there helping our european allies counter russian aggression and all those 1.3 million people in active duty today, always faithful. after the last week, a very profound question has been raised while our troops can carry that and meet that always
faithful. i think we have some significant questions about this president. would he meet the same standard, semper fidelis, always faithful. would he meet it to this country? will the senate meet the always faithful standard? in the president's first year and a half in office, in exercising the responsibility to be a commander in chief, i would say he's been a bit more of a disruptor in chief. we've had presidents of both parties since the beginning of the 21st century, president truman, president reagan, other presidents of both parties who have always tried to be commanders in chief who tried to be builders of security, builders of alliances. that's not the path that the current president has taken. he's tried to be more of a disruptor. he's pulled america out of a diplomatic deal with iran that
allied nations in the international atomic agency said iran was complying with. i'm not aware of the united states ever unilaterally backing out of a deal when there is a consensus that the other nations were complying with it. he has pulled us out of a climate accord that we reached with other nations in paris. he has unilaterally decided that the u.s. would be the only holdout nation not participating in the u.n. global compact on migration to try to deal with the problem of migrants around the world. he's loved to name call our allies. it was shameful last week on his trip to europe that essentially sitting in prime minister teresa may's front office he trashed her, one of our great allies. he trashed angela merkel, and he's done this before to the prime minister of canada, the prime minister of australia, important allies of the united
states have found themselves being name called by this petty man. he's undercut valuable u.s. alliances. the european union in europe he described last week as our principle foe. nato he has described repeatedly as obsolete. he's now launched trade wars against allies of the united states asserting, quote, national security demands that he do so. mr. president, you and i were together in a meeting with the canadian foreign minister in the last couple of weeks and she looked us in the eye and said, do you know how insulting it for canada, with the longest undefended border in the world with another country, your ally in every war since the war of 1812, whose troops are serving side by side with america in afghanistan and fighting isis in iraq today, that you would describe canada as a national
security threat? we heard the same thing from germany, the german foreign minister in this aftermath of parade of insults against our allies last week and using a national security waiver against our allies, the german foreign minister said yesterday, and these should be painful words for anybody who cares about this country, that the united states is no longer -- the united states is no longer a reliable ally. but to top all of this off, if there is a new low, and it may be debased even further tomorrow, the president's performance of standing next to vladimir putin, whose aggression against other nations, including the united states, has put troops like my son on the russian border to work with allies halfway around the world
far from their, far from their homes, that he would stand next to vladimir putin and take his side over patriotic americans who are working at our national security establishment, who have unanimously concluded that russia attacked our 2016 election, and for him to say, well, my people said they did, his people said they didn't, i can't see why russia would. what an abomination that all of the hardworking americans with agencies like the f.b.i., the c.i.a. and national agencies who reached an opinion that russia cyberattacked the integrity of our elections to watch this president stand on the stage publicly and say that he believes vladimir putin over patriotic americans who are doing this work was a new low. they attacked us. they attacked us. a president who would say there's good people on both sides of a white supremacy rally
that killed three people in charlottesville, virginia, including two state troopers that i knew, is the same president who would stand next to a dictator who attacked us and take his side over american security professionals. and so i return to the question, the americans who ware the -- wear the uniform, whether they be marines or not, they are always faithful. the president's performance, especially in the last week raises questions as to whether he meets that standard. for purposes of today, as i conclude, the question has to be, will the senate meet the standard? i don't expect anyone in this administration to check this bad behavior. some may encourage the president to do differently. some may try to check the bad behavior, but i don't think they would be able to. i think we would be naive, frankly, if we thought the house of representatives would check the bad behavior. the fact that the intel
committee on the house side has gone off the rails suggests that they will not. so the question is posed pretty starkly and it constituents directly on our shoulders, will the united states senate take the steps to protect this country from the are destruction -- from the destruction we're seeing right now? there needs to be a briefing of the senate as to what was going upon last week and what was discussed with vladimir putin and what could be the justification for the horrible capitulation that we saw. we need to do all we can to protect the mueller investigation and let it reach its end point so we know who was culpable. the russians who invaded our election system need to be extra died to the united states, we need to implement the sanction russian sanctions and we need to tbraple with -- grapple with national security -- i ran with the bore of governors who ran
elections, no one has confidence with this administration and this president that they will protect elections. i need to say this, and i have not said it since i have been in the senate, i think this issue in this time may be one of the most important moments in the history of the united states senate and we'll either rise to the occasion and show that we're always faithful or we won't. i hope we will. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the minority whip. mr. durbin: mr. president, back in the day when i was a trial lawyer and you had a witness come to the stand who made a big mistake, said something that would hurt you case, maybe even decide it the wrong way or misrepresent something, you went through a period of rehabilitating the question, which is basically asking friendly questions and getting the witness back into a better position. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. this afternoon president trump attempted to rehabilitate himself for his performance in
helz helsinki, finland. he said i great meeting with the president of russia. sadly it's not reported that way. the fake news is going crazy. i don't think that comment is going to rehabilitate president trump from his performance in helsinki. it was sad, heartbreaking, and in many ways infuriating to think he stood within a few feet of this russian tyrant and said he believed that man, vladimir putin, more than he believed the intelligence agencies, the department of defense, and the department of justice in the united states of america. that is what he said and it was a moment that won't easily be forgotten. it's not something he can talk his way out of. he made similar comments in damage control event going as far as to say, nato allies were thrilled, in the words of
president trump, with his recent visit, a visit where he bullied and belittled them. at some moments the president loses touch with reality. he believes that we can't remember what happened yesterday or last week. we remember and the reason we remember is that such a dramatic departure from the conduct of previous presidents and it is such a dramatic departure from the history of the united states. i think our president's sense of history reaches back to the day before yesterday and not far beyond. he did not realize as president reagan said so often that our nato alliance is critical to the security of the united states and to our european friends and to the world. he just doesn't get it. he doesn't understand why that alliance is so critical. he belittles it. he bullies the members. he picks some of our strongest allies and sties to make them -- decides to make them a spectacle in our performance.
