[Congressional Record Volume 166, Number 44 (Thursday, March 5, 2020)]
[Pages H1525-H1530]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                              {time}  1230
                           ISSUES OF THE DAY

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Ms. Stevens). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 3, 2019, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Gohmert) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  Mr. GOHMERT. Madam Speaker, I appreciate the tribute of my colleague 
a few moments ago for law enforcement.
  One of the things that arose out of the evil hatred that brought 
about 9/11's attacks was people began to appreciate our military again 
and began to appreciate our first responders again. That was a very 
welcome development. And it seems that in recent years so much of that 
respect and admiration has been clouded by false allegations against 
some law enforcement. So it is great to hear other colleagues talk 
about the importance of our law enforcement and the role they play.
  Unfortunately, what many consider to be the greatest law enforcement 
agency or department in the world has been badly clouded by bad actors 
within the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I know U.S. Attorney Durham 
is investigating. We haven't seen any results come from that at this 
point. We have just seen terribly inappropriate if not criminal conduct 
from FBI agents in recent years that resulted in no punishment.
  We had Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, before our 
committee recently. I questioned him about the FBI agent who falsified 
information to submit to the FISA court, in essence, changing the 
information that said Carter Page did work for our intelligence agency 
to saying he did not, and instead of the director punishing him, he was 
allowed to resign. That is not hardly cleaning up criminal conduct.
  The people that swore to applications and affidavits before the FISA 
court in order to get warrants to spy upon Carter Page--Papadopoulos--
the Trump campaign was obviously the goal. We haven't seen people 
punished, but the reputation of the FBI and those good FBI agents who 
do enforce and follow and properly investigate the law, they suffered. 
It is going to take, obviously, a different director of the FBI in 
order to clean up the FBI and get their reputation back.
  Simply allowing people to resign or retire when from all appearances 
they have engaged in criminal conduct when they are supposed to be 
investigating criminals, that is not enough. To deny and to turn the 
other cheek when you find out about improprieties within your 
department, that is not enough.
  As Christians, we believe in what Jesus taught about turning the 
other cheek or loving your enemy, but there is a different role for 
Christians when they are in government, and that does not mean ignoring 
criminal improprieties; it means, like Romans 13 talks about, if you do 
evil, you are supposed to be afraid because the government was not 
given the sword in vain. It is supposed to punish evildoers. And that 
is one of the roles.
  We are supposed to have good oversight in Congress, and the FBI had 
been allowed to devolve into great problems here in Washington, and not 
just in Washington, but even working for the District of Columbia. The 
agent, possibly agents, that helped cover up for the Awan brothers 
further cast great clouds over the reputation of the FBI, but here 
again, that is in Washington.
  Across the country, around the world we have good FBI agents. But 
when my very dear friend, brother, Philip Haney was found with a 
gunshot wound to his chest out in California, I wish I were comforted 
when we got word that FBI agents were being sent to assist Amador 
County in the investigation. I don't know which agents were sent. I 
don't know if they were good FBI or FBI like Strzok and Page and McCabe 
and others who had no problem being political and being dishonest in 
their jobs.
  I know Inspector General Horowitz has come out with more information 
about another investigation, but the manner in which he did a great job 
of finding so many improprieties and then came to conclusions 
completely opposite of what the fact findings were is a bit disturbing.
  We need the FBI cleaned up. We need the reputation back. But it needs 
to come back not through cover-ups like it appears to me has been going 
on in recent years, but from actually cleaning out those who have been 
abusing their authority.
  We are supposed to be taking up the issue of a couple of provisions. 
The PATRIOT Act section 215 is coming up, fortunately, for sunset. We 
should be taking up the issue of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance 
Act court, the FISA court. But when we address that, when it has come 
up, when we have had private discussions with Federal authorities, 
those of us on the Judiciary Committee in the past, going back to my 
first year here, 2005, we have been assured, this is FISA, this is the 
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The purpose is to help us go 
after foreigners who are known terrorists or are foreigners who have 
relationships with known terrorist organizations. That is who we are 
going after.
  The only time we were assured years ago that we may pick up an 
American citizen is if they are in contact with known foreign 
terrorists or known foreign terrorist organizations, otherwise, we 
don't even pick them up. And we find out now years later, those were 
lies. The ``F'' in FISA stands for foreign, but what we have come to 
find out through the FBI dishonesty in pursuing the Trump campaign was 
that actually they go after American citizens on a regular basis. It is 
a regular thing. They use the FISA court to spy

