Talk of a constitutional crisis...
Selected remarks and statements from early May 2019...

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
May 7, 2019

McConnell on Special Counsel Mueller’s Findings: Case Closed

‘Two years of exhaustive investigation, and nothing to establish the fanciful conspiracy theory that Democratic politicians and TV talking heads had treated like a foregone conclusion. They told everyone there’d been a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump Campaign. Yet on this central question, the Special Counsel’s finding is clear: Case closed.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding Special Counsel Mueller’s report on Russian interference in our 2016 election:

“It’s now been more than six weeks since Special Counsel Bob Mueller, the former FBI director, concluded his investigation into Russia’s interference in our 2016 election and delivered his findings to the Justice Department. It’s been two weeks since Attorney General William Barr made the 450-page report public. This investigation went on for two years. It’s finally over. Many Americans were waiting to see how their elected officials would respond.

“With an exhaustive investigation complete, would the country finally unify to confront the real challenges before us? Would we finally be able to move on from partisan paralysis and breathless conspiracy theorizing? Or would we remain consumed by unhinged partisanship, and keep dividing ourselves to the point that Putin and his agents need only stand on the sidelines and watch as their job is done for them? Regrettably, the answer is pretty obvious. So that’s what I want to discuss this morning. Russia’s interference in American elections. The work of the Special Counsel and the Attorney General. And how we can finally end this ‘Groundhog Day’ spectacle, stop endlessly re-litigating a two-and-a-half-year-old election result, and move forward for the American people.

“Now, it bears remembering what this investigation was actually supposed to be about: Russian interference in 2016. For many of the president’s opponents, it quickly morphed into something else. A last hope that maybe they’d never have to come to terms with the American people’s choice of a president. In some corners, Special Counsel Mueller came to be regarded as a kind of a secular saint, destined to rescue the country from the inconvenient truth that the American people actually elected Donald Trump. For two years, many of the president’s opponents seemed to be hoping the worst conspiracy theories were actually true. They seemed to be hoping for a national crisis for the sake of their own politics.

“Now look, I will say, it was at least heartening to see many of my Democratic colleagues and the media abruptly awaken to the dangers of Russian aggression. An awakening to the dangers of Russian aggression. Remember, not long ago, Democrats mocked Republicans like John McCain and Mitt Romney for warning about the dangers posed by Putin’s Russia. Remember President Obama’s quip in 2012 when then-Governor Romney emphasized his concerns with Russia? Here’s what President Obama said when Mitt Romney emphasized his concerns with Russia back in 2012. Direct quote, ‘The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.’ That was President Obama in 2012.

“Well, I think many of us now see that President Obama’s approach to Russia could have used some more of the 1980s in it. More Ronald Reagan and less Jimmy Carter. We’d have been better off if the Obama Administration hadn’t swept Putin’s invasion and occupation of Georgia under the rug or looked away as Russia forced out western NGOs and cracked down on civil society. If President Obama hadn’t let Assad trample his ‘red line’ on Syria or embraced Putin’s fake deal on chemical weapons. If the Obama Administration had responded firmly to Putin’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine in 2014; to the assassination of Boris Nemtsov in 2015; and to Russia’s intervention in Syria.

“Maybe stronger leadership would have left the Kremlin less emboldened. Maybe tampering with our democracy wouldn’t have seemed so very tempting. Instead, the previous administration sent the Kremlin the signal they could get away with almost anything. So is it surprising that we got the brazen interference detailed in Special Counsel Mueller’s report? A concerted effort to divide Americans through social media campaigns. Hacking into the e-mail accounts and networks of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party.

“Thanks to the investigation, we know more about these tactics. Thanks to the investigation, 13 Russian nationals, three Russian companies, and 12 more Russian intelligence officers have been indicted. These are the people who really did seek to undermine our democracy. Yet, curiously, many of our Democratic colleagues and most of the news media don’t really seem to care about that. New insight into defending America? Russian nationals indicted? Doesn’t seem to interest my colleagues across the aisle. No interest. Just like there’s been little interest in the steps this administration has taken to make Russia pay for its interference and strengthen America’s hand.

