EXECUTIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 121
(Senate - July 18, 2018)

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[Pages S5027-S5044]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                           EXECUTIVE SESSION


                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following 
nomination, which the clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read the nomination of Andrew 
S. Oldham, of Texas, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the time until 2 
p.m. will be equally divided in the usual form.

                   Recognition of the Majority Leader

  The majority leader is recognized.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, this week the Senate continues to 
confirm impressive nominees whom President Trump has asked to serve our 
country. We have confirmed two Assistant Secretaries to the Department 
of Education, Scott Stump and James Blew. We have confirmed a member of 
the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, Randal Quarles. Now we 
will turn to the judiciary and consider nominees to the Fifth Circuit 
and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  First is Andrew Oldham of Texas, the President's choice for the Fifth 
Circuit. Mr. Oldham has impressed the legal community in his years of 
public service, most recently as general counsel to the Governor of 
  Mr. Oldham has degrees from the University of Virginia, Cambridge, 
and Harvard Law. He clerked on both the DC Circuit Court and the 
Supreme Court. He carries the highest possible rating from the American 
Bar Association, ``unanimously well-qualified.''
  He comes highly recommended by peers and colleagues from across the 
political spectrum. Judith Zaffirini is a Texas State senator. She is a 
Democrat. She wrote the Judiciary Committee to support Mr. Oldham's 
nomination ``confidently, enthusiastically, and without reservation.'' 
She and the nominee have worked together on a number of important 
subjects. Through them all, she explains, ``Mr. Oldham reflected the 
ideal qualities of a judge . . . open-minded, fair . . . thoughtful and 
  Lisa Blatt is a skilled litigator who argues frequently before the 
Supreme Court. She is also a Democrat. She wrote the committee too. Her 
letter describes Mr. Oldham as ``a great listener'' with ``a brilliant 
legal mind, [and] a wonderful sense of humor and collegiality.''
  Her conclusion? He would ``make a superb judge.''
  What about Mr. Oldham's own words? If confirmed, he explained to our 
colleagues during his hearing, he will ``uphold the rights of all 
litigants--big or little--equally, and apply the law to all fairly.''
  He understands his responsibility, clearly. I look forward to 
confirming this nominee, and I urge each of our colleagues to join me.

                            Economic Growth

  Mr. President, on another matter, it has been a year and a half since 
Republican majorities took their seats in Congress and a Republican 
President was sworn in. In 2016, the American people made it clear it 
was time to try something new. They were tired of a so-called recovery 
that focused overwhelmingly on big, wealthy metropolitan areas. They 
had seen enough of tax hikes and top-down regulations that held their 
communities back. They turned to Republicans to deliver a pro-growth, 
pro-opportunity agenda to create better conditions for working 
families, job creators, and entrepreneurs to rise together.
  Eighteen months later, the results could not be clearer. Today, more 
people say it is a good time to find a job than at almost any point 
since the turn of the millennium. U.S. manufacturers are more confident 
than ever about the future of their businesses.
  Here is a story from yesterday's Financial Times: ``US retail sales 
rise for fifth straight month in June.'' This is a good sign for 
Americans all across the board. It shows our economy is healthy. It 
shows that families feel they have enough breathing room to

[[Page S5028]]

make purchases, which of course then benefit the companies and workers 
who produce what they are buying. Of course, it is especially good for 
the 42 million Americans whose jobs are supported by the retail 
  According to industry data, more than 6 in 10 Americans work in 
retail at some point in their career, so this continued prosperity is 
really significant. There is little question that tax reform is to 
thank for a significant portion of this progress.
  For one thing, our middle-class tax cuts are directly boosting 
families' discretionary income. As the Wall Street Journal reported 
this week, ``many households are experiencing less withholding from 
their paychecks thanks to the tax overhaul.''
  Analysts also point to the business side of tax reform, which is 
letting more U.S. employers expand and hire. That means more jobs for 
American workers, which means more income for American families, which 
means more money in the cash registers of American small businesses. 
The virtuous cycle goes on.
  The American people and most fair observers are marveling at what our 
economy is delivering to workers and middle-class families, but I am 
starting to think our Democratic colleagues may have forgotten what a 
successful economic agenda looks like because even in the face of 
headline after headline and testimony after testimony from job creators 
we represent, they try to brush off this impressive growth as nothing 
serious, and they advocate for repealing or undoing the Republican 
policies that are helping to make it happen.
  Fortunately, Republicans know full well how to cut taxes, trim back 
regulations, and get Washington out of the American people's way. It is 
just what we have done. It is just what we will continue to do.

                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader is recognized.

                           Trump-Putin Summit

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, yesterday, President Trump went through a 
walk back. President Trump's walk back performance was pathetic. It was 
weak, insincere, and thoroughly unconvincing. The President read a 
scripted clarification yesterday like he was in a hostage situation. 
All you had to do was look at his face. He couldn't even fully commit 
to it, adding off-the-cuff that other people could also be responsible 
for election interference in 2016. That is hardly a walk back, and it 
was concerning only one particular comment. The President did not 
address his lavish praise for Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Is he going 
to walk that back? He blamed both countries--the United States and 
Russia--for the sour relations between us. Is he going to walk that 
back? He said U.S. stupidity and foolishness, not Russian aggression, 
was the reason our relationship with Russia was so bad. Is he going to 
walk that back? He did not address his brazen attacks on the FBI while 
on foreign soil. Is he going to walk that back?
  Now, late last night and this morning, the President is back to 
celebrating his meeting with Putin. He is walking back the walk back. 
That is what he did this morning. This is like Charlottesville redux. 
We all know what the President really thought. We know what he thought 
at Charlottesville. The walk back was unconvincing, and he went back to 
his old ways. We know what he thought at Helsinki. The walk back was 
unconvincing. And now, with his tweets this morning, he is back to his 
old ways.
  The only reason there was a walk back is that the President was 
forced by pressure from many of my Republican friends here, from his 
allies in the media, and his own White House staff. They all pressured 
him to give that temporary walk back. But it is clear from today's 
tweets that he doesn't mean it, that he doesn't believe it, and, 
frankly, neither does anybody else. It is clear that he still believes 
President Putin over the consensus of the American intelligence 
community, and that puts Americans' security gravely at risk.
  The President's reluctant, ham-handed, half-hearted ``clarification'' 
yesterday--almost entirely reversed this morning--is woefully 
inadequate. His behavior in Helsinki continues to demand a response 
from Congress, and there are many things we can do. But later this 
morning, if anything is true to form, the President will hold a Cabinet 
meeting, and his advisers will shower him with thanks and praise--this 
is what he craves--and will provide, perhaps, another version of what 
happened in Helsinki.
  Given what happened in Helsinki and given that the President's walk 
back was so weak, there are several things we as a Congress can and 
should do. Talking the talk is not enough. Walking the walk is what is 
so important here. We need to act, not simply say ``tsk, tsk; bad 
President'' and then go back to business as usual, because the American 
polity, the American security, and the view of America in the eyes of 
the world have taken a severe setback. It is up to us in the Congress 
to try to undo that.
  I mentioned a whole host of actions this body can take to counter 
Russia's malign activity, punish Putin for interfering in our 
elections, prevent him from doing it again, and ensure that the 
President is doing what is necessary to stand up for American 
interests. The Senate is not powerless to take action in the wake of 
President Trump's indefensible performance at his summit with Vladimir 
Putin. Let me reiterate and suggest some things we should do, and I 
believe we should do all of these.
  First, our Republican colleagues need to join us in demanding 
immediate public testimony from the President's national security 
team--those who were in Helsinki and those who would have knowledge of 
what happened in Helsinki.
  We need to have immediate public testimony from Secretary Pompeo, 
from DNI Director Coats, and from Ambassador Huntsman.
  Above all, we need the translator who was present at the one-on-one 
meeting with President Putin to testify openly before Congress. That is 
not usually done, but there are almost always other people in the room, 
so you don't need the translator. But for some reason--a reason that 
Americans and the world are wondering about--President Trump wanted no 
one else in the room. Having the translator come testify and tell us 
what happened there is an imperative. It is so important. It is rare 
for translators to come before Congress, but in this case, it is 
warranted--A, because no one else was in the room, by the President's 
direction, and B, because what happened there might have been so 
important, given what happened in public a few short hours afterward. 
The translator works for the Federal Government, works for the 
taxpayers, and may be the only person who can accurately report what 
President Trump said to President Putin behind closed doors, what 
concessions were made to Vladimir Putin. We want to know. Did the 
President make concessions that hurt our national security? What did he 
agree to?
  Congress has a duty to conduct responsible oversight of the executive 
branch, particularly after what the President did in Helsinki. The 
President's summit calls for oversight. Having these people--
particularly the translator--come testify is important. I understand 
Secretary Pompeo will appear before the Foreign Relations Committee 
next week, which is good, but we need to hear from others, including 
the translator. I urge Leader McConnell and his leadership team to 
immediately request a hearing of the people I mentioned.

  Second, the Republican leadership should soon place on the floor--
ASAP--bipartisan legislation, led by Senators Booker, Graham, Coons, 
and Tillis, to protect the special counsel from political interference. 
This legislation passed out of the Judiciary Committee with bipartisan 
support. It has four sponsors--two Democrats, two Republicans. If 
Leader McConnell is serious about the checks and balances and if what 
he said in the last day or two were not just meaningless words, he will 
put this legislation on the floor. It will pass.
  Alongside demanding testimony from the President's national security 
team, passing legislation to protect the special counsel is probably 
the most important thing this body could do to ensure that President 
Trump's recklessness does not precipitate a constitutional crisis.
  Third, we should ratchet up sanctions on Putin and his cronies, not

[[Page S5029]]

water them down. The sanctions this body passed by an overwhelming 
bipartisan margin of 98 to 2--and I salute Leader McConnell; he helped 
to bring it to the floor even though the President didn't like it--have 
not yet been fully implemented by the Trump administration. On our 
side, Senators Menendez and Van Hollen have some very good ideas about 
sanctions, and we should act on them.
  Fourth, our Republican colleagues can and should insist that the 
President finally release his tax returns. We all know that the 
President broke decades of practice when he didn't release those 
returns--so damaging because his economic interests outside of the 
government are so large, complicated, and varied and so important 
because he deals with international finance in these situations.
  There was no good reason not to release his tax returns then. Yet 
President Trump's inexplicable behavior in Helsinki has many Americans 
asking: What does Putin have over him that he is behaving in a way that 
is, basically, inexplicable by any rational, logical line of thinking? 
That is why his tax returns will be so important. We should pass 
legislation that requires the President to release his tax returns. It 
was important before, but it is much more important now, after 
  Fifth, the Republicans should demand with us that the President 
insist the 12 Russians who have been indicted for our election 
interference and information warfare be handed over. Putin may not do 
it, but at least we ought to show how serious we are as a country. The 
President ought to show how alarmed he is that this happened, and the 
best way to do that is for our Republican colleagues to join with us. 
They will have more influence than we will have in asking him to do so.
  Finally, we should have bipartisan legislation on election security. 
Together, in a bipartisan way, with the help of my friend from 
Tennessee--a senior member of Appropriations--in the last omnibus bill, 
we passed $380 million for election security. As I understand it, that 
money is now being sent out to help the States, but we have to do more. 
There is bipartisan legislation. Senators Klobuchar and Lankford and 
Senators Van Hollen and Rubio have good legislation that could help 
beef up our election security. We ought to move on it.
  Our country--our cyber networks and our election systems--is under 
constant attack from adversaries like the Russians. There is bipartisan 
consensus that we must harden our election infrastructure. This has led 
to the legislation I mentioned by Klobuchar, Lankford, Van Hollen, and 
Rubio. There is other legislation by Senators Harris and Wyden. I urge 
the Republican leader to let us move on one or more of these bills.
  We should do all of these things, not just one or two--all of them. I 
can't think of a logical reason not to do any of them other than out of 
fear of offending the President. Times like these call for us to do 
more. We have already heard some of our Republican colleagues say 
``let's move on'' after what the President said yesterday--as I 
mentioned, his so-called walk back was not a walk back at all--and that 
if we cared about our Nation's security, we would move forward.
  The final thing I would say to my Republican colleagues is this: This 
is a moment that will be remembered in American history. It is not 
going away. This is a moment that will be remembered next week, next 
month, in November of 2018, in November of 2020, and way beyond. The 
Helsinki summit is now an unalterable fact in American history--a 
moment when, unfortunately, an American President humiliated his own 
country and himself before a foreign dictator. It was a terrible sign 
of weakness by this President, and it, unfortunately, weakens the 
office he holds.
  Yet it can be remembered as a moment when a bipartisan majority in 
Congress--Democrats and Republicans in their dropping all trappings of 
party--links arms and stands up for our country after our President has 
refused to do so. Let's hope it is. Let's hope it is.

                     Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

  Mr. President, I know my colleagues are waiting, and I appreciate 
their indulgence as I have one final point on the Supreme Court and 
Brett Kavanaugh.
  I just read in a very recent interview that Judge Kavanaugh was 
asked, if granted the opportunity, whether he would overturn precedent 
in any one case. Judge Kavanaugh initially declined to answer. He then 
paused and said, on second thought, he would overturn the precedent in 
Morrison v. Olson. That is the case that upheld the constitutionality 
of the independent counsel law. I will make two brief points on the 
  First, Judge Kavanaugh's response demonstrates he is willing to 
answer direct questions about precedent--which precedents he agrees 
with and which precedents he would overturn. I hope, during the 
hearings, we will not suffer the tried-and-true verbal gymnastics of 
nominees who have refused to answer questions on existing precedent. 
Judge Kavanaugh had no qualms about that in that interview.
  Second and more immediately, considering everything we know about 
Judge Kavanaugh's expansive view of Executive power and accountability, 
the fact that Morrison v. Olson--of all of the cases in the history of 
the Supreme Court--is the first case he would think of overturning is 
deeply, deeply troubling.
  We already know he believes a President shouldn't be investigated 
while in office, that a President can't be indicted while in office, 
that a President doesn't have to follow laws that the President 
``deems''--his word--unconstitutional. Clearly, Judge Kavanaugh's 
judicial philosophy incorporates an almost monarchical view of 
Executive power and accountability, animated by a belief that our Chief 
Executive gets to play by a different set of rules.
  Judge Kavanaugh, particularly after this interview, needs to recuse 
himself from anything having to do with the Mueller probe given his 
record and the fact that he was nominated by the subject of the 
investigation he could very well end up ruling on.
  Once again, I thank my colleagues.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.