[[Page H1526]]

on Americans, to spy on the Trump campaign, but even more than that, to 
constantly be grabbing up Americans' phone records. And there was a 
time when they could say with a straight face, look, all we are getting 
is the metadata. We don't know who these phone numbers are. They are 
just metadata that we can run algorithms and see if there are any 
terrorist numbers in there. Well, we know that is not what has been 
going on.
  Maybe that has, but what additionally has been going on, and we saw 
this with Chairman Schiff, he was able to gather information about 
people in his own committee, phone numbers, people they had called 
because the days of being able to say, well, it is metadata, we don't 
know what all those numbers are; no, nowadays you can know very quickly 
whose number is where and what metadata. And they are spying on 

  So I have said before, unless there was a dramatic cleanup, and we 
have seen no indication from the FISA judges themselves that they have 
enough pride in their position that they would be offended by fraud 
upon their courts--I don't have a problem with the FISA courts going 
away. I mean, we succeeded in winning World War II when we had 
important national secrets, and we went through Korea, went through the 
Cold War, the worst of the Cold War years, without having FISA courts. 
They came into being in the 1970s. And now over 40 years or so later, 
we find out that the use of the FISA court has devolved into abuse of 
the FISA courts so that American citizens are routinely spied upon. And 
they are not foreign. They are American citizens.
  I would love to see, and I really appreciated--we disagree on lots of 
things, but Zoe Lofgren from California, most of us would say she is 
much more liberal, but she has always been concerned about American 
civil rights. In talking with her yesterday, I am still impressed, she 
is still concerned about America's civil rights, and we should not have 
Americans spied on. So I know Congresswoman Lofgren has been working on 
ways to try to actually clean up the FISA court and make some reforms 
that would help clean things up.
  But I am to the point with so many abuses that we have found that we 
could either do away with the FISA court and go back to the days--and, 
I mean, as a judge I have handled so many warrants, applications, 
affidavits for warrants, signed warrants--you had to have probable 
cause that a crime was committed, probable cause that this person 
probably committed the crime, and then you had to describe with 
particularity, that is a requirement of the Fourth Amendment, you have 
to describe with particularity the thing to be searched and the thing 
to be searched for. And it is often the case that none of those things 
are found in FISA applications, affidavits, and warrants, at least from 
the things that we have seen.
  So the solution in prior days when there was no FISA court, you would 
file a motion with the court and ask for an in-camera review, ask that 
documents be sealed for national security purposes. There was normally 
a time limit, from the ones I am aware of, a time limit on how long 
they were sealed. And that was to protect national security, if it 
involved national secrets, national security secrets. But at least it 
would seem, and I certainly hope that if we are going to reform the 
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts that we have an amendment that 
says, you know, since the ``F'' in FISA stands for foreign, then the 
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Courts are not going to be 
granting warrants against American citizens.
  If someone in Federal law enforcement, especially the FBI, wants to 
spy on an American citizen, they can go to an Article III Federal 
District Court to get their warrant. You shouldn't be able to go to 
this secret star chamber court to spy on American citizens. That was 
never, ever anticipated as one of the jobs of the FISA courts when they 
were created back in the 1970s. If we are going clean it up, and the 
FBI has shown no propensity to be able to clean it up themselves and to 
police themselves, and the FISA courts themselves have not shown that 
ability or propensity, and, in fact, many have been advocating since we 
found out about such widespread abuse in the FISA courts, some have 
advocated, well, maybe if we just allow or require the FISA courts to 
appoint an amicus, a friend of the Court to stand in for the interests 
of the person against whom a warrant is being sought, that should be an 
adequate reform.
  Then that was proved to be totally bogus back in December when--after 
this FISA judge who had apparently insufficient pride in her court to 
punish people who committed a fraud upon the court--an amicus was 
appointed who happened to be the person who had been lying for quite 
some time in saying that Devin Nunes was lying when it turned out Devin 
was exactly right in the things that he put in his report and that the 
amicus that the FISA court appointed was the one who had been either 
lying or just completely ignorant. That is the lawyer that was 
appointed as the friend of the court.

