Cornyn, Merkley, Durbin

Executive Session (Engelhardt Nomination)

Senator Cornyn: (2:43 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Gina Haspel to be C.I.A. Director.
    • "The fact of the matter is they have all been investigated, and Gina Haspel has been exonerated. It is wrong to ignore everything else she has done in her career, as well as the fact that she will be the first woman director of the Central Intelligence Agency, someone enormously popular with the rank and file, having come from within their ranks. The particular episodes that we'll hear talked about tomorrow at the open hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence involves enhanced interrogation techniques that were used in isolated instances in the days immediately following 9/11. These programs were of course vetted by all appropriate legal advisors and depended upon in good faith by intelligence officers and the Department of Defense."


Senator Merkley: (2:58 p.m.)

  • Spoke in tribute to Michael Beaver.
    • "Family and friends gathered this morning to celebrate his life. He was born in Mount Pleasant. He was the son of Linda, Susan Beaver and William R. Beaver. A graduate of St. Vincent College where he studied political science with a minor in graphic design, and he earned his Juris doctorate from the Ohio State University Ritz College of Law. He was a member of the Ohio and California state bars. More recently, he served here in this chamber as assistant parliamentarian. Prior to that, he served as deputy legislative counsel for the state of California. Aside from being a brilliant attorney, Michael was passionate about hockey and music, a talented cook, an avid gardener, and a gifted artist."
  • Spoke on the pending judicial nominations.
    • "Throw in a Supreme Court seat, the stolen seat, and you have 33. More than 12 more, more than 50% faster. So the argument that anything is being slow walked is simply completely false. We see all kinds of efforts, though, to rush nominees through without proper consideration. Last year we had cloture votes on four circuit nominees in a single week. We had cloture filed on three nominees within hours of being reported out of committee - not reported out of committee unanimously but with divided votes. And we know that when something comes out of committee, there needs to be time for the rest of the body to be able to exercise their efforts to understand the background of that nominee. And often new information is turned up."


Senator Durbin: (3:33 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the Iran deal.
    • "But having said that, we entered into an agreement with Iran to stop them from developing a nuclear weapon. Despite all these other challenges, all the differences that we've had, continue to have with Iran, we said that gathering together with allies around the world, we wanted to make certain that Iran had not developed a nuclear weapon. And so there were lengthy agreements, lengthy negotiations and agreements which led to the nuclear agreement with Iran to stop the development of nuclear weapons. I think it was a critically important step forward not just because Iran with a nuclear weapon would be a danger to Israel and the Middle East, but to the world."