Statement ● Foreign Affairs
For Immediate Release: 
December 14, 2017
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks on the House Floor today during Special Order Hour on the need to uphold and protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Below is a video and a transcript of his remarks: 
 

Click here to watch a video of his remarks.

“I thank the Gentleman for yielding. I thank him for taking this time on the special order because, as an aside, I need to apologize to him for making him wait so long for this special order.

“I also want to tell the American people, Mr. Speaker, that the Gentleman who has taken this special order is probably the constitutional expert not only in this body but one of the constitutional experts in our country. He is a great legislator himself – although new to this body, not new to being a legislative leader at all. A legislative leader in our state for many years. A wonderful teacher. And somebody who has great political courage and is willing to stand and say ‘the emperor has no clothes.’ Who’s willing to call attention to the fact that our democracy is at risk; that our due process is at risk. He used the phrase ‘trumped-up.’ What an interesting phrase that we have used for many years. I don't know it's had as much relevance in years past as it now may have.

“Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend, Mr. Raskin, for leading this special order. Our system of government, as he has pointed out, is based on the rule of law. We are a government of laws, not of men. What that means is it is not personalities, not dictators, not kings that rule our land. It is the law – the law of our Constitution, the law of our legislators, and the common law that we pursue, as interpreted by our court system. Its foundation is the constitutional principle that all are equal under the law. No one is exempt.

“The appointment of a special prosecutor earlier this year to look into the possibility of Administration or Trump campaign officials colluding with a foreign adversary or obstructing justice falls into a long tradition in our country of using independent counsel to investigate those in the most senior offices of our government. Our Founding Fathers would say that is a check and balance, that is a protection against the usurpation of democracy.

“The choice of the former FBI Director Bob Mueller to be that independent investigator was an extraordinarily wise one – a decision greeted with support from across the political spectrum, precisely because Mr. Mueller is so widely respected for his independence and his commitment to the law above all else. And, parenthetically, although it is not necessarily relevant, he is a Republican. He is not, however, driven by the politics of left or right or Republican or Democrat. He is a man of the law; a man who seeks the truth; a man who has dedicated his career to assuring that we remain a land of liberty under law.

“We have already seen a demonstration of that commitment in the prompt firing of a subordinate investigator for an act that was not illegal – as the Gentleman from Maryland, our constitutional scholar, has pointed out – but, however, threatened to impugn the objectivity of the investigation. In other words, he removed somebody who he thought might undermine the credibility of this investigation because he is so committed to this investigation being objective and unquestionably fair. Mr. Mueller has made it abundantly clear that he will not tolerate any hint of bias in this investigation.

“So far, it appears that his investigation is bearing fruit, having uncovered serious crimes and secured three indictments as well as guilty pleas from two key subjects – guilty pleas. This was not a question of we had a trial and somebody convinced twelve people that he was guilty. This was a case where the individual said: ‘I am guilty. I did what was alleged. I know that it is illegal, and I should bear the consequences.’ That included, of course, the National Security Advisor – who was National Security Advisor, I think, for twenty-five days or close to that number – Mr. Flynn.

“As the investigation has advanced, Mr. Speaker, we've seen troubling statements from the President and his advisors, seeking to sow uncertainty about the legitimacy of the special counsel's activities and undermine confidence in him. But it's not so much the confidence in him that is critical. It's confidence in the law. It's confidence in the process. It's confidence that in fact we are a nation of laws and, whether we are president or peasant, we will be held accountable if in fact we break the laws. What is being done to undermine this process threatens the independence of the investigation and those who are undertaking it. It is dangerous to our democracy and to our freedom.

“Now, in recent days we've heard calls by the President and his allies to launch a counter-investigation of the special prosecutor's investigation. Those of us who know history know that that is so often the defense of those who seek authoritarian power. Of those who believe they are above the law. Of those who believe they can intimidate others so that they will never be held accountable for wrongdoing. This preposterous suggestion has but one purpose: to cast a shadow of doubt over the findings of Mr. Mueller's inquiry by attempting to frame it in a partisan way. In fact, Mr. Mueller was appointed by a Republican-appointed deputy attorney general.

“It is tactics like this one that we see so often overseas in countries ruled by dictators and those seeking to become dictators.  This willful effort to erode confidence in any institution that must be seen as impartial is harmful. Because if nobody and nothing is impartial, if everyone and everything is tainted by politics and interest, then no one – no one – can possess the moral authority to hold accountable one who wishes to be entirely unaccountable.

“That, Mr. Speaker, is the reason, I think, that the President has also attacked the fourth estate: the newspapers, the broadcasters, people whose duty it is to bring facts to the people so that they, the people, can make a rational judgment in a democracy. For it is in their hands that the power ultimately resides, and if you undermine those who give them the facts, then you undermine their ability to make decisions.

“This, ultimately, is what the special prosecutor's work is all about: accountability. Ensuring that every person is held to the same high standard of behavior under the laws of our nation. So, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues in both parties – this is not about party, this is about country. This is about patriotism. This is about the rule of law. If we lose that respect for law, we will lose our country. It will be a different, lesser country.

“I urge my colleagues from both parties, from every ideological corner, let us not forget the most fundamental principle that binds us together as Americans and as public servants: that all are created equal. That all of us, and all Americans, are equal under the law. That doesn't mean we're the same. But it means in the eyes of the law we are equal as we stand to be held accountable or to be held innocent or not involved or not owing somebody else for wrongdoing. We need to uphold by our words and by our deeds.

“The special prosecutor's work must continue unimpeded, and it must continue to be respected. Yesterday, in the Judiciary Committee, that was not the case. To defend the indefensible undermines respect for law.

“I want to thank my friend again, Mr. Jamie Raskin from Montgomery County, Maryland – as I said, a great constitutional scholar and teacher, a great legislator. But, more importantly than that, an individual who loves his country, and throughout his life has fought to make the country all that the Founding Fathers meant it to be.

“I thank him for coming to this Floor and for his efforts to ensure that Mr. Mueller's investigation can continue to be seen as impartial and with its objective unquestioned. And that is accountability. Accountability and justice. Equal justice under the law. That is our bedrock. That is our touchstone. That is our guiding star. That is what Professor Raskin, Congressman Raskin, citizen Raskin is talking about today, and we all ought to thank him for that. And I yield back the time to my friend, Jamie Raskin of Maryland.”