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tv   U.S. House of Representatives 12202017  CSPAN  December 20, 2017 6:04pm-8:46pm EST

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today wave a choice to make. we can either stick with the status quo, we just heard t. we can take bold action to overhaul this broken tax code and restore hope and opportunity, prosperity it americans. our choice is clear and we have made ours. we will vote to send this bill to president trump's desk to get real tax reform done for the american people. for the first time in p 1 years. -31 years. we will deliver for the american people. i encourage my colleagues to join in support of this bill w that i yield back the balance of my time. -- with that i yield back the balance of my time. >> that debate from earlier today. after that the house passed the -- agreed to the changes in the tax reform bill. the vote was 224-201. hat does it for work on that legislation. bloomberg tweeting at this hour that the president will sign the g.o.p. tax bill on legislation. january 3. the house aide is telling one of their reporters for bloomberg. the republican members were at the white house earlier after
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the passage of the bill. house republicans are now in a meeting working on a way forward on the continuing resolution with short-term federal spending set to run out on midnight on friday. they are meeting here in the capital and gaveling back in shortly for votes on a couple of measures debated earlier today. they are discussing their plans on the continuing resolution. funding the government past friday night. billy house of bloomberg tweets that the plan now is for the c.r. to run through january 19, but house republicans are still talking about it with their leaders in a meeting. he says that fisa, the temporary externed for that is to be attached to this continuing resolution. rank anne file members have been told. we'll have live coverage of the house here momentarily. going to gavel back in. stay here live at the capitol on c-span.
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>> on c-span we're live on capitol hill. republican members of the house are meeting on the continuing resolution. the short-term funding measure, the current one, expires friday at midnight. yesterday the rules committee had been meeting to discuss the rules for debate on the c.r. that meeting was canceled after a while because of yesterday's
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delibwrations on -- deliberations on tax reform. t's likely the house republicans will decide on a way forward. we understand also that the c.r. will be taken up republicans will on thursday in the house, tomorrow in the house. fox is tweeting about, are you seeing some of the members leaving that meeting, he says that a senior house republican leaving the meeting on avoiding the government shutdown this weengd, quote, we just passed tax reform. at least give us two to three hours before you murder santa claus on the way to christmas. the tweet of chad of fox who covers the capitol. house is gaveling in. we'll take you live there now for votes. 4, rule 16, i move when the house adjourns, it adjourn to meet at 9:00 a.m. on thursday, december 21, 2017. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion of the the gentleman from kansas. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the
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ayes have it. the motion is agreed to. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, proceedings will resume on questions previously postponed. votes will be taken in the following order, the motion to recommit on h.r. 4015, passage of h.r. 4015 if ordered and agreeing on the speaker's approval of the journal. the first vote will be 15 minutes and remaining votes will be conducted as five-minute votes. the unfinished business is on the question on agreeing to the motion to recommit on h.r. 4015 offered by the gentleman from maryland, mr. sarbanes, on which the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will redesignate. the clerk: motion to recommit offered by mr. sarbanes of maryland. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to recommit. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the
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united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.] 6:30. 6:30
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the speaker pro tempore: on this
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vote, the yeas are 189 and the nays are 231 with zero answering present. the motion is not adopted. the question is on passage of the bill. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. >> mr. speaker, on that i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those in favor of voting by yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, yeas and nays are ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: the yeas are 238 and the nays are 182. the bill is passed. and without objection, mokes is laid on the table. pursuant to clause 8, rule 20, the unfinished is the question on agreeing on the speaker's approval of the journal. the question is on agreeing of the speaker's approval of the journal. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. >> i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays have been requested. those in favor of the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, yeas and nays are ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a five-minute vote.
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[captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: the yeas are 217 and the nays are 194 with two answering present. the journal stands approved.
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the speaker pro tempore: the house will come to order. will all members please take their conversations off the floor.
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the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. will all members take their conversations off the floor. order, please.
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the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. please remove your conversations rom the floor, please. the gentleman is correct. the house is not in order. it is appreciated. the chair recognize he the entleman from georgia. the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. carter: i recognize the mayor sandra martin for more than 30 years of public service. she is a talented public service and a better place to live. wilmington is located which is
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home to the fort stewart military base. under her leadership, they took her challenges. and built her first city hall. before that time, citizens needed to have a -- the speaker pro tempore: dispense. the members should be heard. the house will be in order, please. member will continue. mr. carter: the city went from being a town on the side of the highway and coaching visitors to come in. i'm proud to have a city official like mayor martin who is immensely dedicated to our area. other mayors could learn from her examples. nd i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: who
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seeks recognition for one-minute speech? for what purpose does the gentlewoman from louisiana seek recognition? without objection the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> i rise today to honor and thank somebody who has been a key part of my team since i got elected into house leadership. he is the florida director for the whip's office. matt has been a member of our team and helped us through legislative victories and helping passing bills through the floor as we whip the bill to move the aagenda. matt has worked not just in the whip's office but worked for eric cantor and worked for the energy and commerce committee. he has dedicated 10 years of his
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life to public service with honor and integrity. mr. matt bravo has the full respect of not only on our side but the democratic leadership and a key part of our staff and has helped pass critical leadership and he is the best floor director. jennifer and i i wish he and his wife all the best. i want to thank him for the time and the public service he has given in this house of representatives. thank you matt bravo for the service you have given to us. >> i agree with everything he said. maybe he's not the best floor director. i have pretty good one. [laughter]
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mr. scalise: we'll enjoy that disagreement. mr. hoyer: one of the problems, he thinks that louisiana crabs are better than maryland crabs. i'm pleased to join my friend, mr. scalise, the majority whip, to thank matt bravo for the leadership he has given on this floor and particularly on behalf of my floor staff, with whom he has worked very closely, both when he was with mr. cantor with whom i worked very closely ap mr. scalise, we thank you for your service to this house. every time i rise, i say whether it's a democratic or republican staffer that works this floor, they work with all of us. and they work this a way that tries to facilitate the doing of
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the peoples' business. they are not always as successful as they would like to be. it is the fault of the members, not the staff. matt, i understand, that very well. e thank you for the very collegial, positive, constructive way in which you have worked with my staff, with the leader staff, with other staff on this side of the aisle as well as staff on your side of the aisle to assure that we can, to the best extent possible, work in a constructive way on behalf of the american people. i'm sure you will be successful in future endeavors as you have been here and very, very successful indeed. i thank the majority whip for yielding. i yield back and i wish matt bravo the very best. >> i thank the democratic whip
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and the way we work together. and most occasions where we're working together on things. ap and even in those times, our staffs have a great working relationship and trust level that is really important to the house getting its business done. and would the whip yield. without objection, mr. speaker, i would be horpped to yield to the chief deputy whip, mr. mchenry. mr. mchenry: it's a special pleasure to come and speak to to the career of a great public servant, matt. he has worked here for 11 careers. working for f as leader cantor and held various roles in the leaders' office as
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well as important work on the energy and commerce committee. he has a great sense of. he is better at golf than he is at his jokes. and we lo matt bravo. but we know his true character and know how he works intense to grind out the votes to get 18. matt, we know you will be successful. we thank you for your friendship and your service to this house on both sides of the aisle. the respect that you've gained is immense and we congratulate you on this next phase and thank you for this service and to your government, the united states of america. e thank you brother.
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mr. scalise: his lovely wife summer is in the balcony and tharpg you that you lend him to us. best of luck. thank you mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? >> address the house for one minute. >> thank you mr. speaker. the republicans showed their values. mr. cohen: gave 83% of the dollars to the upper % of the andr strata in this country real estate developers and gave people who are extremely wealthy the opportunity to will more money to their children or whoever they choose. $11 million break. it has been sad sitting watching the republicans being aiders and
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abetters to demean the americans . and probably in the tension of firing him and wake them up to the fact our country is in jeopardy and shouldn't help the russians to get away to change our elections and interfere with our values. america first, russia last, protect bad mueller. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman recognition? mr. poe: hezbollah is not only a tries group but a criminal group that has arms dealing. it is raised $5 billion through criminal activities.
