Durbin: Instead Of Addressing Challenges Facing Our Nation Today, Senate Judiciary Committee Criticizing The Mueller Investigation

During Today's Judiciary Committee Hearing, Durbin Also Called Our Chairman Graham's Plans To Issue Wide-Ranging Subpoenas For Witnesses As Part Of His Probe Into The Russia Investigation

WASHINGTON – During today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled “Oversight of Crossfire Hurricane Investigation: Day 1,” U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) called out Senate Republicans for using today’s hearing as a distraction from the important work Congress should be doing to address the COVID-19 pandemic, systemic racism, and the other challenges facing our nation today.  Durbin noted that the Senate Judiciary Committee could and should be focused on the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed more than 100,000 American lives; establishing privacy protections as it pertains to contact tracing; establishing legitimate public health standards to protect businesses and consumers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic; addressing the issue of racism and the administration of justice in America; and questioning President Trump’s suggestion of federalizing the military against protesters across America.  Instead, Durbin noted, the Senate Judiciary Committee is criticizing the Mueller investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference.

“I’m wondering today if the people who tuned into this hearing over C-SPAN of the Senate Judiciary Committee must think they are watching a re-run, a classic hearing of several years ago on the Mueller Report.  But unfortunately, this is not a re-run.  This is the priority of the Senate Judiciary Committee today, in June of 2020,” Durbin said.

During today’s hearing, Durbin asked Mr. Rod Rosenstein, the hearing’s only witness, if he agreed with Special Counsel Mueller that Russia interfered in the 2016 campaign in a “sweeping and systematic fashion.”  Mr. Rosenstein said that he agreed.

Durbin also discussed Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) plans to force a vote during tomorrow’s markup for authority to issue subpoenas for 53 witnesses as part of his probe into the Russia investigation.

“We are about to embark on an investigation by this Committee, which may be the largest investigation I’ve ever witnessed here,” Durbin said.  “Tomorrow, I understand, the Chairman is going to ask for authority to issue 53 subpoenas for witnesses.  What an irony that we began this year in an impeachment trial where the Republicans refused to produce one document or one witness – not one witness – when it came to questions of the impeachment of the President.”

Durbin continued, “We will attempt to amend his subpoena, on the Democratic side, to make sure that if we are clearly trying to find the truth in this matter – about whether this was an utterly baseless investigation – we believe we should also be calling a few other witnesses.  How about Michael Cohen, who negotiated a Trump Tower Moscow deal until at least June of 2016.  Perhaps Paul Manafort, who repeatedly passed campaign information to Konstantin Kilimnik who had Russian intelligence ties… Rick Gates, Deputy Chairman, who Manafort instructed to feed campaign information to Kilimnik.  George Papadopoulos, whose comments prompted the opening of the FBI investigation.  Michael Flynn.  Roger Stone.  There are more on the list.  If we truly want to get to the bottom of this, and bring all the witnesses in, as to whether this was a ‘baseless claim’ of Russian collusion with anyone in the United States, certainly we want the record to be complete, don’t we?”

Video of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here for TV Stations.