  Mr. JONES. Mr. President, I rise to discuss an issue that is of great 
importance to my constituents in Alabama and to many other people 
across the country. At issue is the health of our automotive industry.
  Unfortunately, the health of my State's automobile industry is being 
threatened not by unfair competition or illegal practices but by 
significant tariffs proposed by the President. According to the U.S. 
Chamber of Commerce, more than a half a million Alabama jobs are 
supported by global trade, meaning more than one in every four Alabama 
jobs is tied to trade.
  One of the key reasons Alabama has such a robust trade posture is due 
to our automotive manufacturing industry. I am old enough to remember 
what it was like before auto companies came to Alabama in the 1990s, 
starting with Mercedes. At the time that Mercedes came, many of 
Alabama's manufacturing facilities were closing down and moving to 
other countries. Yet, one by one--from Mercedes, to Honda, to Hyundai, 
and now to Toyota and Mazda, which are breaking ground on a new plant 
very soon--these automakers came to Alabama and breathed new life into 
our State's economy. They support, today, some 57,000 Alabama jobs, and 
our auto exports topped $11 billion in 2017. That doesn't even include 
the new Toyota-Mazda plant in Huntsville, which is going to add another 
4,000 jobs and $1.6 billion in economic development.
  After having no automobile industry 30 years ago, Alabama has become 
the third largest exporter of automobiles in this country. In only the 
past 15 months, every major automobile manufacturer in Alabama has 
announced an expansion to total 5,400 jobs and $3.3 billion in 
investments. This industry has been a phenomenal success in Alabama 
and, more importantly, for the men and women who rely on these very 
good-paying jobs to support their families and to build better lives.
  That is why it is a priority for me and colleagues like my friend, 
Senator Alexander from Tennessee, to keep our States' automotive 
industry thriving. Yet, recently, this industry has come under attack. 
In May, President Trump threatened a 25-percent tariff

[[Page S5030]]

on imported cars, trucks, and auto parts under the pretext that these 
products somehow threaten our national security.
  Let me be clear. While the United States faces any number of threats 
from adversaries on any number of fronts, foreign automobiles and auto 
parts are not threats to our national security. Do you know what is a 
threat? It is a 25-percent tax on the prices of these imported goods. 
The President's proposed auto tariffs have the potential to inflict 
serious damage on a booming industry in my State and in other leading 
auto-producing States, like Tennessee. We might call it a tariff, but 
we all know exactly what it is--a tax.
  By definition, a tariff is a tax on a particular class of imports or 
exports. Any tariffs placed on products that come into the United 
States are taxes that increase the cost of those goods to American 
consumers. When other countries place additional tariffs, or new taxes, 
on American goods, it raises the purchase prices of American products 
overseas and hurts our ability to sustain competitive markets in those 
countries. So it is deeply troubling that the recent proposal from the 
President will threaten tens of thousands of jobs in Alabama and 
increase costs for American consumers.
  Shortly after this tariff threat was issued, Senator Alexander joined 
me in writing to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and we urged him to 
reconsider the auto tariff tax proposal. Between our two States, the 
automotive sector contributes more than 200,000 jobs to our economies. 
Numbers of autoworkers from our States are in town this week to tell 
their stories, firsthand, to the Commerce Department, and I commend 
them for their efforts in doing so.
  Senator Alexander and I understand the devastating blow these tariffs 
will represent to an industry that has literally rebuilt our respective 
States' economies from the ground up. Automakers and their suppliers 
can be found in every corner and in nearly every county of each of our 
States. We have found common cause in fighting these tariffs and 
protecting our constituents from the devastating impacts they will 
  There are already a few legislative solutions out there, including 
Senator Corker's solution regarding tariffs. I know Senator Portman is 
also doing a lot of good work in this space. Senator Alexander and I 
are working together to propose a solution of our own as a 
complementary measure to halt these tariffs. We hope to introduce that 
proposal as early as next week after consulting with our automotive 
manufacturers and working with our colleagues to grow bipartisan 
support for this legislation.
  I realize that folks who have been affected by these proposed tariffs 
are looking for a silver bullet to stop them dead in their tracks. 
Right now, the only silver bullet in this case is for the President to 
change his mind and recognize how many jobs are at risk because of 
these proposed tariffs. Until that happens, we are going to fight to 
protect what our States and our workers have earned.

  I want to thank my colleague Senator Alexander, who is here today, 
for his continued partnership in this effort. I look forward to working 
with more of our colleagues to stop the urgent threat to American jobs.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, I want to thank the Senator from 
Alabama for his remarks.
  I come to the floor to discuss bipartisan legislation that he and I, 
as he said, plan to introduce as soon as next week to encourage the 
Trump administration to reconsider the dangerous steps it is taking to 
impose tariffs on imported automobiles and automotive parts.
  I use the word ``dangerous'' because nothing has done more during the 
last 40 years to raise family incomes in Tennessee than the arrival of 
the auto industry, and nothing could do more damage to those family 
incomes than the proposed tariffs on imported automobiles and 
automotive parts, combined with the tariffs on imported steel and 
aluminum that the administration has already imposed.
  We have heard the Senator from Alabama talk about his State. In my 
view, Tennessee is more likely to be hurt than any other State by these 
tariffs. Let me tell a short story to explain why I would make such a 
dramatic statement.
  Forty years ago, I walked 1,000 miles across Tennessee in my campaign 
for Governor. In Rutherford County, outside Nashville, I spent the 
night with the Knight family. Mrs. Knight told me that her twin boys 
were bright but that she was sad because, as she put it, there are no 
jobs around here. She said: They are smart boys, and they will never 
get a job here, and I will never see my grandchildren.
  Forty years ago, there were no auto jobs in Tennessee. We were the 
third poorest State. Our family incomes were the third lowest. Our low-
paying textile jobs were fleeing outside of our country. Unemployment 
and inflation were high, and prospects were bleak. Then in 1980--just 2 
years after that walk, when I was the Governor of Tennessee--Nissan 
from Japan arrived and came to Rutherford. Then General Motors, with 
Saturn, came to Spring Hill. Then Volkswagen came to Chattanooga. All 
had large manufacturing plants.
  As the American automobile industry moved to the Southeastern United 
States, more than 900 auto part suppliers spread across 88 of 
Tennessee's 95 counties. Today, 136,000 Tennesseans--or one-third of 
our manufacturing workforce--work in those auto plants. Those auto jobs 
have become the main driver of family incomes, which have now risen to 
a little above the national average. Our economy is booming, and 
unemployment is at a record low.
  Today, Tennessee produces 6.7 percent of all of the cars and trucks 
produced in the United States. Tennessee exported more than $5.5 
billion worth of automobiles and auto parts last year. Tennessee has 
been the top State in auto manufacturing strength for 5 out of the last 
8 years, according to Business Facilities.
  Let me get back to my little story. Last year, one of those bright 
twins from Rutherford County--the Knight family--where I spent the 
night 40 years ago, Randy Knight, retired as the general manager of the 
Nissan plant, which is the largest and most efficient auto plant in 
North America. His brother works there, too, and so does one of those 
grandchildren whom the grandmother thought she would never see.
  You can see why Tennesseans become very worried when anything 
threatens the auto industry that has transformed our State. Here is why 
the proposed tariffs do that.
  As the Senator from Alabama said, tariffs are taxes. Tariffs are 
taxes on us, pure and simple. They make what we buy and sell more 
expensive. The laws of economics usually say that when you make what 
you buy and sell more expensive, you buy and sell less of it. If we 
sell fewer automobiles and automotive parts, there will be lower 
revenues, lower profits, fewer wage increases, and fewer jobs.
  Since almost every one of the 900 auto part suppliers use steel and 
aluminum, lower revenues and smaller profits mean fewer wage increases 
and fewer jobs for the 136,000 Tennesseans who work in the more than 
900 auto plants in our State. More expensive cars means fewer people in 
the United States buy those cars and fewer people overseas buy those 
cars--the cars we make. Fewer people buying cars and trucks means that 
136,000 Tennesseans in America's No. 1 auto State are going to have a 
lower standard of living than they otherwise would and lower family 
  Why in the world would our government raise our taxes and destroy our 
jobs in this way? Well, the government's answer is that tariffs protect 
jobs in the steel and aluminum industry.
  It is true that some steel and aluminum jobs might be saved, but in 
2003, when President George W. Bush proposed steel tariffs, there were 
about 10 times as many people working in the steel-using industries as 
there were in steel-producing industries. Let me say that again. There 
were more people working in the steel-using industry than there were in 
the steel-producing industry.
  President Bush dropped the idea after a year because the tariffs 
destroyed, as

[[Page S5031]]

I said, more jobs in other industries, including the automotive 
industry, than they saved in the steel-producing industry.
  I know something about the aluminum industry. My dad worked most of 
his life at Alcoa's Tennessee aluminum smelting plant, which closed a 
few years ago because electricity was so much cheaper in other parts of 
the world. You use electricity--lots of it--to smelt aluminum. That is 
why those plants came to East Tennessee more than a century ago. But 
electric prices in the United States gradually rose over that century, 
and are still cheaper in other parts of the world. So today there are 
only eight smelting plants left in the United States. Seven of them are 
still in operation. Alcoa operates four and makes 46 percent--nearly 
half--of all of the aluminum produced in the United States. Alcoa 
opposes the aluminum tariffs because it also operates smelting plants 
in Canada and other countries that export aluminum to the United 
  The bottom line is this: The largest U.S. producer of aluminum, 
Alcoa, doesn't want the aluminum tariffs. The thousands of auto plants 
and other plants that use aluminum don't want the aluminum tariffs. So 
who is asking for the aluminum tariffs?
  A second reason justifying tariffs is that other countries may have 
been unfair to the United States. There may be examples of that, but 
when did it become a good idea to solve your own problem by shooting 
yourself in both feet at once? It is hard to see how raising our taxes 
and destroying our jobs is a smart solution to unfair trade practices.
  Then there is the question of whether tariffs help autoworkers. 
Raising taxes and prices and selling fewer cars wouldn't seem to help 
the American autoworker.
  Will it cause foreign companies to build more cars in the United 
States? Well, that is already happening.
  The foreign manufacturers have been doing exactly what we asked them 
to do. They have moved here. They produce cars and trucks here. They 
export many of those cars and trucks and auto parts to other countries. 
Today, about half the cars being built in America are being built by 
the so-called foreign manufacturers. Nissan's plant in Rutherford 
County employs 8,000 Tennesseans and is the largest and most efficient 
auto plant in North America.
  I was with President Trump last year when he spoke in Michigan about 
all the autoworker jobs leaving the Midwest. Since 1994, 3.6 million of 
those jobs have left the Midwest, but they didn't go overseas; they 
moved to Tennessee and Alabama and other parts of the Southeastern 
United States, which gained 3.6 million auto jobs during the same 
period. Those new auto plants are in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, 
Mississippi, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Texas. Those are all States 
where the President is widely admired and States that he carried 
heavily in his election effort.
  Those plants moved primarily to the Southeast because our part of the 
country offered right-to-work laws and an environment that allowed 
companies to make quality cars at a lower cost and sell them 
competitively here in the United States and around the world. In fact, 
my own view is that the movement of the American auto industry to the 
Southeast saved the American auto industry because where it was 25, 30, 
or 40 years ago was stuck in the Midwest in an oligopoly where the 
United Automobile Workers and three big companies were producing big, 
expensive cars, and the little foreign cars were coming in and eating 
their lunch in the marketplace. So now we have strong and effective 
American auto plants in the Midwestern United States and in the 
Southeastern United States, and half of them are made by so-called 
foreign manufacturers.
  I agree with President Trump on many things--taxes, judges, 
regulations, the economy, Keystone Pipeline, and others. He has helped 
create today's booming economy and low unemployment. I give him credit 
for helping to do that, but these tariffs take us in exactly the 
opposite direction.
  These tariffs are dangerous. These tariffs are going to cost us jobs. 
These tariffs are going to lower our family incomes. These tariffs are 
going to undo much of the good the President and this Congress have 
done during the last year and a half to create this booming economy.
  I respectfully suggest that the President reconsider his trade 
policy, drop the tariffs as a tool for implementing his objectives, and 
find other, more effective means to persuade other countries to do for 
us what we do for them.
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado.