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times of hezbollah cocaine make their way into the united states every year, but the past administration refused to designate iranian's proxy making it possible to prosecutor them in the united states. they delayed and denied the requests to designate the drug dealing and arms dealing. why? so iran would not back out of the nuclear deal. in 2016, the white house even let a hezbollah arms dealer with connections to putin go free. that's why representatives cook and myself sent a letter urging him to designate hezbollah as a criminal organization and kingpin entity. no more back room deals. we must change it. hezbollah terrorists and trls
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ought to be prosecuted and that's just the way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. members will take their conversations off the floor. for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia seek recognition? without objection for one minute. >> the tax bill we passed today is little in common with what speaker ryan described to us yesterday. and not what they wrote the bill to do. mr. beyer: i have paid payroll for two weeks and invested in plant and equipment. i voted no to realize that without our people, our employees, we have nothing. i would be enthusiastic with a tax bill that put more money in their pockets. we have 381 hard-working men and women, but not a single one will
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benefit. but everyone will be affected by the medical insurance rates which this bill will drive up. everybody will be at risk with their tax rates to expire. our children and grandchildren will suffer as they continue to balloon the federal debt. this is the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of our country. this is a very sad day for the country i love. the speaker pro tempore: please take your conversations off the floor. members will take their conversations off the floor. for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona seek recognition? without objection, joorked for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to honor the loovebs of two navajo de talkers, george b. willie
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senior who are passed away in my home state of arizona. mr. willie and mr. draper enlisted in the marine corps and were in multiple battles. they used the language to transmit and receive messages that couldn't be transmitted. this was a great advantage. in 2001, both mr. willie and mr. draper were awarded the silver middle for their selfless devotion to duty. they will be remembered for generation its. we will be forever grateful for their dedication. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> permission to address the house for one minute.
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reason reason a tax bill passed by the house embodies that americans hate dislike by congress. and it relies on special interests and faulty disproven assumptions. the plan slashes tax rates and the superwealthy and leaves hard-working americans in the th congressional district to pay the bill. it penalizes taxpayers in california and other blue states for investing in our schools, in our roads and in our public services. mr. lowenthal: and it cruelly hits children, seniors and low-income americans by putting at ritching, medicare, medicaid,
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snap and social security. i could not and i proudly did not vote for this disastrous piece of legislation. i will not forget the way -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. lowenthal: thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the house will be in order. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. payne: mr. speaker, i rise to honor a public servant from my district in union county, new jersey. . is freeholder right she depan her public service in 1966 asal title 1 teacher at
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jefferson school in union township, new jersey. for 36 years she educated the public school children. then in 2012, the people of union township sent their educator to represent them on he union county of the constituents. it is best characterized by her unselfish devotion to the constituents that she represents. as recognition for her dedicated work and selfless service, she has been awarded freeholder of the year award and chester home humanitarian award. she is a model for the next generation of public servants. i ask my colleagues to join me
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to unite in a dinner in her .onor for freeholder wright member horpped to be her of congress. and i yield back. . . the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> i rise today to honor the torenze who lost his battle with cancer. he found his passion for academics once he met and fell in life with his wife jenelle while attending college in warsaw, indiana. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will suspend. the house will be in order. please take conversations off the floor.
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>> he earned his masters from ashland university, he began his career as a math teacher and advanced to assistant principal. mr. veasey: in 2013 he was named principal of the young man's leadership academy at grand prairie's kennedy middle school and in 2014 he was named principal of grand prior rehigh school. et us all learn from his lesson, always be kind be courteous be what a gopher is. i want to ex-tent my prayers to his family and the grand prairie high school community. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from texas seek recognition? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for ne minute.
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ms. jackson lee: i rise this evening to celebrate the life of a dear friend, the honorable peter brown, former councilmember at large for the city of houston. tomorrow, he'll be memorialized in houston, texas. it saddens me i won't be able to join him and his family and the many, many houstonians and friends that will come to honor him. and the reason is because peter brown was houston's chief champion. he loved houston. he loved to talk about mobility in houston and he was even before most houstonians understood the value of light rail, peter brown was on the forefront. he was an architect , he understood beauty and planning. he had a humorous and wonderful
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touch but he also was serious and stern when it came to planning and the environment. peter brown wanted to see houston as it is and continues to be a world class city. before we spoke of greenery and all the things that make a city great, the parks, green space, peter brown was doing so. peter brown was also a dear friend to me, my family and so many others. he lost his battle just about 10 days ago to a terrible and vicious disease, but as i visited peter i can assure you on the occasions i went to see him, he was always thinking about others, thinking about the city, thinking about our state and the nation, always sharing but fighting his fight. to his family, his children, to the people who love him, i just simply want to say, tonight, and
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tomorrow, we honor a great american. a great american, a friend to us all, maybe from houston, texas but if you got a chance to know him, you'd love him too. mr. speaker, i ask for a moment of silence in honor of the honorable peter brown. the speaker pro tempore: thank you and amen. ms. jackson lee: thank you, and amen. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from ohio seek recognition? without objection the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. kaptur: i rise to defend our nailings' children. the g.o.p. tax scam repeals the provision assuring all families have health insurance access. nonpartisan experts estimate 13 million fewer americans will be
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insured because of the republican repeal, including millions of children. yesterday, i met with families from the little lobbyists. i was struck by laura hatcher's story of her child and her emotion when she learned of the passage of the affordable care act, she burst into tears. she knew her son who has cerebral palsy could gain insurance with no fear of discrimination due to pre-existing conditions. ms. hatcher urged yesterday america must turn from its destruct i and immoral path. she said. we are here to show what access to affordable, quality health care and programs like medicaid mean for our families. these programs that the republican congress intends to cut to fund tax breaks to wealthy heirs and corporations are the difference between our children having a future or being forced back into institutions reminiscent of a dickens novel. this is wrong. mr. speaker, member of congress were elected to protect and
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defend the american people not put families like the hatchers at risk because of the republicans' billionaire tax bill. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek reck snigs -- recognition? without objection the gentleman s recognized for one minute. >> june 9, 2016, the date of the infamous trump tower meeting with at least five russians with kremlin ties that date is about the only constant in a tangled web of lies we've heard from team trump. when donald jr. was first asked about this meet, he said it was just about adoption. not a campaign issue. but he changed his tune when "the new york times" revealed emails showing it was all about the campaign. in fact, an offer to get damming information on hillary clinton, quote, as part of russia and its government's support for mr. trump, end quote. now doonled jr.'s response to
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this illegal offer says it all. quote, if it's what you say, i lover it. end quote. we may never know how much collusion was set in motion at this meeting but we do know two things. first, team trump has repeatedly misled us, concealing it from security clearance forms, issuing a false statement, dictated by president trump himself, and two, the russians did go on to produce a massive cache of stolen emails and help the trump campaign in other ways. these are damning facts, mr. speaker, and there are more to come. we need to find out what else they lied about what else they're hiding. the speaker pro tempore: members are reminded to refrain from engaging in personalities toward the president. for what purpose does the gentleman from new york seek recognition? without objection the gentleman s recognized for one minute. >> i rise to congratulate
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amsterdam radio legend sam zurlo on his retirement this week. mr. tonko: he's been working in broadcasting since 1953. now at 82 he hosts the longest-running talk show in the history of the county. sam's broadcasting career was born from his service with armed forces radio in germany, where he delivered a nightly broadcast for three years. sam also worked as a print journalist for the ski nect -- for the "schenectady gaset" for 35 years. decade after decade, his distinctive voice has been the catalyst for free and open debates. he's brought an air of community to our humble corn over upstate new york. listening to conversations about current events with sam has always made the abstractions of politics a little more real. sam's personality has inspired many and brought light, comfort, and connection to countless
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neighbors and friends. thank you, sam, for your years of exceptional work and a legendary career in local journalism and best wishes for an equally special retirement. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman rom ohio seek recognition? without objection the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. what a day in washington, d.c. we have many republicans in this town saying, what a great day it is for the american people, what a great christmas for america. mr. ryan: the average family, 63% of america, can't withstand a $500 emergency. and apple, with this tax cut is going to get $47 billion. and donald trump's family is going to get $1 billion.
