***VIDEO RELEASE*** Menendez Remarks and Questions at SFRC Hearing with Sec. Pompeo

***VIDEO RELEASE*** Menendez Remarks and Questions at SFRC Hearing with Sec. Pompeo

“I remain deeply concerned by the Administration’s incoherence and contradictory views. We need a strategy because the result of the lack thereof is chaos and confusion, or worse.” “I recognize the president considers himself to be a masterful dealmaker and a very stable genius, but we need to call the president’s statements out for what they are: At this point I find them to be misleading and untruthful.”

   

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivered the following remarks and questioned Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at today’s Committee hearing on a variety of national security issues facing the United States, including U.S.-Russia and U.S.-North Korea relations, and the State Department’s plan to allow internet posting of do-it-yourself 3D printable firearm blueprints. 

 

CLICK TO WATCH MENENDEZ’S OPENING REMARKS

 

CLICK TO WATCH MENENDEZ’S QUESTIONS FOR POMPEO

Below are Senator Menendez’s opening remarks as delivered:

“Mr. Chairman, let me start by saying I applaud you for making this the first in a series of rigorous oversight hearings on Russia. This committee has gone for more than a year without a full committee hearing on either U.S.-Russia or U.S.-North Korea relations, so I appreciate your leadership in this regard.

“And now it seems to have taken a three-ring circus of a debacle of a meeting with President Putin, a walk-back of whether the President trusts his own intelligence officials, the suggestion that it might be even okay for a U.S. diplomat to be interrogated by Russian intelligence, and a reality TV ‘summit’ that was little more than a photo-op with a brutal dictator…to merit one hearing with the Secretary of State. 

Having said that Mr. Secretary, welcome and thank you for your service to our country.

“The members of this committee are strongly supportive of strategic, well-crafted diplomacy to advance America’s foreign policy interests. Unfortunately, all we have come to expect is a saber-rattling President who embraces and provides legitimacy to some of the world’s most notorious bad actors, and who denigrates our closest allies whose sons and daughters have gone to war alongside Americans.

“We have not seen any substantive ‘deals’ or strategies that put Americans or American national security first. We have seen our President look weak as he stands beside our adversaries and intends to roll out the red carpet at the White House—I hear that’s postponed until January, but nonetheless—to invite Putin to the White House, a thug who is actively trying to undermine our elections.

“Well, Mr. Secretary, we in this body are taking heed of our intelligence and law enforcement officials and working to protect our country from the flashing red lights of ongoing Russian aggression. Senator Graham and I, and others, plan to introduce legislation in the coming days to ensure we have the toughest tools to go after Russian bad actors.

“As of this moment, we find ourselves in an unimaginable situation: the American people, elected officials in this body, and members of the President’s own cabinet have heard more about the meeting in Helsinki from Putin and his associates than from our President. We know that the Kremlin’s state-run media operations have a dubious commitment to the truth but we don’t know what the truth is because nobody else was in the room where it happened.

“The American people expect and I believe they deserve to know what happened.  

“I also have serious questions about the summit in Singapore that took place nearly two months ago. In that time, we have yet to hear or see anything that provides us with real confidence that North Korea, as the President gloated, ‘no longer poses a threat’ to the United States, or that we have a coherent strategy to achieve a verifiable denuclearization agreement.

“We have only seen a vague agreement of promises to make more promises – but with weaker commitments than North Korea has previously made.

“The United States and North Korea seem to remain far apart on even basic issues such as the definition of ‘denuclearization’.

“In fact, over the past eighteen months, under this administration’s watch, North Korea has perfected its ICBM and tested its largest nuclear detonation, rather than any verifiable steps to dismantle their program. It seems Kim Jong Un got everything he wanted in Singapore, including international recognition and the suspension of US military exercises.

“This week’s reports of dismantlement at a launching station may be good news, but it may simply be a signal that North Korea has completed all the testing it needs to. Frankly, the Singapore agreement seems more the art of concessions than the art of the deal. And we are weaker for it.

“Last week, Russia and China blocked a U.S. request to impose penalties on sanctions violations, calling our ‘maximum pressure’ posture into question. 

“As you know, I have introduced bipartisan oversight legislation along with Senator Gardner to provide the sort of support and guidance that this diplomatic effort needs, and exercise the oversight responsibility Congress owes to the American people—those that you previously laid out before this committee are incorporated.

“Finally, let me raise one more deeply alarming issue that broke this week. I understand that despite its ability to stop this ridiculous notion, the State Department is about to allow internet posting of do-it-yourself 3D printable firearm blueprints.

“Why on Earth would the Trump administration make it easier for terrorists and gunmen to produce undetectable plastic guns?

“I remain deeply concerned by the Administration’s incoherence and contradictory views.  We need comprehensive strategies across the world because the result of the lack thereof is chaos and confusion, or worse. 

“I recognize the president considers himself to be a masterful dealmaker and very stable genius, but we need to call the president’s statements out for what they are: At this point I find them to be misleading and untruthful.

“I look forward to your testimony and finding out what the truth really is.”

 

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