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Senate Proceeding on May 9th, 2011 :: 2:17:15 to 2:34:10
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Chuck Grassley

2:17:15 to 2:34:10( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Chuck Grassley

Chuck Grassley

2:17:17 to 2:17:39( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from i mr. grassley: i ask the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: mr. president, i know we're in morning business. i ask to speak on the nomination of james coal to be deputy attorney general.

Chuck Grassley

2:17:40 to 2:18:00( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: james cole to be deputy attorney general. i rise in opposition on the nomination of james cole to be deputy attorney general at the department of justice. i oppose proceeding to a vote on the nominee for a number of reasons. i've been concerned regarding mr. cole's qualifications and am

Chuck Grassley

2:18:01 to 2:18:21( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: troubled by president obama's recess appointment of mr. cole to this position. i have been consistent in my opposition to recess appointments over the years that i was chairman of the senate finance committee under a republican president. i had the same rule in mind.

Chuck Grassley

2:18:22 to 2:18:42( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: when the president bypasses the senate by making recess appointments, such nominees will not receive my support. we have a process in place for nominations, and if the president isn't willing to work with senators to clear nominations, the nominee shouldn't get a second bite at the apple. in addition to my general opposition to recess

Chuck Grassley

2:18:43 to 2:19:03( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: appointments, i have consistently warned this administration that i would not cooperate in moving nominees from the department of justice until they cooperate with my requests for oversight materials. last night, or last month i went to the floor to describe what i have learned in the course of my

Chuck Grassley

2:19:04 to 2:19:25( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: investigations into whistle-blower allegations at the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. according to whistle-blowers, guns found at the scene of the murder of brian terry had been purchased illegally a year earlier with the blessing of the

Chuck Grassley

2:19:26 to 2:19:46( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: a.t.f. as part of an operation known as fast and furious. i first asked about this issue on january 27. on february 16, i requested specific documents from the justice department. i reiterated that request on march 3. when the justice department

Chuck Grassley

2:19:47 to 2:20:08( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: failed to produce any responsive documents, i partnered with the house oversight and government reform chairman darrell issa who first requested documents and issued a subpoena to the a.t.f. after his voluntary request was ignored. on february 13 my staff learned

Chuck Grassley

2:20:09 to 2:20:29( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: that the justice department was making certain documents available for chairman issi's staff to review at the department. not only did the department fail to notify me of this document review when i sent two of my staff members to participate in this, they were turned away at the door of the justice department. to this day the justice

Chuck Grassley

2:20:30 to 2:20:51( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: department has still not produced a single page of documents in response to my inquiries and has provided only previously released documents in response to chairman issa. i received a letter on may 2 of this year declining to provide my staff with access to documents on the grounds that -- quote -- "the executive branch

Chuck Grassley

2:20:52 to 2:21:12( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: has taken the position that only a chairman can speak for the committee in conducting oversight work." end of quote. i'd like to quote from the district of columbia circuit court of appeals on this issue. quote -- "it would be an inappropriate intrusion into the legislative sphere for the court

Chuck Grassley

2:21:13 to 2:21:36( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: to decide without congressional direction that, for example, only the chairman of a committee shall be regarded as the official voice of the congress for the purpose of receiving such information as distinguished from its ranking minority member, other committee members or other members of congress. each of them participates in the lawmaking process.

Chuck Grassley

2:21:37 to 2:21:58( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: each has a voice and a vote in that process, and each is entitled to request such information from the executive agencies as will enable him to carry out the responsibilities of a legislator." end of quote. that's from murphy vs. the

Chuck Grassley

2:21:59 to 2:22:19( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: department of army, 1979. i said on the floor on april 14 this year that if the justice department did not cooperate and provide the information we need, i would consider exercising my right to object to unanimous consent requests on a nomination. since that time i've received nothing but stonewalling from the department. as the chief operating officer

Chuck Grassley

2:22:20 to 2:22:41( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: of the department, mr. cole is in a position to ensure the justice department meaningfully cooperates with my inquiries and complies with my document request. he has failed to do so. i also am troubled by the department's continued resistance to oversight requests

Chuck Grassley

2:22:42 to 2:23:02( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: from senator chambliss, vice chairman of the select committee on intelligence. senator chambliss has requested the department of justice share information documents -- no, share important documents with congress regarding the guantanamo bay detainee review task force.