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they're going to toss out a few crumbs to working class families , o work 60, 70 hours a week and the fat cats in washington and wall street are going to run off with the whole pot of gold. whatever happened in this country where we said, to whom much is given, much is expected. we need to challenge the wealthy corporations, they're sitting on $4 trillion worth of cash. if they want to start a factory or hire workers, they could do it now, they don't need to take it from the middle class. the speaker pro tempore: are there any further one-minute speeches? under the speaker's announced policy of january 3, 2017, the gentleman from georgia, mr. heist is recognized -- mr. hice, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
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mr. hice: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the subject of the special order. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. hice: thank you very much, mr. speaker. today i rise to speak on an issue that is just now beginning to gain momentum and traction but already is bringing great alarm and concern as well as focus on an issue of great importance. i speak specifically in regard to the obama administration's apparent decision to sacrifice the opportunity take down hezbollah and bring terrorists to justice. most americans, what they know about hezbollah, is that it's an iran-backed proxy militia based in lebanon, which was responsible for a string of terrorist attacks against americans in the 1980's, including the attack in 1983,
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the beirut barracks, which killed 241 american service members. but since that time, hezbollah has openly attacked israel, they propped up regimes supported by iran, like al ashad -- assad in sir yasm they're defined by their violence and human rights abuses. but what most americans are not aware of, mr. speaker is that over the last 30 years, hezbollah has evolved beyond its origins as iran's attack dog in the middle east and they now run one of the world's most expansive and dangerous multinational criminal networks in the world. hezbollah works directly with corrupt governments like venezuela and others to create criminal networks across latin america, africa, europe, and the middle east.
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they have literally moved tons, metric tons, of cocaine across the world, laundering money, trafficking weapons and individuals, they are a critical part of a network responsible for the use of i.e.d.'s in the middle east which have killed literally thousands of american soldiers in iraq and afghanistan. hezbollah, mr. speaker, is a scourge, not only in the middle east but throughout the entire world. and the reason we know this which is just in recent days started to become public, is because in 2008, the d.e.a. launched a campaign known as project cassandra, which amassed evidence over eight years of investigation regarding hezbollah's criminal activities. they used wiretaps, undercover operations, informants and so forth to map hezbollah's ill list networks with the help of
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some 30 different u.s. and foreign security agencies. ese d.e.a. agents traced the activities all the way to the inner circles of hezbollah and its state sponsors in iran. but, here's where all of this starts coming into play, when the time came to extradite and prosecute these terrorists, the obama administration's department of justice and department of state refused to move forward. that is unthinkable. to me. it's unthinkable to many people in our country. the justice department refused to file criminal charges against suspects that were already in custody. in europe. the state department refused to put meaningful pressure on allied countries to extradite hezbollah leaders through the united states. and why? why did they refuse to get involved? according to an obama
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administration treasury official in her written testimony to the house foreign affairs committee, investigations to hezbollah were tapped down for fear of rocking the boat with iran and eopardizing the nuclear deal. the nuclear deal which was deeply flawed in so many ways. the iran nuclear deal took precedence over crippling a foreign terrorist organization directly responsible for the deaths of american citizens than one of the world's largest drug and weapons' trafficking networking. hezbollah is responsible for procuring arts for iran' program. the very program that was supposed to curtail. hezbollah supplying parts to them. instead of prosecuting the
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leadership of hezbollah and utting down iran's pipeline, the obama administration legitimatized their program and d hezbollah slip through the cracks and left them off the hook. after the conclusion of the iran nuclear deal, the obama administration shut down project cassandra. we lost. all that we had gained in eight years of investigations. all the information we had them in our grasp, mr. speaker, after eight years of investigation. and we lost unprecedented insight into these global criminal networks. . speaker, this is morally reprehensible. we have an g that
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administration -- our previous administration and that administration's justice department and state department vidently involved, engaged deliberately inletting these criminals off the hook. how can our allies trust us when we won't prosecute terrorists when we have the chance to do so? how can our allies when we refuse to prosecute leaders in one of the world's largest drug trafficking networks. i have a few colleagues that are going to introduce this issue. i want to bring up one more point. a suspected leader in hezbollah. a major weapons supplier. he has been indicted on charges f planning the murders of u.s.
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citizens attempt todd provide material support to a terrorist organization and attempting to quire transfer and use anti-aircraft missiles. for nearly two years, this terrorist was held for two years in the czech republic. for two years, the obama administration refused to provide -- the obama administration refused to put pressure to extradite that person to the united states. as we speak tonight, he is a freeman and alleged to be back in the business of alarming militants. this is inexcuseable. i say thank you to those who served on project cassandra and i thank them for the work they
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did and it mattered what they did. i'm appalled that the obama administration did virtually nothing to stop hezbollah's criminal activities. this warpts an investigation by the u.s. house of representatives and this is getting to the bottom of what is yet another example of a swamp that stimpings to high heaven. we need an investigation into what happened in the obama administration and department of justice and department of state allowing these terrorists to get off the hook. i begin tone by introducing a good friend from arizona, mr. biggs, he has been a leader in areas such as this in bringing the highlighting of dangerous
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harmful activities and great champion and i yield to the gentleman from arizona. mr. biggs: thank you, mr. speaker. and i thank you for yielding to me. this is a very important topic and it is -- i'm go to go touch on this by beginning with this dea of the distincton when the current administration as outlined in the recent statement by president trump and that of the previous administration. the distincton is very clear. ey had neo liberal institution. there was a vacuum of power. we did not set the stage and america did not fill it and the idea being that an institution would fill that. maybe the united nationses maybe
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another regional institution. but in doing so, we see in much of our sovereignty that we failed to act and preserve america's best interest. the current administration has taken the more relate particular point of view, they are relateists. they will be first and paramount. and we will foster alliances and foster participation with our fellow nations to preserve america's begs interests. when america is strong, there is greater chance for peace in the world. i believe that. .hat is the position of realist but one thing that we know is
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at this particular episode which unfolds is a scandalous episode that put america in reater danger probably and perhaps in order to foster political gains by the previous administration. one treasury official testified to the house committee on foreign affairs that under the obama administration these investigations were tampped down for fear of rocking the boat with iran and that becomes the heart and the rationale for how this the previous administration ndled a political decision instead of a foreign policy national security decision. so we know a number of things
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that took place and this is why the house needs to expand -- excuse me, needs to conduct its own investigation so we can know how this played out and why this played out and why is this responsible. we had the project cassandra. this was a d.e.a. campaign designed to expose money laundering scheme where money laundering was being funded to hezbollah. it has been a foreign terrorist organization since 1997. it fosters alliance with rogue nations such as north korea, ran and it is violently anti--
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israel and anti--united states. it was seen it has become a player in the international coke trafficking and using the roceeds of drug trafficking, i.e.d. deadliest they killed hundreds of american soldiers and supplied by the iranian government and its allies. they were ripping tanks in half. it is a weapon that makes the arm our protection you have irrelevant. they shut down ground routes. result, cut off the head, the financing of hezbollah through these international cocaine distribution routes.
