EXECUTIVE CALENDAR--Continued; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 159
(Senate - September 26, 2018)

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[Pages S6317-S6324]
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                     EXECUTIVE CALENDAR--Continued

  Mrs. GILLIBRAND. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sullivan). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


                     Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

  Mrs. GILLIBRAND. Mr. President, I rise to speak about Judge 
Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.
  I urge my colleagues to actually listen to Dr. Blasey Ford and treat 
her with the respect that she deserves. She deserves better than the 
setup she is walking into tomorrow.
  I want to take a step back for a second and look at the big picture 
of what is actually going on with this nomination. We have a nominee 
for a lifetime appointment to the highest Court in the land who has 
been accused, credibly, of sexual assault. Dr. Blasey Ford reluctantly 
came forward out of civic duty and said that Brett Kavanaugh tried to 
rape her in high school. She is now facing death threats for her 
courage, and her worst fears of how she would be treated by this body 
have come to fruition.
  Another woman, Deborah Ramirez, agreed to tell her story after being 
contacted by a reporter--again, risking her career and her safety--and 
said that Brett Kavanaugh exposed himself to her face in college while 
laughing, as part of a game.
  These accusations are disturbing enough by themselves, but the 
response to these allegations by our colleagues are so disappointing. 
Take a look at how Dr. Blasey Ford is being bullied because she told 
her story. Listen to how she is being patronized and dismissed by some 
Members of the Judiciary Committee. Look at how our President belittled 
and demeaned Dr. Blasey Ford and Ms. Ramirez, reminding us once again 
that he has been credibly accused of committing sexual assault himself 
and denigrates not just women who accuse him but survivors everywhere.
  That is not all. The chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee 
tweeted after Dr. Blasey Ford's sexual assault allegation: ``Unfazed 
and determined. We will confirm Judge Kavanaugh.''
  According to Ms. Ramirez's lawyer, the Judiciary Committee isn't even 
interested in taking her claims seriously or getting information from 
her about her claims. Instead of getting the facts--instead of even 
wanting the facts--they try to dismiss this as a smear campaign and 
plow right ahead.
  For anyone who has ever wondered why so many survivors of sexual 
assault don't come forward--obviously, there is trauma, but there is 
also the fear of this very kind of retaliation and scorn. The question 
I have, that I know you have: Do we value women in this country? Do we 
listen to women when they tell us about sexual trauma? Do we listen to 
their stories about how their lives have been forever scarred? Do we 
take their claims seriously or do we just disbelieve them as a matter 
of course?
  I want to echo the words of my colleague from Alaska: ``It is about 
whether or not a woman who has been a victim at some point of her life 
is to be believed.''
  I believe Dr. Blasey Ford. Here is why I believe her. She has risked 
everything--her own safety--to come out on the record to say Brett 
Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. She told her therapist and her 
husband about it 5 years ago. She told a friend about it a year ago. 
She told a reporter about it before Kavanaugh was ever named. She has 
even taken a lie detector test.
  Why are my colleagues moving so fast, as fast as they possibly can, 
to confirm this judge?

[[Page S6318]]

  This process is sending the worst possible message to girls and boys 
everywhere. It is telling American women that your voices don't matter. 
It is telling survivors everywhere that your experiences don't count, 
that they are not important, and that they are not to be believed. We 
are saying that women are worth less than a man's promotion. That is 
not how the world is in 2018, and we cannot allow this Senate, this 
body, to take us back to before 1991.
  To those whom I hear say over and over that this isn't fair to Judge 
Kavanaugh, that he is entitled to due process and to the presumption of 
innocence until proven guilty and that Dr. Blasey Ford has to prove her 
case beyond a reasonable doubt, those are the standards for a trial. 
Those are the standards in criminal justice. We are not having a trial. 
This is not a court. He is not entitled to those because we are not 
actually seeking to convict him or to put him in jail. We are seeking 
the truth. We are seeking facts. We are seeking just what happened.
  We, Senators--not staff members, not female lawyers--are being asked 
to assess his honesty. Is he an honest person? Is he trustworthy? Can 
we trust him to do the right thing for decades? To rule on women's 
lives for decades to come? Can we trust him to do that right?
  This is not about whether he should be convicted. This is about 
whether he has the privilege to serve on the highest Court of the land 
for a lifetime. This is not a court of law. This is a job interview, 
and it is our job as Senators to assess if he is honest. Has he lied 
about his past? Has he misled members of the Judiciary Committee? Is he 
trustworthy?
  One point, I think, that our colleagues are somewhat blind to, which 
I know the Presiding Officer is not, is that the last 2 weeks have been 
so painful for women who have experienced sexual trauma. Women have 
lived through this. So, when they are watching some of the most 
powerful people in this country disregard, distrust, disbelieve, 
minimize, devalue, unfortunately, it is painful for all of them. It is 
painful because you are tired of seeing the same old outcome every 
single time. You are tired of the scenarios in which the men are 
believed and the women are not. They can't believe their eyes when they 
see two women being treated with less respect and having less of a 
process than even Anita Hill received.
  I quote a friend of mine, Amina Sow, who just disclosed today that 
she is a survivor. Her words are powerful and truthful and describe 
exactly the way many people feel:

       The truth is our strength. We are each other's strengths. 
     To the women who are struggling: I see you. I am sorry we 
     have to go through this. Thank you for trusting us with your 
     stories. I am heartened by them and honored to know about 
     you.