that doesn't make it easier for them to stand by our side and it doesn't put them in a position where they can trust us in the future if they desperately need us. my mother was born in lithuania in the baltics. i have been there many, many times. they are great little countries lithuania and next door poland. they have seen a lot. they have been overrun by nazis and communists and they have seen their freedoms eliminated under autocratic rule. they believed when they restored democracy 25, 30 years ago that their own guarantee of any future would be with the nato alliance to become part of europe, to become part of this great alliance with the united states. last night i was with gordon smith, former senator from oregon, we both remember a visit to lithuania in 1999, and there was this rally, this small rally in one of the public streets in
lithuania. it was a nato rally, and they were chanting in lithuania how much they want to be a part of nato. they understood then as they do today that the nato alliance is their ticket to freedom. the nato alliance is their insurance policy. the nato alliance gives them hope that there won't be another generation of lithuanians living in suppression and chains. when the president belittles us and suggests that the the battle -- baltics are on the table when talking to -- it strikes fear for them to be under the heel of the communist leadership of moscow. the president doesn't get it. he doesn't understand the importance of it. he doesn't understand vladimir putin. to think he would allow putin to use powerful words and deny what we already know to be true says that the president is gullible. what it about this relationship between donald trump and
vladimir putin. how can you explain this? why would the president of the united states be bowing an scraping to this russian tyrant, a man who has a dismal record when it comes to human rights, a man who led his troops in invading georgia, in invading ukraine, taking over crimea, setting up a situation in syria where innocent people would die and their own tyrant would succeed and then invading our election process as he did. i guess what we're looking for now as our minority leader, senator schumer said earlier, is be a -- is an accounting of what happened at helsinki. this disastrous meeting between president trump and vladimir putin needs to be fully explained to the american people. i join with senator schumer in calling for hearings that the president's helsinki team with pompeo, secretary coats, a man i
greatly respect and has shown a steel spine last week as he witnessed the president turning on him and the intelligence community, mr. huntsman, our ambassador to moscow, they should come to washington quickly and explain what happened and repair the damage by president trump. we need to see a transscwipt with the -- transcript with the meeting between president trump and vladimir putin. what did our president say to putin behind closed doors? it's not too much for the american people to ask for an accounting. we nead to make sure that the republicans -- we need to make sure that the republicans will join us in protecting the special counsel. the mueller investigation has led to the indictments of 32 individuals and five have already pled guilty. the latest included russian agents who were specified by name as being involved in the efforts to undo our election.
we also need something that's very basic, and i think all of us have come to realize is essential. president donald trump can no longer refuse to disclose his income returns. he did it throughout the campaign, we need to know his financial relationship with russia and the oligarchs of vladimir putin. there has to be more to the story than we know today and it's time for this president to come clean. finally we need to press for election security legislation. we live in a dangerous moment and i agree with former senator dan coats. it's a moment where the russians will try to take advantage of us. my last plea will be to my colleagues, not to the presiding officer because he has spoken out, and i respect him so much, but others who have not spoken out on this subject. we need for them to come forward and make it clear on a bipartisan basis that we are together when it comes to the
security of the united states. we understand that vladimir putin has been a tyrant who has really made life miserable and killed many innocent people in his rage against the west and against the united states, and most of all, we need more republican senators who will join with those in the past who stepped forward and put country first over party. i remember reading the history of the nixon years and the breaking point. the breaking point finally occur when people like republican senator barry goldwater from arizona stood up and said there are so many lives you can take and now there's been one too many. he joined with several other republican senators and went down to the white house face-to-face with president richard nixon, sat in front of him and explained enough was enough. it will take that -- it will take that again for republican senators to have the courage to meet with this president and tell him he has to stop giving away the heritage, the values, and the legacy of the united
states of america. mr. president, those courageous americans back in that day were, of cows, talking about -- of course, talking about laws and dangers to our democratic system. they took the oath of office, the same one we have taken to protect the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic and to put party second to obligations to our nation. for their courage we in history owe them a debt of gratitude. since yesterday's if i fiasco wh putin, only one republican has spoken specifically, he was joined with john mccain who could not be physically present because of illness. that is not enough. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. martinez martinez mr. president, i rise to urge this body to uphold our solemn responsibility
to p preserve, -- to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states and to protect the nation from all enemies foreign and domestic. i've long believed that the president's words and actions have undermined our national interests and our values. but yesterday felt different. as someone who has sat for 26 years on the house and senate foreign relations committee, it was a day of infamy in the history of our foreign policy. yesterday the american people witnessed a supplicant president of the united states capitulate to a brutal foreign leader on the world stage. far from standing up to putin, president trump was unable to even acknowledge russia's attacks in 2016 and the continued threat it poses today. instead, the president reverted to his own insecurities about his electoral