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project cassandra was born. from a it had grown political organization into the from tional crime sin drugs and weapon. for eight years. d.e.a. agents conducted investigations using technology as well as undercover operations and informat ants and that type of capital is expensive and dangerous. the result was to map these illicit drug networks. and with the help -- excuse me, they did it with the help of foreign and security agencies. they saw an international drug traffic from south america to
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africa to europe to the middle east wrrl drug funds were funneled including used car lots. well, what happened? as we saw the previous administration's desire and design to leave a signature legacy foreign policy whim, the negotiations for the iran nuclear deal began going and in place. the justice and treasury departments repeatedly hindered their attempts to pursue these investigations and financial sanctions against the key figures in this far-reaching drug scheme. this was a policy decision. it was a systemic decision. david asher is quoted as saying,
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they ripped this entire effort that was reported and resourced and done from the top down. they didn't bring criminal charges and didn't continue to pursue these hezbollah members. they didn't pursue the banks that were laundering those billions in profits and tore own the apral tuesday that was apprehending the head of the snake. well, we are going to need to go on with this and need to investigate this further. this type of political decision hat impacts and actually works crosswise to our very purpose in the middle east must be stopped and we must find out why that happened and those who allowed r men and women to be put in
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harm's way need to be held accountable. so, mr. speaker, those who claim nationalist mantra. they are the ones who produce this result. we will find out more in the coming weeks. the leadership in this congress and this house of and sentatives instigate prosecutor an investigation to get to the bottom of this very heinous and very wrong-headed and dangerous decision. and with that, mr. speaker, i yield back to the gentleman from georgia. and i thank him. mr. hice: and this is for the need of an investigation. lives have been put in danger,
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not to mention our own nation's national security interests. next up is a tremendous leader not only here in congress but in military, a general who has done an outstanding job and yb if anyone understands the importance of the issue anymore, general perry. and i'm honored to have him address this issue. mr. perry: i thank you for bringing this issue to the attention of the congress and for this special order. when i was growing up. ived my government would do all it could to stop crime including drug use. i have been an ardent opponents of drug use. i never used drug use and i see the ravage in the community.
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you knew in your heart, the government and the police were stopping those things. as i grew up and privileged to iraq in uniform, i went to we i got a briefing where had little defense. whether they were used with a cell hifere phone but they were grave because we didn't have anything to stop them. and we knew they were coming from iran. and wearing the government, it would do everything it could to protect our members and protect our national security and making sure we got to the bottom of the e.f.r.p. and imagine my surprise
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a short days ago about reading an article from ar publication here in washington d.c. that outlined how our government essentially sanctioned not only the use of these e.f.p.'s from iran in iraq and afghanistan, but essentially allowed them to be paid for and enabled them. . there was this operation called -- ndra to root out drugs while this was ongoing this nuclear agreement concern came into being. it was apparently so important that all the work that was done in operation cassandra to stop these drugs from coming into the united states that had to stop because we didn't want to -- we didn't want to irritate, we didn't want to disrespect,
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didn't want to insult the iranians when we were so close to getting a nuclear deal. we said all these people that have been working for this for years, operation cassandra, to identify these people from iran that were using this operation of selling drugs, ill listly moving stolen cars and laundering money to then sell drug into the united states and europe but also to use that money that they got from selling the drugs and the used cars to make these e.f.p.'s, to send them to iraq, to afghanistan, to kill american soldiers. that all had to stop. because heaven forbid, can't offend iran. conditioned offend iran. i will tell you this, mr. speaker. nuclear war is a grave issue. it is worth a lot. if we have to stop nuclear war and give up some things to do that, i got it. i got it completely. there are no second chances with nuclear war, right? once the bomb goes off it's over. if you've got to give a little bit to get something on that, that's something i could, even i
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could understand even though i find it objectionable. where i come into conflict is this, mr. speaker. there's no question at this point whether iran will have a nuclear weapon. there's no reason to be testing ballistic missiles except to deliver a nuclear weapon. they're not delivering leaflets, mr. speaker. they're going to deliver a nuclear weapon with that. which is why they're testing it. there's no reason to have centrifuges new york reason to enrich to the level iran is except to create a nuclear weapon. we don't need that to have a nuclear power plant, which is what iran says it wants to do. and we all know, since the ayatollah took over and took american hostages back in the day, iran is a known liar. that's what they do. they lie, obfuscate, they say one thing and do another. it's not a question of if they'll have a nuclear weapon, mr. speaker, it's a question of when. so what we did here is, we said look, let's not offend the iranian, even though they're killing americans on the
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battlefield, even though they're killing americans in your hometown selling drugs to them, and the two are working toward each other, right, selling the drugs an using that money to buy the articles of war, the implements of war that are killing americans, it's ok, we're going to allow that to happen as long as we delay iran from having a nuclear weapon for 15 years. that's exactly whate looks like. now, i didn't do the investigative reporting. it's, i think, 14,000 words, it's pretty in depth, but i will tell you it's being discredited out there. these are a couple of rogue employees who disagreed with the policy. mr. speaker, the drug enforcement agency agent on the case who has over 20 years of government experience tracking the financing of terror networks said this of the leader of hezbollah. i have no clue who this guy was but this guy was sending money into iraq to kill american soldiers. point is he had 20 years on the job. this wasn't some piker who
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showed up on the job at trashry and said, track this money and see what you can find. this is a guy who did for this 20 years , he ran into hezbollah, and then they tracked them. tracked the money, tracked the drugs, not just a little bit, but tons of drugs coming into the united states, literally at a time when we have 60,000 americans dying annually of drug overdose. that's more people than we lost in vietnam, mr. speaker. in the whole time of vietnam. a year that's what's dying in america based on drug overdose. these people tracked it, they tracked the weapons on the other side, and they were told to stand down. they went to get these guys, they have one in custody in prague, he was arrested. united states wanted him extradited and prosecuted you know where he is right now, mr. speaker? he's back on the battlefield. we let him go. not only did iran get to sell drugs in the united states and kill american citizens in your hometown, but used that money to
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then make e.f.p.'s to kill the soldiers from your hometown that went to defend america's freedom. by the way, in less than 15 years now, you can expect iran to be a nuclear-armed power. mr. speaker, if nothing else, if absolutely nothing else happens here from this, we need to have hearings on this in both the foreign affairs committee and the oversight committee to make sure that this never, ever, can happen again, that we don't trade the safe i have to lives of american service members overseas and american citizens at home for a bad deal overseas o something we're never going to be recondition sile with, a nuclear-armed iran that will not be, we're going to have very little options at stopping them like we do with north korea right now. that's where we're headed. we'll not only have north korea to deal with but also a nuclear-armed iran that circumstance can never happen again, which is why hearings are critical so we get to the truth, we get to the bottom of this so there are no skeletons in the closet, mr. speaker. we understand who did what for
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why. so we can rationalize was this worth it or was this just political expedience. we need to know that so that we learn from that so that we never make those mistakes again. mr. speaker, again, i thank the gentleman from georgia, mr. hice, i appreciate his interest in this topic as i am and -- and bringing it to the floor. with that, i yield. mr. hice: i think it's critically important that in a special order such as this we have someone who has been there on the front line who knows exactly from the perspective of a soldier defending our country what has been taking place. i appreciate your expertise and your willingness to talk about it here this evening. another colleague that is going to address the seriousness of the issue this evening is ken buck from colorado, good friend and another leader on this issue and many'res like this. it's time, look, the american
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people deserve to know what happened. the dots are coming into play, the dots are being connected. we need to finish the completion of connecting these dots, find out what went on and let the american people know. so i yield time now to the gentleman from colorado, mr. buck. mr. buck: mr. speaker, i want to thank my friend and colleague, representative jody hice, for the opportunity to speak this evening on such an important issue. we're here today to discuss the recent revelations that the obama administration and their pursuit of the iran deal logged important efforts by u.s. law enforcement officials to fight the terrorist organization hezbollah. the past administration's treatment of iran reveals an imprudent and negligent approach to american foreign policies that must never be repeated. we see in their actions at best an incompetence born of a lack of clarity and information. and at worst, an administration
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determined to create a false foreign policy legacy that america's best interests were thrown to the wayside. in a recent report from politico mentioned by some of my colleagues already, we have learned that the obama administration allege think blocked efforts by u.s. law enforcement officials to fight hezbollah's transnational drug and trafficking operations. hezbollah, iran's terrorist proxy organization, has also become one of the world east most mowerful and dangerous criminal organizations. receiving over $1 billion every year from the ill list activities. we have learned that through an expansive criminal trafficking network, they funneled cocaine throughout the middle east, europe, africa, latin america and the united states. it has also come to light that hezbollah launders millions of dollars through schemes involving used car purchases in the united states and ultimately