  I believe Dr. Blasey Ford because she is risking everything--her 
safety, her security, her reputation, her career--to tell this story at 
this moment for all the right reasons. If we allow women's experiences 
of sexual trauma to be second to a man's promotion, it will not only 
diminish this watershed moment of the societal change we are in, but it 
will bring shame on this body and on the Court.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, as a member of the Senate Judiciary 
Committee, I am looking forward to a hearing that we will have tomorrow 
at 10 o'clock in the morning, at the request of Dr. Ford, that will 
give all of us an opportunity to provide a fair chance to her and for 
her to have her say. It is important that we do this because, during 
the last 10 days, it has felt like a series of small earthquakes. 
Actions taken and blunders committed by our Democratic colleagues have 
destabilized the normal confirmation process and timeline.
  All of this stems from the fact that the allegations made by Dr. Ford 
were made to the ranking member and kept by her from other members of 
the committee as well as from the background investigators, who, 
normally, when allegations come up like this, protect the 
confidentiality and anonymity of both the accuser and the accused until 
they can be properly vetted. Yet that all went by the wayside when our 
friend from California, Senator Feinstein, sat on this letter, this 
accusation. So we are where we are.
  As a result of the unfairness to both the accuser and the accused 
because of the secrets the Democrats kept, because of the way these 
were leaked to the press and the pledges of confidentiality were 
violated, we know the nominee, Judge Kavanaugh, who has had six FBI 
background checks in the course of his professional career, has been 
subjected to multiple accusations that could and should have been 
brought up much earlier.
  As I say, if it had been handled during the normal, conventional 
process, it would have protected Dr. Ford, and it would have protected 
the nominee from this circuslike atmosphere, and we could have gotten 
to the bottom of the allegation. We could have, hopefully, ascertained 
where the truth lies. Yet, under this approach, under this current 
situation--again, created by this failure to release the information so 
it could not be investigated until after the hearing--everybody loses. 
I think we all recognize the basic unfairness of this process both to 
Dr. Ford and to Judge Kavanaugh and that it did not have to be this 
way.
  The process, as I say, has been patently unfair. That is why my 
colleagues and I have been insisting on a better way forward by 
returning to the process that is fair to all concerned. In the 
dictionary definition, ``fairness'' is defined as the ``quality of 
treating people equally or in a way that is right or reasonable.'' 
Another definition is ``impartial and just treatment of behavior 
without favoritism or discrimination.''
  How are we to handle this accusation and this challenging difference 
of position on Dr. Ford's part, who said this attempted sexual assault 
occurred 36 years ago, and Judge Kavanaugh, who has stated under oath 
that no such thing happened? How do we get to the bottom of this?
  The biggest challenge we have is time because I defy any one of us to 
try to reconstruct what we were doing on a given day at a given time 35 
or 36 years ago. It is just impossible to reconstruct with complete 
fidelity and accuracy.
  What we really need to be thinking about, I believe, is a fair 
process. We have tried to provide a fair process for Dr. Ford, under 
these unfortunate circumstances, to tell her story, but we also need to 
provide a fair process for the nominee. This should not be a precedent 
for how future nominations will be handled. We should learn from this 
terrible experience and commit to doing better. One way to do better 
would be to return to our basic values and principles in our government 
and in our country, under our Constitution, which guarantee the rights 
of a person who is accused of a crime.
  I know the minority leader--my friend from New York, Senator 
Schumer--has said to Judge Kavanaugh that this is not a court, that 
this is a nomination, which, I presume from that, means, well, anything 
goes and that there are no rules. He has been accused of a crime--
attempted sexual assault--and has testified under oath, under penalty 
of perjury, that no such thing happened. This is a very serious matter, 
and we need to take it seriously and not create a new framework out of 
thin air, which says, somehow, if somebody makes an accusation that 
cannot be corroborated by anybody else 36 years later, that that 
somehow satisfies our notions of due process and of protecting the 
rights of people who are accused of crimes.
  Fundamentally, this is about fairness. People who have been accused 
of grave misconduct have a right to due process under our Constitution. 
They have a right to know who their accusers are as well as the nature 
of the charges being brought against them and the evidence that will be 
presented against them. Those are basic, constitutional, American 
rights that are consistent with our idea of what the government's 
burden should be when the government is trying to deny us our right to 
liberty or property or even to our lives.
  We also know these rights include a right to speedy proceedings 
without unnecessary delays. Unfortunately, there have been plenty of 
delays for Judge Kavanaugh. Last week, we saw Chairman Grassley 
patiently wait and wait and wait some more while the legal team and 
political operatives who represent Dr. Ford strung the committee along. 
I am sure Judge

[[Page S6319]]

Kavanaugh was wondering: What in the heck is going on here?
  As we all heard during a televised interview on Monday night, he, 
unequivocally, denies the claims that have been made against him. 
Again, that is a serious statement because he does so under penalty of 
perjury. He said: ``I know what is the truth, and the truth is I have 
never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or otherwise.'' Those 
are strong words and direct words, and they remind us of something 
important. It is the truth that the Judiciary Committee and the entire 
country should be after--the truth. But for the truth to be our goal 
this week, some of my colleagues need to dial down the rhetoric and 
quit presuming guilt based on an accusation and nothing else.