“Election interference was just one part in Russia’s strategy to undercut the United States. And this administration has taken the problem head-on. We have a new, coherent National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy that take this threat seriously. We have new sanctions. We’ve provided Georgia and Ukraine weapons to better defend themselves – capabilities the previous administration denied our partners – now listen to this -- out of fear of provoking Russia. We’ve worked against pipeline projects like Nord Stream 2 that would further expand Putin’s influence. We’re strengthening and reforming NATO so the alliance can present a united front. We proved Russia’s non-compliance with the INF and walked away from a treaty that Moscow had made into a sham.

“And the Trump Administration has, over Russian objections, twice enforced President Obama’s red line in Syria after Assad’s use of chemical weapons. With respect to election security: Congress appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars to state governments to shore up their systems. The administration increased information-sharing from the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the states. And according to press reports, the Department of Defense has expanded its capabilities and authorities to thwart cyber threats to our democracy. No longer will we just hope Moscow respects our sovereignty; we will defend it. These are just a few examples. There’s already evidence they’re having an effect.

“We just had the 2018 midterm elections. Thanks to this administration’s leadership, all 50 states and more than 1,400 local election jurisdictions focused on election security like never before.  DHS provided resources to localities for better cybersecurity and private social media companies monitored their own platforms for foreign interference. Thanks to efforts across the federal government, in 2018, we were ready. That clearly is progress. The Mueller Report will help us. So will the upcoming report from the Select Committee on Intelligence. These threats and challenges are real. Our responsibility to strengthen America is serious. And it requires serious work.

“But seriousness is not what we’ve seen from the Democratic Party in recent days. What we’ve seen is a meltdown. An inability to accept the bottom-line conclusion on Russian interference from the Special Counsel's report: ‘the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.’ That’s the conclusion. Two years of exhaustive investigation, and nothing to establish the fanciful conspiracy theory that Democratic politicians and TV talking heads had treated like a foregone conclusion. They told everyone there’d been a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump Campaign. Yet on this central question, the Special Counsel’s finding is clear: Case closed. Case closed.

“This ought to be good news for everyone. But my Democratic colleagues seem to be publicly working through the five stages of grief. The first stage is ‘denial.’ Remember what happened when the Attorney General released his preliminary letter describing the Special Counsel’s bottom-line legal conclusions? Denial. Immediately, totally baseless speculation that perhaps Attorney General Barr hadn’t quoted the report properly. But then, comes stage two. ‘Anger.’ Welcome to Washington D.C. in recent days. The Democrats are angry. Angry that the facts disappointed them. Angry that our legal system will not magically undo the 2016 election for them.

“And they’ve opted to channel all their partisan anger onto the Attorney General. They seem to be angrier at Bill Barr for doing his job than they are at Vladimir Putin. This is a distinguished public servant whose career stretches back almost 50 years. He’s widely respected. Nobody claims he has any prior personal allegiance to this president. And why are they angry? Did the Attorney General fire the Special Counsel or force him to wind down prematurely? No. Did he sit on the Mueller Report and keep it secret? No, he quickly reported out its bottom-line legal conclusions and then released as much as possible for the world to see. Did he use redactions to mislead the public? No. Working with the Special Counsel’s team he released as much as possible within standard safeguards.

“So it’s hard to see the source of this anger. Maybe my Democratic colleagues are thinking of some strange new kind of ‘cover up’ -- where you take the entire thing you’re supposedly covering up and post it on the Internet. The claims get more and more utterly absurd. Baseless accusations of perjury. Laughable threats of impeachment. Look, we all know what’s going on here. This is the whole angry barrage that Democrats had prepared to unleash on President Trump. Except the facts let them down. And so the left has swung all those cannons around and fired them at the Attorney General. Not for any legitimate reason. Just because he’s a convenient target.

“So look, there’s this ‘outrage industrial complex’ that spans from Capitol press conferences to cable news. They are grieving -- grieving -- that the national crisis they spent two years wishing for did not materialize. But for the rest of the country, this is good news. Bad news for the ‘outrage industrial complex,’ but good news for the country. So, now they’re slandering a distinguished public servant because the real world has disappointed them. Instead of taking a deep breath and coming back to reality, our colleagues across the aisle want to shoot the messenger and keep the perpetual outrage machine right on going. Even undermining the institution of the Attorney General itself in the process.

“Remember, Russia set out to sow discord. To create chaos in American politics and undermine confidence in our democracy. But, on that front, given the left’s total fixation on delegitimizing the president Americans chose and shooting any messenger who tells them inconvenient truths, I’m afraid the Russians hardly need to lift a finger. Well, the last stage of grief is ‘acceptance.’ For the country’s sake, I hope my Democratic friends get there soon. There are serious issues the American people need us to tackle. There is more progress for middle-class families that we need to deliver.