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the money earned through these activities can be used for violent terrorist activities aimed at spreading fear and pain throughout the world. politico quoted the following from a confidential d.e.a. report on hezbollah's criminal activities. hezbollah has leveraged relationships with corrupt foreign government officials and transnational criminal actors, creating a network that can be yitealized to move metric ton quantities of cocaine, launder drug proceeds on a global scale, and procure weapons and precursors for explosives. it has at its disposal one of the most capable networks of actors, coalescing elements of transnational organized crime with terrorism in the world. the d.e.a.'s acting deputy administrator in 2016 stated that hezbollah's criminal operations provide a revenue and weapons stream for an
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international terrorist organization responsible for devastating terror attacks around the world. certainly an organization like that deserves meerk's utmost scrutiny and for years the men and women of the drug enforcement administration's project cassandra poured their lives into investigating hezbollah's criminal activities. these agents tracked financial transactions, cultivated sources and trailed operatives. but in several cases when the d.e.a. asked for prosecutions, arrests, or sanctions, president obama's department of justice delayed or denied their requests. the state department also reportedly declined to demand the extradition of important suspects who could have aided the investigation and spearheaded the down fall of this international crime operation. unfortunately, thanks to multiple sources involved in the matter, now coming forward, we have learned that the obama
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administration likely stalled the hezbollah investigations and prosecutions in order to keep iran happy and nuclear deal talks on the table. if the d.e.a. rocked the boat by arresting and charging key members of hezbollah's drug and weapons trafficking operations then iran might walk away from the negotiating table this thinking reveals a fundamental blindtons reality. hezbollah is funded by iran. hezbollah is iran. while negotiating with iran, the former administration turned a blind eye to hezbollah's extensive criminal activities that were only worsening the drug crisis here in the united states and feeding weapons to terrorists in the middle east region. american foreign policy can be pragmatic but this was not pragmatism. this was foolishness. u.s. foreign policymakers traded an end to iran's nuclear program for the protection of iran's
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terrorist program. and even then we can't even trust iran to abide by the agreement meant to end their nuclear program. so we're left with a bad deal. i've said it many times before. but now we know the deal is even worse than we suspected. aside from just delivering pa lets of cash to iran, aside from -- palettes of cash to iran, aside from freeing billions of frozen assets, aside from lifting important sanctions, we're also giving a transnational criminal organization and criminal network free rein over the world. we're here to affirm to the world that iran and its affiliated organization, hezbollah, are enemies of the free world. we should never negotiate with terrorists. i urge president trump and america's law enforcement community to once again turn its attention to hezbollah. this terrorist organization has spread its evil influence throughout the world and we have
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a duty to fight it. i thank my friend and the gentleman from georgia for this time today and i thank him for bringing this issue up and shining some light on this important subject. mr. hice: i thank representative buck and his leadership on this as well. mr. speaker, i just want to say, not only to mr. buck but to all the participants in our discussion this evening, a big thank you for coming and being part of this. as more information is beginning to come to light, i'm convinced we are just at the tip of the iceberg of gaining information as to what has taken place here that has jeopardized our national security and i believe it is incumbent upon congress at is time to fulfill the obligation that we have to exercise oversight over the executive branch and follow
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through with a thorough investigation of the obama administration's refusal, absolute refusal, to follow through on the work that was done by the d.e.a. we have these terrorists in our grasp. mr. speaker, we led them go. and how how could this happen. the american people deserve to know why and we need to get to the bottom of this and so that why tonight we are calling for an investigation into all aspects of this hezbollah scandal. regardless where it leads us, to the very top of the obama administration, the secretary to the previous
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department of justice. we're calling for an investigation. i thank the speaker for our time this evening and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. under the speaker's announced policy of january 3, 2017, the gentleman from maryland, mr. raskin, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. mr. speaker, thank you very kindly for this time. i'm glad to be organizing this special order hour on behalf of the minority. we are going to be talking tonight about the growing smear campaign against robert mueller, the special counsel investigating contacts between russians interfering in our presidential election in 2016
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and americans and we've seen over the last several weeks is a rising tide of criticism of mr. mueller in attempts to undermine and sabotage the special counsel investigation. so we're going to be talking about all the different components of this attack and we're going to be asking the question -- why? why suddenly is mr. mueller, who was once a hero to our friends across the aisle, a decorated vietnam war veteran, former director of the f.b.i., former u.s. attorney for the commonwealth of massachusetts and the state of california, a celebrated law enforcement figure and a registered republican, why suddenly has he he come under withering attack -- has he come under withering attack, everyone from those across the aisle, to republicans in the senate, to people in the white house, to fox news, why has the whole he right wing propaganda machine turned on mr. mueller and the special counsel investigation
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suddenly? and what is it that we can do to try to prevent an assault on he special counsel and in an effort to dismantle the special counsel investigation? i'll call on a colleague of mine from florida, val demings, an extraordinary freshman class member in florida -- rather, in the house of representatives representing the people of florida. she was the chief of police in orlando, florida, before she came to congress and so she has exceptional law enforcement experience and the whole career in law enforcement and i'd like to recognize mrs. demings for as much time as she may consume. mrs. demings: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you to my outstanding colleague from maryland. thank you for your leadership on this issue and shining a light on this important issue
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tonight. mr. speaker, i rise today to speak about the promise of america, that every person living in this country, this country that we say is the greatest country in the world, where every person can have an opportunity, where every person can have a right to life, to liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the pursuit of justice. the promise of america that relies on the police officer who walks his beat come rain or shine. mr. speaker, either we enforce our laws or if we do not, they are just words on a piece of paper. the promise of america is fulfilled every time a person receives a fair trial. for you see without fair-minded -- a fair-minded search for the truth, we have no society. or, mr. speaker, put it another
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way. the truth will indeed set us free. the special counsel is a decorated veteran. you heard my colleague say, a registered republican appointed by a republican president, president bush. i have personally met mr. mueller. after serving 27 years in law enforcement working very closely with the federal bureau of investigation, i know him to be a person of honor and integrity. mr. mueller has been praised every integrity by republican leader. see, he is, mr. speaker, a man searching for the truth, and the truth does matter. without truth, life becomes
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deaf, liberty becomes slavery, and the pursuit of happiness becomes impossible. if a president can shut down an investigation into his activities and deny our right to the truth, then the promise of america that we love to celebrate is broken. over the past year, our institution, law enforcement, the judiciary have come under daily assault, so persistent, so relentless that we had occasion to tune it out or brushed it aside. but these assaults, mr. speaker, undermine what's essential to our country and our society. if president trump chooses to fire the special counsel or otherwise interfere with the
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legal and appropriate investigation into himself and his staff, it would be a deliberate act to dismantle the fundamental institutions that preserve american democracy and liberty. mr. speaker, we cannot allow that, and i hope that my republican colleagues will remember why they came to congress in the first place. you see, mr. speaker, as members of congress, we are truth seekers, and we know that the special counsel will go only where the evidence leads them. that's the man president bush appointed, and that's the same person leading this investigation at this very time. mr. speaker, we must let the special counsel finish his work. failure to do so leaves us with only one question. what is the administration
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afraid of? and with that i yield back. mr. raskin: mrs. demings, thank you so much for your passion and your leadership. we're delighted to learn today that you will be joining the house judiciary committee as a new colleague next week, and we're all thrilled about that. mrs. demings: thank you so much. mr. raskin: all right. well, mrs. demings focused our attention on the rule of law, and the startling disdain of the rule of law that's being shown in washington right now, and the president's basic confusion about the proper role for the department of justice. one of my revered colleagues on the house committee on the judiciary is ted lieu from california who serves on the committee of foreign affairs, so he's had a front row seat to everybody that's happened over the course of this year. he saw the speaker of the house praise mr. mueller's appointment. he saw senator mcconnell praise
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mr. mueller's appointment of special counsel. he saw mr. mueller's nonpartisanship and professionalism being widely harolded by our colleagues on the republican side and now he's watching every day as they do everything in their power to destroy the reputation, the credibility of mr. mueller and his excellent team at the special counsel's office. we've invited mr. lieu to come up and speak and tell us what he thinks is going on and what s behind the smear campaign. mr. lieu: thank you, congressman, raskin, for organizing this terrific forum tonight. i am here to first of all commend senator warner for going on the senate floor earlier today and drawing very bright lines for the president of the united states. if donald trump were to either get robert mueller fired or pardoning key witnesses, he will be violating those red lines.