                              {time}  1245

  Clearly, the FISA courts are not capable of cleaning up their own 
messes. They enjoy, apparently, having fraud committed upon them and 
their courts as long as they get to keep signing warrants against 
American citizens without the American citizens having the right to 
come in and contest it.
  I would love to see, especially if we are going to leave the FISA 
courts, at least let's have an amendment. And I surely hope that this 
will become a very bipartisan effort to say it is a Foreign 
Intelligence Surveillance Act, so we are not going to allow a Foreign 
Intelligence Surveillance Act court to grant warrants against American 
citizens. If somebody wants those, go to an Article III court.
  For those not familiar with the Constitution--I realize that there 
are more and more these days since more schools are having to teach to 
the federally mandated test, and there are no civics questions I am 
aware of that are compelled to be asked in the mandated Federal test. 
We don't have as many high school students, graduates from high school, 
who know about Article I, II, and III of the Constitution.
  A recent survey, in recent years at least, indicated that, as I 
recall, more young people 25 and under can identify the Three Stooges 
than can identify the three branches of the Federal Government: 
executive, legislative, and judicial.
  So Article III is the article dealing with the courts. As my old 
constitutional law professor, David Guinn, used to say, there is only 
one court created in the Constitution, and that is the Supreme Court. 
All other Federal courts owe their existence and their jurisdiction to 
the United States Congress. In other words, Congress brought them into 
the world, and Congress can take them out of the world.
  So I would hope that if we don't eliminate the FISA court because of 
such broad abuses that would allow, encourage, and not respond to 
abuses when one administration is seeking to spy on and participate in 
a coup against another party's candidate, then it is time to eliminate 
the court, and if not eliminate the court, at least eliminate the 
ability of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to grant 
warrants against American citizens.
  American citizens are supposed to be able to have those civil rights, 
and they have been taken away by the creation and abuse of the FISA 
courts. It is time that this Congress, in a bipartisan method, came 
together and said enough of the abuses.
  Let's face it: President Trump has been getting Federal judges 
appointed and confirmed in record numbers. I think, from what I can 
tell, Attorney General Barr is doing what he can to clean up the 
Justice Department, and I am sure he would defend Christopher Wray. I 
just happen to disagree with the job that the Director of the FBI 
currently is doing.
  But there are going to be some people who are interested in justice 
who replace those who have been extremely partisan, as we have seen.
  I would encourage my friends across the aisle who have seen how 
helpful the FBI was to a Democratic administration politically just to 
keep in mind there are changes being made, and it is not going to be so 
helpful to one party over another in the future.
  I would hope that colleagues on both sides of the aisle would come 
together to say: You know what? This really is

[[Page H1527]]

the time. We have to stand up for American rights.
  It is one thing under the Constitution to have writs of habeas corpus 
suspended in a time of war, but it is quite another to prevent writs of 
habeas corpus, because American citizens don't even know that they are 
being spied upon by their own government and cases are being made 
against them through spying by their own government without probable 
cause, without proper warrants.
  It is time to fix that, and I hope this will be the Congress that 
does so.
  So, we have this article from The Washington Times, Jeff Mordock, 
yesterday. It says: ``FBI missed chances to stop domestic terror 
attacks because of lack of follow-up,'' according to the Horowitz 
report, apparently.
  In this article, it points out that the IG investigation revealed 
``lapses in the Bureau's assessments allowed perpetrators of some of 
the most deadly attacks in recent history to fall through the cracks.''
  That is understandable since the FBI was trying to help prevent 
Donald Trump from being elected President and then trying to 
participate in what certainly appeared to be an attempted coup, that, 
gee, they were just too busy to actually prevent some of these 
terrorist attacks, according to the article and the IG report: ``Omar 
Mateen, who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, 
Florida, in 2016; Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who killed three people at the 
Boston Marathon in 2013; Nidal Hasan, who massacred 13 people at Fort 
Hood, Texas, in 2009; Esteban Santiago, who killed five people in a 
2017 attack at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.''
  `` `The FBI has acknowledged that various weaknesses related to its 
assessment process may have impacted its ability to fully investigate 
certain counterterrorism assessment subjects, who later committed 
terrorist acts in the United States,' '' Mr. Horowitz wrote.
  The article says: ``The inspector general's report is the latest 
black eye for the Bureau,'' that is the FBI, of course, ``which has 
been besieged by allegations of political taint and questions of 
  `` `Anytime there is criticism, of course, it undermines the public 
faith in the Bureau, and that can never be good because the FBI depends 
on the public trust,' said Lewis Schiliro, a former head of the FBI's 
New York field office.''
  But further down, it says: ``Even after the FBI discovered lapses in 
its assessment of potential terrorist threats, field office managers 
failed to properly implement changes or conduct consistent oversight of 
counterterrorism investigations, the report said.
  ``Roughly 40 percent of the FBI's counterterrorism assessments went 
unaddressed for 18 months, even after Bureau officials discovered 
investigative lapses, Mr. Horowitz wrote.''