  At a minimum, a fair process requires a partial and open mind on the 
part of those charged with determining a person's professional fate. My 
fellow Senators need to remain open to receiving and evaluating 
credible evidence presented at the hearing. Unfortunately for our 
Democratic colleagues, that ship has sailed.
  Long before Dr. Ford's allegations were leaked to the press and made 
public, contrary to her wishes, all of our colleagues on the other side 
of the aisle on the Senate Judiciary Committee had said that they would 
vote against this nomination, so Judge Kavanaugh hardly has an open and 
impartial tribunal deciding his professional fate and deciding whether 
this accusation will remain a stain on his professional career and 
reputation for the rest of his life.
  Then, as I said, there is also the presumption of innocence. The 
Supreme Court has said: ``The law presumes that persons . . . are 
innocent until they are proven, by competent evidence, to be guilty.'' 
This is a fundamental bedrock of our constitutional system. It is 
nonnegotiable. It cannot be conveniently brushed away by our colleagues 
across the aisle. It is not one of several options; rather, it is 
guaranteed under our Constitution. The burden of proof is always on the 
party alleging wrongdoing, not the other way around.
  We have the logical conundrum, as well, beyond the constitutional 
one, where Dr. Ford has testified--at least in the letter--to an event 
occurring. Judge Kavanaugh said it didn't happen. He said: I didn't do 
that; I wasn't there. So unless the burden is on the person making the 
accusation, how in the world could the person defending possibly prove 
a negative when he says that it didn't happen and he wasn't there? It 
is impossible. That would be a presumption of guilt, not a presumption 
of innocence. That would turn our Constitution on its head.
  That is why it is so important for us to hear from Dr. Ford, to 
evaluate the strength of not just the allegations but what 
corroboration, what other evidence, there is in order to find the 
truth.
  We have learned from media reports that attorneys for Dr. Ford have 
affidavits of additional people who know the accuser personally, but 
according to USA Today, these simply indicate that these are things 
that Dr. Ford told her friends 20 or 30 years later, not witnesses of 
the event that she claims occurred 35 or 36 years ago.
  Let's also remember that three other eyewitnesses Ms. Ford identified 
have said that they have absolutely no recollection of the events that 
she says took place--none whatsoever. These are people Dr. Ford 
identified as witnesses to the assault that she claims Judge Kavanaugh 
perpetrated. Yet the witnesses she identified said that they have no 
knowledge of such an event.
  We also need to remember the context in which all of this is 
occurring. Sixty-five women who went to high school with Judge 
Kavanaugh have written a letter saying that he has always behaved 
honorably toward them and treated them with respect. That doesn't mean 
Dr. Ford is not entitled to be heard--quite the contrary.
  She has a story to tell. As the father of two daughters, I want to 
hear that story. I want to compare it to Judge Kavanaugh's unequivocal 
denial and judge for myself the reliability of each. As a former judge 
for 13 years and an attorney general for 4, I feel that doing anything 
less would be shirking my duty.
  We owe Dr. Ford our time, our attention, and our best efforts at 
discerning the truth. That means her claims will be tested, examined, 
and new information, perhaps, will be brought to light. At least that 
is my hope. That is the way it should be.
  We are trying to clean up the mess created by an unconventional 
process of leaking allegations to members of the press after the 
background test was completed and after the hearing occurred rather 
than handling it the way that, as I said, it should be. We should have 
started with that process, not end it here.
  What the majority leader described yesterday as a disturbing pattern 
should never have taken place over the last few weeks. Our colleagues 
across the aisle, catching wind of an allegation, refused to share it 
with the majority and, instead, waited and then made sure that it was 
leaked to the press at the most politically opportune time, when it was 
likely to cause the maximum disruption and embarrassment to both Dr. 
Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. That is no way for the U.S. Senate to do its 
business.
  A search for the truth--if that, in fact, is what we are involved 
with, and I hope it is--should not involve delays and the withholding 
of documents. It should not involve orchestrated personal attacks on 
Members either. It should not involve a mob rule like what we saw at 
the first Kavanaugh hearing. It should not involve people sending coat 
hangers to offices or forcing committee members to leave restaurants, 
harassing them when they are trying to have dinner with their family.

  People who hold a genuine concern for Dr. Ford would have honored 
requests for anonymity and privacy. That is what Dr. Ford specifically 
requested. They would have passed those allegations to the Judiciary 
Committee so that an investigation could have been conducted in a more 
timely and confidential fashion, and then they could be addressed 
during the hearing, if necessary, that we had earlier this month. That 
standard procedure would have treated Ms. Ford as a real person, not as 
a political pawn, and it would have left the Democratic operatives who 
have now been hired to dig up dirt out of the mix.
  I want to say that throughout all of this, Chairman Grassley has been 
exceedingly generous toward Dr. Ford, as we would all want him to be, 
even when his patience has been tested. I want to commend him, once 
again, because he has had a very difficult job of trying to run the 
Judiciary Committee, trying to be fair to the nominee and the accuser 
alike when this wrench, thrown into the spokes of the committee 
operation, has created more of a circuslike atmosphere than a 
deliberative process and search for the truth, testing the background 
of a nominee, which is something all nominees deserve. No nominee 
deserves to be dragged through the mud like this.
  Chairman Grassley has been patient because he knows how important 
this is and how much is on the line, not only for the Supreme Court but 
also for women across this country who see a little bit of themselves 
in Dr. Ford and want to make sure that their voices, like hers, are 
always heard.
  Over the last year, we have been in the middle of an important 
national conversation on the topic of sexual assault and the way men 
have treated women. As I said, I have two daughters. As I mentioned 
earlier, every American has a mother. Some are lucky and have a sister 
or a spouse or a daughter, and I think all of us would want to make 
sure that all of those women in our lives would be treated with dignity 
and respect, were they in the same position that Dr. Ford now finds 
herself in.
  Yet it is also important to remember that every person has a father. 
Many are fortunate to have brothers or sons or husbands, and we would 
want to make sure that all of those men are also treated fairly and 
with respect. We would no more rather have a women's truthful claim be 
ignored than an uncorroborated accusation against a man be honored. 
That is fairness.
  As we know, Dr. Ford is a real person, and so is Judge Kavanaugh--
flesh and blood. Each of them should be treated with fairness, with 
dignity, and with respect. It is not just one or the other, which is 
the false choice that many of our colleagues have suggested. We can't 
pick one and dismiss the other outright and claim any fairness

