News Releases

CIA Director says Russia will try to interfere in this year’s elections; Sen. Murray demands Republicans commit to efforts to preserve the integrity of U.S. elections

Sen. Murray: “The question is whether the Trump Administration and all members of Congress will choose to act in the best interest of our country and our democracy, or whether they will continue to act out of self-preservation and short-sighted political gain”

Sen. Murray: Firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller or abusing pardon authority are “not an option”

***WATCH VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S FLOOR SPEECH HERE*** 

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined her colleagues on the Senate floor to call on their Republican colleagues to defend our democracy from attacks by foreign adversaries, which is especially urgent in light of CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s comments last week that he fully expects Russia to attempt to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections. Sen. Murray also questioned why President Trump missed a deadline to implement Russia sanctions, despite overwhelming support in Congress to do so.

Excerpts from Sen. Murray’s Remarks as Prepared for Delivery:

“…the White House has gone silent, refusing to implement the sanctions for reasons President Trump can’t or won’t explain. The same president who has no problem speaking and tweeting on any other topic under the sun clams up when it comes to Russia.  Or tries to change the subject. Or launches a political attack. The same president who promised to put ‘America First’ has failed to live up to the most basic duty of defending our elections and enforcing congressional actions to punish Russian meddling.”

“…there are a number of things this Congress must commit to. First, we must ensure Special Counsel Robert Mueller stays on the job and continues to follow the facts wherever they may lead, without threats or intimidation, and with all the resources he needs. We already know the president talked about firing Mr. Mueller last year. Well, the president should be on notice that firing Mueller is not an option. The same goes for trying to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.”

“I also want to be clear– doling out presidential pardons to try to cover up any collusion or obstruction of justice is unacceptable and will be met with furious resistance across the country. This is about our elections, our national security, and our standing around the world. And no one—  no one— should stand in the way of a thorough investigation.”

Watch video of Sen. Murray’s remarks HERE.

Sen. Murray’s Remarks as Prepared for Delivery:

Thank you. I commend my colleagues who are sounding the alarm about Russia’s interference in U.S. elections and who have worked tirelessly for months on their respective committees to get the answers Americans deserve and give the confidence Americans need to know that their government is committed to preventing such interference from happening again. This work is incredibly important to people around the country and in my home state of Washington.

I’ve heard from countless people who deeply love this country, but fear for its institutions and are concerned about the integrity of its elections. Because here are the facts. More than a year ago, U.S. intelligence agencies concluded Russia interfered in the last U.S. presidential election-- calling Russia’s meddling a “significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort” compared to previous attempts. That’s not my opinion, it’s not a partisan statement—it’s a fact.

Even more troubling, they’re already back at it. We know because our president’s own hand-picked CIA Director said last week that “of course” Russia is trying to meddle in this year’s midterm elections. That is exactly why this Congress approved sanctions months ago in order to punish Russia and show them the steep price of doing this again because if there is one thing we should all be able to agree on, it is that no one should get away with such a devious attack on our democracy.

But somehow, while the public demands action, the White House has gone silent, refusing to implement the sanctions for reasons President Trump can’t or won’t explain. The same president who has no problem speaking and tweeting on any other topic under the sun clams up when it comes to Russia.  Or tries to change the subject. Or launches a political attack. The same president who promised to put “America First” has failed to live up to the most basic duty of defending our elections and enforcing congressional actions to punish Russian meddling. The same president who promised “law and order” has been lashing out against a special counsel investigation with a campaign to discredit our agencies of law and order by criticizing the men and women of our nation’s top law enforcement agencies, firing or threatening to fire those who stand up to him, and sowing doubt about the media that dares report the facts.

And let us remember, the Putin regime that President Trump is so fond of is one that has invaded and annexed part of Ukraine, and continues to incite war in Ukraine, is propping up the murderous Assad regime, and is every bit as responsible for those heinous acts as Assad himself, and constantly tries to instigate conflict by threatening our troops around the world.

M. President, perhaps the most disappointing piece of this, President Trump is not acting alone. He gets help from members of Congress who have joined the partisan attacks on the FBI and the Department of Justice.

Just think about that. We have a president and members of the Republican Party more interested in helping a foreign power get away with interfering in our elections than allowing an investigation to run its course. It is simply stunning how far some of my Republican colleagues will go to undermine the Special Counsel and Congressional investigations in order to score political points.

This doesn’t just put them at odds with the public in the short-term, this has long-term consequences for the men and women who protect our country from harm.

A few days ago, a former supervisory special agent with the FBI—who served as a counter-terrorism investigator and special assistant to the bureau’s director—explained why he was resigning from the FBI in order to speak publicly. He said his resignation was painful, but, “the alternative of remaining quiet while the bureau is tarnished for political gain is impossible.” He said he worries the damage from attacks on the integrity of the FBI could last generations.

So there are a number of things this Congress must commit to. First, we must ensure Special Counsel Robert Mueller stays on the job and continues to follow the facts wherever they may lead, without threats or intimidation, and with all the resources he needs. We already know the president talked about firing Mr. Mueller last year. Well, the president should be on notice that firing Mueller is not an option. The same goes for trying to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

I also want to be clear– doling out presidential pardons to try to cover up any collusion or obstruction of justice is unacceptable and will be met with furious resistance across the country. This is about our elections, our national security, and our standing around the world. And no one—  no one— should stand in the way of a thorough investigation.

In the coming days, weeks, and months, Congress must work to fulfill its duty to the American people by ensuring the integrity of our elections and safeguarding investigations by allowing them to run their course, free from political pressure.

The question is whether the Trump Administration and all members of Congress will choose to act in the best interest of our country and our democracy, or whether they will continue to act out of self-preservation and short-sighted political gain.

The world will be watching. Thank you, I yield the floor.