        Opening of the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center

  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, this weekend, Colorado will be 
celebrating the opening of our new Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical 
Center in Aurora. I am incredibly proud that we will be reaching this 
milestone this weekend after more than a decade of work and some 
significant hurdles, trials, and tribulations along the way. I commend 
my colleagues for the work they did funding this project.
  The Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center will be the crown jewel 
of the VA system. It wasn't easy to get here. A lot of people had to do 
a lot of work to make it happen, including the veterans, the leadership 
organizations in Colorado, our colleagues across the aisle, Congressman 
Coffman, Congressman Perlmutter, Senator Bennet--in fact, the entire 
congressional delegation for a number of years--Senator Salazar, 
Senator Udall, Senator Allard. They have all done incredible work to 
make this weekend a possibility.
  Hundreds of millions of tax dollars were used for this facility. It 
did run over budget. It certainly ran over time. But we have learned a 
lot as a result of this facility, and the Army Corps of Engineers will 
now be taking over major construction projects like this. As a result 
of this facility, we have made changes on how designs are being made. 
It was a learning experience and unfortunately a costly one at that, 
but it doesn't change the fact that this will be a crown jewel in the 
VA system.
  This is not the end of a project, it is the beginning of a promise to 
be fulfilled--a promise to our veterans on the care they will receive, 
a place where they will find healing, where they will find support, and 
where they will find a return to good health.
  To our men and women in uniform who currently serve, know that you 
have a place in Colorado where you will find incredible care.
  To those who have served our country, who live in Colorado, know that 
with great pride, we open this facility this weekend.
  But we have more work to do. We have work to do to make sure that it 
is easier to hire doctors and fill the positions at the hospital that 
have remained open for months around the VA system. It takes too long 
to onboard medical professionals. We should cut down that time, figure 
out how to cut through the redtape and the bureaucracy. If you are 
qualified to practice medicine at Swedish Hospital in Denver, or any of 
our other great facilities, why can't you just go to work at the VA 
hospital as well? So these are things that we can do to do a better 

  On Monday, I met with the Secretary nominee, Robert Wilkie, President 
Trump's nominee to be the new VA Secretary, and I talked to him about 
the work we have to continue to do to make sure that veterans receive 
the best care possible. This Congress has passed legislation, such as 
the Choice Act. We have made great reforms over the last several months 
to reduce wait times and wait lists and to eliminate them and make sure 
that we can provide that promise of care.
  This weekend in Colorado there will be a great celebration as we open 
this facility. So many people put in tireless years upon years of work, 
from the leadership of the State to the leadership of Congress. I am 
grateful that this weekend we celebrate as we open a facility that 
begins to fulfill the promise made a decade ago for veterans in the 
  I yield the floor.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sullivan). Without objection, it is so 

                     Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to join my 
colleagues in making it clear just how

[[Page S5032]]

high the stakes are when it comes to our Nation's highest courts--for 
our families, for our communities, for our country, and for our future.
  Since the day he took office, President Trump has made one move after 
another to turn the White House and the entire executive branch into a 
tool for those who have the most power, the most money, and the most 
influence to get even more power, more money, and more influence. From 
our public schools to our public lands and more, it is hard to find any 
Trump administration decision where the bottom line didn't come first.
  But it is not just his administration. President Trump has 
systematically worked to roll back decades of progress through our 
courtrooms, from the Supreme Court on down, which will have long-
lasting impacts stretching far beyond his time in the White House.
  I know some of my colleagues were here last night to talk about the 
absolutely egregious circuit court nominees who would do everything 
they can to whittle away at our rights and freedoms as Americans. I 
want to talk about that for a bit as well, but I want to take some time 
first to talk about a nominee who would sit above those circuit court 
nominees in our Nation's Supreme Court and who, if confirmed, would 
overturn Roe v. Wade, eliminate protections for patients with 
preexisting conditions, reverse settled law and precedent, and give 
these extreme circuit court nominees even more room to do damage to our 
Constitution, our laws, our freedoms, and our way of life.
  It is telling that President Trump and his Republican and special-
interest allies are desperately trying to make the case that Judge 
Kavanaugh isn't well outside the mainstream, far outside the bounds of 
reasonable, and deeply opposed to what people across the country want 
when it comes to their rights and freedoms being protected. They may 
try, but they will not succeed because the record is clear and the 
facts are clear. Judge Kavanaugh is an extreme pick who would be 
devastating for our country if he is confirmed, and we need to do 
everything we can to stop it.
  So I am standing here right now, on behalf of the families in my home 
State of Washington and across this country, to be very clear about 
what is at stake if President Trump and his enablers continue to try to 
turn our judicial system into one that works for massive corporations 
and special interests and against regular families.
  Earlier today, a number of my colleagues stood in this spot to sound 
the alarm on what is at stake for our environment and our public health 
if the balance of this Court swings toward President Trump and his 
extreme special interests. I want to expand on those concerns, and I 
want to talk about just a few of the many issues that Judge Kavanaugh 
would impact should he be confirmed and how awful this would be for our 
families, communities, students, and workers and for our environment, 
our elections, our country, and more.
  But before I get into some other issues--and, again, just a few of 
many--I want to start with two that I believe are most important and 
that every woman, every man, and every family should be thinking very 
hard about: protections for patients with preexisting conditions and 
Roe v. Wade.
  First, President Trump has broken promise after promise he made to 
workers and families on the campaign trail, but he has never once 
wavered in keeping promises he made to extreme, ideological, rightwing 
special interests.
  President Trump said he would make taking away patient protections--
like those for preexisting conditions--and gutting policies that have 
made healthcare more affordable for millions a top priority. He failed 
to jam a bill through Congress here to make those things happen. So he 
has done everything he can to attack patients' healthcare from the Oval 
  His biggest attack yet is Judge Kavanaugh--an extremely conservative 
nominee vetted by those same rightwing special interests who President 
Trump is so determined to keep happy, a judge who those special 
interests picked because they know he will help them undermine 
affordable healthcare from the Supreme Court Bench.
  I believed President Trump when he said he was determined to 
undermine patients' healthcare in order to satisfy rightwing special 
interests. Healthcare coverage, especially for people with preexisting 
conditions, is on the line with this nomination, and we cannot afford 
not to take this threat seriously.
  That is not the only healthcare issue under threat. President Trump 
said he would appoint Supreme Court Justices vetted by these groups for 
their willingness to overturn Roe v. Wade. He said women should be 
punished for having an abortion. In office, he and Vice President Mike 
Pence have done virtually everything they can to restrict women's 
access to healthcare and to chip away at women's constitutionally 
protected reproductive rights. Unless women and men across the country 
stand up to stop them, they will succeed in putting another Supreme 
Court Justice who has the ideological rightwing's stamp of approval 
when it comes to striking down Roe.

  There is no sugarcoating this. We are on the precipice of five men 
voting to overturn a historic ruling that has made women healthier and 
made them more equal and more free in the United States. We cannot let 
that happen.
  Those are two issues that so many of us are focused on, and they are 
so important, but they are far from the only ones. Another key issue I 
want to briefly mention today is the rights and freedoms of our LGBTQ 
friends, coworkers, neighbors, and fellow Americans. We have made 
progress, but there are many questions and cases in this area that will 
come before the Supreme Court in the coming years--whether it is 
questions regarding equality under the adoption laws for all couples or 
the rights of a couple to buy a wedding cake, whether transgender 
troops can serve their country, whether someone can continue being 
fired simply for being LGBTQ, and more. So there is a whole lot at 
stake. Anyone who cares about this issue or anyone who simply believes 
that everyone in this country should have fundamental rights and 
freedoms--no matter who they are or who they love--should join us in 
rejecting Judge Kavanaugh.
  That is not all. We have known from day one that President Trump 
would be hostile toward our bedrock environmental laws, that he was 
eager to do the bidding of the coal, oil, and gas industries, that his 
slogan of putting America first actually meant that the United States 
would be dead last in the fight against climate change, and that 
Trump's economic agenda has more to do with rolling back rules that 
help to keep our kids safe from toxic pollutants, protecting our 
drinking water, or preventing health problems in senior citizens--the 
ones those special interest groups try to call pesky regulations and 
what the rest of us moms, grandmothers, and ordinary people call 
commonsense protections.
  But it is apparently not enough just to attack our environment for 
the administration. If you really want to shape our Nation's 
environmental laws for generations to come, you put someone on the 
Supreme Court for life who will consistently side with the massive 
corporations and special interests that put profits ahead of the health 
and well-being of families, and, boy, did those CEOs and special 
interests hit the jackpot with President Trump's nominee.
  You don't have to spend long looking at Judge Kavanaugh's record to 
see that, should he be seated, nearly five decades of environmental 
protection are at risk, including the protections enshrined in the 
Clean Air Act, which has significantly cut the smog, soot, and 
chemicals that choked communities prior to 1970 and prevented hundreds 
of thousands of premature deaths and cases of heart disease in the 
years sense.
  Also at risk is the Clean Water Act, which, if erased, would take us 
back to the bad old days before commonsense protections--like when the 
Cuyahoga River was so polluted that it caught fire; when shellfish beds 
were closed in Puget Sound, nearly decimated by pollutants; or when an 
estimated 20 million gallons of sewage effluent flowed into Lake 
Washington every single day.
  I could go on and on about the strides our country has made to keep 
our families safe, but the bottom line is that because of our landmark 
environmental laws--like the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act--our 
rivers are cleaner, our air is easier to breathe,

[[Page S5033]]

and families are better protected than ever before.
  Though we have a lot of work yet to do, it would be a grave mistake 
to go backward, and that is just what so many people fear would happen 
with Judge Kavanaugh on the Bench, given his past rulings and given the 
test that President Trump applied and his commitment to only nominate 
someone screened and approved by the extreme right, especially his 
stance that could take decisions away from our Nation's scientists and 
nonpartisan professionals and put those decisions into the hands of 
special interests.
  That takes me to another issue I want to run through briefly: making 
sure our elections in this country are free and accessible and that 
corporations don't have a louder voice in our process than ordinary 
voters. These are issues where our courts have failed to serve us well 
in recent years, but by confirming Judge Kavanaugh, we would be 
cementing this awful pattern for a generation and making necessary 
reform so much more difficult.
  Judge Kavanaugh will continue his habit of ruling to make it harder 
and harder for citizens to vote and have a voice in this democracy. We 
know this. We saw how he ruled in favor of stricter voter ID laws--ones 
where the intention to make it harder for Americans to vote was clear 
and absolutely the wrong way to go. We cannot have a Supreme Court that 
continues to allow voter suppression.
  So I ask my colleagues: If you believe that voting in our country 
should be open to all and that people shouldn't have less access to the 
voting booth because of where they live or the color of their skin, 
join me in rejecting this nominee and demanding someone who will 
protect our elections and our democracy. If you believe that Citizens 
United was an awful decision that perverted the First Amendment and put 
shameful amounts of power into the hands of the mega rich and the 
biggest corporations, join me in rejecting this nominee and demanding 
someone who would put our ordinary voters first.
  If we can't stem the flow of dark, unaccountable money in politics, 
and reverse the tide of the wealthiest Americans and biggest 
corporations being allowed to have the loudest voices in our elections, 
we are going to keep running into massive challenges as a 
nation. Without a Supreme Court willing to do that, without rejecting 
Judge Kavanaugh and demanding someone else, we can't do that. Giving 
the most powerful among us an advantage in our elections is not the 
only way Judge Kavanaugh is working for those at the top, and I want to 
briefly discuss another.

  Last month's Janus decision made it clear that workers and their 
unions need a fair voice on the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, Judge 
Kavanaugh has a long record of weakening worker protections, 
undermining union rights, and making it easier for corporations and 
special interests to tilt the scales of justice in their favor.
  I would urge my colleagues who claim to care about the rights and 
economic security of working families to join me in rejecting this 
nomination and put the power back into the hands of working families 
and the middle class.
  This point is especially potent given the disgrace we witnessed in 
Helsinki. Every American should be deeply concerned about President 
Trump putting someone on the Supreme Court who is prepared to protect 
him from legal attack and do his bidding.
  As we all watch, many of us in horror and dismay, as President Trump 
continues to do everything in his power to try and discredit the 
Mueller investigation, we cannot forget, for a moment, that his Supreme 
Court nominee suggested in a 2009 law review article that a sitting 
President should not be subjected to criminal investigation or civil or 
criminal litigation.
  Does anyone think, for one second, this isn't something President 
Trump was looking for? Is there anyone who has seen how President Trump 
has acted, listened to what he said who thinks he is not thinking about 
what happens if something related to this investigation goes to the 
Supreme Court?
  President Trump controls the White House. His Republicans control 
both Houses of Congress. The last thing we need, the last thing any 
American who truly cares about our country should want is to place the 
last remaining branch--the final branch intended to be independent, to 
put our Constitution first--into the hands of a Trump lackey. That 
would be awful. It would eliminate even the pretense of checks and 
balances. If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, with his record and given 
what we know about President Trump, that is exactly what would happen.
  If you believe we should be taking the Russian election interference 
into U.S. elections seriously, join me in rejecting this nominee and 
demanding someone who would be truly independent and place an 
appropriate check on Executive power.
  If you believe a President is not above the law, join me in rejecting 
this nominee and demanding someone who will take our Constitution and 
our judicial independence seriously.
  If you believe Executive power is not unilateral and that real checks 
and balances are required, join me in rejecting this nominee and 
demanding someone who will clearly and unequivocally make sure that 
continues to be a reality.
  Finally, I want to highlight Judge Kavanaugh's troubling record on 
commonsense gun safety. This is an issue that certainly hit close to 
home for far too many people in recent years. Churches, schools, 
concerts, it seems like no place is immune to the rampant gun violence 
happening in the country, which is why millions of Americans have taken 
to the streets in recent months to demand action.
  Yet, at the same time, Judge Kavanaugh has taken a far more expansive 
interpretation of the Second Amendment and has vigorously argued that 
assault weapon bans are unconstitutional. His position is far more 
extreme than even the late Justice Scalia. It is no wonder the NRA 
immediately applauded Judge Kavanaugh's nomination and has pledged now 
to spend untold amounts to seal the deal on his confirmation.
  Those are just a few issues weighing on so many people's minds right 
now. I could go on about what is at stake if President Trump turns his 
White House, and potentially now the judicial system, into one that 
favors the powerful few.
  I would like to close by saying there are few things I take as 
seriously as a Senator than my duty to consider and vote on a Supreme 
Court nominee. In my time in the Senate, I have had the opportunity to 
consider nominees from Democrats and nominees from Republicans. I voted 
for some of them, I voted against some of them, each on their merits, 
and each based on how I think they would serve.
  This time is different. We know exactly where President Trump's 
Supreme Court nominee will fall on the specific issues, no matter what 
vague answers Judge Kavanaugh chooses to deliver through this process.
  Why do we know this? Because President Trump told us openly, 
publicly, and repeatedly. The President laid out specific tests and 
promised to only pick nominees from a prescreened list of people who 
would absolutely meet them.
  Nobody should be fooled. Judge Kavanaugh is a rubberstamp. He will 
stand with special interests over families, and he will take our 
country in the wrong direction.
  I urge my colleagues, stand with me in rejecting Judge Kavanaugh's 
nomination and join me in calling on President Trump to send us someone 
who would stand with women, with our workers, with our families, and 
who would truly commit to respecting settled law and the rights and 
freedoms we all hold dear and the longstanding protections that help 
keep our families safe and healthy.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.