[[Page S6320]]

or allegiance to our constitutional system and due process of law if we 
do otherwise.
  As Michael Gerson, the columnist for the Washington Post, reminded us 
earlier this week, somewhere along the way this process devolved into 
one that is no longer about just winning arguments but about demonizing 
and destroying other people. It is not about winning arguments. It is 
not about winning elections. It is not about winning votes here in the 
Senate. This process has devolved into character assassination and 
destroying the reputation and lives of real people. It is not too late 
to change that.
  This all calls to mind that famous line by Joseph Welch, a lawyer 
during the McCarthy hearings. He said: ``Have [we] no sense of decency 
. . . at long last?''
  Well, I think we still do, and I hope Republicans and Democrats will 
prove we have a sense of decency and fairness as we approach Thursday's 
hearing.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Ernst). The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CASEY. 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. CASEY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                          Russia Investigation

  Mr. CASEY. Madam President, I rise today to urge the Senate to pass 
the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act. This is a bill that 
not many Americans have heard about yet, but it is a critically 
important bill for the Senate to pass and very important for the 
country. This bill will preserve the Justice Department's independent 
investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 Presidential 
election.
  Since this weekend, there have been reports that the President may 
fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein from his position at the 
Department of Justice. This would be a gross abuse of power--a line 
that we cannot allow to be crossed without consequence. Mr. Rosenstein 
has a long career in public service and law enforcement. He initially 
joined the Department of Justice nearly 30 years ago through the 
Attorney General's Honors Program and rose through the ranks, serving 
as a Trial Attorney, as a Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General 
for the Tax Division, and as a U.S. Attorney in Maryland for over a 
decade--a critically important job in our justice system.
  As Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Rosenstein has overseen the Russia 
investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which has secured 
indictments or guilty pleas from 32 people and 3 companies, including 
Russian individuals and companies, as well as former Trump campaign 
manager Paul Manafort, deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, and other 
campaign advisers, including George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn. 
Earlier this month, Mr. Manafort pleaded guilty to ``conspiracy against 
the United States.''
  Mr. Rosenstein has played an integral role in ensuring that the 
Mueller investigation can continue without interference. Unfortunately, 
this work and Mr. Rosenstein's long and distinguished service at the 
Department of Justice could come to an end if he is fired by the 
President.
  From day one, President Trump has systematically worked to obstruct 
Special Counsel Mueller's investigation into Russia's attack on our 
Nation. He has attempted to fire, to demand loyalty of, and to 
interfere with any official with oversight of this matter. By way of 
example, this is a President who fired the Director of the FBI and 
later admitted in a television interview that he had done so with the 
Russia investigation in mind. This is a President who has repeatedly 
attacked the very Attorney General he nominated, suggesting that the 
Department of Justice should do his political bidding. This is a 
President who has impugned the impartiality and the motives of judges 
who have ruled against his policies. This is a President who has 
continued to call the Mueller investigation a ``witch-hunt'' despite 
the fact that it has already produced dozens of indictments and guilty 
pleas.
  In short, this is a President who believes the Department of Justice 
owes a duty of loyalty to him and him alone. Our Justice Department 
officials have a duty to serve the American people and only the 
American people. They swear to uphold the Constitution, not to 
genuflect to this President or any President.
  Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has upheld his duty to the country 
and our Constitution. If the President fires him, it will be yet 
another blatant attempt to derail the Mueller investigation, and it 
could very well be successful.
  Rod Rosenstein supervises the Russia investigation, overseeing the 
work of Special Counsel Mueller and his team. He receives status 
reports, establishes the investigation's budget, and, according to 
special counsel regulations, has the power to ``determine whether the 
investigation should continue.'' He therefore plays an integral role in 
ensuring that the independent investigation can continue to seek 
answers on Russia's interference in the 2016 election.
  If Mr. Rosenstein were fired, it could compromise the Mueller 
investigation in ways the public can see and in ways we may never know 
through warrants that are never approved or resources that are diverted 
to other projects. This would be a decision by the President that would 
put us into unchartered waters. It is therefore more important than 
ever that Congress step up and exercise the oversight that the American 
people expect from us and I would say especially here in the Senate.
  Since President Trump entered office, the Republican majority has not 
discharged its duty to act as an independent check on the executive 
branch and on the President himself. The majority would not be able to 
abdicate its responsibility any longer if Rosenstein were to be fired.
  Congress has a solemn obligation to act immediately--immediately--to 
protect Special Counsel Mueller's investigation and prevent any more 
interference from this administration. Senators in both parties have a 
duty to the American people to step up as a coequal branch of 
government and ensure that the special counsel's independent 
investigation remains just that--independent.
  For public officials and institutions with nothing to hide, an 
investigation which is independent is not a ``witch-hunt''; it is an 
opportunity for vindication, a chance to prove that our institutions 
and the individuals who serve them are truly worthy of the public's 
trust.
  At a time when the American people's confidence in our institution is 
low--very low--and when suspicion of wrongdoing is high, it is all the 
more important that the 2016 election activities of Russia, as well as 
the Trump campaign, be open for review. As the voice of the American 
people, we in the Senate must ensure that the investigation both 
continues and remains, in fact, independent.
  The legislation to protect the Mueller investigation, the Special 
Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, is ready for a vote by the full 
Senate at any time if the majority leader would permit us to do that. 
It is a bipartisan bill that has been approved by a bipartisan majority 
of the Judiciary Committee. There is no excuse not to pass this 
legislation immediately. Day by day, each time the President attacks 
Robert Mueller or Rod Rosenstein or the rule of law, we are presented 
with more evidence of why this legislation is needed. That is why I 
have again come to the floor to urge Leader McConnell to bring up this 
bill for a vote. It is far past time to put country over party.
  We must not forget that the special counsel is investigating an 
attack on our democracy by a foreign adversary. As a matter of national 
security, the American people deserve answers about what happened 
during the 2016 election. We cannot allow anyone, including the 
President, to interfere with the investigation and prevent the American 
people from getting those answers to very important questions.