Chuck Grassley

2:23:03 to 2:23:24( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: this task force reviewed the case files of many detainees that were released or transferred from u.s. custody. unfortunately, we now know that over 25% of those detainees later returned to fight against america or our allies. these documents are part of a legitimate exercise of our

Chuck Grassley

2:23:25 to 2:23:46( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: constitutional duty to conduct oversight. the department's repeated stonewalling of senator chambliss' request should not be rewarded with a cloture vote on a controversial nominee. the deputy attorney general is second in command at the justice department and responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the department.

Chuck Grassley

2:23:47 to 2:24:07( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: managing this fast bureaucracy is a difficult task that requires a serious commitment to protecting our national security, enforcing our criminal laws and safeguarding taxpayer dollars. we need a qualified individual to fill this slot, an individual who possesses the ability not only to provide leadership for

Chuck Grassley

2:24:08 to 2:24:29( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: the department, but also an individual who has the smarts, the capability and the willingness to manage department programs and root out inefficiencies and abuse in these programs. after reviewing all those responses and hearing testimony, i concluded that i could not support mr. cole's nomination to

Chuck Grassley

2:24:30 to 2:24:51( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: be deputy attorney general. in particular, i'm seriously concerned about mr. cole's views on national security and terrorism. back in 2002, mr. cole was author of an opinion piece in "legal times." in that piece he stated -- quote -- "for all the rhetoric about war, the september 11 attacks

Chuck Grassley

2:24:52 to 2:25:13( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: were criminal acts of terrorism against a civilian population, much like a terrorist acts of timothy mcveigh and blowing up the federal building in oklahoma city or omar abdel rahman in efforts to blow up the world trade center.

Chuck Grassley

2:25:14 to 2:25:36( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: the criminals were successfully tried and convicted under our criminal justice system bout the need for special procedures that alter traditional due process rights." but he went on to say this -- quote -- "the acts of september 11 were horrible, but so are other things." end of quote.

Chuck Grassley

2:25:37 to 2:25:58( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: the other thing he referred to were organized crime, rape, child abuse and murder. mr. cole's opinion piece argued that not withstanding the involvement of foreign organizations such as al qaeda, we have never treated criminal acts influenced by foreign nationals or governments as a basis for -- quote -- "ignoring

Chuck Grassley

2:25:59 to 2:26:19( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: the core constitutional protections ingrained in our criminal justice system." mr. cole concludes his opinion piece by arguing that in addition to stopping future terrorist attacks, the attorney general is a criminal prosecutor and that he has a special duty to apply constitutional protections ingrained in our

Chuck Grassley

2:26:20 to 2:26:40( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: criminal justice system to everyone, including terrorists captured on foreign battlefields. mr. cole wrote this opinion piece two days short of the first anniversary of the september 11 attacks. given the close proximity in time to the september 11 attacks, we must understand this

Chuck Grassley

2:26:41 to 2:27:01( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: opinion piece to be mr. cole's true beliefs about the application of the civilian criminal justice system to terrorism cases, including those who masterminded the 9/11 attacks. from the opinion piece and his responses to our inquiries, it appears that if given a choice

Chuck Grassley

2:27:02 to 2:27:24( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: of prosecuting high-ranking terrorists in civilian courts or military commissions, mr. cole would likely favor civilian courts based upon his long-standing belief in the role the attorney general plays in protecting the principals of the criminal justice system. absent a clear statement from mr. cole about what factors

Chuck Grassley

2:27:25 to 2:27:45( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: would warrant selecting these civilian other military forums, it is hard to look at his testimonies and responses to our questions and reach a different conclusion. military tribunals have many advantages to civilian criminal courts and are better equipped to deal with dangerous terrorists and classified

Chuck Grassley

2:27:46 to 2:28:06( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: evidence while preserving due process. i'm troubled that mr. cole does not appear to share this belief. based upon his responses and testimony, i have serious doubts about mr. cole's support for civilian trials for terrorists captured on foreign battlefields given that the deputy attorney

Chuck Grassley

2:28:07 to 2:28:27( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: general oversees the national security branch of the justice departme second, i have concerns about mr. cole's ability relative to oversight of government programs. first, in his responses about this oversight of d.o.j. grant programs, mr. cole failed to

Chuck Grassley

2:28:28 to 2:28:48( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: commit to a top-to-bottom review of the programs. we had enough examples of the tremendous inefficiencies, duplications and waste in these programs. i'm disappointed that mr. cole has failed to recognize that there is a need for comprehensive review of the department of justice's grant program not only for the sake of saving taxpayers' dollars, but