                       Nomination of Ryan Bounds

  Ms. CORTEZ MASTO. Mr. President, I rise to speak out in opposition to 
the nomination of Ryan Bounds to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for 
the Ninth Circuit.
  I will be voting against his confirmation, and I ask all of my 
colleagues to do the same. My reason for this is not just the fact that 
in expressing his disdain for multicultural values in a series of 
college writings, he compared efforts to build tolerance and promote 
diversity to Nazi book burning; it is not just the fact that he 
advocated against policies designed to make

[[Page S5034]]

LGBTQ students feel welcome and crack down on campus rapists; it is not 
just the fact that when a bipartisan judicial selection committee asked 
him to disclose past controversies, he deliberately misled the 
committee and said there was nothing to worry about.
  Now that his controversial writings have come to light, he refuses to 
retract or show remorse for his statements. Instead, he brushes them 
off as overbroad and overheated.
  Ryan Bounds' writings show he does not believe in a tolerant and 
diverse America, where women and people of color are treated with equal 
respect. In my eyes, that alone disqualifies him from sitting on the 
Federal bench, but Bounds has not received the blue-slip approval of 
either Senator from his home State of Oregon. No judge in modern 
history has ever been confirmed without a blue slip from either home 
State Senator.
  So a vote to confirm him is a direct attack on the Senate's 
constitutional responsibility to advise and consent. The blue-slip 
process is a critical function of the legislative branch. It gives 
every Senator a chance to have a say in the Federal judges who serve in 
their home State.
  The nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will 
have a lifetime tenure. If confirmed, Ryan Bounds will have influence 
over our legal system for the rest of his life. Don't the American 
people and their elected officials deserve a say in whether he should 
be allowed to fill that seat?
  This debate is not just about one unqualified judge and his racist 
ideas. It is about the duty of the legislative branch to serve as a 
check and balance on the President. Over the course of the Trump 
administration so far, we have seen an unprecedented attempt to 
undermine the blue-slip process and pack the courts with judges favored 
by corporations and special interests.
  I urge my colleagues to take a stand against President Trump's 
attacks on our legal system. Protect the integrity of the blue-slip 
process and vote against Ryan Bounds' nomination. The power and 
independence of the legislature is at stake.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.

            Calling for the Release of Pastor Andrew Brunson

  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, I think last week or the week before, you 
were presiding when I did a speech that I promised I am going to do 
every week we are in session until justice is served in Turkey.
  It is a speech about this man. His name is Pastor Andrew Brunson. He 
was arrested in Turkey in October of 2016. If you want to sum up his 
crime, it is for being a missionary. He has been in Turkey for about 20 
years, has served the community well, has provided aid and comfort to 
Syrian refugees, has provided a place for people in Turkey who want to 
come into a Christian church to do just that. He has a small church in 
Izmir. You can only seat about 100 people in it, and he didn't even 
have that when he started his missionary work.
  I should say he is from the Black Mountain area of North Carolina. He 
was part of the same church that Rev. Billy Graham was a part of. He 
went to Turkey to really pursue his passion and serve in Christ through 
missionary work.
  In 2016, after the coup attempt, President Erdogan implemented 
emergency powers, and he swept up thousands of people and put them in 
prison. Pastor Brunson was in a Turkish prison for almost 19 months 
without charges--about 17 months in a cell that was designed for 8 
prisoners that had 21 people in it.
  I was in Turkey about 4 months ago--when I first met Pastor Brunson 
personally--to visit him in prison to let him know that as long as I am 
in the U.S. Senate, I am going to work hard for his ultimate release.
  Then I went back about 6 weeks later, and I sat in a Turkish 
courtroom for about 12 hours, and I heard some of the most absurd 
charges that could ever be levied against someone to keep them in 
prison for what will now be going on 2 years. I told Pastor Brunson I 
would be back, and I will continue to be back, until justice is served.
  I don't want to get into too many of the details so I will tell you 
he was in a courtroom today for another 5 hours. If it bore any 
resemblance to the time I was in the courtroom, it goes something like 
this: The defense gets to say nothing. They don't get to introduce 
witnesses to testify on his behalf. You have secret witnesses, many of 
them in a Turkish prison, testifying against him about things like a 
daughter posting a meal she had on a social media application that the 
Turkish authorities believe linked her to terror because they believe 
it is a meal certain terrorist organizations like. It also happens to 
be a meal that a lot of people in the Middle East like, but that was a 
charge that suggested he was involved in a coup attempt or conspiring 
with terrorists.
  Having a light on in a church--by the way, in a room that doesn't 
have a window--that was supposedly observed by one of these secret 
witnesses who are in prison, saying: Well, clearly if there was a light 
on in this church, nothing good could have happened because it was in 
the middle of the night. Maybe somebody just left the light switch on, 
but I am still trying to figure out how they actually saw it because I 
have been in that room, and there is not a single window. There is no 
way you could have seen it from the outside.
  Those are the types of charges that have been used to keep Pastor 
Brunson in prison since October of 2016.
  Today, he was back, as I said earlier, in a hearing in a Turkish 
courtroom for 5 hours. At the end of the 5-hour hearing he was told 
that he is going to continue to be in prison until they have another 
hearing in October, and that hearing is scheduled for about 4 days 
short of 2 years that he has spent time in a Turkish prison.
  He has been in prison for 649 days. He is in good spirits--as good as 
you can imagine for somebody who is enduring the trauma of being 
imprisoned, I think, unlawfully and unfairly.
  His wife Norine is in Turkey. She refuses to leave because she is 
afraid if she leaves Turkey, Turkey will not allow her to come back 
into the country.
  They have been separated from their three children for 2 years 
because they are afraid to have them come into the country and not be 
able to leave.
  I am asking the Members of Congress to join with me to apply pressure 
on Turkey to have justice done. Justice is releasing Pastor Brunson and 
letting him come back home.
  We have provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act that 
send a very clear message to Turkey that we are serious about this.
  I have my own concerns about Turkey because they seem to be drifting 
away as a NATO ally and partner and more toward a position I don't 
quite understand. I certainly don't understand it in terms of our 
mutual interests as NATO allies or as economic partners.
  But for right now, I want to focus on a man who has been in prison 
for 649 days. I want to focus on other people who worked with the 
Embassy who have been in prison for about the same time. I want to 
focus on a NASA scientist who happened to be visiting his family in 
Turkey--he is a Turkish American--who has been in prison for 2\1/2\ 
years. We have to educate the American people on a Turkey that has no 
resemblance today of what it was just 5 or 6 years ago.
  I want to have a positive working relationship with Turkey. I want 
increased economic ties and increased military ties. But when you 
illegally imprison American citizens, no matter how important that 
strategic relationship is, at some point we have to question whether or 
not we can go further.
  In the meantime, if any of you are planning on going to Turkey, I 
would think twice. Make sure that you don't take a picture of somebody 
that maybe Turkish officials think is involved in a coup, because that 
can sweep you up in it. Make sure that you don't eat a meal that other 
segments of Turkish society like, because that may make you a coup 
  I hope that we solve this problem, but I will tell you that there are 
very few things that would ever take me away from coming to this floor 
and going into committee meetings and doing everything I can to put 
pressure on Turkey until Pastor Andrew Brunson is back in this country 
safe and sound with his family. Then I will

[[Page S5035]]

continue to work on all the other people who are being unfairly and 
unjustly held in Turkish prisons.
  We need to have justice for Pastor Brunson. We need Turkey to be the 
ally that we want them to be, and we need President Erdogan to show the 
leadership and the compassion to bring Pastor Brunson home.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.


  Mr. TESTER. Mr. President, I rise today to talk about tariffs and 
their impact on Montana's family farmers and businesses. In Montana we 
have more than 27,000 family farms and ranches. Folks who farm and 
ranch these lands are descendants of homesteaders and pioneers, 
including myself. They are also young producers who may be preparing 
for their first harvest. Might I add that we don't have enough young 
producers in our State. The population of farmers is getting far too 
  These folks work 7 days a week, for long hours, to raise the food 
that feeds our families across this world, and they power our rural 
economies in this country. Farmers and ranchers are small business 
operators and owners who are always on tight margins and always are 
looking to make sure that they can make the books balance by being on 
the positive side of the ledger. Why? So they can keep their farms and 
ranches viable to be able to have the next generation take over their 
operation. Just like any other business--a local bar or a hardware 
store--you need to be able to make a profit to stay in business.
  Producers need to make sure that they have predictability in input 
costs--we are talking about fertilizers, fuel, and seed--and 
predictability in markets, the places where we sell our grain, which 
has always been a challenge and which has become more of a challenge 
over the past 6 months. When farmers plant a crop, they need to know 
there is a market for that crop, because if there is not, it can put 
them in a world of hurt financially.
  Unfortunately, in Montana, we are preparing to harvest winter wheat 
crops as we speak. Spring wheat crops will soon be coming, pulse crops 
will soon be coming, and oil seeds will soon be coming. The fact is 
that there is no certainty in any of those crops right now. Why? 
Because our farmers and our ranchers are being used as pawns in a trade 
war that I can guarantee not one of them asked for.
  This trade war is eliminating access to foreign markets that have 
taken generations to develop and putting family farm and ranch 
operations in a financial pinch--such a severe financial pinch that we 
haven't seen anything like it since the 1980s, when we saw a mass 
exodus off the land due to bad ag prices.
  The retaliatory tariffs against family farmers and ranchers is 
harming Montana's No. 1 industry, agriculture. Montana's grain 
producers produce about $2 billion worth of wheat, barley, pulse crops, 
and oil seeds every year. Since the middle of June, the price of No. 1 
Dark Northern Spring wheat in southeastern Montana has fallen more than 
60 cents a bushel. That is more than 10 percent, and the same can be 
said throughout the State of Montana.
  To put that in perspective, just think what would happen in your 
business if your prices were reduced by 10 percent right off the top. 
It would put you in a world of financial hurt, and that is where 
Montana's farms and ranches are today. If prices continue to plummet, 
some of these families who have been on the land for over 100 years 
will be forced to make some very difficult decisions in the next 6 to 8 

  These tariffs are eliminating producers' access to foreign markets--
markets that are in Asia and Europe and markets in Canada and Mexico. 
In Montana, we sell our grains and our beef to these countries and 
others: China, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Pacific Rim countries, and 
European Union countries. These exports didn't just pop up overnight. 
They came to fruition after years of hard work, good faith and trust, 
and negotiations.
  Negotiations and trust are being thrown out the window with these 
tariff fights. In some cases--Japan, for example--it has taken multiple 
generations to establish these export markets. If we lose them, it will 
take many generations to get them back. Countries such as Argentina and 
Russia are circling the markets like sharks, wanting to strike the 
minute we lose a grip on them to fill those voids.
  Take, for instance, Mexico. Mexico is the largest importer of Montana 
barley in the world. For years, Mexico bought Montana's barley to be 
able to make beers, like Corona and others. These tariffs have put 
those markets at risk to the point that one Mexican barley buyer told 
one of the folks from the barley association of Montana: I don't know 
that we can depend on America to supply our barley anymore because 
these tariffs have put our markets at risk.
  As a result, Mexico, which is a huge importer of American wheat, just 
this last spring turned toward Argentina for their wheat for the first 
time ever. They signed a contract for Argentine wheat to take the place 
of the wheat from this country, of which Montana is a part and will no 
longer be supplying.
  The real question is, How long is this going to have to go on? We are 
faced with enough uncertainties in production and agriculture with 
weather, drought, hail, bugs, and disease. The list goes on. 
Unfortunately, this is a manmade problem.
  I get it. I think the President is right when he talks about holding 
China accountable. They have stolen a lot of intellectual property. 
They manipulate their currency. But to put on tariffs where retaliation 
comes on ag products is not the right direction to go. We can get their 
attention by other ways.
  I would also say that these tariffs aren't just felt by farmers and 
ranchers. They are felt by other businesses too. For builders, for 
example, their costs are going up. In 2016, the voters of Missoula, MT, 
approved a $30 million bond to build a new city library. They started 
the project, but tariffs on steel sent material costs soaring. Now the 
cost of rebar alone has increased the cost of the project by $100,000. 
Library officials have told me that as a direct result of these 
tariffs, they are preparing with a need to go out and raise another 
$500,000 to finish this project. The people of our State have to pay 
that price.
  One of Montana's fastest growing industries is microbreweries. It is 
a real success story, employing a lot of folks and adding value to 
grains in our State. They are being hit hard by tariffs on aluminum. 
These emerging businesses have no other option but to pass that cost on 
to their patrons.
  So we are paying both ways, folks. We are paying on the tariffs 
coming in, and we are paying on the tariffs being put on our products 
going out.
  In agribusiness, for example, everything that is made of steel is 
going up and going up significantly. From I-beams to cattle guards, to 
posts for fencing, to metal for storage bins, anything made out of 
steel is going up significantly. Manufacturers who have been on the 
rebound since the 2008 financial crisis now have a hard time bidding 
contracts on materials. Less of their money is going into their 
pockets, if there is any left at all, because of these tariffs. Every 
sector of our economy is feeling the pinch of this escalating trade 
  Fair trade is really important. Getting manufacturing back to this 
country is really important, but it doesn't appear that we are doing 
those things. Instead, we are putting our existing businesses--whether 
it is in production or agriculture, construction or manufacturing--at 
risk with these trade wars.
  We should have open markets. Those markets need to go in both 
directions, but we shouldn't be driving people into bankruptcy in the 
meantime. That is what is happening.
  I ask: What is the end game? If this trade war continues, I had an ag 
banker tell me that family farms and ranchers have about 18 months 
before they have to start liquidating. That is the reality we are 
facing, and that is not very long.
  That is the reason why this body needs to understand that we need to 
send strong messages to the administration that they can't use farms, 
ranches, and small businesses as bargaining chips. Their livelihoods 
are on the line.
  Earlier this month, I hosted a roundtable discussion on tariffs at 
the Billings Chamber of Commerce. I was able to meet Montanans eyeball 
to eyeball,

[[Page S5036]]

and I heard their concerns. This is not a political issue. These 
tariffs aren't targeted toward Democrats or Republicans. They are 
targeted at everyone. Ag producers at this moment in time are probably 
carrying the majority of the load. It needs to stop before the damage 
is irreversible.
  My grandparents homesteaded the land that we farm and lived through 
the 1930s. My folks, who took over the land, took the farm over in the 
early 1940s and lived through a lot of hard times themselves. My wife 
and I took the farm over in the late 1970s, and we saw what happened in 
the 1980s. We have seen what happens in agriculture, where so many of 
the folks can't make it on the farm anymore, and they have to have jobs 
off the farm to be able to make the books balance.
  These tariffs are making things harder. We have been down difficult 
paths in this country before. I don't believe we can afford another 
punch to the gut in rural America. I will continue to fight for and 
defend the folks who put food on our table, but their bottom lines are 
being severely, severely impacted by this trade war.
  Now look, the legislation we passed last week is a start. The Senate 
version of the farm bill provides a safety net, but I am here to state 
that if things continue to go south for our markets, we are going to be 
faced with a bill that dumps a bunch of money into production 
agriculture to keep these folks afloat. Why? Because of tariffs that 
are being put on ag products. It doesn't have to be this way.
  We are an equal branch of government. I believe that both Republicans 
and Democrats can work on this issue in a commonsense way, especially 
in this body. The administration needs to understand that if they keep 
continuing down this war of who can put the most tariffs on products, 
we are going to have a hard time keeping our businesses afloat, 
particularly our family farms and ranches in this country. That will 
not help with food security for our country, and the long-term negative 
impacts of that are unacceptable.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip.

