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tv   U.S. Senate Sens. Murphy on Yemen Grassley on DHS Nominee  CSPAN  January 28, 2021 7:34pm-8:01pm EST

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mr. murphy: thank you, madam president. madam president, this is a screenshot from a video taken during a school field trip on august 9, 2018. these a schoolchildrenre who go to schol in a northern government inside
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the country and they are on their way either to or back from the picnic that they were having with their classmates, as you can see there there schoolchildren elementary age around eight, 910 years old and they don't look any different then what schoolchildren here in the united states would look like on their way to a fun filled school field trip and a little boy catching a little nap somehow amidst all the din of the rest of his classmates so excited and excited because there isn't or there wasn't a lot of fun to be had for school children in yemen, today or in 2018 a civil war still plagues that countryil and plagues that
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yemenis children who are often facing starvation and disease but on this day there was fun to be had and this is that school bus hours later 40 children died when a us-made bomb when a us-made bomb dropped from the sky and hit the school bus, not every child on that bus died raggedly but 40 children on the bus and around the bus did and it was a war crime but the saudi's in the aftermath of the incident defended it saying it
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was a legal action and they were targeting enemy leaders who were responsible for recruiting and training young children and they hit a school bus in the middle of the day right next to a crowded marketplace and it wasn't on a lonely road but in a crowded area and it is white not only people on the bus died but children and families surrounding the bus died as well. this was a military strike done in part or as part of a coalition campaign of which the united states is a member. it is not just that we sold the bomb that hit this bus but we participated and still do participate in this military campaign in a myriad of ways.
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for years we flew planes in the sky that put fuel into the saudi jets that dropped these bombs and we embedded u.s. personnel in the operations center that planned these bombing campaigns and maybe most important of all we led moral authority to the saudi led campaign inside yemen but over the course of our time as a coalition partner with saudi arabia the war in yemen has a national security apocalypse for the united states and our bombs and airplanes have been used to kill thousands of civilians 17000 civilians have t died inside yemen since the beginning of this war. the war has caused the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe on the ground inside yemen over 100,000 children have died of
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starvation and disease and yemen since 2015 has been the site of the world's worst cholera outbreak anywhere in the world during all of our lifetimes. likely caused by the target of water treatment facilities by the coalition of which the united states is a member and inside this country yemenis rightfully blamed the united states for this cataclysmic and they know that it is our equipment and know it's our bomb and they know that it is that moral authority that the united states gives to this war through our decision to continue to take part in it after human rights crime. it is radicalized degeneration of yemenis by the united states and it has made us part and
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parcel of repeated human rights violations and it is created a chaotic environment on the ground that in yemen that is allowed for a qap a wing of al qaeda with the clearest of designs to hit the united states room to govern and room to grow. a qap and isis are able to operate and control territory inside yemen because the chaos created by the civil war. and iran his grown stronger and iran and the houthi who are on the other side of the civil war had a tenuousgg connection but s the war has dragged on the houthi have become more and more reliant on iranian assistant and expertise and stronger and stronger and inside the region
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it has been a nightmare from the security perspective for the united states. but with the election and inauguration for president biden are participation in this national security cataclysmti is coming to an end and i come to the floor today to thank the biden in biden and administration and to think incoming secretary of state for their recognition as it is no longer a security to be a part of this and the biden administration has made several important decisions that they've announced the outset of their term in office. one, the plan to withdraw from the military coalition, second, a decision to suspend arms sales
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to saudi arabia and the you ae the primary participants and the uae has directly scaled back there involvement to their credit the saudi's continue to fight this war on the ground and lastly and perhaps most immediately importantly the jump administration announced that they were reversing an 11th hour decision by the trump administration naming the houthi a terrorist group and the hutus are incredibly bad actors. the houthi are also guilty of war crimes in and around this conflict and they recruit child soldiers and deliberately hold elup aid and they don't allow citizens to get to areas where they control and the houthi have lots to gain support as well but by naming them a terrorist group
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what the trump administration effectively didra was stop the international aid community from being able to deliver any aid into yemen because the houthi control some of the most important ports and 80% of aid is commercial food that would have all stopped if you couldn't run aid through ports controlled by an organization named at the 11th hour by the trump administration as a terrorist organization. the bidennd administration made the decision to suspend that designation and to make sure that we are not going to end up with millions of people starving inside the united states or inside of yemen because the united states makes a decision to illuminate the ability of humanitarian groups to get food on the ground in yemen paired these are all incredibly important decisions that the administration has made, decisions supported by majority of this body. we have voted here in the senatn
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on the bipartisan basis to end the u.s. participation in yemen and we didn'tou have a veto approved majority sot we cannot overcome the president's veto that believes the united states should not have anything to do with this and was inviting him is not effectuating that bipartisan consensus in policy. lastly, madame president, let me say this. saudi arabia is an important security partner for the united sstates and uae is important security partner for the united states and we have an important counterterrorism relationship and they have been part of this groundbreaking détente with israel resulting in several recognition agreements and that is great for u.s. security interests in the region.