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now, everyone is entitled to their opinions but not to your own facts. i am going to run through three facts about the special counsel's investigation. the first is that it's being led by three people -- deputy attorney general rosenstein. special counsel robert mueller. and f.b.i. director christopher wray. all three of them are republicans. they were also appointed by republican presidents. f.b.i. director christopher wray also happened to have given over $39,000 in political contributions exclusively to republicans. so the notion that this investigation is somehow a democratic investigation is false. it is a republican investigation investigating a republican president. second fact you should know is donald trump cannot actually fire robert mueller directly. deputy have to fire
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attorney general rosenstein first because he became to the judiciary committee and testified under oath there is no cause to fire special counsel mueller. so for this to happen, donald trump would have to get rod rosenstein fire. fire him. they would have to find another person to put in that position to fire robert mueller. so the next person to take rod rosenstein's place would be rachel brand. and while she is conservative and while she also made over $37,000 of political contributions exclusively to republicans, she's also known as a person of integrity. i believe she would not fire robert mueller. so donald trump would have to then fire her. he'd then have to stick a third person in, find anyone to fire robert mueller. well, that's exactly what richard nixon did in the saturday night massacre when he fired three department of justice officials because the
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first two would not fire their investigator against richard nixon. so donald trump wants to follow in the footsteps of richard nixon, he's certainly welcome to try, but it will not end well for him. and then the third fact you should know is that no one has been able to attack the actual legal actions of robert mueller. there's been two guilty pleas. one of george papadopoulos, a trump campaign official on the foreign policy team. and the second is michael flynn, the former national security advisor to donald trump. no one disputes that those guilty pleas have a solid legal and factual basis. two other people have also been indicted, paul manafort and mr. gates. as you know, mr. mana fort was the campaign manager -- manafort was the campaign manager for donald trump for some time. ose two indictments have a
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solid and legal basis. so nothing that robert mueller has done can now be attacked and that's why they're doing a smear campaign on his team because they are getting desperate. and when i say they, i am talking about the white house as well as some of my colleagues in the house on the republican side. i sat through a judiciary committee hearing that i thought was disgraceful with members on the other side of the aisle trying to smear not only f.b.i. director christopher wray but also rod rosenstein and director mueller. these are good people. they have integrity, and if you think that the women's march was large, wait until you see what happens if the president actually tries to take these unconstitutional and what would really amount to criminal actions, because he would be obstructing justice. so at the end of the day it's very important for the american people to understand that no one is above the law. that was a central lesson of
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watergate. it's the central lesson of american history, and i urge the president to understand what happened in watergate and to refrain from faking criminal and unconstitutional -- taking criminal and unconstitutional actions. i yield back. mr. raskin: mr. lieu, before you depart -- mr. lieu: thank you. mr. raskin: i thank you for your excellent presentation. i want to ask you one question and i hope the law professionor in me isn't showing too much but i want to question one thing you said at the beginning. you made the point very well that mr. mueller is a distinguished law enforcement officer who's also a republican and he was appointed by a republican, mr. rosenstein, who is another distinguished and well-respected law enforcement official who himself had been appointed by attorney general sessions who is a republican. but then all of that is true but then you said, this is not a democratic investigation which certainly it's not. you said it's a republican investigation. wouldn't it be more appropriate
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to say it's a law enforcement investigation and if you want to be searching for some kind of partisan tilt, you're going to find that these are republicans, not democrats? mr. lieu: thank you so much for letting me clarify that statement. it's a law enforcement investigation led by republicans. mr. raskin: yeah. it's a critical point because up until all of this started, basically the president respected the independence of the department of justice and we didn't go around searching in people's garbage cans trying to find out if their wife was a registered democrat or whether they voted for republican. we assumed that prosecutors and f.b.i. agents and police officers can have a partisan registration and they can vote and participate as long as they do their jobs, and your point here is they're doing their job and nobody is making any complaint about any of the guilty pleas or any of the prosecutions. they're complaining about a bunch of irrelevant stuff. mr. lue: absolutely --
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mr. lieu: absolutely. i trust them to do the right thing because it's demeaning and offensive to the f.b.i. and department of justice to say they can't be fair because they have a political opinion and are exercising their rights under the first amendment. and keep in mind that under our democracy, fundamental to it is the rule of law. to attack law enforcement and smear the credibility just because you don't like where an investigation is heading is disgraceful. and let me conclude by quoting my favorite press secretary, sarah sanders previously said that when you're attacking f.b.i. agents because you're under investigation, you're losing. i yield back to congressman raskin. mr. raskin: thank you for all your excellent work and leadership, both on the judiciary committee and the foreign affair committees. it is my pleasure now to yield time to another distinguished
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colleague on the house judiciary committee, brad schneider from illinois who is also a member of my class. he's been in congress several different times and he makes a great contribution for his people whenever he's here. mr. schneider. mr. schneider: thank you. i want to thank my colleague from maryland for organizing his special hour this evening. mr. speaker, i share my colleague's concerns about the untimely attacks on the special counsel and the need to make sure the investigation is allowed to proceed to its conclusion. but mr. speaker, i join my colleagues tonight and n also raising grave concerns about the unwillingness of our present administration including not only the president but the justice department as well to take seriously the threat of foreign interference in our elections. it is the unanimous assessment of our intelligence community that the russian government launched a focus campaign at the direction of vladimir putin to interfere in our elections last
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year. irrespective of president trump's refusal to accept objective reality or his ongoing efforts to obfuscate the truth, the ongoing threat to the integrity of our elections is real and only likely to increase in 2018. as the russians sought to disrupt our elections last year and as they have done so in elections around the world, we can be certain that they will be back next year. that's why we as congress and as a country need to be urgently focused on how to prevent in future elections the kinds of foreign interference we saw in 2016. mr. speaker, the first primary elections are barely three months away and americans will collectively head to the polls in less than 11 months. the clock is quite literally ticking. without a serious effort to address these varied and increasing threats we as a nation remain vulnerable.