“For two years, the Democratic Party held out hope that the legal system would undo their loss in 2016. They refused to make peace with the American people’s choice. But the American people elected this president. They did. The American people voted for change. The American people sent us here to deliver results for their families. That’s what Republicans have been doing for the past two years and counting. It’s what Republicans will continue to do. And whenever our Democratic friends can regain their composure and come back to reality, we look forward to their help.”

May 7, 2019

Pelosi, Schumer Joint Statement on Senator McConnell’s Declaration of ‘Case Closed’

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Chuck Schumer issued this joint statement after Senator McConnell’s declaration on the Senate Floor that the Mueller Report is “case closed”:

“Senator McConnell’s declaration of ‘case closed’ is a stunning act of political cynicism and a brazen violation of the oath we all take.  The Special Counsel report laid out eleven instances of the President’s obstruction, and left a raft of unanswered questions about coordination between the President’s campaign and Russia.  These are not trivial or political questions – they go to the wellspring of our democracy.  When a President is allowed to violate the law with impunity, and when a foreign power is allowed to interfere in our elections, it gnaws at the roots of the great oak that is our democracy, and could very well topple it.

“On every issue that matters in people’s lives, the Administration and a complicit Republican Senate are waging an unprecedented, unwarranted, unconstitutional and utterly dangerous campaign of stonewalling.  Senator McConnell continues to brag about being the ‘grim reaper,’ sending bipartisan House legislation to a Senate legislative graveyard, as the Administration refuses to respect Congress’s constitutional oversight role and provide Congress and the American people with the truth.

“There is a dark connection in Washington between Senator McConnell, Attorney General Barr and President Trump: each preventing progress for the people, acting as handmaidens to a special interest agenda that is anti-government, anti-science and against meeting the needs of hard-working families.”

House Judiciary Committee
May 8, 2019

Chairman Nadler Statement for the Markup of Committee Report & Resolution Recommending that the House Find Attorney General Barr in Contempt for Refusal to Comply with a Subpoena Duly Issued by the Committee on the Judiciary