                     Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, it has been a little more than a week 
since President Trump announced his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh 
to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the impending 
retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. In that short period of time, we 
have seen some of our friends across the aisle run through an almost 
impressive set of rhetorical calisthenics in an attempt to tank Judge 
Kavanaugh's confirmation before it even had a chance to begin.
  ``He will overturn this case or this law,'' they claim. ``He will not 
be a check on the President,'' they have tried to say. They have even 
suggested that he charged too much for baseball season tickets on his 
credit card--horror of horrors. Multiple fact-checkers have debunked 
each of these claims, so they have moved on.
  More recently, we have heard from some of our Democratic colleagues 
that they want to review every single piece of paper--every email, 
every memo, every document that has passed across Brett Kavanaugh's 
desk at any point in his career.
  Reviewing relevant and important documents is a perfectly normal part 
of confirming a judicial nominee, but using that as an excuse to delay, 
foot-drag, and obstruct is not acceptable. We know that the effort to 
get every memo from the Bush White House during the time he served as 
Staff Secretary there is really laughable and is only a fishing 
expedition designed to delay his confirmation until after the Supreme 
Court begins its work the first Monday in October.
  For example, as Staff Secretary, he would have had the responsibility 
to basically manage the paper flow across the President's desk. These 
aren't just documents that he, himself, has generated. In fact, I 
suspect that with the overwhelming majority of them, he would have had 
nothing to do with creating them. He wouldn't be the author. He 
wouldn't be making policy recommendations. Basically, he would have 
navigated all of the documents that went across the President's desk to 
make sure that they had been reviewed by the appropriate person and 
that they would have been checked for accuracy. The ideas that every 
single piece of paper that went across President George W. Bush's desk 
should be somehow relevant and that we should delay confirmation until 
we have all had a chance to read it are ridiculous. Is what President 
Bush had for dinner 14 years ago relevant to Judge Kavanaugh's fitness 
to serve on the Supreme Court? Obviously not.
  Just as, in 2010, the committee quickly processed Justice Kagan, who 
spent many years in the Clinton White House, I am confident we can 
expeditiously and efficiently review Judge Kavanaugh's relevant 
background materials to make sure the vote on his confirmation occurs 
before the Supreme Court reconvenes in October.
  Under Chairman Grassley's leadership, the Judiciary Committee will 
work to produce as many documents as are relevant and possible so that 
every Senator can do their due diligence. An important part of our 
constitutional responsibility is to provide advice and consent, as the 
Constitution itself says.
  The most important thing to remember is that unlike the Kagan 
nomination, we have 12 years of service on the bench by Judge 
Kavanaugh. He served on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in what has 
often been called the second most important court in the Nation because 
it is located in the District of Columbia. Most of the major cases 
involving huge policy disputes confronting the Federal Government have 
made their way through his court, and he has written opinions--majority 
opinions and dissenting opinions--which have all been reviewed by the 
U.S. Supreme Court. I submit that would be the best evidence of what 
kind of Justice he would be on the Supreme Court. What kind of judge 
has he been on the DC Circuit? That is the best evidence.
  We shouldn't indulge requests for these fishing expeditions and paper 
chases that will lead to nothing other than delay. It is important that 
the vetting process be deliberative and thorough, and it will be. But 
the volume of documents requested shouldn't be just a pretext to draw 
this out for political purposes.
  Here is an important factoid: Nearly half of the Democratic caucus 
has already said that they will vote no on Judge Kavanaugh's 
confirmation to the Supreme Court. Are they going to be requesting 
documents? Are they going to be saying ``Well, I want to look at 
everything that came across his desk'' when they have already announced 
their public opposition?
  Five of them announced their opposition before Judge Kavanaugh was 
even named. In other words, they would oppose anyone who is nominated 
by this President. We saw an attempt to filibuster the nomination of 
Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, which resulted in the change of the 
precedent. We lowered the number of votes to close off debate from 60 
votes to 51 votes because we realized that some across the aisle were 
so determined to vote against any nominee of this President--no matter 
how well qualified--there was no way we could confirm a well-qualified 
candidate. So we changed that.

  Both Justices Sotomayor and Gorsuch were confirmed just 66 days after 
they were nominated. In the case of Judge Kavanaugh, if that same 
timetable held up, we would be voting on his confirmation about 
September 13--well in advance of the October deadline when the Court 
reconvenes. We will have plenty of time to thoroughly vet this nominee 
in a similar timeframe, which is consistent with the confirmation 
process for both Republican and Democratic Presidents.
  I had the good fortune to sit down with Judge Kavanaugh last week and 
to renew my acquaintance with him, which first occurred in 2000. As I 
have recounted here on the floor, when I was attorney general of Texas, 
I had the privilege to argue a case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. 
As one of the best qualified appellate lawyers in the country, having 
clerked on the Supreme Court, as well, he was one of the lawyers who 
helped me get ready for that oral argument.
  I had a chance not only to get to know him in 2000 but to follow his 
career on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. He has consistently 
impressed me with his thoughtfulness, his deliberativeness, his 
outstanding legal and

[[Page S5037]]

academic credentials, and, of course, his experience on the DC Circuit 
Court of Appeals. He was candid and open, professional and impressive.
  I hope all of our colleagues will meet with Judge Kavanaugh to see 
for themselves. I have been told that he has been making calls to some 
Democratic Senators' offices, and they refuse to see him at all.
  He is an accomplished jurist who will fairly and faithfully apply the 
law as written and adhere to the text of the Constitution, as judges 
are obligated to do, and leave the policymaking and the politics to the 
Congress and the executive branch. I look forward to continuing our 
vetting process and voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh this fall--well 
in advance of the October term of the Supreme Court.
  On a separate note, Mr. President, this afternoon, we will vote to 
confirm another accomplished legal mind, Andy Oldham, to the Federal 
Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which includes Texas.
  Andy will join two other judges whom we have already confirmed in the 
Fifth Circuit earlier this year: Don Willett, a former member of the 
Texas Supreme Court, and Jim Ho, my former chief counsel, someone with 
impeccable legal credentials. They are already on the Fifth Circuit. I 
am delighted that Andy Oldham will be joining them.
  As we like to say in Texas, Andy wasn't born there, but he got there 
as fast as he could. He grew up in Richmond, VA, where his parents 
instilled within him a sense of hard work. His father put himself 
through college, and his mother was one of the first women to attend 
the University of Virginia.
  Following their examples, Andy attended the University of Virginia 
and was awarded the prestigious title of Jefferson Scholar. While he 
was at UVA, he helped found an advocacy group to prevent sexual 
assault. His group was particularly focused on educating young men on 
their responsibilities when it comes to sexual violence.
  From there, he attended the University of Cambridge as a Truman 
Scholar, graduated with first class honors, and then went to law school 
at Harvard--very impressive academic credentials.
  During law school, he helped represent a death row inmate in a habeas 
corpus petition and won a temporary stay of execution in the U.S. 
Supreme Court. Based on Andy's hard work, the then-Governor of 
Virginia, who is now a Member of the Senate, commuted the defendant's 
sentence to life without parole based upon Andy's legal representation.
  After law school, he went on to clerk for Judge Sentelle on the DC 
Circuit Court of Appeals, which I spoke about in connection with Brett 
Kavanaugh. Then he served as an attorney to the Department of Justice's 
Office of Legal Counsel; that is, the lawyers for the lawyers at the 
Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, who issue 
authoritative guidance for the Department of Justice. And then, of 
course, he served as a law clerk for Justice Alito on the Supreme 
  Following a period of private practice, the State of Texas came 
calling, and Andy became a deputy solicitor general in the office of 
the Texas attorney general; then it was Greg Abbott, whom he later 
followed to the Governor's office, where he now serves as Governor 
Abbott's general counsel.
  On behalf of the State of Texas, Andy has argued two cases before the 
U.S. Supreme Court and filed countless briefs in support of the State. 
Because of his background and experience, Andy has earned bipartisan 
support, receiving recommendations from the general counsel to the 
Obama Foundation, as well as the Texas attorney general's office.
  In his confirmation hearing before the Judiciary Committee, Andy 
spoke about his transition from a role as an advocate to that of a 
jurist. He explained how he views the role of a jurist as 
``fundamentally different,'' which it is.
  He went on to say that ``the oath of a jurist is simply to administer 
justice impartially, to do equal right by rich and poor, and to 
discharge justice in an equal and fair manner.'' This is exactly the 
type of judge we should want serving on our courts--someone who is 
impartial, not someone who will push for a particular ideology or 
political agenda on the bench. I believe Andy will follow this 
philosophy of impartially and fairly administering the law.
  Andy spent all but 3 years of his career in public service, and he 
has advocated on behalf of Texans for many years. I am confident he 
will continue to serve them and the rest of the country well, and I 
look forward to supporting his nomination this afternoon.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Ernst). The Senator from Utah.

                     Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

  Mr. HATCH. Madam President, I rise today to discuss the confirmation 
process for Brett Kavanaugh. By any honest measure, President Trump's 
nominee, Judge Kavanaugh, is exceptionally well qualified to serve on 
the Supreme Court. When he was nominated to the DC Circuit, he already 
had stellar credentials, a keen intellect, and an impressive knowledge 
of the law. He was confirmed to the DC Circuit Court in 2006, following 
years of Democratic obstruction. I have followed his work closely on 
that court for over a decade. His judicial record never ceases to 
  A nominee with such a sterling reputation should receive wide 
bipartisan support. But over the years, I have seen firsthand the 
deterioration of the judicial confirmation process. When Justice 
Kennedy announced his retirement, I knew the Democrats would, again, 
play politics with the Supreme Court. It is what they have done for 
more than three decades. It is a matter of grave concern to me, 
especially with an eminently qualified nominee. They are casting about 
looking for something--really, anything--to stop Judge Kavanaugh's 
  Because Democrats want political judges, they politicize the 
confirmation process. This is what they did to oppose Justice Neil 
Gorsuch when he was nominated. They took a few cases out of the 
thousands he had decided and distorted what he had said. They attacked 
him as being unfit to serve. They said he was unqualified to be a 
Justice, but Justice Gorsuch had an unassailable record as a principled 
jurist on the Federal bench.
  We fought back against the misrepresentations, the caricatures, and 
the exaggerations, and the American people saw through the Democrats' 
ruse. They saw the kind of Justice Neil Gorsuch would be--a Justice who 
says what the law is, not what he wants it to be, a Justice who 
respects the separation of powers, a Justice who will stand up to the 
executive and legislative branches when they overreach. I believe the 
American people will see the same thing when they look at Judge 
  The debate over Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation should be a debate 
over his qualifications. Does he understand the proper role of a judge 
under our Constitution? Does he have the experience needed? Will he 
respect our Constitution and the rule of law?
  With hundreds of opinions, Judge Kavanaugh has built a reputation as 
being one of the most respected and influential judges in the entire 
country. His incisive reasoning has led the Supreme Court to adopt his 
positions in at least 12 cases.
  Fidelity to the Constitution and to the rule of law are hallmarks of 
his opinions. Importantly, his vast body of work shows a deep 
commitment to the separation of powers. His opinions demonstrate his 
commitment to the principle that judges should interpret the law, not 
make it.
  Judge Kavanaugh should be asked questions about his rulings and his 
approach to the law. As a judge, he has developed a reputation for his 
preparation in court. I have no doubt that he can stand up under the 
most rigorous questioning.
  Yet what we have seen so far is a mix of hyperbole, mudslinging, and 
distortion. Attacks aimed at Judge Kavanaugh have not focused on 
whether he is qualified to serve. They have not focused on whether he 
understands the role of a judge. They have not focused on how he will 
interpret the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress. When it 
comes to what we should be asking about a nominee, what we have seen so 
far is not even in the ballpark.
  After scouring Judge Kavanaugh's financial disclosure, progressives 
thought they had struck gold with a shocking revelation that would, 
surely, turn public opinion against him. So

[[Page S5038]]

what salacious scandal did they uncover? What damning evidence did they 
find that would dash all hopes of confirmation?
  The Presiding Officer is not going to believe this, but they 
discovered that Judge Kavanaugh enjoys America's pastime. That is 
right. Judge Kavanaugh loves baseball--horrors. Honestly, I couldn't 
believe it either. But wait. It gets worse.
  Not only does Judge Kavanaugh love baseball, but he was once a season 
ticket holder at Nationals Park. OK, but here is the real kicker. Judge 
Kavanaugh bought those season tickets with a credit card--with a credit 
card of all things. As was the Presiding Officer, I was speechless too. 
I have been racking my brain all week trying to figure out how a credit 
card-using baseball fan could slip through the cracks of the White 
House's vetting process.
  Now, I am being facetious to prove a point. We are only 9 days into 
the confirmation process, and progressive opposition is already beyond 
  Of course, this is nothing new. Everything we have seen so far comes 
directly from the Democrats' playbook. Throw every rumor, half-truth, 
and exaggeration at the nominee, and just see what sticks. When nothing 
sticks, double down on partisan attacks, take past statements out of 
context, mischaracterize his positions, and lob a hyperbolic Hail Mary 
if you have to. Do everything you can to denigrate, disparage, and 
dehumanize the nominee no matter his qualifications or character.