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but it is time for us to reset those relationships to make clear that if our golf partners are going to participate in actions inside the region that are terrible for our security interests then we can't join them in those actions. a reset that includes an expectation that the saudi's address what is a very disturbing downward trend in the ability of individuals inside those countries to have political space with which to contest grievances and the regimes and it is time for us to make sure that our relationships with our golf allies are always consistent with u.s. national security endeavors and the biden administration is off to a very good start in resetting those
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relationships by pulling ourselves out of a war inside yemen that has killed 17000 civilians and caused 100,000 kids to die of starvation and disease and ends up with our bombs doing this to a school bus full of eight, nine and ten years old. i yield the floor. >> senior senator from iowa. >> the senate is currently considering the autonomy -- nomination to serve as secretary of homeland security and i come to the floor at this point before we vote on that motion today to raise questions about whether or not he should be in that position as secretary of homeland securityla and the fact that i will be boardinge --
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voting negative. i'm familiar with his for my past oversight of the investment visa program from 2009 until 2013 and he served as director of the citizenship and immigration services which administers that visa program and during that time more than 15 whistleblowers approached my office to raise questions about mr. myakoras and his management of the 85 program. the whistleblowers alleged that mr. myakoras was intervening in routine and technical matters that were not typically handled by the director of that division. they also allege that he was doing so at the request of well-connected democratic politicians and other
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politically connected stakeholders. as my colleagues were aware i have long criticized the fraud and abuse that are rampant in the program and i have continually reintroduced bipartisan legislation with senator leahy to reform the program so it should not be a surprise to any of my colleagues when i hear from 15 different whistleblowers about anything about the eb five program that i would further investigate. i've also conducted consistent oversight of the eb five program across presidential administrations whether they wee democratic or republican so when whistleblowers approached my office with these serious allegations s as i said before i
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am determined to get to the bottom of these matters. one of the cases in which whistleblowers said mr. mayorkas had interviewed or intervened involved a company with ties to former secretary clintons brother. mr. rodham's company wasn't happy with the speed with which its applications were being conducted by the customs and immigration service so company representatives made repeated inquiries to the department of health or human services or the department of homeland security and mr. mayorkas is an they did this in effort to get mr. mayorkas to speed things up. my investigation found that tbetween 2010-2013 mr. mayorkas
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had nearly a dozen contacts with that company including direct communication with its attorneys and mr. mayorkas forwarded requests from the company along to his team marking at least one of those forwarded messages as highly, high-priority and became, he became heavily involved in the process and revising a draft of a technical decision for his divisions with the ministry of appeals office unfavorable to the company and so because of his involvement in the end the opinion was written in a manner that was much more
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favorable to mr. rodham's company and in 2013 i wrote to mr. mayorkas five letters about his management of the aeb five program and in those letters i asked him detailed questions in order to get his side of the story and when he did not answer my initial questions i wrote him repeatedly to follow-up. at this point it has been more than seven years and i still have not received answers to more than 25 specific questions that i asked during that 2013 investigation. following his nomination to serve as department of homeland security secretary i wrote to mr. mayorkas again on january 15 to raise my concerns and to