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening remarks during a markup of a committee report and resolution recommending that the U.S. House of Representatives find Attorney General William Barr in contempt for refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the Committee on the Judiciary for the full, unredacted Mueller report:
“Today we consider a report recommending that the House of Representatives hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a valid subpoena issued by this Committee. This is not a step we take lightly.
“It is the culmination of nearly three months of requests, discussions, and negotiations with the Department of Justice for the complete, unredacted report by Special Counsel Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election, along with the underlying evidence.
“I appreciate the fact that the Department responded to the offer we made to them last week and met with us yesterday in a last minute effort to reach an accommodation.  We heard the Department out, we responded to them in good faith, and after all was said and done, we, unfortunately, were still unable to reach agreement, and we proceeded with our markup today.
“As I have said before, we remain ready and willing to consider any reasonable offer made by the Department, even after today’s vote.  But, if a letter I received late last night from the Department is any indication, I am concerned that the Department is heading in the wrong direction.
“In response to our latest good-faith offer, the Department abruptly announced that if we move forward today, it would ask President Trump to invoke what it refers to as a protective assertion of executive privilege on all of the materials subject to our subpoena.  Just minutes ago, it took that dramatic step.
“Besides misapplying the doctrine of executive privilege—since the White House waived these privileges long ago, and the Department seemed open to sharing these materials with us just yesterday—this decision represents a clear escalation in the Trump Administration’s blanket defiance of Congress’s constitutionally mandated duties.
“I hope that the Department will think better of this last minute outburst and return to negotiations.  As a co-equal branch of government, we must have access to the materials that we need to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities in a manner consistent with past precedent. 
“This is information we are legally entitled to receive and we are constitutionally obligated to review. And I would remind the Members that the Mueller report is no ordinary, run of the mill document—it details significant misconduct involving the President, including his campaign’s willingness and eagerness to accept help from a hostile foreign government, numerous misstatements if not outright lies concerning those acts, and 11 separate incidents of obstructive behavior by the President that more than 700 former prosecutors have told us warrant criminal indictment.  If Congress is not entitled to the full unredacted Mueller report, one must wonder what document we would be entitled to.
“Our exhaustive negotiations with the Department of Justice have, unfortunately, left us back where we began—with unprecedented obstruction by an Administration that has now announced its intention to block all attempts at congressional oversight of the Executive Branch.  It is our constitutional duty to respond.
“Let me be clear: the information we are requesting is entirely within our legal rights to receive and is no different from what has been provided to Congress on numerous occasions, going back nearly a century.
“But we do not need to go back that far to find a precedent.  As recently as last Congress, under Republican control, the Department produced more than 880,000 pages of sensitive investigative materials pertaining to its investigation of Hillary Clinton, as well as voluminous other material relating to the Russia investigation, and other ongoing criminal investigations.  That production included highly classified material, notes from FBI interviews, internal text messages, and law enforcement memoranda.
“With respect to grand jury information, in past cases involving allegations of presidential misconduct, or misconduct by other high-ranking public officials, the DOJ, as a matter of course, has sought the permission of a court to release relevant information to Congress, if not to the public.  Notably, this includes several cases that were not impeachment inquiries—including the investigation into former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy and the Iran-Contra investigations—as well as other investigations that were not governed by the independent counsel law.
“But, no matter the fact that the law and history clearly support the release to Congress of this kind of information, the Trump Administration has taken obstruction of Congress to new heights.  Unfortunately, the Attorney General has been all too willing to support the President in this endeavor.
“I would also like to respond to two of the concerns often raised by my good friend, the Ranking Member.  He asks: how can the Committee hold the Attorney General in contempt for merely complying with the laws on the books?  And how can we hold him in contempt when I have refused an offer to allow me to see certain redacted portions of the report?
“The answers are simple.  First, we issued a valid subpoena for the full report and all of the underlying evidence.  The Department has come nowhere close to satisfying its obligations under that subpoena. 
The Department has never cited a legal basis for withholding the underlying evidence, including last night’s threat to invoke executive privilege, which was utterly without credibility, merit, or legal or factual basis.
“To the extent that we have asked for access to grand jury information—which is protected by federal law—all we have ever asked is that the Department join us in petitioning the court to determine if it is proper for us to have access to this material.  We asked for a commitment to join us in that effort again last night, as it has done in many previous cases, and the Department refused.
“Second, with respect to the offer to lift some of the redactions for me and a handful of my colleagues, the Department has placed unacceptable limitations on access to that information.  Their offer would block the members of this Committee from reading those sections of the report for themselves.  It would require me to leave my notes behind at the Department of Justice.  It would prevent me from speaking with my colleagues about what we may find. 
“I have consistently stated that if we are to do our jobs as Members of the House Judiciary Committee, all of the Members require meaningful access to the Report and the underlying documents.  We need to be able to confer with each other about what we have seen.  We need to be able to take official action on what we have seen, if warranted.  And, if necessary, we need to be able to inform a court of law of what we have learned, even if under seal.
“If we can find an accommodation that satisfies those basic principles, I would be happy to continue negotiating with the Department of Justice.  But now, by invoking executive privilege on all of the materials subject to our subpoena, that process has come to a screeching halt.  The Administration has announced—loud and clear—that it does not recognize Congress as a co-equal branch with independent constitutional oversight authority and it will continue to wage its campaign of obstruction.
“And to those who consider the matter ‘case closed’, in the words of some of our leaders, and who urge us to simply move on, I would say that to do so is to announce—loud and clear—that such a course of action has the effect of aiding and abetting in the Administration’s campaign of total, blanket, and unprecedented obstruction.
“The Trump Administration, and its enablers, may brazenly try to cover up the misdeeds uncovered by the Special Counsel, but on this Committee we will represent the American people and ensure the truth is known.
“I urge my colleagues to think about how the Department’s latest position, and their insistence on ignoring our subpoena, affects our Committee over time.
“Our fight is not just about the Mueller Report—although we must have access to the Mueller report.  Our fight is about defending the rights of Congress, as an independent branch, to hold the President accountable. 
“Every day we learn of new efforts by this Administration to stonewall Congress.  The Ways and Means Committee has been denied the President’s tax returns when the law states clearly that they are entitled to them.  The Chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee has been sued in his personal capacity to prevent him from acquiring certain financial records from the Trump Organization.  The President has stated that his Administration will oppose all subpoenas, and, in fact, virtually all document requests are going unsatisfied.  Witnesses are refusing to show up to hearings.
“This is unprecedented.  If allowed to go unchecked, this obstruction means the end of congressional oversight.  As a co-equal branch of government, we should not and cannot allow this to continue. I urge my colleagues, whether or not you care to see the full Mueller Report—and we all should want to see the complete Report—to stand up for the institution we are proud to serve.
“I expect that we will have a full debate today on the measure before us.  I hope that at the end of it, we will do what is right.  No person—and certainly not the top law enforcement officer in the country—can be permitted to flout the will of Congress and to defy a valid subpoena.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
“I urge all of my colleagues to support this report.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi
May 9, 2019