  ``The FBI first investigated Mateen in 2013, 3 years before he 
carried out the deadly Pulse shooting. Agents closed the case months 
later and did not properly address Mateen's history of mental illness, 
the report said.
  ``Agents investigated Tsarnaev ahead of the Boston Marathon bombing. 
Even after an internal Bureau database flagged Tsarnaev, agents closed 
the probe after concluding he had `no nexus to terrorism.'''
  That was interesting, the Tsarnaev investigation. I had the 
opportunity to question an FBI Director named Mueller about that 
because Tsarnaev was identified by the Russians. He had been over in an 
area where some Muslims had been radicalized, making them, as radicals, 
a threat to non-radicalized Muslims, both Christians, non-radicalized 
Muslims, Jews, others who were not radicalized Muslims.
  In fact, Russia had notified the FBI. To the FBI's credit, 
apparently, from what we found, they did send an agent out to question 
Tamerlan Tsarnaev. It sounded like basically they asked him if he was a 
terrorist, and he assured them he wasn't. They went above and beyond 
and questioned his mother, and she assured them that Tamerlan was a 
good boy, that he wasn't a terrorist.
  As I put to Director Mueller: You didn't even go out to the mosque 
where they were attending and find out information that would have 
revealed whether they had been radicalized or not.
  About all Mueller could come back with was that they did go out to 
that mosque, not to investigate Tsarnaev, but to actually just have 
part of their community outreach program.
  And I said: You probably didn't even know who founded that mosque.
  And he didn't. He didn't know, but it was founded by a man who was 
doing 23 years in Federal prison for supporting terrorism.
  But before Mueller came in and purged the FBI of training materials 
that would allow FBI agents to identify who were the peace-loving 
Muslims and the small group that had been radicalized that wanted to 
kill non-radicalized Muslims, he purged them, as I have said before. 
One of our agents said: He blinded us of our ability to see who was a 
  Thank you very much, Director Mueller.
  He purged the training materials. There was an advanced course for 
FBI--I think 700 pages of training--and Mueller ordered all of that 
  Fortunately, after he left--and after we had more attacks and more 
Americans died--eventually, the training was brought back for some FBI 
agents. But it still needs work.
  But these FBI agents, they didn't know what to look for because 
Mueller had eliminated the training materials that would have helped 
them know what to look for in radicalized attacks.
  Of course, my friend, Philip Haney, who was found dead with a bullet 
hole in his chest, he was investigating a group called Tablighi Jamaat. 
It is interesting that some of the training Tablighi Jamaat did, 
including for the killers in San Diego, there was certain training that 
they undergo that I am not going to get into, but if someone is 
undergoing that training, it should send up red flags, certain parts of 
that training, at least, that this person may be on the road to 
  It is just very unfortunate that our most powerful investigating body 
had been so purged of people who could recognize radicalization that it 
put Americans at risk, and Americans died as a result of that effort by 
Director Mueller and others within the FBI.
  This article goes on and points out that: ``The inspector general 
said the Bureau bungled the case of Elton Simpson, who tried to ambush 
a Garland, Texas, art exhibit featuring cartoon images of the prophet 
Muhammad, the central figure of Islam. Although agents received 
information related to Simpson, they determined he was not a 
significant threat.
  ``Mr. Horowitz said that even after the FBI sought to address the 
problem, it failed to conduct the necessary oversight to implement the 
recommended changes.''
  I would humbly submit that when Comey took over from Mueller, he did 
not improve matters at the FBI when it came to identifying threats 
against American citizens.