                     Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

  Madam President, very briefly, I wanted to add a few comments with 
regard to the vote on Judge Kavanaugh

[[Page S6321]]

that is now before the Judiciary Committee. We are told that tomorrow 
there will be testimony from both the judge and Dr. Ford, but I think 
the evidence that is on the record so far and the new allegations that 
are just breaking news at this hour continue to reinforce my belief--
and this was my belief a week ago, it was my belief a number of days 
ago, and it is still my belief today--that these allegations warrant an 
FBI investigation.
  This would not be a new endeavor for the FBI. They do this routinely 
for nominees from the Supreme Court all the way down. They, of course, 
did an investigation into the judge's background for the purposes of 
this confirmation. An investigation of these new allegations would 
simply be an update to the background check. It would be the completion 
of the background check. That is why this is not a month-long or even 
weeks-long investigation that could transpire. I would hope--and there 
is still time to do this either today or even while the Judiciary 
Committee is hearing testimony tomorrow--that there would, in fact, be 
an investigation that might last a few days. We can certainly take the 
time to do that. When you are talking about the confirmation of a 
Justice on the most important Court in the country and probably the 
most powerful Court in the world, I am sure we could take a few more 
days to complete a background check investigation.
  There are inscriptions on the Finance Building in Harrisburg--a 
building I worked in for a decade--that talk about issues like public 
service and what our government should be about. I think one of them 
applies to this circumstance, about whether there should be an 
investigation that would simply complete the background check on Judge 
Kavanaugh, which I think is necessary and reasonable and appropriate. 
Here is what was inscribed in the 1930s on this government building in 
our State capital: ``Open to every inspection; secure from every 
suspicion.'' I think those few words encapsulate what we are talking 
about here.
  I would hope that anyone--including Judge Kavanaugh but anyone who 
supports his nomination and confirmation to the Supreme Court--would 
want to have these allegations fully reviewed. I know the Senate 
Judiciary Committee has staff on both sides who do investigations. That 
is appropriate as well, but I think we have reached a point where there 
is such a divide here that it is hard to be confident about the fact 
that staffs on both sides could do a thorough investigation and 
cooperate to such a degree that it would be the equivalent of an FBI 
background check.
  I think it is important that there be an independent investigation 
or, as I said before, and I will say it again, the completion of a 
background check--not a new investigation but really an update of the 
existing background check. I would think that anyone would want that to 
be completed either prior to or even during the testimony tomorrow--it 
may provide a foundation for additional testimony by additional 
witnesses--to make sure we have reviewed every part of these 
allegations. I think that is fair to the judge. It is also fair to the 
confirmation process and, of course, fair to those who are making very 
troubling allegations.
  If the Senate Judiciary Committee, in its review of his nomination, 
would be open to an investigation, I think that would reduce the 
likelihood, as the saying goes, that there would be suspicion. If that 
happened, I think the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate itself 
would be secure from every suspicion because there was a background 
check completed and a full investigation.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SCHUMER. 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. SCHUMER. Madam President, moments ago, another serious allegation 
of sexual misconduct against Judge Kavanaugh was made public in a sworn 
affidavit. There are now multiple, credible, serious, and corroborated 
allegations against Judge Kavanaugh made under the penalty of perjury.
  The new affidavit by Mrs. Swetnick calls out for a thorough, 
impartial, detailed investigation done by our FBI professionals, as do 
the allegations made by other women. Yet, currently, there is only a 
single hearing--tomorrow, with no witnesses other than Dr. Ford and 
Judge Kavanaugh--before a scheduled committee vote and a potential 
final Senate floor vote soon thereafter. That is not right. There is no 
need for such a rush. These women deserve to be heard in a fair way, 
and their claims must be properly investigated. Republicans need to 
immediately suspend the proceedings related to Judge Kavanaugh's 
nomination, and the President must order the FBI to reopen the 
background check investigation.
  I strongly believe Judge Kavanaugh should withdraw from 
consideration, and the President should withdraw his nomination if 
Kavanaugh will not do it voluntarily. If he will not, at the very 
least, the hearing and vote should be postponed while the FBI 
investigates all of these serious and very troubling allegations.
  If our Republican colleagues rush to proceed without an 
investigation, it would be a travesty for the honor of the Supreme 
Court and the honor of our country.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Hyde-Smith). The Senator from Nevada.


