RUSSIA INVESTIGATION; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 85
(Senate - May 23, 2018)

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[Page S2845]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                          RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, on another matter, this morning, with 
increasing desperation, President Trump tweeted several inaccuracies 
about the special counsel's investigation. No one should take the bait. 
I doubt very few who are looking at this in a nonpartisan way will.
  The recent demands from President Trump and his allies are just 
another part of a shameful campaign of harassment, intimidation, and 
obstruction of the Russia probe. It is all too clear that President 
Trump and his allies want to change the subject away from the duly 
constituted investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election and 
toward another fabricated scandal.
  It began with conspiracies cooked up by Representative Nunes from 
``deep state'' leaks to unmasking requests, claims of phone taps at 
Trump Tower, Uranium One, Nunes's midnight run to the White House, and 
the infamous Nunes memo. Now House conservatives, with the aid of the 
White House, seem to have successfully badgered DOJ officials into 
giving them a briefing on sources and methods of an FBI investigation. 
That is unprecedented and so very wrong.
  Everyone knows what they are doing. They are hunting desperately for 
any scrap of information or innuendo that might help them sully the 
investigation or provide them a sneak peek at any evidence the FBI may 
have against the Trump campaign. If they have to distort and spread 
falsehoods about what is revealed in any meeting, they will, and for 
the President of the United States to pressure the Justice Department 
to reveal details and documents pertaining to an active investigation 
of the President's campaign for the purpose of denigrating it is a 
gross and unprecedented abuse of power, unlike any we have seen in a 
very long time. That is why so many people don't trust this President.
  The only thing more outrageous than this meeting occurring at all is 
the fact that it is partisan. It is crystal clear that Representative 
Nunes intends to interfere with the investigation. He is not a down-
the-middle investigator looking for truth. Everyone has seen that. 
Nunes gave up any pretense of objectivity long ago in that ridiculous, 
late-night charade to the White House. Shamefully, someone I respect 
and someone I like, Speaker Ryan, is allowing this to happen. It will 
forever be a blot on his record. He can't be so afraid of the hard 
right and the President that he would allow this kind of ``banana 
republic'' behavior to go forward, and that is what Nunes is doing.
  Regrettably, a few of my Senate colleagues seem to be allowing it to 
happen as well. Yesterday, I saw that a few of my friends on the other 
side sent a letter requesting to attend the meeting and supporting it 
but making no mention of the fact that not a single Democrat was 
invited.
  My Republican friends know we have a process for dealing with the 
highly sensitive information of this type. It is called the Gang of 8. 
It is bipartisan. It has worked well. Any meeting between the Justice 
Department and Capitol Hill about such information should only be 
attended by Members of the Gang of 8.

  So this morning, Leader Pelosi and I are sending a letter to Attorney 
General Rosenstein and Director Wray to request they reconsider holding 
the meeting at all and, if they move forward, to do so in a bipartisan 
fashion with the Gang of 8. If the meeting goes forward as planned 
right now--only partisan, only the worst actors on the House side in 
the room--no one should trust anything they say coming out of that 
meeting. It will be a sham. It will be a sham.
  In our letter, we remind Attorney General Rosenstein and Director 
Wray they have a higher responsibility. I know they are being pushed 
around by the White House and by the White House's puppets like 
Congressman Nunes, but they must resist for the grand tradition of 
impartial justice under the law that has been in the veins of this 
country, in the bones of this country since 1789. To let this happen is 
disgraceful, and the blame really falls on the President and his 
puppets like, unfortunately, Chairman Nunes and some of the others who 
seem to be going along with him.
  One other thing I might say though that I think should give Americans 
some solace is, I do not believe for one second that Special Counsel 
Mueller will be deterred. All this sideshow, all this attempt to 
discredit him and his investigation with all kinds of frivolous, silly, 
and often false statements and activities will not deter Mueller. The 
American people have the utmost confidence in him. He is a strong man. 
He is a quiet man. He happens to be a Republican appointed by the 
President's own appointees--hardly some nefarious representative who 
came out of nowhere from the deep state.
  Mueller is going to go right ahead and see this investigation through 
to its natural conclusion. He will follow the facts where they lead. 
Americans will have confidence that if he finds something, it is real 
and, if he doesn't, he is not whitewashing a thing. That is how he has 
gone about the investigation so far. It has resulted in dozens of 
indictments, several guilty pleas of top Trump campaign officials. When 
the President derogates Mueller and the investigation, he doesn't speak 
of any facts or knowledge; it is just wild allegations of something 
thrashing about, maybe because he realizes there might be something 
there. Who knows?
  Special Counsel Mueller is a serious, quiet, diligent man, a lifelong 
Republican, a dedicated marine, universally respected. The American 
people can be assured that his investigation will not be blown off 
course by this hurricane of rightwing lies and intimidation coming from 
the President and his minions.
  One final point on this topic, with several of his recent claims, it 
is clear President Trump lacks self-awareness. President Trump 
continues to peddle the myth that a deep state bias against his 
Presidency is driving the Russia probe, despite the fact that an active 
FBI investigation into his campaign was kept secret during his election 
while his opponent's was made public. If there was a deep state trying 
to hurt someone, they did a lot more to hurt Hillary Clinton than 
Donald Trump during the campaign. Everyone knows that. If the deep 
state were truly out to get President Trump, they would have made the 
active FBI investigation into his campaign's shady dealings with Russia 
a matter for the public record while he was running. This same lack of 
awareness--maybe hypocrisy--is apparent when the President reportedly 
uses an unsecured cell phone for some of his communications. Can you 
believe that after all the hay Donald Trump and his allies made about 
Secretary Clinton's handling of sensitive information, that the 
President--once in office--uses an unsecured cell phone, despite the 
fact that so many around him have told him that might be dangerous? It 
is bad for our national security, and his double standard is nothing 
short of outrageous.

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