                              {time}  1300

  Mr. Speaker, I would like to address the issue of the coronavirus.
  We have heard allegations that our President is just totally out of 
it, totally uninformed, and totally unprepared to deal with the 
coronavirus. Sometimes the best way to analyze whether or not a leader 
is, not out of it, but actually has taken bold steps to protect 
Americans is helped along by comparing to a prior administration, for 
  There is an article by ABC News, Dr. Angela Baldwin: ``How Novel 
Coronavirus Compares to SARS, MERS and Other Recent Viral Outbreaks.''
  Dr. Baldwin points out that: ``MERS, Middle Eastern respiratory 
syndrome, was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Of the 27 
countries affected globally, 10 countries are in or near the Arabian 
Peninsula and 17 countries are outside of the Arabian Peninsula. Only 
two patients in the U.S. ever tested positive for MERS.
  ``To date, there have been nearly 2,500 laboratory-confirmed cases of 
MERS, with a death rate of about 34 percent.
  ``Influenza is another contagious respiratory illness with symptoms 
that are similar to SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. It is caused by the 
influenza A and influenza B viruses. Different strains of influenza are 
responsible for the flu season that occurs every year. The CDC 
estimates that there have been 18,000 to 46,000 flu deaths so far this 

[[Page H1528]]

  ``The swine flu, or influenza A,'' which was the H1N1 virus, ``caused 
the 2009 global pandemic. An estimated 151,000 to 575,000 people, 
worldwide, died from the H1N1 virus in 2009. Of those, there were an 
estimated 12,400 deaths in the U.S. . . . This strain continues to 
circulate as a seasonal flu virus each year . . . . ''
  But 12,400 American deaths from the H1N1 virus? I was shocked to read 
that. I didn't remember reading or hearing that, during the Obama 
administration, there was such a weak response to the H1N1 virus that 
we had 12,400 Americans die from the H1N1 virus.
  So it is interesting. President Trump reacted immediately to the 
information of a virus of the nature of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, 
coming from China. He reacted by restricting travel from those areas.
  And thank goodness he reacted so quickly, even though he was 
condemned by some Democrats for being racist and for being a xenophobe. 
All he was trying to do was protect Americans from this virus.
  So he suffers the indignities, the slings and arrows, being called a 
racist and a xenophobe, but he didn't care because he was protecting 
the American people. Had he not reacted so quickly, there is no doubt 
we would have had many more Americans infected with the virus.
  He also reacted with regard to our southern border that has been so 
porous, despite his best efforts. We, no doubt, have been saved from 
many more cases of COVID-19 arising here in the United States by the 
efforts of our Border Patrol and the Trump administration.
  This article points out: ``In comparison,'' talking about in 
comparison to the H1N1 virus, ``COVID-19 has spread to more than 50 
countries and infected more than 85,000 people, worldwide, since 
January of this year. In the United States, there have been about 70 
cases . . . . ''
  I think there may be more than 100 now, but this article, dated March 
2, says, ``two people have died.'' But I believe there are more than 
that, maybe as many as 10 who have died here in the United States.
  I wish that we were getting a report out that these are normally our 
senior citizens who have some preexisting health condition. So we 
should be encouraging senior citizens and retirement homes, they all 
should be very careful, because it seems that our seniors are most at 
risk here and around the world.
  ``While COVID-19 seems to spread easily, the symptoms tend to be 
mild, particularly for people who are relatively young and healthy. The 
SARS and MERS outbreaks had significantly higher death rates. 
Meanwhile, seasonal influenza remains an important cause of respiratory 
illness that can cause hospitalization and death . . . .
  ``As Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at New York City's Lenox 
Hill Hospital noted: `Make sure you get a flu shot. It's much more 
likely to contract the flu than the new coronavirus infection.'
  ``He also warns: `Older persons should also make sure they get 
vaccinated against pneumonia and shingles, since these are more likely 
if they develop a viral infection such as the coronavirus.'''
  But every one of those Americans who has died, 10 or so--I am sure 
the number will grow--it is a tragedy. It is devastating to the loved 
ones, and I am just surprised we didn't hear a whole lot about the 
12,400 Americans during the Obama administration who died from the H1N1 
  So, obviously, the media gets much more up in arms over 10 Americans 
dying from the coronavirus than they did over the 12,400 that may have 
died in 1 year in America from the H1N1 virus.
  I was concerned earlier here, an hour or so ago, to hear Majority 
Leader Hoyer saying, as I understood him to say, next week, the 
majority here wants to prevent President Trump's travel bans.
  We are finding out that, because of President Trump's travel bans, 
lives have been saved. The coronavirus has not spread, as it surely 
would have, and so the answer next week will be to restrict President 
Trump's abilities to save American lives by preventing people from 
coming into this country from areas where the coronavirus is found to 
be widespread, people coming in without adequate ability to make sure 
they are not infected. I was very sorry to hear that that is something 
that we, apparently, are going to take up next week.
  There is an article here from PJ Media, by Victoria Taft, February 
28, 2020, and the headline says: ``Fact-Check: Obama Waited Until 
`Millions' Were Infected and 1,000 Dead in U.S. Before Declaring H1N1 
  That is the virus we were just talking about. Anyway, that is a 
rather interesting article pointing out the difference between 
President Obama's response to the H1N1 and the thousands that died as a 
result of--actually, the other article talked about the 12,400.

