Deutch Repeats Calls for Bipartisan Investigation into Trump's Russia Ties
During this morning's House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing titled “Undermining Democratic Institutions and Splintering NATO: Russian Disinformation Aims,” Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22), Ranking Member of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, urged for an independent, bipartisan investigation into President Trump's ties to Russia, including his administration, his campaign, and his family's business ties.
"Until there is a full investigation into the Trump campaign, the Trump White House, and the Kremlin, and until we see the President’s tax returns to fully understand the extent of the Trump family’s business relationship with Russia, the motives of the White House’s foreign policy decisions will be in doubt at this very moment when American leadership is needed the most," said Congressman Deutch.
His remarks during the hearing can be viewed here. A transcript of his remarks can be found below.
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
"I want to thank you and the Ranking Member for holding today’s hearing. I want to thank Ranking Member Engel for pushing for this hearing. I want to welcome our very distinguished panel.
"The American people, Mr. Chairman, want a full, and a fair, and a bipartisan investigation into not just what happened in this election, but they want an investigation into President Trump’s connections to Russia.
"They want an investigation into his business connections.
"His campaign connections.
"His administration’s connections.
"Today’s hearing is on an important topic, and our panelists have an important view.
"But this hearing will not give the American people the investigation that they deserve.
"Seventeen American intelligence agencies concluded that Russia executed a cyber-attack against the United States.
"They concluded that the attack was designed to influence the outcome of the election.
"They concluded that the attack was intended to benefit Donald Trump’s campaign.
"How can we proceed with a hearing on Russia’s involvement in Europe while ignoring the unresolved questions around this attack?
"What credibility do we have?
"If we want to look at attempts to splinter NATO, we might look first to President Trump’s criticism of that very body and his relationship with Russia.
"During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump claimed that our allies don’t contribute enough to our shared security.
"As president-elect, Mr. Trump was interviewed by European reporters, and he took the opportunity not to reassure our allies, but to write-off our partnership with them as 'obsolete.'
"This committee cannot seriously review Russia’s attempts to undermine NATO without acknowledging these statements by the President about NATO and Russia.
"Throughout the Obama Administration, Republican members of Congress and this committee consistently criticized America’s response to Russia as too weak.
"Yet, here we are, six months after the intelligence community determined that Russia conducted a cyber-attack in Mr. Trump’s favor, and we are having a hearing, in many ways, pretending that it never happened.
"In the meantime, an overwhelming number of serious questions about the President’s contacts with Russia have been met with obfuscation, with misdirection, and with outright lies from our own White House.
"Pretending otherwise is a disservice to this committee and to this country.
"We’ve learned that former National Security Advisor Flynn lied to the Vice President and the country about his contacts with Russian agents.
"We have learned that Flynn and Presidential advisor Jared Kushner met with Russia’s ambassador in Trump Tower, and unlike every other meeting, the ambassador was ushered into the building in secret, out of view of the press.
"Last week, Carter Page, a previously disavowed policy advisor, admitted in two national television interviews that he met with the Russian ambassador in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention.
"And we’ve learned that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s claims that there was no involvement from the Trump campaign in efforts to soften language in the Republican platform related to our assistance to Ukraine were untrue.
"We’ve learned that Trump campaign advisor J.D. Gordon met with Russian officials in Cleveland with Carter Page and others.
"We’ve learned that they advocated for the change in the platform language.
"We’ve learned that Attorney General Sessions made false statements about his contacts with the Russian ambassador under oath at his confirmation hearings.
"If the leadership and majority members of this committee are as concerned about Russian attempts to undermine democracy here as they are around the world, then we need to move forward with that full investigation about all of these issues.
"Holding this hearing without acknowledging the Russian attacks on our own elections hurts our own credibility when fighting for democracy around the globe.
"I would ask every member of this committee from both sides of the aisle to join in calling for a bipartisan investigation to answer the questions the American people have about the health of our own democracy.
"Without it, those unanswered questions will be a thorn in the side of this committee.
"I would ask my colleagues on both sides to join in demanding an independent commission and a special prosecutor to do the job that the Attorney General is unable to do.
"Our responsibility on this committee is to exercise meaningful oversight of the foreign policy of the United States.
"And I commend the Chair and Ranking Member for taking that responsibility seriously.
"But no one watching this hearing should rest any easier that we've examined Russia’s relationship with the Trump campaign and the Trump White House.
"The American people must be able to trust their government.
"And until there is a full investigation into the Trump campaign, the Trump White House, and the Kremlin, and until we see the President’s tax returns to fully understand the extent of the Trump family’s business relationship with Russia, the motives of the White House’s foreign policy decisions will be in doubt at this very moment when American leadership is needed the most.
"I yield back."