Excerpt of Transcript of Pelosi Weekly Press Conference

Q: Your Committees are issuing subpoenas and holding the Attorney General in contempt, but, as a practical matter, do those measures have any teeth behind them that will really compel the Administration to comply with your request? 

Speaker Pelosi.
  Well, thank you for your question.

I’m very proud of the work of our Committees and our Chairmen.  They are patriotically – not passionately or not politically or in any way – going forward, following the facts leading to subpoenas, and then when they are ignored – perhaps contempt, or to go directly to court.

That’s up to the Committee Chairs to give us their guidance because they have worked so hard on this and they know the territory very well.

Yes, well, if your question is, ‘Will the Administration violate the Constitution of the United States and not abide by the request of Congress in its legitimate oversight responsibilities?’ – well, that remains to be seen.

Every day they are advertising their obstruction of justice by ignoring subpoenas and by just declaring that people shouldn’t come and speak to Congress, so that the American people can find out the truth about the Russian disruption of our election so that it doesn’t happen again.

So, yes, I do think it has – they have teeth.

Yes, ma’am?

Q: Madam Speaker, can you update us on when you will schedule the contempt vote against AG Barr?  And also, do you agree with Chairman Nadler that the country is currently in a Constitutional crisis?

Speaker Pelosi.  Yes, I do agree with Chairman Nadler, because the Administration has decided that they are not going to honor their oath of office.  Now, he staked out because he has seen so much in the Committee, the Committee work.  I’m very proud of the Judiciary Committee and the work that they have done.

In terms of timing – when we’re ready, we’ll come to the Floor.  And we’ll just see, because there might be some other contempt of Congress issues that we want to deal with at the same time.  And he wants to do it as soon as possible, and so do we.

Q: And in a follow‑up to that, if you agree that the country is in a constitutional crisis, doesn’t that devalue the argument of also showing restraint?  Doesn’t that take away from the emergency element of that?

Speaker Pelosi.  No, I don’t think so.  I think that what we want to do is get the facts.  We want to do it in a way that is the least divisive to our country and the most productive.  We’re asking in the constitutional way for the Administration to comply.

We still have more opportunities.  We’ll see if Mueller will testify, and that will make a big difference in terms of where we go from here.

Q: But, Madam Speaker, if this truly is a constitutional crisis, how can that not change your thinking or the calculus regarding impeachment?

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, we have investigations that will give us the facts and the truth.

This is not about Congress or any committee of Congress.  It’s about the American people and their right to know and their election that is at stake and that a foreign government intervened in our election and the President thinks it is a laughing matter.

It’s appalling that this Administration would not even pretend to want to protect our elections and, in fact, be an obstacle to our finding out more about how it happened so we can prevent it from happening again.

And so, again, if you look to history and the Nixon experience of non – whatever you want to call that – it was months of hearings and investigation before they got to a place where they had enough, they had a compelling argument that even the Republicans had to go to the President and say, ‘It’s over.’

But you have to have – as I said, we follow the facts.  You don’t know this, but for seven years I was on the Ethics Committee, and I really did pay my dues to the Congress of the United States.

Everybody has to participate in some way so that we can have our Congress operate at the highest standard.  But it is heavy lifting because you’re making judgments about your colleagues.  Nobody wants to do that.

However, we were always instructed – it’s not about hearsay.  It’s not about politics.  It’s not about personalities.  It’s about the facts, the law and, in that case, the rules of the House.  And that is the path that I am following.  It’s about the facts and the law.

Now, as I said yesterday, the President is almost self‑impeaching because he is, every day, demonstrating more obstruction of justice and disrespect for Congress’s legitimate role to subpoena.

Again, this is very methodical.  It’s very Constitution-based.  It’s very law-based.  It’s very factually based.  It’s not about pressure.  It’s about patriotism.

