Capito, Barrasso, Sanders, Coons

Executive Session (Benczkowski Nomination)

Senator Capito: (1:05 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "He's been very effective. As a matter of fact, the Supreme Court - this Supreme Court has adopt his reasoning in their opinions on 11 separate occasions, and the 300 opinions that he has written are frequently cited by federal judges all across the country. But perhaps Judge Kavanaugh's most qualifying characteristic is something I heard him say at the White House on Monday evening. When the president announced his nomination, Judge Kavanaugh committed to being open-minded in the cases that come before him as a Supreme Court justice. Open-minded. I think that's critical. And his record backs up that commitment. He has a long and clear record of fairly applying the text of our constitution and our laws."


Senator Barrasso: (1:13 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "They're going to complain and have already that some of the cases he's decided in the past didn't work out the way that they wanted them to work out, not what the law said, not what was right but what they wanted. It's what Democrats and the Judiciary Committee did when Neil Gorsuch was nominated to the Supreme Court last year. We've seen this movie before. We know the playbook. They've criticized him for some of his rulings that they didn't like, even though the rulings followed the law, they didn't like the ruling so they criticized the judge for following the law. They suggest he should have ignored the law, sided with the little guy, the sympathetic side in a case regardless of what the law had said."


Senator Sanders: (1:30 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
    • "Mr. President, today I rise to oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. And this is an issue that I will return to in the coming weeks and months at greater length, but I did want to say a few words about why I am in opposition to Mr. Kavanaugh. I think many Americans have a pretty good sense of what the function of Congress is, what the president of the United States does, but in fact I think many Americans do not fully appreciate the role that the Supreme Court plays in our lives in the past decade alone, the Supreme Court has issued some incredibly controversial and, to my mind, disastrous decisions that have had a profound impact on the lives of the American people."


Senator Coons: (1:49 p.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Brian Benczkowski to be an Assistant Attorney General.
    • "But Mr. Benckowski has never prosecuted a case. He's never supervised a criminal prosecution. In fact, he's not even ever appeared in federal court, by his own admission except for one or two limited occasions to address routine scheduling or other matters. Mr. Benckowski is here before us nominated to supervise the single largest, most complex, most sophisticated law firm in America for criminal matters on behalf of the people of the United States without relevant experience. In my view, that alone is disqualifying. That alone should lead us to pause in terms of whether we should confirm this man to lead the criminal division as an assistant A.G."
  • Spoke on NATO.
    • "There's a number I've been holding in my heart this week, 1,044. 1,044. That is the number of NATO troops who have died in combat in Afghanistan serving shoulder to shoulder with the United States. President Trump is correct to raise the issue of contributions to our mutual defense. President Trump has had a real impact. He's gotten our NATO allies to up the ante by more than $14 billion in the last year and a half, and I wish he had gone to Brussels and simply said thank you, folks, for increasing your contributions, and now let's focus on interoperability, deployability and on linking arm to arm and on facing our real adversary: Russia. The NATO alliance exists for mutual defense."