  If Democrats continue down this path, we are going to lose all 
ability to debate matters of public importance. We cannot expect that 
all debate will be well reasoned, but opposition should, at the very 
least, be rational. It should never be hysterical. The rhetoric used to 
oppose Judge Kavanaugh crosses that line.
  Just last week, when speaking about Judge Kavanaugh's impressive 
resume, I said you could not knock Yale, Harvard, or Georgetown. Maybe 
I spoke too soon. Shortly after the announcement that Judge Kavanaugh 
would be the nominee, Yale Law School released a statement with praise 
of Judge Kavanaugh from professors and administrators.
  One professor even noted that ``politics have deeply harmed our 
Supreme Court nomination process,'' but she lauded Judge Kavanaugh as 
being a ``true intellectual,'' an ``incomparable mentor,'' and a 
``fair-minded jurist who believes in the rule of law.'' She went on to 
say that ``he is humble, collegial, and cares deeply about the federal 
  The response from some Yale Law School students, staff, and alumni 
was swift, forceful, uncompromising, and completely ridiculous: 
``People will die if he is confirmed.'' As these Yale alumni were 
feverishly opposing the nomination, Judge Kavanaugh was spotted 
volunteering his time with a local charity to distribute food to the 
poor. His decision to keep his commitment to volunteer the week he was 
nominated to the Supreme Court says more about Judge Kavanaugh than any 
letter could.
  This overwrought reaction, sadly, comes as no surprise. Crying wolf 
is the left's trademark strategy in attempts to sabotage Republican 
nominees. Back in 1990, a group that opposed then-nominee David Souter 
warned that he was a threat to the ``lives, health and livelihoods of 
millions of women and their families.'' It wasn't true then, and it 
isn't true now.
  I hope that the Senate can raise the level of debate as we consider 
the nomination. In doing so, we should focus on whether Judge Kavanaugh 
is qualified.
  I hope my Democratic colleagues can resist the temptation to 
politicize this nomination as they have with others in the past. Some 
of what we are seeing now has me worried.
  We have also heard a lot from Democrats about how important 
transparency is to the confirmation process. Because of Judge 
Kavanaugh's long record of public service to our Nation, the executive 
branch has been asked to produce a large number of documents. Democrats 
have been demanding that they be given access to these documents as 
quickly as possible.
  Some of my colleagues have expressed shock that Deputy Attorney 
General Rod Rosenstein requested that assistant U.S. attorneys help to 
review these documents. The truth is that the Office of Legal Policy at 
the Justice Department always assists with nominations, and that Office 
is composed mostly of career attorneys. It is not uncommon for 
attorneys from other offices in the Justice Department to help with the 
review of nominations.
  The government attorneys at the Department of Justice who work on 
nominations are extraordinarily thorough. Given the reportedly large 
number of documents, it makes sense that to facilitate this process, 
the DOJ would seek extra help.
  When we spoke last week, Judge Kavanaugh said he was proud of his 
opinions, and he hoped people would actually read them rather than just 
read about them. I think those who do that will be just as impressed by 
Judge Kavanaugh's work as I am. I hope Senators will take the time to 
sit down with him.
  Judge Kavanaugh has spent more than 23 years in public service. As a 
good man, a decent man, and an honest man, Judge Kavanaugh is the type 
of person we should all hope is nominated to a seat on the U.S. Supreme 
Court. That is why I am so pleased that President Trump nominated Judge 
Kavanaugh. I intend to do everything I can to support his nomination, 
and I hope that all other Senators will do the same.
  We have to quit this mudslinging and mischaracterizing of people's 
characters. Judge Kavanaugh is one of the finest people I know. He is 
also one of the smartest. He is conservative--no question about that--
but he is honest. To me, these are some of the most important keys to 
these judgeship positions. I hope we get rid of the unjust 
representations against the judge. I hope we will start treating the 
Senate like the great deliberative body it really is.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (The remarks of Mr. Barrasso pertaining to the introduction of S. 
3229 are printed in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced 
Bills and Joint Resolutions.'')
  Mr. BARRASSO. I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Hyde-Smith). The clerk will call the 
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                     Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

  Mr. BARRASSO. Madam President, last week, President Trump nominated 
Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. People have 
begun looking over his extensive record, and he has been getting rave 
reviews around the country. Just look at a few of the headlines we have 
seen across the country.
  The New York Times, July 10: ``A conservative stalwart wins praise 
for his intellect and civility.'' The New York Times--it is 
  The Wall Street Journal said: ``Trump's nominee will be an 
intellectual leader on the bench.''
  The Detroit News said his record suggests that ``he will maintain a 
commitment to interpreting the law as it is written, and not how he may 
wish it had been crafted.'' That is exactly what Americans should be 
looking for in a Supreme Court Justice because a judge's job is to 
apply the law, not to rewrite it.
  People looking at Judge Kavanaugh's record and reaching the 
conclusion that he knows the right way to approach this very important 
  It is not just newspapers that are saying wonderful things and 
singing the praise of Judge Kavanaugh; legal scholars are lining up to 
commend his independence and his wisdom as a judge. Some of them are 
extremely liberal people he has worked with over the years. They just 
respect him that much as a judge who they find has been devoted to the 
law and the Constitution. Imagine that. That is what we

[[Page S5039]]

should expect in anybody who serves as a Justice on the Supreme Court.
  A law professor from Yale wrote an op-ed for the New York Times last 
week titled ``A liberal's case for Brett Kavanaugh.'' The professor 
called Judge Kavanaugh ``a superb nominee'' and said that ``it is hard 
to name anyone with judicial credentials as strong as those of Judge 
  Another liberal law professor called him a ``highly qualified 
mainstream conservative judge.'' He cited Judge Kavanaugh's reasoning 
as ``an example of the judging ideal, setting aside ideology and party 
politics, and just trying to get the law right.'' That is a liberal 
former law professor. He said Judge Kavanaugh gives ``an independent 
judiciary the job it is supposed to do: Interpret the law.''
  There are lawyers who have appeared before Judge Kavanaugh who said 
the same things. I am not a lawyer, I haven't done these sorts of 
things, but I understand there are surveys of lawyers who appear before 
judges in court, people who have won cases and people who have lost 
cases. They put up their ideas about what they thought about the judge 
  Across the board, they called him ``an excellent judge.'' They said 
that he ``has a history of excellent legal argument and analysis,'' 
someone who can think intellectually, think clearly, and come up with a 
legal argument and analysis to make the assessment, to apply the law as 
written. One lawyer actually said: ``It is daunting and humbling to be 
in front of that brainpower.'' This was an anonymous survey of lawyers 
who appear before Judge Kavanaugh. I don't know if they won or lost, 
but people get to put in their opinions, winners and losers, after 
cases in anonymous surveys. ``It is daunting and humbling to be in 
front of that brainpower.'' This wasn't people just trying to kiss up 
to the judge to win favor in a case; these are results from people 
after the case who were just telling it like it is. ``Excellent legal 
judgment,'' they say.
  If you look beyond the courtroom, people are just as willing to talk 
about Judge Kavanaugh's character as a person, not just a judge. That 
is part of it--to look at somebody's legal philosophy, their intellect, 
and their character--when trying to assess a judge who has been 
nominated, to say: Is this person the right person to be a Justice on 
the Supreme Court?
  The Washington Post even ran a piece by a woman who knows Judge 
Kavanaugh because he coaches her daughter's basketball team. She wrote 
that she was impressed by ``his traits of personal kindness, 
leadership, and willingness to help when called on.''

  There are three things I look for in a nominee for the Supreme Court: 
judicial philosophy, a strong intellect, and a solid character. What we 
are hearing is overwhelming evidence from people who know him that 
Judge Kavanaugh has all of these qualities. He is someone who takes the 
law and the Constitution at face value.
  The Constitution is a legal document, not a living document, and it 
was built for certainty. He knows that a judge's job is to ``interpret 
the law,'' not to legislate from the bench, ``not to make the law or 
make policy.'' That is what he actually said in a speech last year.
  He has an extremely strong intellect, and I can't imagine there is 
anyone out there who can deny that. ``It is daunting and humbling to be 
in front of that brainpower''--this is what one of the lawyers who 
appeared before him said. And he is a person of solid character. That 
is what we are hearing from people who have known him over the years 
from being extremely active in the community. The New York Times 
summarized it: ``A conservative stalwart wins praise for his intellect 
and civility.''
  So what is there for Democrats to come to the floor and object to? 
Why are they objecting to all of this? Why are some Democrats already 
saying they oppose a judge known for his intellect and civility? They 
were actually saying it before he was even named by President Trump. 
Whomever President Trump names, they are going to vote no. It is 
astonishing to see Democrats making that decision. Then they are asking 
for reams and reams of documents after they have already said they are 
against Judge Kavanaugh. What are they looking for? It is amazing.
  That is what I believe the big difference is between Republicans and 
Democrats in Washington: Republican Presidents choose judges and 
justices to follow the law; Democratic Presidents seem to pick judges 
and justices who are guaranteed to push liberal policies and liberal 
agendas, preconceived notions of how they should rule on a case before 
they hear the facts. They know the way they are going to go, maybe 
using things like emotion, sympathy, and empathy. The Constitution is a 
legal document.
  Even though you have legal experts from around the political world 
and around the spectrum of all sides of the aisle who praise his 
intellect and civility, it is not good enough for the liberal activists 
in this country. They don't even want to consider Judge Kavanaugh's 
qualifications, and they have said it here on the floor of the Senate 
and on television, if you listen. They are already making opposition to 
his nomination a liberal litmus test for Democrats in this Senate, and 
I am sorry to say that more than a few Democrats seem to be playing 
along. We have seen Democrats in the Senate who have already said that 
they don't care about Judge Kavanaugh's intellect; they don't care that 
he is ``just trying to get the law right''; they don't care that, as 
one lawyer said, ``it is hard to name anyone with judicial credentials 
as strong as those of Judge Kavanaugh.''
  When you have someone with these qualifications, Senators ought to be 
looking at his record. They should look at the 300 decisions he has 
written in 12 years on the bench. It is absolutely the right thing to 
look at. They should meet him and talk with him.
  We have just begun this confirmation hearing process. I hope that 
more Democrats in the Senate will have an open mind about this nominee. 
I hope they will consider the kind of person we should have on the 
Supreme Court and then make their decisions about whether Judge 
Kavanaugh has those qualities. From what I have seen, he absolutely 

  I plan to continue to look into his record and listen to people who 
know him best. I plan to sit down and talk with him. Everything I have 
seen so far tells me that this is someone who is exactly the kind of 
Justice we need on the Supreme Court.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.

                           National Security

  Mr. CARDIN. Madam President, to my colleagues, let me just say that 
we must speak out and act.
  President Trump's appearance with Russia's President Putin--a U.S. 
President capitulating to a strongman dictator, unprecedented in 
American history--compromised America's national security and brings 
into question whether America can be relied upon as the leader of the 
free world.
  With Mr. Trump standing with Mr. Putin while he discredited America's 
investigation into Russian meddling--this is an American President, 
with a dictator, challenging the investigation being done against 
Russia--the President questioned the conclusions of U.S. intelligence 
agencies. He left unchallenged Mr. Putin's lies and illegal military 
  In short, Mr. Trump did Mr. Putin's bidding. In Russia, they are 
smiling; at the White House, they are scrambling.
  Congress must speak out and act. Congress must repudiate the 
President's actions to make clear to the American people and the world 
that Russia, directed by Mr. Putin, attacked our free election system 
in 2016 and tried to tip the scales in favor of Mr. Trump.
  Russia illegally invaded the sovereign state of Ukraine and illegally 
annexed Crimea, which the United States must make clear we will never 
recognize. Russia, under Mr. Putin, murders its political opponents and 
journalists. Russia has interfered in the politics of several European 
democratic states.
  Six months ago, I authored, on behalf of the Senate Foreign Relations 
Committee Democrats, a report entitled ``Putin's Asymmetrical Assault 
on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National 
  I sent a copy of that report to President Trump and hoped that he 
would absorb it and use it in his meeting with

[[Page S5040]]