                        Las Vegas Mass Shooting

  Mr. HELLER. Madam President, while it has been nearly a year since a 
madman's actions devastated Las Vegas, the shock and pain related to 
October 1 still remains today.
  Fifty-eight innocent people lost their lives. Over 800 people were 
injured, and many of them continue to face a long road to physical and 
emotional recovery. Know that you are not alone on that road--we 
support you and we are praying for you.
  Our community is still grieving, and it will never be the same, but 
hatred and fear will not win that night. That is because even though 
one man's horrific actions exposed humanity at its worst, what followed 
were countless stories of true heroism and humanity at its very best.
  Las Vegas showed the world what it meant to be Vegas Strong, and I 
had the honor of experiencing it firsthand in the eyes and voices of 
those who survived and those who were eager to help others. On that 
tragic night, so many ordinary Nevadans made the choice to be 
extraordinary. Let me give you a couple examples.
  They stayed on the field to help the wounded as shots continued to 
rain down. They took their shirts off their backs, used their belts as 
tourniquets, applied pressure to help stop a stranger from bleeding to 
death. Some made stretchers on the spot using the festival barriers. 
Some used their trucks and vehicles to transport the wounded to the 
hospital. For example, Taylor Winston, a marine and Iraq war veteran, 
managed to escape the gunfire. He helped several people over the fence 
when they took cover. Then he found an abandoned vehicle, turned it 
into a makeshift ambulance. After rushing multiple people to the 
hospital, he turned around and went back. He ultimately drove around 30 
injured people to the hospital.
  That night, police officers also covered concertgoers, shielded them 
from gunfire, and directed them to safety. Firefighters, paramedics, 
ambulance drivers, who had never encountered anything as horrific as 
that carnage of October 1, plunged into danger to save lives without 
hesitation, even though they were defenseless, because that is what 
they do.
  That week I had the privilege of meeting a Las Vegas police officer, 
Sergeant Jonathan Riddle. He was stationed a block from the shooting 
scene doing traffic control. After shots were fired from Mandalay Bay, 
he took off sprinting toward the hotel, even though everyone else was 
running away from it.
  Dozens of Metro police officers, including Officer Tyler Peterson, 
who was on his second day of the job, did the exact same thing. They 
rushed toward the firestorm to help in any way they could and of course 
to save lives.
  When I visited the local hospitals, I was struck by the stories 
doctors and nurses shared about concertgoers who

[[Page S6322]]

responded bravely and admirably; stories about people who reacted to 
cowardly violence, stood in the face of danger to protect a neighbor, a 
friend, a family member, or someone they had never met.
  A doctor at UMC put it best when he said, the patients showed 
exemplary courage. He told me he spoke to all the patients in the 
trauma room. Some of them were strangers who accompanied the person who 
sustained injuries while shielding them from bullets. He told me many 
of the patients in the emergency room that night said to the doctors: 
That person is more seriously injured than I am. Take care of them 
first. Come back to me later.
  When I visited UMC, I had the opportunity to meet with one of the 
respiratory therapists who attended the concert. She showed me her 
phone, which had been shattered by a bullet that night. Plastic had 
torn through her hand, and it was embedded in her skin. What did she 
do? She pulled the shards out of her hand, bandaged it herself, rushed 
to the hospital to try to help people who she said needed more help 
than she did.
  I am so grateful for the staff at our hospitals whose skill, whose 
composure and dedication saved one life after another. I am also 
grateful for the work of our law enforcement and our first responders 
on the scene. Each unit took an all-hands-on-deck approach, and 
everyone functioned as one team.
  Instead of being frozen by the aftershock of crippling grief, Nevada 
mobilized and true leaders emerged. My friend Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who 
heads the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, is one of them, but 
many of the heroes who emerged in the wake of this tragedy didn't have 
a badge. Instead, they were teachers, waiters, security guards, and 
construction workers who assumed the responsibility to protect others.
  Take the story of Jack Beaton, a man whose final act on Earth was 
draping himself over his wife to protect her from deadly bullets or 
John, a cab driver, who accelerated toward the screams and chaos and 
drove nearly a dozen people to safety.