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provide him yet another opportunity to answer my questions. he sent me a short response on january 9 that can you believe this? it still failed to answer most of the questions that i was trying to get answers for it was very important for nominees confirmed by this body to be responsive to congressional oversight requests. mr. mayorkas consistently refused to respond my questions and that should concern all of us in the united states senate because no senator should be denied answers to these questions doing proper oversight of the executive branch and furthermore we now know the
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whistleblower allegations made to my office were accurate andse many whistleblowers who approached my office raised similar concerns with john roth the obama appointed inspector generalba at the department of homeland security s at that time who released his offices report detailing its investigation into these matters way back in 2015. in that 2015 report inspector general roth found that quote, employees beliefs that mr. mayorkas favored certain politically powerful eb5 stakeholders were reasonable and of quote t inspector general's. the ig also said that the number
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and variety of witnesses who came forward to his investigation was quote unquote highly unusual. allegations did not come from one or two disgruntled employees according to the inspector general and they came from urcurrent and retired career and noncareer members of the senior executive service as well as all levels of supervisors, immigration officers, attorneys and employees involved in fraud detection and in national security. according to inspector general roth the fact quote that so many individuals were willing to step forward and tell what happened was evidence of deep resentment about his actions related to the
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program from the ig report. the ig also found that mr. mallorca is actions quote, created an appearance of favoritism and special access in some adjudication matters and that he created special processes and revised existing policies in the program to accomplish or accommodate specific parties. in addition to the case involving mr. rodham's company other cases reviewed by the inspector general involved well-connected democrats including former pennsylvania governor and then senate majority leader harry reid. in each of the cases reviewed by
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the inspector general where mr. mayorkas had intervened the ig found that quote, but for mr. mayorkas' intervention the matter would have been decided differently. witnesses were also fearful and some only spoke to the ig after being assured of anonymity. one whistleblower told my office they were extremely uncomfortable in meeting with mr. mayorkas. mr. mayorkas actions raised serious concerns in 2013 when he was nominated to serve as deputy secretary of homeland security during president obama's second term. it is why he could not be confirmed to that role until after then majority leader harry reid invoked in the nuclear
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option on nominations. not a single republican senator was willingup to support his confirmationma and no senator should support it at this time. finally, i am concerned that mr. mayorkas did not seem to express any regret whatsoever for his previous actions during his recent confirmation hearing before the homeland security committee. instead, he appeared to take the view that interfering in eb five cases on behalf of of well-connected politician and stakeholders was somehow the same as casework helped offered to americans who experience problems with international adoption systemsti and it was a baffling comparison. now, every one of our senators know that when a nominee for the
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cabinet or sub cabinet comes before our committee they are always asked questions by senators and for sure i do it, will you respond to our oversight letters, phone calls or appearing before our committee and in every one of them says yes but not every one of them, not every one of them and how would you say it? not every one of them keeps their word i guess it is what i should sayf so i suggest to him if you really want to be honest when you take that oath to answer in an honest fashion may be when you get that question asked will you respond to requests from committee members
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in our oversight work you ought to say it may be instead of saying yes. anyway, i think it's very clear that i strongly oppose mr. mayorkas confirmation and i urge all of my colleagues to reject it as well. thank you and i yield the floor. >> you are watching c-span2, your unfiltered view of government. c-span2 was created by america's cable television companies and today we are brought to you today by these television companies who provide c-span2 two viewers as a public service. up next we hear from president biden's nominee for u.s. ambassador to the united nations and that is followed by former homeland security secretary


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