Ranking Member Nadler Floor Statement to Bring Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act to House Floor
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, delivered the following remarks demanding immediate floor consideration of H.R. 5476, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act. The House will vote on the previous question, which would bring the legislation to the House floor.
“Mr. Speaker, I stand here because earlier this week, we were confronted with the threat of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s firing.
“On Monday, Mr. Rosenstein was summoned to the White House with rumors swirling that he had resigned or was about to be fired.
“Yesterday, President Trump said he may not fire Mr. Rosenstein.
“Mr. Rosenstein is directly responsible for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign—as well as other, related work, now in the Southern District of New York and the National Security Division of the Department of Justice, that could have a profound effect on the integrity of elections to come.
“The fear is that, if the President fires Mr. Rosenstein, a new Acting Attorney General will take steps to end the investigation in order to protect President Trump and his associates. It is unacceptable for a law enforcement project of this magnitude to turn on the employment status of one official.
“As we have all seen, President Trump has spent his Presidency undermining every effort to understand what happened during the 2016 elections. He has shown no interest in safeguarding the 2018 elections from ongoing attacks by foreign adversaries.
“Instead he attacks the Intelligence Community, he attacks the Department of Justice, he attacks career civil servants, and he attacks Special Counsel Mueller—complaining about what he calls a “total witch hunt,” and calling for the Attorney General to end the investigation.
“This is not a witch hunt. In a relatively short period of time, investigators have secured multiple convictions and guilty pleas from key Trump campaign personnel.
“But President Trump—and his allies in this chamber—are engaged in a broader strategy to undermine the legitimacy of any findings, guilty pleas, or convictions that may come out of the investigation. President Trump will take any opportunity to reign in, suppress, or end the Special Counsel’s investigation.
“We know this because President Trump has told us so. He told us that he fired the FBI Director because of the “Russia thing.” He is reported to have ordered the firing of Robert Mueller at least twice. He attacks his own Attorney General for properly recusing himself from the investigation. His surrogates compare the FBI to the Gestapo, and call for the police to raid the Justice Department.
“Fortunately, as a co-equal branch of government we have a way to protect our law enforcement officers from these threats—and to protect the country from this barrage of misinformation from the White House.
“H.R. 5476, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act would protect the Special Counsel from being unjustly fired and would allow for the courts to review any political interference. This is bipartisan legislation that has 126 cosponsors and is identical to Republican legislation that has a number of Republican cosponsors.
“The Senate counterpart to H.R. 5476 was introduced by Senators Graham, Booker, Coons, and Tillis and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 26, 2018 by a vote of 14 to 7.
“We have been calling on the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to bring this important legislation before the Committee for a vote. But he has refused to act.
“Democrats have taken the unusual step of invoking House Rule XI, Clause 2(c)(2) to force a markup. But other Republicans on the Committee have sat on their hands and refused to join in this demand. But for three Republicans, the Judiciary Committee would be forced to consider this legislation.
“We cannot wait any longer. The stakes are simply too great. And I urge consideration of this legislation.”