  Everyone banded together. Local organizations and businesses 
throughout the State and country stepped up to help. Las Vegas 
Convention Center's South Hall was dedicated to family reunification 
and support services. Airlines answered the call to provide free 
flights to families of victims. Hotels and casinos across Las Vegas 
offered free rooms. Lines of people eager to give blood twisted around 
Las Vegas. Some even waited in line more than 7 hours just because they 
wanted to help in any way they could. Just a few hours after the 
injured concertgoers flooded the hospitals in Las Vegas, the Red Cross 
encouraged volunteer blood donations. In a statement, the Red Cross 
said, ``Last night, tragedy illustrates that it's the blood already on 
the shelves that helps during an emergency.''
  My wife Lynne and I joined the masses of Nevadans who donated blood 
in Las Vegas last October, and on Monday, this October 1, on this day 
each year going forward, we will donate blood in recognition of this 
anniversary. Members of my staff who want to give blood have committed 
to doing the same.
  While it may be just a small gesture, it is an important one because 
when the city of Las Vegas needed help, patients needed blood, the Red 
Cross was able to step in because the inventory was there.
  When I returned to Washington, DC, from Las Vegas last October, I 
immediately began pursuing every available option to provide relief for 
victims and their families, as well as assistance for local law 
enforcement and emergency responders. From pressing the Attorney 
General to make funding available for victims and their families and 
securing funding to cover Nevada's law enforcement overtime costs 
relating to the response to the shooting, to leading a bipartisan 
resolution recognizing the innocent lives which were lost, working with 
Senator Cortez Masto to ask health insurers and our airlines to do 
whatever they could to help victims, I worked with this Congress and 
this White House to deliver resources to Nevada to try to help in any 
way we could.
  To help Las Vegas prevent future attacks, I also spoke with the 
President on Air Force One on our way out of Nevada last October about 
the critical role of Federal funding to protect a city that welcomes 
over 40 million people annually.
  As a direct result, the criteria used to determine funding that is 
allocated to high-threat urban areas for terrorism was updated, and 
this year Las Vegas received nearly double the amount of Federal 
funding compared to last year. I will never stop working to see that 
Nevada has the resources it needs to keep our communities safe.
  As President Donald Trump said, this attack was an act of pure evil, 
and unity cannot be shattered by evil. He also said the bonds between 
the people of the United States cannot broken by violence, and I agree 
with him. We are all still in this together, and together we will 
continue moving down the long road of recovery by honoring the memory 
of those lost and by holding on to the sense of compassion and 
community that emerged.
  I, like many others, could not only feel the strong sense of family, 
faith, and strength in the wake of October 1, I saw it firsthand. The 
immeasurable pain, the suffering and devastation inflicted by one man 
elicited a profound, innate, and immediate human response from a city 
of people who stood side by side during its darkest hour to protect a 
friend or a stranger they had never met.
  Ronald Reagan once said: ``Those who say that we are in a time when 
there are no heroes, they just don't know where to look.''
  On October 1 and in the days that followed, the world witnessed a Las 
Vegas that they may have not known--a place that has been further 
defined by the heroes among us, the ones who sprang into action that 
night. That was truly the identity of Las Vegas. Las Vegas is 
resilient, and together we will continue to be Vegas Strong.
  Thank you.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.


                     Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

  Mr. FLAKE. Madam President, I rise today to say a few words about the 
two human beings who will be providing extraordinarily important 
testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow, Dr. Christine 
Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who will testify in that order.
  Two human beings--it feels a bit odd in this political setting to 
specify their humanity, but we need to. I admit it feels strange to 
have to do that, but we in this political culture, in this city, and in 
this building, even in this Chamber, seem to sometimes forget that 
before this woman and this man are anything else, they are human 
beings.
  We sometimes seem intent on stripping people of their humanity so 
that we might more easily denigrate or defame them or put them through 
the grinder that our politics requires. We seem sometimes even to enjoy 
it.
  For the past 2 weeks we certainly have seen that happen to both of 
these human beings, for whatever reason--because we think that we are 
right and they are wrong, because we think our ideological struggle is 
more important than their humanity, because we are so practiced in 
dehumanizing people that we have also dehumanized ourselves.
  Whatever else they are or have become to us, whatever grotesque 
caricature we have made of them or ourselves, before we are Democrats 
or Republicans and before we are even Americans, we are human beings. 
As President Kennedy said:

       We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's 
     future. And we are all mortal.

  These witnesses who will testify in a very important hearing 
tomorrow, these unwitting combatants in an undeclared war--these people 
are not props for us to make our political points, nor are they to be 
``demolished like Anita Hill'' as was said on conservative media the 
other night, nor is one of them a ``proven sex criminal'' as has been 
circulating on the left side of the internet. These are human beings 
with families and children--people who love them and people whom they 
love and live for--and each is suffering through a very ugly process 
that we have created.
  I will not review the unseemly process that brought us to this point 
because that is for another time, and, in any case, it didn't start 
with this particular nomination. But here we are.
  There was an earlier case, 27 years ago, from which you might have 
thought we would have learned something, but the past couple of weeks

[[Page S6323]]