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over the past month, aye had the opportunity to ask both the number one and number two officials at the department of justice as well as the director of the federal bureau of investigation about our efforts to secure our elections. their answers have been far from satisfactory. in november, attorney general jeff sessions came before the house judiciary committee. three weeks prior to that in testimony before the senate judiciary committee , he admitted to the senator that his department had fallen short in addressing election security. i was surprised when i asked mr. sessions what steps he'd taken to protect the elections in the hearing. he could not name a single step take bin this ejustice department he admitted i have not followed through to see where we are on that. and then me he committed, quote, i will personally take action to do so. end quote.
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nevertheless, when the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein appeared before the committee a month later he could not demonstrate that the department had even formally reviewed the matter. it is clear to me that the administration is not handling this threat with the seriousness it deserves. last month i led a letter with 15 of my judiciary colleagues to the attorney general callingen him to make good on his commitment to urgently brief members of congress on his efforts to secure our elections from foreign meddling. the deadline for this request has come and gone and there's still not one new york commitment from the department of justice to work cooperatively with congress on this critically important issue. this inaction is unacceptable. the clock is ticking until our election next -- our next election an we need to act and need to act now. our nation needs and the american people are right to expect, that this administration urgently and afwressily take
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measures to protect our elections. mr. speaker, my friends, this is not a partisan issue. the very foundation of our democracy depends on the integrity of our elections. i urge my colleagues to join us in our efforts to defend against foreign interference and hold this administration accountable for doing all it can to prevent any interference in the future. with that, i am pleased to yield back. mr. raskin: thank you so much for that excellent and indispensable discussion about what's really at stake here, which is democracy itself. if we can't rely on the integrity of our elections and the authenticity of the results, democracy is in danger, in deep peril. thank you for your leadership, thank you for your outspokenness. so to recap, mr. speaker, we are here in this special order hour to defend robert mueller because in america we live and die by
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the rule of law under democracy. the rule of law is the revolutionary idea, the one that our fore bears fought for, in 18th century, that the most powerful officials in the land will be governed just like everybody else. by constitutional and statutory boundaries fixed in writing in the law. in order to protect democracy and the rights of the people. but ever since he whipped up -- the whipped up chants of lock her up in the 2016 campaign, donald trump has displayed complete ignorance of the difference between a constitutional democracy and the -- and a banana republic. a complete ignorance of the role of judges and the justice department. the men and women who work at the department of justice for us. they inhabit a world of law, facts, and evidence.
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they cannot be forced to execute the president's personal vendettas or prosecute his enemies, real or imagined, or provide support for his propaganda and delusional alternative facts. president trump has been on a collision course with the rule of law for a long time. remember during the campaign, mr. speaker, when he attacked judge curiel for being mexican american, implying that his ethnic identify ty somehow disqualified him from being a competent judge with integrity. in february, he trashed federal judges hearing arguments about his muslim ban. -- muslim ban order. he has questioned the separation of powers, which he says is somehow obsolete. he has railed continuously against the free press and the
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media, which he describes as the enemy of the people. he's continued in direct violation of the foreign emoluments claus in article 1, section 9, clausele, to collect money from foreign -- clause 8, to check money from foreign governments a the trump hotel, trump tower, trump golf course, without obtaining congressional consent first, which is what the constitution requires. but the critical flash point for president trump's hostility to the rule of law recently has been the stubborn and baffle regular fusal to accept the reality of the russian campaign to interfere in our election last year and then his seeming determination to undermine the investigation into what actually happened. most americans have regarded his campaign of cyberespionage and cyber sabotage of our election as a frightful danger
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to democratic sovereignty in our country and a reason to improve election security across the land as congressman schneider just argued. donald trump keeps denying that the autocrat, vladimir putin, the former chief of the k.g.b., did anything wrong in our election. he tried to convince then-f.b.i. director james comey to drop his investigation into trump's national security advisor michael flynn. and to swear a personal loyalty oath to the president. and when comey refused these orders, when he refused this entreaty to change the course of the criminal investigation, when he refused to override his oath to the constitution of the united states by swearing a personal oath to the president, something that we've never heard of before, trump fired him. this was about as naked a case of obstruction of justice as you can imagine. and now we hear from president
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trump's personal lawyer that the president cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice. they say by definition, the president cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice because the president is the chief law enforcement officer in the land. this is analogous to the old monarch call dogma that the king can do no wrong. the king cannot commit a crime. the king is above the law. if the king does it, it can't be illegal. well, um, our friends seem tore forgotten this is the united states of america. we've got a constitution here. we've got a bill of right here's. we have no kings here. we have no queens here. we have no royalty. just we the people. the government of laws. not of men. and we've got a bill of rights. and popular government. you know, our friends across the
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aisle once understood that nobody was above the law. they brought impeachment charges against president bill clinton, two charges, and one of the charges was obstruction of justice. they moved to impeach president clinton for obstructing justice which is now an offense that our friends say a president can't even be guilty of. and they brought a case against president clinton, clinton vs. jones, which established that a president can even be sued while he's in office. and can be deposed. and so on. they understood at one point they understand when a democrat is president that nobody is above the law. but now suddenly, mr. speaker, this president is above the law and he gets to determine the course of criminal investigations in the united states of america. that's not constitutional democracy. that's a banana republic. when the president dictates to law enforcement, dictates to
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prosecutors what they're going to do, who they're going to investigate, and who will be prosecuted. so now the race is on, mr. speaker. to smear the f.b.i. the race is on to smear mr. mueller, the very man who was praised by senator mcconnell, who was praised by speaker ryan. who was described by all of our colleagues as beyond reproach. unimpeachable. the former director of the f.b.i. former u.s. attorney for massachusetts and california. a decorated veteran of the vietnam war and now suddenly, they cry havoc they set loose the dogs of war on mr. mueller. and why? because he's doing his job. because we have two guilty pleas. one by the president's former national security advisor, mr. flynn. one by mr. papadopoulos. for lying to government agents. we've got 12 count indictments that have been handed down
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against mr. manafort and mr. page and they're afraid that the investigation might be closing in on the very highest levels of government so what do they do? they attack the prosecution. and that's what we've been seeing in washington over the last couple of weeks. a truly extraordinary display of contempt for the rule of law and the justice department and honest prosecution and law enforcement in the united states of america. now, the first effort revolved around an f.b.i. agent who robert mueller removed from the investigation in the summertime. and he removed him because there were text messages revealed in which he was trashing a lot of political figures. not just president trump. he was trashing bernie sanders, who he called and idiot he
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called president trump an idiot. and he had unkind words for eric holder. and he had very harsh words for mymy friend, the former governor of maryland, martin o'malley. he was an equal opportunity insulter. but our friends, seing the progress of the trump-russia investigation, of the special counsel ice work, now suddenly decided we found a villain. we've got our villain. his name is speeter strzok, he wrote all these texts, let's go back to a guy removed from the investigation in the summertime, let's leak all these texts out in the most mysterious and suspicious way, because this was the middle of an inspector general investigation and they leaked out thousands of texts and when i asked mr. rosenstein about it, he said it had been approved by the nchtor general but the inspector genre leased a statement the next day which processed -- professed they had
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not been contacted about it. there's a whole mystery there. clearly somebody wanted to get these texts out there. they wanted to create a thick fog of propaganda. and confusion. and all we heard from our colleagues was, did you see what he said in this text to his friend? did you see what he said in this text to his friend? nobody claimed the fwlt pleas by glenn or papadopoulos were legally flawed in any way. they didn't say there were any legal problems with anything that the special counsel had done. no illegal searches, no illegal seize juries, they didn't say anything was wrong with the indictment but they find some text messages by a guy who was removed from the investigation. and then this becomes the big propaganda smoke screen. this guy who insulted, to my count a lot more democrats than he insulted republicans, regardless, he showed unprofessionalism, he was removed quickly by mr. mueller,
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unlike, for example, what president trump did when he learned that general flynn, his national security advisor, was a serial liar, was lying to federal agents, was lying to federal officers, was lying to the cabinet about his dealings with russia and foreign governments, it took president trump 18 days before he removed him from office in the most begrudging way and then, even then, after learning that he had been lying, about his contacts with foreign agents, he tried to get mr. combe, the then-f.b.i. director, to cancel out the investigation of michael flynn asserting that he's a good guy, will the it go. . no. that's not what mr. mueller did, the special counsel, when he learned out there were various text messages out attacking figures. we don't need this kind of
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stuff. he got rid of them. end of story. except this. it's an opportunity to create an irrelevant distraction of what's going on, to put up a big propaganda smokescreen. and that won't even be such a big deal in itself. their arguments are transparently silly. we have colleagues who are saying, this is fruit of the poisonous tree, they say. it's all true of the poisonous tree, except it doesn't have fruit of the poisonous tree. it's a fourth amendment doctrine that says if there is an illegal search or seizure by the government, the government may not use that unlawfully obtained evidence against someone in court. at that point, the exclusionary rule operates. exclusionary rule is activated, and we asked our colleagues, and i asked mr. rosenstein, was there an illegal search? no. was there an illegal seizure? no. there was no illegality.