Q: Madam Speaker?

Speaker Pelosi.   Yes, Chad?

Q: To follow up on the question – power of contempt though, when we have had some of these exercises on contempt in recent years both sides have found it rather unsatisfying.  I don’t think the Republicans thought they got very far with Lois Lerner and Eric Holder.  Your side, when you held Bolten and Miers in contempt, they didn’t get Miers up for a closed‑door interview until the next Congress and the Bush Administration was out of office. 

So I want to clarify why you think that this, in fact – you used the term ‘has teeth’ – if it’s going to be just another civil argument like we had in those four instances prior?

Speaker Pelosi.
  Because I do.  I just do.

Q: Do you think the courts are going to –  

Speaker Pelosi.
  Do you want to have a contempt of Congress against you?  That is not a desirable thing for someone to have.

And now we’re not even talking about isolated situations.  We’re talking about a cumulative effect of obstruction that the Administration is engaged in and the President declaring that he is not going to honor any subpoenas from the Congress.

So I support the path that our Chairmen are on, and I do believe that it will establish the case for where we go from here.

Q: Madam Speaker?

Speaker Pelosi.
  Yes, ma’am?  This has to be the last question because of the funeral.

Q: Madam Speaker, talk about the President goading you into impeachment.  How do you balance dealing with that insult, as you perceive it, from the President and the kind of timing that you’ve talked about here, about the methodical nature and knowing that the courts have their own time?  And some of your Members are quite anxious to see things moving expeditiously.  How are you going to balance that?

Speaker Pelosi.
  We’re going to do the right thing.  That’s just the way it is.  And it is going to be based on fact and law and patriotism, not partisanship or anything else.

I see in some of your metropolitan journals or other reporting that, ‘Oh, it’s political.  They don’t want to.’ – it has nothing to do with politics.  It has to do with ‘E Pluribus Unum,’ what our Founders – the guidance they gave us, ‘From many, one.’  They couldn’t imagine how many or how different we’d be, but they knew we had to be one.

Impeachment is one of the most divisive things that you can do – dividing a country – unless, you really have your case with great clarity for the American people.

So what we want to do is balance – you’re always balancing equities.  The equity of the truth being known, made known to the American people.  They are owed the truth.  Uniting our country, keeping our country united.  When is one in furtherance of the other or is one to the detriment of the other?  That’s a judgment that we have to make.

And yes, there is some enthusiasm.  But, by and large, it’s not – you act – sometimes people act, I’m not saying you – but sometimes people act as it’s impeach or nothing.  No, it’s not that.  It’s a path that is producing results and gathering information.

And some of that information is that this Administration wants to have a constitutional crisis because they do not respect the oath of office that they take to protect and defend the Constitution, to support the Constitution of the United States, three co-equal branches of government, separation of power.  They don’t support that.  And that’s what they’re trying to – that is what – understand, because Chad used the right word, ‘power’ – it’s about power for them.

And for the Republicans, as I said to you in a previous meeting – Barr, McConnell, Trump – their common bond is special interests in our country, whether it’s the gun interest, whether it’s the fossil fuel industry.  Not to paint everybody under those categories with the same brush, but I do paint Barr, McConnell and the President with the same brush – that they are here because they’re anti‑governance of any governance role, in addressing climate change, addressing the epidemic of gun violence in our country, to name just two.

And people have to understand what this means in their lives.  Yes, it’s an academic discussion in Washington, D.C. for some people, and we have the responsibility to protect and defend the Constitution – that’s the oath we take – but people also have to know that there’s a policy agenda that goes with it, which says we don’t want any governance that’s going to have protections for you in your life – whether it’s the air your children breathe or the fact that gun violence is so rampant in our country and becoming such an occurrence that it breaks your heart.

We passed our bill.  We took action.  It was an early priority.  It was a promise we made.  It was a promise we kept in the House.

The American people support gun violence protection, and Mitch McConnell says, ‘Grim reaper. Dead on arrival.’  I don’t think so.

So again, this is not something that is just about their behavior and their obsession with holding power.  It’s about what that power, in their hands, means to the American people and that’s part of our fight as well.

But whatever we think about policy, just to understand where we are, the fact is our judgment has to be on the facts of what they did in relationship to the law.  And we will make – and we will go forward with that.  And we won’t go any faster than the facts take us or any slower than the facts take us.

Thank you very much.

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