Rep. Deutch: How Dare the Judiciary Cmte Ignore the Russian Attack on Our Elections?
This morning, Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22), a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, slammed his Republican committee colleagues for failing in their responsibility to investigate Russian meddling in our elections and possible obstruction of justice of ongoing investigations.
Video of Congressman Deutch's remarks can be viewed by clicking the image. Below is a transcript of his remarks.
Congressman Deutch: "Thank you Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate the Committee’s attention to this legislation.
I helped to introduce this bill with my colleagues Representatives Kilmer, Kustoff, Poe, McMorris Rodgers, and Kennedy.
The Combating Anti-Semitism Act, as renamed, will address the surge of bomb threats that occurred earlier this year against the American Jewish community.
A threat to the Jewish community, or any religious community, is a threat to us all, and this bill appropriately adds “community religious centers” like JCCs to protected sites under hate crimes statutes.
I’m proud to see the committee act on this crucial legislation.
But even as we engage in this important work, the House Judiciary Committee has shamefully abandoned its oversight responsibilities in other areas.
300 days ago the nation learned that Russia directed attacks at the United States during the 2016 election.
Russia sought to take away the rights of the American people to choose their own destiny, to make a government of their own democratic free will, and to be free from the influence of a foreign power.
How dare this Committee ignore that attack?
This week, Special Counsel Mueller unveiled his first indictments and conviction.
So what does this Committee do in response?
I am embarrassed and I am ashamed.
But I suppose it is not entirely true that the Judiciary Committee has done nothing.
This Committee and its members have announced investigations into Hillary Clinton, a private citizen.
On the President's efforts to thwart the operation of the United States Department of Justice;
His firing of the acting Attorney General;
His firing of the FBI Director;
And now threats to the Special Counsel?
This committee has filled its agenda too often with red herrings, and turned to scapegoating in an effort to change the subject.
This committee, with its important history, has degenerated into little more than a show trial like those, I might add, they still hold in Russia.
Every week I watch as this Committee fails the American people.
Even now we are ignoring the ongoing threats to the independence of the Special Counsel.
Instead of investigating, this committee’s inaction gives sanctuary to those who would seek to obstruct justice.
As Members of Congress, we swear an oath to protect and defend the United States Constitution.
It seems that some have chosen to prioritize a different oath—an oath to their own political party.
As a member of this Committee, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan of Texas said at the start of President Nixon’s impeachment proceedings, “I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.”
Now, 43 years later, each member of this Committee should be reminded that we are active participants in the writing of this chapter of American history.
When future generations of Americans look back, it will be easy to see who among us stood on the side of the facts;
Who sought out the truth;
Who worked to defend the integrity of the American republic; and
On the other hand, who were so desperate to bury the criminal actions in our elections that they stained our Congress and our democracy in the process?
Senator Lowell Weicker of Connecticut, led the Republican investigation into Watergate four decades ago.
And in a op-ed—from June, before we learned of indictments and guilty pleas—he said this:
“At the outset of the Watergate hearings, there was a strong measure of bipartisan commitment to the truth in Congress. When I listen to tapes of our sessions, I am struck by how difficult it can be to distinguish between a Republican and a Democratic questioner."
Later, he went on to say, that "some politicians took advantage of this" cynicism "to play down or excuse the president’s actions, and even to smear or block the investigations.”
Today I would ask the members of the majority to look into the past, and then look into the future. Where do you think this is going?
Witnesses are cooperating.
Guilty pleas and indictments have been secured.
My colleagues, at this critical moment in our history, will you let cynicism continue to strangle the work of this committee or will you join in the search for truth?