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An outspoken critic of President Trump’s repeated efforts to undermine the rule of law, in a new floor speech Senator Murray, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, highlighted the threat William Barr’s nomination poses to executive accountability and pushed her Senate colleagues to protect the Mueller investigation

Senator Murray: “The idea that any member of this Senate would support an Attorney General nominee who has openly and unequivocally advocated for less accountability when it comes to President Trump – well that’s just wrong and the American people will not stand for it”

Senator Murray to Senate Republicans: “Seize this opportunity while you can to make it very clear to Mr. Barr and the Trump administration… that any attempt to cover up, hinder, or otherwise muddy the waters around the Mueller investigation would be a serious disservice to the people we represent, and will only lead to the further erosion of trust in our institutions and your ability to work on their behalf”

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

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, (D-WA), the third-ranking Democrat in the United States Senate, reiterated her strong opposition to President Trump’s Attorney General nominee William Barr and urged her colleagues to stand with the American people to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigations into President Trump’s campaign and administration. In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Murray outlined her deep concerns with William Barr’s record, including his decision to draft an unsolicited memo for the White House last year criticizing the Mueller investigation and questioning efforts to hold President Trump and his administration accountable. In addition to citing Barr’s disqualifying perspective on the limits of executive authority and the threats his nomination poses to the Mueller investigation, Senator Murray also pressed her colleagues to reject President Trump’s effort to shield himself from the rule of law and make it clear they would protect the public’s access to the findings of the Mueller investigation.

Key Excerpts from Senator Murray’s floor speech:

“For the past two years, we’ve had a president whose only consistent agenda items are self-preservation and self-dealing, whether that means: flouting the law, disregarding ethics, acting with impunity, violating norms and destroying relationships with our allies, firing those who challenge him and bullying those he can’t, threatening jail time for political opponents, and changing federal policy by tweet and based on his current mood. On top of all of that, President Trump faces a number of investigations, including serious questions about whether he has obstructed justice in order to make the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in our elections go away…[s]o when President Trump’s first choice to be the next Attorney General is someone with highly questionable views on executive power, we ought to be on alert.”

“When that nominee, Mr. Barr, can’t adequately explain why, out of the blue, he sent a memo to the White House in order to criticize the Special Counsel investigation, absolve the president of questions about obstruction of justice, and make a case for less accountability with this president, we ought to be on alert…[s]omeone who has written such an obviously flawed analysis of the investigation should not be put in charge of overseeing the investigation. That’s just common sense.”

“So to any of my colleagues who plan to support his nomination, I have a message: seize this opportunity while you can to make it very clear to Mr. Barr and the Trump administration that you believe the American people deserve to know for sure that the findings on Russia’s 2016 election meddling will be made public in order to get them the answers they deserve—and that any attempt to cover up, hinder, or otherwise muddy the waters around the Mueller investigation would be a serious disservice to the people we represent, and will only lead to the further erosion of trust in our institutions and your ability to work on their behalf.”

Watch video of Senator Murray’s floor speech HERE.

Full text of Senator Murray’s floor speech below:

“Thank you, M. President.

“I come to the floor today to express my deep opposition to the nomination of Mr. William Barr to be our nation’s next Attorney General.

“His nomination comes at a trying time for our country.

“As our own president frequently twists the truth and constantly pushes the limits of the law, the American people deserve to know that the Attorney General, the top law enforcement officer in the country, is committed above all else to seeking truth, defending their civil and constitutional rights, administering justice on their behalf, and safeguarding our country against threats to our democracy.

“M. President, I wish Mr. Barr was the person who could right the ship and stand up for the American people no matter what.

“I wish he was the person who could help guide our country through this critical juncture when questions about illegal payments involving both the Trump Campaign and the Trump Inaugural Committee and Russia’s interference in our elections and its attempt to influence millions of our friends and families must be fully explained to the public.