Chuck Grassley

2:28:49 to 2:29:09( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: also to ensure that grant objectives are being met in the most efficient and effective manner possible. third, i do not have confidence regarding mr. cole's abilities based on his peformance as an independent consultant tasked with overseeing a.i.g. by the way of background, the justice department provided

Chuck Grassley

2:29:10 to 2:29:31( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: copies of the reports mr. cole issued when he was overseeing a.i.g. but they were labeled -- quote -- "committee confidential." end of quote. consequently, i cannot discuss within a specific manner the context of those documents publicly. nevertheless, when taken into

Chuck Grassley

2:29:32 to 2:29:53( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: context with the public responses provided by mr. cole to my questions, a troubling picture develops about mr. cole's peformance in his independent consultant responsibilities. the responses and reports do not dispel the serious questions raised about mr. cole's independence and completeness.

Chuck Grassley

2:29:54 to 2:30:14( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: further, they reveal what appears to be a deference to a.i.g.'s management one would not expect to see from someone tasked as quote, unquote, independent mont omplet in order to clarify a number of questions on this matter, senator coburn

Chuck Grassley

2:30:15 to 2:30:36( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: and i sent a followup questions. mr. cole's reply clarified that d.o.j., s.e.c. and -- and the new york state attorney general's office were aware of his practice of seeking input from a.i.g. and making modifications to the report. he indicated that the changes a.i.g. made were often factual

Chuck Grassley

2:30:37 to 2:30:57( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: changes such as a.i.g. employee names, dates of materials, and events. he also indicated that some of the changes requested by a.i.g. were included in a section of the report entitled quote, unquote, a.i.g. response. however, he said that quote, unquote, on a few occasions,

Chuck Grassley

2:30:58 to 2:31:19( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: a.i.g. would -- quote -- "suggest a stylistic change of phrasing in the analytical section of the report." he stated that while included the edits made by a.i.g., he -- quote -- "did not believe that a detail press taiftion this factual -- presentation of this

Chuck Grassley

2:31:20 to 2:31:41( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: factual review process was necessary to an understanding of each party's position." as a result, the report did not necessarily show which edits a.i.g. made that were incorporated. instead he said that those changes were available in working papers that were -- quote -- "available to the s.e.c., the d.o.j., the new york

Chuck Grassley

2:31:42 to 2:32:02( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: attorney general's office." unfortunately, he added that -- quote -- "the agencies which were aware of this practice did not request such documents." while i appreciate mr. cole's responses to these clarifying questions, they raise concerns about how independent his monitoring was, what changes

Chuck Grassley

2:32:03 to 2:32:23( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: were ultimately requested by a.i.g., what changes were included and how much the s.e.c. and the d.o.j. really knew about edits a.i.g. was making to the independent reports. finally, i have serious concerns about mr. cole's decision to suspend the compliance review at

Chuck Grassley

2:32:24 to 2:32:44( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: a.i.g.'s financial products division following the government bailout. in his testimony mr. cole acknowledged that following the government bailout of a.i.g., he scaled back his efforts until the future of a.i.g. as -- as a corporation was determined. after mr. cole suspended his

Chuck Grassley

2:32:45 to 2:33:05( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: monitoring, a.i.g. restructured its compliance office an terminated a number of staff overseeing the company's compliance with the securities exchange commission's regulations. mr. cole said that after it was determined that a.i.g.'s financial products division would not be resolved and compliance and monitoring were

Chuck Grassley

2:33:06 to 2:33:26( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: -- quote -- "revived and are being viewed and implemented where applicable." under mr. cole's watch a.i.g. not only got $182 billion of taxpayer's money, it was able to talk the independent consultant, mr. cole, out of monitoring what the company was doing. based upon these factors, i'm

Chuck Grassley

2:33:27 to 2:33:47( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: concerned about mr. cole's ability to perform the duties required of deputy attorney general. in the position he would be -- he would be in a position to potentially influence future compliance monitors appointed under settlements between the justice department, the security and exchange commission and

Chuck Grassley

2:33:48 to 2:34:10( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: other corporations that have violated the law. independent monitors need to be truly independent and completely transparent. they are selected and appointed to ensure that the interest of the american people are protected. i cannot support the nomination of mr. cole to be deputy attorney general and, therefore, will vote against cloture. i urge all of my colleagues to join me in opposing this cloture

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