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you had an agent trashing politicians in the middle of a presidential campaign which millions of people were doing. it was irresponsible. he got removed. end of story. that didn't work so well. that was the first time they were throwing spaghetti with tomato sauce on it at the walls. nobody bought it. the next day, day later, they came back with another claim about asserting that the g.s.a. had improperly released emails of the trump presidential transition team. well, there's a few problems with that. one is, everybody was told from the beginning that all of those are government property. they were turned over by trump's g.s.a. voluntarily and mr. mueller released a one sentence statement saying all of the information that we have received was either voluntarily given or was lawfully obtained. end of story. that didn't work so well either. threw some more spaghetti up
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against the wall in the smear wall and it slides off. -- smear campaign and it slides off. it doesn't really stick. now they're going after mr. mccade, the number two person at the f.b.i.. and i haven't been told exactly what their complaint is but we're going to have a closed door hearing about it tomorrow in the house judiciary committee from -- committee. from published reports he's being married to a woman that's active in democratic politics. let's get something straight here. this is the united states of america, and law enforcement officers have a right to be registered as a democrat, as an independent, as an republican, as green party, libertarian. they can register however they want. and consistent with the hatch act, they can be involved in politics and members of their family can be involved in politics. there's nothing wrong with that. there's nothing wrong with the fact that mr. mueller, who is now the target of all of their venom, is a registered
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republican or that he got appointed by another republican, mr. rosenstein, or that he got appointed by a republican, attorney general sessions, or that he got appointed by a republican, president trump. right? all those people are republicans. they have a right to be republicans, but they got to do their public duty. the irony, of course, is the republicans are attacking republicans for being partisan against republicans. s completely incoherent -- it's completely incoherent, it's fantastical and it shows the smear campaign. it doesn't make sense to anyone. so we'll see if they'll smear another good, qualified, competent law enforcement official, which is what they want to do with the number two person at the f.b.i. and what's interesting is that people who are a-- that the people who are attacking their fellow republicans for somehow being partisan just for doing their jobs never have anything
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to say about what we know what was the real political corruption and contamination of the f.b.i. back in the days of ay edgar hoover who go after martin luther king or where the f.b.i. tried to disrupt the civil rights and the anti-war movement and so on. they don't say anything about that. it would strengthen their argument, of course, that fair fellow republican part sans somehow might be capable of political bias. the fact is the f.b.i. used to have a real problem with being a tool of political prosecution. and it's gotten over that. it's gotten beyond it today in 2017. and now suddenly all of their fire is trained on mr. mueller. it's trained on the special counsel discredit and undermine it.
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it wouldn't be such a big deal if they were exercising their first amendment right, which they have every right to do or under the speech and debate clause which they have every right to do. or attack mr. mueller to try to discredit law enforcement, they ot the right to do it, but what everyone is afraid iser in trying to set the stage for the removal of robert mueller. that's no simple thing. the president can't fire mr. mueller. he has to get mr. rosenstein to do it. he can only be fired for misconduct, for conflict of interest. or for some other good cause. or incapacity. so there's got to be a reason why. when we asked mr. rosenstein whether he saw any reason to remove mr. mueller now, he said, no, that he's totally
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satisfied with the conduct of the investigation. so what trumped up alibi could they produce, what trumped up justification could they find or the removal of mr. mueller? it would create a serious constitutional emergency and crisis in america. when we say a constitutional crisis, it's not the constitution that's in crisis. it's us. they would be creating a political crisis that would require resort to extraordinary constitutional mechanisms. this would be a clearly impeachable offense for the president to use his power in order to thwart a criminal investigation that implicates the president. that's the very definition of obstruction of justice. it would just be an expansion and a refinement of what the president was doing when he fired mr. comey way back at the beginning of the administration
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for refusing to lay off michael flynn and for refusing to swear a personal loyalty oath to the president of the united states instead of to the constitution and the people of the country. so that's where we are. the people need to know. the people need to know what's going on. that there is an organized campaign being orchestrated at the highest levels of government to discredit mr. mueller and the special counsel investigation, not for not doing their job but for doing their job. that's why they're being attacked today. and i close with a thought just about the rule of law. the rule of law is the idea that even the people who occupy the highest office in the land are subject to the constitution, are subject to the laws of the people because here the people govern. we have no kings here. that's what we rebelled
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against. and our founders believed with madison that the very definition of tyranny is the collapse of all powers into one. where someone says, i've got all the power, i'm the boss. our founders said, no, we are going to divide powers up. article 1, we will invest the lawmaking power in the representatives of the people in the house and the senate. article 2, we will create a president who will take care that the laws be faithfully executed. and then 3, we will vest the judicial power in the supreme court and the federal judiciary to sort out actual cases or controversies about what the law means. but notice what comes first there. article 1. the people's representatives come first. the president works fore us. the president works -- works for us. the president works for congress which works for the people. the president implements the law that we pass here. the president is not above the law. the president is subject to the
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law, and the president is enforcing the laws we adopt. so let's get that straight. no one is above the law. anybody can be found guilty of obstructing justice if one thing can be shown, if they obstruct justice. and it looks like they're setting the stage for a further obstruction of justice with this outrageous smear campaign being leveled this week against robert mueller and against mr. rosenstein and against mr. mccabe and against the men and women of the f.b.i. that's what's taking place in washington today. mr. speaker, the people need to know, and we in congress have got to do our constitutional duty too. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. remarks in debate in the house may not engage in personalities towards the president or members of the senate, whether
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originating as the member's own words or being reiterated from another voice. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess subject to the call of the chair. >> a headline from the wall street journal. ais comes as the house passed $1.5 trillion tax cut package earlier today. and chaos ahead as new tax rules take immediate effect.
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they write, the most sleeping tax code overall in a generation will soon had to president trump's desk. republicans are enjoying a victory dance, now comes the real world turmoil. america's new tax system will go into effect in just 12 days. payroll companies are bracing for confusion as they figure out new withholding rules that will affect millions of americans paychecks. we will hear from president trump at the white house with congressional republicans, then, reaction from democratic leaders pelosichumer and nancy on the tax legislation. we will bring you house debate later on the bill. ♪ >> c-span's "washington journal." live every day with policy issues that impact you. american universities professor james, and the brookings institution molly reynolds on the legislative and political
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significance of the 115th congress so far. also, heritage foundation's michael sergeant looks at u.s. infrastructure policy and spending following this week's amtrak derailment in washington state or it c-span's "washington journal." live beginning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. the south lawn of the white house, president trump was joined by vice president pence, senate majority reader mitch mcconnell and house speaker paul ryan. the $1.5 trillion tax package was passed. [band playing] ♪ >>


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