Mr. Putin. Unfortunately, he either didn't read it or didn't heed the 
advice in that report.
  That report spells out in detail the asymmetrical arsenal that Mr. 
Putin uses. Yes, he uses his military, propaganda, and cyber; he 
supports organized crime and corruption, weaponizes energy, and 
supports fringe political groups, all to attack our democratic system 
of government.
  The report spells out numerous recommendations for steps we should 
take to protect our national security against what Russia is trying to 
do to us. The report spells out several recommendations I just want to 
underscore today. We urge the President to assert Presidential 
leadership and launch a national response, an interagency response, so 
we make it clear that we will not tolerate this.
  Mr. Trump has done just the opposite. He has downplayed any 
significance to what Russia has done, has not allowed us to have a 
coordinated effort with the executive branch, and has fought what 
Congress has tried to do in giving him additional resources in order to 
prepare us against what Mr. Putin is doing.
  The report goes on to further recommend that we expose and freeze 
Kremlin-linked dirty money. The administration has not done that.
  It goes on to say that we should subject state hybrid threat actors 
to an escalating sanctions regime. Here Congress did act. We passed the 
CAATSA statute, which requires--these are mandatory sanctions against 
Russia because of what they did to us in 2016 and what they did in 
regard to the Ukraine and their other activities. This administration 
has not fully utilized those sanctions that are available under the 
legislation we passed.
  The report calls for publicizing the Kremlin's global malign 
influence efforts and building an international coalition to counter 
hybrid threats. Mr. Trump did just the opposite in his most recent 
foreign trip. In his performance in Brussels with NATO and then later 
in London, he not only took the opportunity to criticize two of our 
closest allies, Mrs. Merkel in Germany and Ms. May in London, England--
the U.K.--but he also challenged the unity of Europe, weighing in with 
regard to Brexit and the politics of Brexit. That is not how the 
President brings unity among our allies in order to stand tall against 
the threats of Russia.
  The report goes on to say that we need to build global cyber defenses 
and norms. Congress has appropriated funds; the administration has not 
fully utilized those funds.
  We need to hold social media companies accountable. We see the 
infiltration of Russia into our social media platforms. Europe has 
already taken action to make sure that it identifies and is protected 
against infiltration of foreign entities getting involved in trying to 
influence policy in their country. The United States, under Mr. Trump, 
has not taken similar action.
  First and foremost, we need to recognize Russia for what it is 
today--not the Russian people, but under the leadership of Mr. Putin, 
Russia is an adversary. They are against our system of government, and 
they are trying to bring down our system of government.
  I saw the President's tweet this morning, and I just want to 
acknowledge that we want to have relations with all countries in the 
world. I want the relationship between the United States and Russia to 
be on a better plateau, but it has to be under our terms, not Mr. 
Putin's terms. That is the problem with what the President did in 
Helsinki. He allowed Mr. Putin to control the dialogue and allowed Mr. 
Putin to look as though everything he is doing is reasonable when it is 
not. If you give Mr. Putin space, he will push to fill it, and then he 
will go even further.
  Ten years ago, Mr. Putin saw an opportunity. He saw an opportunity to 
put a wedge in regard to the NATO expansion and the growth of a unified 
Western Front. He saw that opportunity in the independent state of 
Georgia, and he took advantage of that. Russian troops invaded. They 
are still there today, and Georgia is still not part of NATO.
  Mr. Putin's strategy paid off. The Western World gave him that open 
space; he took advantage of it.
  In 2014, Mr. Putin, based upon his experience in Georgia--and also, 
by the way, based upon his experience in Moldova--said ``Well, we can 
do the same in Ukraine,'' and they invaded Ukraine. They took over 
Crimea; they illegally annexed Crimea, and guess what. Ukraine, today, 
is nowhere closer to being a NATO ally as a result of Mr. Putin's 
  It worked for him, not for us. That is not in our national security 
interest. The President gives him a pass.
  They tried it in Montenegro. Russia financed operations of a coup to 
try to prevent the parliamentary elections from having a government 
that would ratify NATO. The people of Montenegro stood up and said no. 
They fought it, and they won. Now Montenegro is a NATO ally. We can't 
give this space to Mr. Putin.
  Mr. Putin, not just in the United States, but in Europe, interfered 
in elections. But what happened in 2016 in America? This is a fact; 
this is not subject to debate. We know that Russia, directed by Mr. 
Putin, interfered in our elections. That has been confirmed by our 
intelligence community. It has been confirmed by our own Intelligence 
Committee here in the U.S. Senate. This is not something that you 
debate. We know that is a fact. We understand the President has tried 
to convince the public here in America that may not be true, but those 
are the facts. We know the facts. We are privy to the facts.
  We know that Russia interfered in our elections, but the message from 
Helsinki, President Trump's message to President Putin, is: OK. Let's 
move on. That gives space to Mr. Putin. His calculation: 2018 is fair 
game. I can do whatever I want in the U.S. elections. After all, I know 
the President will be on my side and will not hold me, Russia, 
accountable for interference in the U.S. elections.
  That is certainly not in our interest. Congress must speak out and 
act. We have to protect this country. It is our responsibility. We are 
an independent branch of government. We need to speak out on behalf of 
our Nation.
  Let me just lay out issues that I hope we will work on not only in 
response to the President's summit with Mr. Putin but also because it 
is our responsibility as an independent branch of government to speak 
out for America.
  First, we need to protect the integrity of the Mueller investigation. 
I am not going to prejudge what the Mueller investigation will come in 
with. I have confidence that Mr. Mueller will do his work.
  Mr. Trump has been openly critical over and over and over and over 
again about this investigation. It is outrageous that the head of the 
executive branch of government is trying to compromise the checks and 
balances in our own system, but we have to make sure that the checks 
and balances remain. We have to make sure that we protect the integrity 
of the Mueller investigation.
  Congress needs to pass legislation, and there is legislation that has 
been recommended by our Judiciary Committee that would protect the 
integrity of the Mueller campaign. We should take up that legislation 
and pass it immediately.
  I said that I will not prejudge what Mr. Mueller will come in with. 
We know there are people who have been indicted. We know that Russia 
has been engaged in the election. We know that some Americans were 
  Was there collusion with the Trump campaign? It will be up to the 
Mueller investigation to give us those findings. But we do know from 
Helsinki that Mr. Trump openly colluded with Mr. Putin in regard to an 
orchestrated message coming out of Helsinki.
  Secondly, Congress needs to exercise its oversight capacity with 
hearings. That is our responsibility.
  I was pleased to see that Senator Corker announced that Mike Pompeo, 
the Secretary of State, will be before the Senate Foreign Relations 
Committee on Wednesday of next week. This meeting is long overdue.
  Let me just remind my colleagues that this meeting is being set up to 
get our very first briefing on what happened in Singapore in the 
President's meeting with Kim Jong Un in North Korea. We haven't had a 
single briefing in Congress on the North Korean summit.
  Now we have Mr. Pompeo coming up here for North Korea. I urge Mr. 
Pompeo and Senator Corker to make sure that Mr. Pompeo is prepared and 
has the time not only to address North

[[Page S5041]]

Korea but also to address what happened in Helsinki. We have a right, 
an obligation, to find out.
  While we are able to question representatives from the executive 
branch in regard to Helsinki, let's make sure that we have a chance to 
talk to Jon Huntsman, our Ambassador to Russia, to get his take, his 
assessment of what happened. We need to talk to our Director of 
National Intelligence as to his assessments. We need to have oversight 
hearings here in Congress.
  Most importantly, we need to understand what happened in the room--
where it happened--where Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump spent over 2 hours. We 
have no information about what happened in that room. We have a 
responsibility as Members of Congress to understand what discussions 
took place, what commitments in regard to our elections, in regard to 
Ukraine, in regard to Syria, in regard to North Korea, in regard to 
Iran. We have a lot of interest in knowing what took place, and we 
should get that information now. That is our constitutional 
responsibility. We need to speak out and act to carry out our 

  This is not a partisan issue. This is a constitutional issue of what 
we do. We are a check and balance in the system. The public expects us 
to act that way and to get that information.
  We should also strengthen the sanctions regime against Russia. I say 
that mindful that the bill we passed last year, the CAASTA bill--I 
worked very closely with my colleagues in drafting that bill--provides 
a whole array of options to President Trump to impose new sanctions 
against Russia for their activities. Many of these sanctions, by the 
way, are mandatory. The President has no discretion. I say that with 
some disbelief because these sanctions have not been imposed yet, even 
though they are mandatory sanctions.
  So Congress needs to speak out and act. We need to speak out to make 
sure these sanctions are indeed imposed, and we have to make sure we 
strengthen the sanctions regime, if the President needs more of a 
reminder or needs additional tools in order to act against Russia. One 
thing we want to make crystal clear is, we don't want to see the 
weakening of any of these sanctions. I think many of us know about 
conversations that took place in the past about Mr. Trump's thoughts 
about easing up some of these sanctions. We have to make sure that, in 
fact, they are not.
  It was interesting that during the summit, there was a conversation 
against Mr. Browder about the Magnitsky sanctions that have been 
imposed by Congress. Browder worked with Senator McCain on that 
legislation. We have to make sure those sanctions remain in place and 
are strengthened, not weakened. That is our responsibility to make sure 
that takes place.
  We must also make sure that we protect the integrity of our election 
system. We have appropriated funds for this. There is legislation that 
is pending by Members of the Senate on both sides of the aisle. We now 
know we are even more vulnerable. We have seen some indictments of late 
that point out what Russia could be doing in the 2018 elections, which 
are only less than 4 months away.
  One of the fundamental principles of our democracy is our free and 
fair elections. We have a responsibility to make sure they are free 
from international tampering and the influence Russia may try to play 
in this election cycle. We need to take concrete steps to make sure 
that is done.
  Lastly, I suggest that the Senate go on record repudiating President 
Trump's actions in Helsinki. The Republican leadership should bring to 
the floor of the U.S. Senate such a resolution. It is our 
responsibility to consider such a resolution.
  By passing such a resolution, we can restore confidence to the 
American people and to the world that the United States, indeed, is the 
leader of the free world.
  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, I oppose the nomination of Andrew Oldham 
to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  Mr. Oldham is only 39 years old. He checks the Federalist Society 
box, having been a member since law school of that rightwing legal 
group that vets all of President Trump's nominees. Mr. Oldham has spent 
much of his career litigating on behalf of Republican elected officials 
in Texas State government, where he worked on challenges to the 
Affordable Care Act, the DACA and DAPA programs, the Voting Rights Act, 
Fair Housing Act regulations, ``Ban the Box'' regulations on job 
applications, and Clean Air Act regulations, among many others.
  Mr. Oldham's extreme ideology is apparent from statements he has made 
in his personal capacity. At his nomination hearing, he refused to say 
that the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education was 
correctly decided. That was an astonishing moment. Every Supreme Court 
nominee who has been asked this question has said he or she believed 
Brown v. Board was correctly decided. In recent hearings before the 
Judiciary Committee, nominees have answered yes to this question 
without hesitation; yet Mr. Oldham wouldn't answer.
  If a nominee refuses to say that Brown v. Board was correctly 
decided, it certainly raises questions in my mind about the nominee's 
judgment, but that is not all Mr. Oldham has said.
  At his hearing, he refused to say whether he agreed that voter 
discrimination still exists in the United States.
  He gave an interview in 2016 where he described the Supreme Court as 
``the most dangerous branch'' and said ``they often fail to enforce our 
sacred rights that are in the Constitution, while creating rights that 
are not.'' Keep in mind, this is a Supreme Court where the majority of 
justices were appointed by Republican Presidents.
  He gave a speech to the Federalist Society in 2016 where he said, ``I 
have particular things that I think are illegitimate in the way that we 
conduct modern American law.'' He went on to say, ``It's not that I 
disagree with a particular Department of Labor regulation or a 
particular IRS regulation; it is the entire existence of this edifice 
of administrative law that is constitutionally suspect.''
  He also wrote in a law review article that ``the Sherman Act, as it 
is currently understood, is unconstitutional.'' The Sherman Act is one 
of our foundational antitrust laws; it prohibits monopolies and 
restraints of trade.
  Mr. Oldham's views are clearly outside the judicial mainstream. His 
own words and writings show an extreme ideological agenda.
  Of course, like all of President Trump's nominees, he has promised he 
would cast all his views aside if confirmed and simply follow the law. 
But time after time, we have seen these nominees get confirmed to the 
bench and then start interpreting the law to produce outcomes that 
align with their preexisting, Federalist Society-approved views and 
side with corporations and wealthy elites over working Americans.
  Mr. Oldham is ideologically extreme, he has shown instances of 
terrible judgment, and he has said things that would make litigants 
question whether he could be a fair and impartial judge. I oppose his 
  Mr. CARDIN. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, I rise to speak to the integrity of the 
character and the career of Andy Oldham, the President's nominee to be 
a circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
  Andy represents the best of what Texas's legal community has to offer 
to our Federal courts. Andy Oldham was born to high school sweethearts. 
His parents, like his grandparents before them, knew struggles and knew 
hard work.
  Andy's father was raised in a trailer with four other siblings, and 
Andy's grandfather spent years away from his family, first fighting in 
World War II and then in Korea. His mother was raised by her divorced 
mother, and Andy's mother helped manage the household starting at age 
  Growing up in these humble beginnings taught both of Andy's parents 
the value of hard work. His father drove a cement truck and cleaned 
deep fryers in restaurants to pay his way through college. His mother 
was one of

[[Page S5042]]

the first women to attend the University of Virginia. Together, both 
enrolled in the Medical College of Virginia, where his father became a 
doctor and his mother became a dentist.
  Andy's parents had enormous student debts to pay, and so Andy learned 
what it was like to grow up with little as well, but he likewise 
learned the value of an education from his parents.
  Andy went to the University of Virginia on a full academic 
scholarship, graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA and at the top of his 
class. He then became a Truman Scholar and went on to attend Harvard 
Law School.
  Andy graduated from Harvard Law magna cum laude and clerked for Judge 
David Sentelle on the DC Circuit, one of the most respected Federal 
appellate judges in the country, and then clerked for Justice Samuel 
Alito on the Supreme Court of the United States.
  He then worked as an attorney advisor for 2 years in the Office of 
Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice under the George W. 
Bush administration.
  Andy then went into private practice at Kellogg Hansen here in 
Washington, DC. From there, Andy went to the Texas solicitor general's 
office to serve as the deputy solicitor general of Texas. I can state 
that office is usually a pretty tight ship.
  After that, he joined Governor Abbott to serve as his legal counsel. 
He is now the general counsel for the Governor and has spent all but 3 
years of his career in public service.
  If I may say, it shows a depth of character and a devotion to his 
country that Andy would stay in public service for so long, so 
dutifully, while forgoing the great rewards that come with private 
practice. He is devoted to the practice of law, and over the years, 
Andy has displayed a keen understanding of the Constitution and how it 
applies and guides us to this very day.
  I am confident Andy will not substitute his own policy preferences, 
his own opinions for the rule of law, but he will instead serve the 
people of Texas and the American people by respecting the law as 
written--as written in the Constitution and as written in Federal law--
passed by this Congress and signed by the President. Our courts and our 
country are well-served by judges with this dedication, wisdom, and 
  In his career, Andy has argued across the country in State and 
Federal courts. He has appeared and argued numerous times before the 
Fifth Circuit, and he has argued twice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
  He has earned widespread praise from both Democrats and Republicans, 
and he was recommended to the Judiciary Committee by esteemed legal 
voices from both the left and right. Andy is respected across the 
political spectrum. I know my colleagues in the Senate will return the 
same respect when they vote today to confirm Andy Oldham as a circuit 
judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
  Andy will be the fifth judge we have confirmed for the Fifth Circuit, 
one of the finest courts in the country--a court I have been privileged 
to argue before many times. Andy will be the third Texan and fifth 
circuit judge in the last year and a half, and that, I think, is one of 
the greatest legacies of President Trump and this Republican Senate; 
namely, the confirmation of principled constitutionalists to the 
Federal court; judges who will be faithful to the Constitution and Bill 
of Rights, who will stand steadfastly to protect our fundamental 
liberties, to protect free speech and religious liberty, to protect the 
Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, to protect the Tenth 
Amendment, the fundamental liberties of the people against ever-
expanding Federal power.
  This is a legacy that was front and center as to why the American 
people elected this majority, and it is a legacy that will benefit 
Texans and Americans for generations to come.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           Trump-Putin Summit