makes it clear that we haven't learned much at all.
  Consequently, there have been cries from both sides of these 
proceedings that each of the witnesses has fallen victim to character 
assassination. Both of these claims are absolutely correct, so I will 
say to these witnesses, these human beings, we owe you both a sincere 
apology. An apology is inadequate, of course, but it is a start. We 
can't very well undo the damage that has been done. But we can govern 
our own behavior as we go through this painful hearing tomorrow and in 
the days afterward. We must do that, lest we do any even more damage.
  Some of the public comments about these witnesses have been vile. Not 
unrelated to those comments, each of these witnesses has reportedly 
been subject to death threats, and for that we should be ashamed. The 
toxic political culture that we have created has infected everything, 
and we have done little to stop it. In fact, we have only indulged it 
and fanned the flames, taken partisan advantage at every turn, and 
deepened the ugly divisions that exist in our country. These past 2 
years, we have tested the limits of how low we can go, and, my 
colleagues, I say that winning at all costs is too high a cost. If we 
cannot have a human rather than a political response to these 
witnesses, if we are heedless to the capacity that we have to do real 
and lasting damage, then we shouldn't be here.
  When Dr. Ford came forward, I felt strongly that her voice needed to 
be heard. That is why I informed Chairman Grassley that the Judiciary 
Committee could not and should not proceed to a vote until she had an 
opportunity to make her voice heard, until such time that her claims 
were fully aired and carefully considered and her credibility gauged. 
This is a lifetime appointment. This is said to be a deliberative body. 
In the interest of due diligence and fairness, it seemed to me to be 
the only thing to do.
  Not everybody felt this way. One man, somewhere in the country, 
called my office in Arizona and left a message saying that he was tired 
of my ``interrupting our President,'' and for the offense of allowing 
Dr. Ford to be heard--for this offense, my family and I would be 
``taken out.'' I mention this with reluctance, but only to say that we 
have lit a match, my colleagues. The question is, Do we appreciate how 
close the powder keg is?
  Tomorrow, we will have a hearing. Many Members of this body from both 
parties have already made up their minds on the record, in advance of 
this hearing. They will presumably hear what they want to hear and 
disregard the rest. One is tempted to ask: Why even bother having a 
hearing?
  I do not know how I will assess the credibility of these witnesses--
these human beings--on the grave matters that will be testified to 
because I have not yet heard a word of their testimony and because I am 
not psychic. I am not gifted with clairvoyance. Given these 
limitations, I will have to listen to the testimony before I make up my 
mind about the testimony. What I do know is that I don't believe that 
Dr. Ford is part of some vast conspiracy from start to finish to smear 
Judge Kavanaugh, as has been alleged by some on the right. I also do 
not believe that Judge Kavanaugh is some serial sexual predator, as 
some have alleged on the left. I must also say that separate and apart 
from this nomination and the facts that pertain to it, I do not believe 
that the claim of sexual assault is invalid because a 15-year-old girl 
didn't promptly report the assault to authorities, as the President of 
the United States said just 2 days ago. How uninformed and uncaring do 
we have to be to say things like that, much less believe them? Do we 
have any idea what kind of message that sends, especially to young 
women? How many times do we have to marginalize and ignore women before 
we learn that important lesson?
  Now I wish to say a word or two about the human beings, first on the 
Judiciary Committee and then in the full Senate, who will have to weigh 
the testimony that we will hear tomorrow and then come to some kind of 
decision on this nomination. The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to 
vote on Judge Kavanaugh's nomination on Friday. I hope that tomorrow's 
hearing gives us some guidance on how we are to vote. But those of us 
on the Committee have to be prepared for the possibility--indeed, the 
likelihood--that there will be no definitive answers to the large 
questions before us. In legal terms, the outcome might not be 
dispositive.
  While we can only vote yes or no, I hope that we in this body will 
acknowledge that we don't have all the answers. We are imperfect 
humans. We will make imperfect decisions. This monumental decision will 
no doubt fit that description. Up or down, yes or no, however this vote 
goes, I am confident in saying that it will forever be steeped in 
doubt. This doubt is the only thing of which I am confident in this 
process.
  I say to all of my colleagues, for this process to be a process, we 
have to have open minds. We must listen. We must do our best, seek the 
truth, in good faith. That is our only duty.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, I rise today to object to the 
partisan effort to improperly ``stack'' two consecutive nominations for 
the Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPSC.
  Peter Feldman has been nominated not only to fill the remainder of a 
term that would expire in October 2019, but also for an additional 7-
year term on top of that.
  Stacking these nominations contradicts the aim of the Consumer 
Product Safety Act, which established the CPSC as an independent agency 
with commissioners serving staggered terms to prevent any one Congress 
from having an outsized influence on the agency.
  It also violates Senate practice of considering one nomination at a 
time, particularly when the first term would not expire for over a 
year.
  Both Senate Commerce Committee minority staff and the Congressional 
Research Service were unable to identify an analogous nomination where 
the beginning of a term started this far into a new Congress.
  To be clear, I do not object to Mr. Feldman's nomination to the 
Commission. In fact, I voted to confirm him to fill the unexpired term.
  However, confirming Mr. Feldman to a second, 7-year term today would 
undermine the CPSC's independence and set a dangerous precedent for 
future nominations.
  The CPSC plays a critical role in protecting the public from consumer 
product-related injuries, and we must do all we can to defend the 
agency from partisanship.
  For this reason, I must regretfully vote no on Mr. Feldman's 
nomination to serve an additional 7-year term on the Commission.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.
  Mr. HEINRICH. Madam President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays are ordered.
  Under the previous order, all time has expired.
  The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the Feldman 
nomination?
  The yeas and nays were previously ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  The result was announced--yeas 51, nays 49, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 217 Ex.]

                                YEAS--51

     Alexander
     Barrasso
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Burr
     Capito
     Cassidy
     Collins
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Daines
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Fischer
     Flake
     Gardner
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hatch
     Heller
     Hoeven
     Hyde-Smith
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Kennedy
     Kyl
     Lankford
     Lee
     McConnell
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Paul
     Perdue
     Portman
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Scott
     Shelby
     Sullivan
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Wicker
     Young

                                NAYS--49

     Baldwin
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Booker
     Brown
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Coons
     Cortez Masto
     Donnelly
     Duckworth
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Gillibrand
     Harris
     Hassan
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Hirono
     Jones
     Kaine
     King
     Klobuchar
     Leahy
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCaskill
     Menendez

[[Page S6324]]


     Merkley
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Peters
     Reed
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Smith
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall
     Van Hollen
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wyden
  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.
  The Senator from North Carolina.

                          ____________________