“We know that this is an Administration that finds it so difficult to follow the law that it is being investigated in multiple jurisdictions at the federal level – all of which would be overseen by Mr. Barr.

“Sadly, it has become abundantly clear that Mr. Barr is incapable of being the impartial Attorney General that people in communities across our country need and deserve, someone who stands up to the president when he is wrong.

“Now, M. President, based on what I’ve seen over the past two years, and despite the critical time that we are in, I don’t expect many of my Republican colleagues to join me on the floor today in order to defeat this nomination.

“Though people across the country have been raising red flags on this nomination, my Republican colleagues have been busy building the glide path for Mr. Barr’s nomination. In fact just last week the Majority Leader—standing right here on the Senate floor—left little doubt about whether the Majority would try to get this nomination sewn up. The leader referred to Mr. Barr as a “tried and true public servant” and a “proven professional” who was applying for the same job he got in 1991 under President George HW Bush. The job description, the Majority Leader said, and I quote, “remains exactly the same as it was years ago.”

“But, M. President, that’s the problem!

“Senate Republicans are still operating as though it is the early 1990s, as if the world around them has not changed, as if what we have experienced for the past two years is normal. Well, on behalf of the American people, I urge you to wake up!

“For the past two years, we’ve had a president whose only consistent agenda items are self-preservation and self-dealing, whether that means: flouting the law, disregarding ethics, acting with impunity, violating norms and destroying relationships with our allies, firing those who challenge him and bullying those he can’t, threatening jail time for political opponents, and changing federal policy by tweet and based on his current mood.

“On top of all of that, President Trump faces a number of investigations, including serious questions about whether he has obstructed justice in order to make the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in our elections go away. That’s the same special counsel investigation that has already resulted in 34 indictments or guilty pleas to date. Despite what the President would like us to believe, that is far from a witch hunt.

“So when President Trump’s first choice to be the next Attorney General is someone with highly questionable views on executive power, we ought to be on alert.

“When that nominee, Mr. Barr, can’t adequately explain why, out of the blue, he sent a memo to the White House in order to criticize the Special Counsel investigation, absolve the president of questions about obstruction of justice, and make a case for less accountability with this president, we ought to be on alert.

“When Mr. Barr writes that President Trump has “complete authority to start or stop a law enforcement proceeding,” we ought to be on alert.

“Mr. Barr’s memo makes no sense – unless it was an audition for this job. And that is absolutely not how any president should select an Attorney General.

“And when we know that if confirmed, Mr. Barr would be in charge of the Special Counsel investigation, and decide what –if anything—the public gets to know about the findings on Russia’s 2016 election meddling, we ought to be on alert. Someone who has written such an obviously flawed analysis of the investigation should not be put in charge of overseeing the investigation. That’s just common sense.

“M. President, people across this country sent us to Congress not to shield the president from the law, but to help restore integrity and independence to the federal government—to provide a check on the executive branch as outlined in our Constitution.

“And the idea that any member of this Senate would support an Attorney General nominee who has openly and unequivocally advocated for less accountability when it comes to President Trump – well that’s just wrong and the American people will not stand for it.

“So to any of my colleagues who plan to support his nomination, I have a message: seize this opportunity while you can to make it very clear to Mr. Barr and the Trump administration that you believe the American people deserve to know for sure that the findings on Russia’s 2016 election meddling will be made public in order to get them the answers they deserve— 

“…and that any attempt to cover up, hinder, or otherwise muddy the waters around the Mueller investigation would be a serious disservice to the people we represent, and will only lead to the further erosion of trust in our institutions and your ability to work on their behalf.

“The president is not above the law – not in the White House, not in New York, not anywhere.

“Mr. Barr may be the Attorney General this president wants – someone to shield him from serious questions about abuse of power. Someone who believes a president should be able to do more or less whatever he or she wants.

“But Mr. Barr is certainly not the Attorney General this country needs – someone who will stand up for the rights of everyone else. 

“Thank you, I yield the floor.”