  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, as we all know, in this country, in 2016, 
the Russian Government weighed a covert, multifaceted criminal campaign 
to interfere in our elections. We now know it was intended to help 
then-Candidate Donald Trump win the Presidency. We don't know the full 
impact of Russia's interference, but it is beyond debate that it 
  Russia, as we now found out, used inflammatory propaganda--it 
actually was fake news--attempting to suppress Democratic turnout and 
boost support for Donald Trump. They also stole communications 
belonging to the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton 
campaign, which were then strategically released to maximize their 
impact. They were released at times when they could counter negative 
news stories about Donald Trump.
  Just last week, 12 Russian intelligence officers were charged with 
hacking campaign officials' emails and State election boards. In just 
over a year--in what may rank as the most productive special counsel 
investigation in our Nation's history--32 people and 3 companies have 
been charged or pled guilty as part of the Russian investigation. We 
likely will not know the full extent of Russia's interference until the 
special counsel's investigation is complete.
  But what is clear--and this is what should concern Republicans and 
Democrats alike--is that our democracy, our great country, was attacked 
by a foreign adversary. And two days ago, on an international stage, 
standing shoulder to shoulder with Vladimir Putin, our President sided 
with that attacker.
  Instead of forcefully condemning Russia's attack on our democracy, 
its role in annexing Crimea, poisoning individuals with chemical 
weapons on the soil of one of our closest allies, Russia's downing of a 
passenger airline with nearly 300 innocent civilians onboard, or 
undermining democracies around the world, our President offered only 
praise for the authoritarian President Putin. He then repeated his 
conspiracy theories about the FBI and called the Russia investigation a 
``witch-hunt''--denigrating our law enforcement institutions, while 
standing beside the foe they work so hard to protect all Americans 
from--Republicans and Democrats alike.
  In my 44 years as a Senator, I have never seen anything like it. I 
can think of no Republican President and no Democratic President who 
would ever do this. I never thought it would be possible in our country 
before President Trump took office.
  Yesterday, the President attempted to walk back his decision to side 
with Russia over our own intelligence agencies. He attempted to do it 
because of the criticism he got from both Republicans and Democrats, 
but as many of my colleagues told me would happen, President Trump 
walked back his walk back. He reiterated that the interference ``could 
have been other people. There are a lot of people out there.''
  This morning on Twitter--where apparently he does his deepest 
thinking--he claimed that people at the higher ends of intelligence 
loved his press conference in Helsinki. I do not think anyone here 
doubts that the President meant what he said and said what he meant in 
Helsinki. And, after their two-hour private meeting in Helsinki, I do 
not think President Putin has any doubt either.
  We have to know that Russia shares neither our values nor our 
interests. Russia is not our friend. Of course, we want to see improved 
relations with Russia on Syria, on nuclear proliferation, and on many 
critical issues, but for that to happen, Russia needs to respect our 
democracy and values. We must not slouch down to theirs.
  The United States is the leader of the free world. The free world is 
under threat, as it has so often been. But these threats are not 
supposed to come from within.
  Just moments ago, when asked if Russia is still targeting the United 
States, the President inexplicably said ``no.''
  That is not the truth.
  Russia is still targeting the United States. This is despite his 
Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, confirming just last week 
that Russia is, indeed, still targeting our digital infrastructure and 
interfering in our democracy. Director Coats compared it to the

[[Page S5043]]

warning signs that emerged prior to the 9/11 attacks, but the President 
denies it is happening.
  I know Director Coats. I served with him when he was a Republican 
Senator in this body. I know he would not say this if it were not so. 
Notwithstanding the President's saying that Russia is not targeting us, 
his own Director of National Intelligence says they are. We can't trust 
this President's judgment when it comes to Russia.
  Remember, the President takes an oath to protect and defend our 
Nation. When it comes to Russia, it appears he does not intend to abide 
by his oath to defend and protect our Nation. This Congress is going to 
be derelict in its duty if it takes no action.
  All of us have to speak with a single voice in this moment--
Republicans and Democrats alike. We should all condemn the President's 
actions, which were as dangerous as they were shameful.
  These condemnations are important, but words are not enough. 
Remember, Congress is a coequal branch of government. Remember that the 
Senate is supposed to be the conscience of the Nation. Let's act like 
  The President, obviously, can't be trusted to keep his hands off of 
the Russia investigation. By denigrating it at every opportunity and by 
dismissing its lead investigator last year, he has repeatedly failed 
the test.
  The Senate Judiciary Committee recently passed legislation with a 
strong bipartisan vote. Republicans and Democrats alike voted to 
protect the special counsel's investigation. That legislation is before 
the Senate. Let's enact it into law. Let's take what Republicans and 
Democrats together said in the Judiciary Committee--that we will 
protect the special counsel's investigation. Let's vote up or down. 
Let's do it and enact it into law.
  It is often said that the only thing President Putin responds to is 
strength. Let's show him that here in the Congress, we stand united in 
opposition to his ongoing attempts to attack our democracy. Believe me, 
they are ongoing right at this moment. Let's pass stronger sanctions 
targeting him and the oligarchs who enable him, who continue to help 
him because they become billionaires by doing it. Let's pass a 
resolution making it clear that if President Trump chooses to stand 
with President Putin, then he stands alone. The European Union is not 
our foe. And President Putin is not our friend. Our allies around the 
world, especially those that have stood with us since World War II, are 
looking at us at this moment. They are questioning whether the United 
States will be a reliable partner in the face of creeping 
authoritarianism, both at home and abroad. Let's show them where we 
  This is not about politics. It is not about Republicans or Democrats. 
This is about who we are as a country and what we stand for as 
Americans--whether we stand for democracy; whether we stand for 
freedom, including the freedom of the press; whether we stand for the 
rule of law; whether we stand for truth; and whether we stand for 
America. As a Vermonter and a Senator, I know where I stand. It is time 
we stand together.

                          Blue-Slip Tradition

  Madam President, I believe I have colleagues on the floor who are 
going to make a unanimous consent request, but before they do, I feel 
obliged to speak up about the steady erosion of the norms and 
traditions that protect the Senate's unique constitutional role with 
respect to lifetime appointments to our Federal courts.
  We should all be alarmed by the Judiciary Committee's abrupt change 
in course when it comes to respect for blue slips, which allow home-
State Senators to have a word in what happens. This should concern us 
all. For much of this body's history, blue slips have given meaning to 
the constitutional requirement of ``advice and consent.'' They have 
protected the prerogatives of home-State Senators, and they have 
ensured fairness and comity in the Senate.
  When I was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, under both the Bush 
and Obama administrations, not a single judicial nominee received a 
hearing without first receiving both home-State Senators' positive blue 
slips. Regardless of who was in the Oval Office, I steadfastly defended 
blue slips because I firmly believed in both their constitutional and 
institutional importance. I also firmly believed in the prerogatives of 
home-State Senators and the need to ensure that the White House works 
in good faith with those Senators.
  My decision to defend blue slips was not without some controversy. I 
faced significant pressure from my own party's leadership to hold 
hearings for President Obama's nominees who had not received positive 
blue slips from Republican Senators. I was criticized by liberal 
advocacy groups and major news outlets like the New York Times, but I 
resisted such pressure because I believed then--and I still believe 
now--that certain principles matter more than party.
  All of us, whether Democrat or Republican, should care about good-
faith consultation when it comes to nominees from our own States. The 
reasons for this are both principled and pragmatic. We know our States. 
We know who is qualified to fill lifetime judicial seats that will have 
a tremendous impact on our neighbors and communities.
  This week, the Senate will vote whether to confirm a nominee to the 
Ninth Circuit, Ryan Bounds, opposed by not one but both of his home-
State Senators. Senators Wyden and Merkley were cut out of the 
nomination process entirely. The White House interviewed Bounds and 
fast-tracked his nomination without consulting either senator. If Mr. 
Bounds is confirmed, it will mark the first time in the history of the 
Senate that a judicial nominee is confirmed despite opposition from 
both home-State Senators.
  My concern is not about a mere piece of paper. My concern is that we 
are failing to protect the fundamental rights of home-State Senators, 
and we are failing in our constitutional duty to provide our advice and 
consent on a President's nominees. That should concern all of us. The 
Senate should never function as a mere rubberstamp for nominees seeking 
lifetime appointments to our Federal judiciary.
  Without blue slips, nothing prevents a California nominee from being 
appointed to a Texas court. Nothing prevents our State selection 
committees from being completely ignored by the White House. That is 
what we are seeing today. The Oregon bipartisan judicial selection 
commission overwhelmingly voted that Mr. Bounds--who misled the 
commission about his controversial writings--did not deserve its 
  Some may dismiss these warnings, but I have served in the Senate long 
enough to know that winds tend to change direction. Inevitably, the 
majority becomes the minority. The White House changes hands. I suspect 
Republicans will rekindle their love of blue slips if they find 
themselves in the minority under a Democratic President, as they did 
under President Obama and during my chairmanship. That is precisely why 
maintaining a single, consistent policy with respect to blue slips is 
so critical.
  That is why I will vote against Mr. Bounds. If we abandon our 
longstanding traditions to change partisan expediency, that provides 
only fleeting advantage and inflicts lasting harm in this body. We are 
better off when we follow the tradition we always have. We foolishly 
hurt ourselves and our individual States when we allow ourselves to 
step away from it. I would urge all Senators to ensure that home-State 
Senators are provided the same courtesies during the Trump 
administration that they received from both Republican and Democratic 
Judiciary chairmen during the Obama administration. I ask my fellow 
Senators to oppose Mr. Bound's nomination.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. LEE. Madam President, I am about to engage in a brief colloquy 
about a unanimous consent request with my colleague, the Senator from 
  I ask unanimous consent that, notwithstanding the previous order, I 
be able to have 5 minutes to do that prior to the vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                   Unanimous Consent Request--S. 118

  Mr. LEE. Madam President, as in legislative session, I ask unanimous 
consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of 
Calendar No.

[[Page S5044]]

297, S. 118; that the committee-reported substitute amendment be agreed 
to; that the bill, as amended, be considered read a third time and 
passed; and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid 
upon the table.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from California.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, reserving the right to object, I 
rise today to express concern with S. 118, the Reinforcing American-
Made Products Act, because it would preempt California's strong ``Made 
in America'' labeling standards.
  California requires that at least 90 percent of a final product be 
composed of American-made parts to use the label--the strongest 
standard in the Nation.
  This bill would undo California's tough standard, setting instead a 
watered-down national standard. Companies could then confuse consumers 
by flooding the market with products sold under the ``Made in America'' 
label that were built using more foreign-made components. That is why 
the California attorney general and the Consumer Federation of 
California support keeping California's strong standards in place.

  The ``Made in America'' label should promote U.S. manufacturing and 
give consumers confidence that they are supporting American jobs. 
Consumers want to know that products bearing the ``Made in America'' 
label are truly made in America. Because this would undermine that 
confidence and preempt California's strong standards, I believe this 
bill should not move by unanimous consent. Regretfully, for those 
reasons, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cotton). Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I appreciate the comments made by my 
distinguished colleague, the Senator from California.
  When Americans see a ``Made in USA'' label on a product, it is a 
source of great pride. It represents the American virtues of innovation 
and industriousness. It is a symbol of support for American 
manufacturing jobs and high-quality products across the board, and it 
often spurs American consumers to buy those very products.
  The Federal Trade Commission currently enforces a difficult standard 
for products to claim the ``Made in USA'' label. It requires that all 
or virtually all of a product must be made in the United States, and it 
has issued lengthy guidance documents establishing the rules. However, 
one State holds a different standard--one that is nearly impossible for 
businesses to meet. Under California's law, if more than 5 percent of 
the components of a product are manufactured outside the United States, 
even if that means just a few bolts or a few screws, then that product 
cannot be labeled ``Made in USA.''
  While companies could legally boast this claim in 49 of the 50 States 
under the Federal standards set by the Federal Trade Commission, they 
are often unable to do so because of the flow of interstate commerce. 
Most manufacturers sell wholesale to national and international 
distributors who then disperse products throughout the country. As a 
result, companies must label products according to the most rigid 
definition in order to protect themselves from costly litigation. In 
short, one State--one single State--is effectively governing how 
interstate commerce is conducted with regard to ``Made in USA'' 
labeling throughout the country.
  The Reinforcing American-Made Products Act would solve this problem 
by ensuring that the current Federal definition is the supreme labeling 
law in interstate commerce without weakening the strong ``Made in USA'' 
national standard. In addition to upholding the Constitution, which 
empowers Congress--this body--to regulate interstate commerce, this 
legislation would provide clarity and consistency, which would help 
American companies avoid unnecessary hardships and frivolous lawsuits.
  In the global marketplace, it is increasingly difficult for small 
American companies to stay afloat, let alone to compete. This reform 
would ultimately encourage manufacturing in America and use American 
tools and resources. It would also help so many of the small businesses 
and ordinary American workers who are currently being left behind, and 
helping them ought to be our goal.
  This bill passed unanimously out of committee, and it has broad 
bipartisan support. I am disappointed that it is being blocked by the 
few people who do not support it when it could benefit all 50 of our 
States. We should exercise this authority, and we should open the flow 
of interstate commerce.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time has expired.
  The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the Oldham 
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Arizona (Mr. McCain).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 50, nays 49, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 160 Ex.]




     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--1

  The nomination was confirmed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the motion to 
reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the President 
will be immediately notified of the Senate's action.