  There is an article here from the Centers for Disease Control, June 
25 of 2012: ``First Global Estimates of 2009 H1N1 Pandemic Mortality 
Released by CDC-Led Collaboration.''
  But it points out the ``improved modeling approach which resulted in 
an estimated range of deaths from between 151,700 and 575,400 people 
who perished worldwide from 2009 H1N1 virus infection during the first 
year the virus circulated. . . . ''
  I don't really have information on how many Americans died. 
Apparently, that 12,400 was just in the first year, so no telling how 
many died during the 8 years of the Obama administration.
  So we have got more work to do, but I don't think it is helpful to 
blame President Trump for trying to protect American citizens from 
being exposed more and more to the coronavirus, or COVID-19.
  On another note, we have heard about the Afghanistan peace agreement. 
My concerns have been hearing, during the Bush administration, that 
they took a great deal of advice from former Ambassador Khalilzad, and 
it sure sounds like he made a mess of the Bush foreign policy with 
regard to Afghanistan when discussions were being held--what kind of 
government should we give Afghanistan--and that troubles me.
  We shouldn't be asking that question. That should have been a 
question for the Afghans. And though Khalilzad may have been an Afghan, 
he is an American; and he was listened to, as I understand, during the 
Obama administration, which explains some of their problems with 
getting out, as President Obama wanted to do. He said he was going to. 
He was sure trying, but problems kept arising.
  I would think if somebody gives advice that didn't help the Bush 
administration and didn't help the Obama administration, then I deeply 
regret that anybody in the current administration would be taking 
advice from that same individual.
  The Taliban were our enemies. They have never indicated that they 
want to stop killing Americans. As our allies who fought and 
successfully defeated the Taliban within 6 months of 9/11, by the end 
of February 2002, after the Taliban had been identified as our enemy, 
helping al-Qaida with the attacks on the United States on 9/11, we--
well, I say ``we,'' but, actually, it was our allies who defeated the 
Taliban. By the end of February, there was no real organized Taliban in 
Afghanistan. The groups had been devastated.
  We provided aerial support. We had about 300 special ops people in 
there embedded with General Dostum's Northern Alliance groups, 
different tribal groups that we supported, and they outed the Taliban. 
Some fled to Pakistan, but there was no organized Taliban left.
  And then the mistake occurred: What kind of government should we give 
them, and let's occupy Afghanistan for a while. Occupiers have never 
done well in Afghanistan, and that still remains true.
  But the biggest problem I have was the advice. I could be corrected, 
but I am told by people who were around back in the second Bush term 
that Khalilzad was one of those saying: We need to give them a strong 
central government. You don't want to have a federalist government like 
we have in America where States have so much power, States and local 
government. Let's just have a strong President.
  And we gave them a constitution that we basically forced on them that 
made the President all powerful, nearly.

                              {time}  1315

  The President of Afghanistan appoints the governors, he appoints the

[[Page H1529]]

mayors, and he appoints the police chiefs. What I hear from some of our 
Afghan friends is he will often, whether it was Karzai--Ghani is not as 
bad as Karzai was, Ghani seems to be trying to do better--but sometimes 
they would appoint people who didn't even live in the province or the 
city to come in and rule over it.
  What our allies, who fought with us and for us in initially defeating 
the Taliban, had begged for is for our help to get Afghanistan to amend 
their constitution so they get to elect their governors, they would get 
to elect their mayors, and they would get to select their own police 
chiefs because the constitution that we gave them is a formula for 
  Who pays off the president to become the governor or the mayor?
  That is a formula for corruption. It is easy to see when we gave them 
that constitution that is where it was headed.
  As some of our former allies, the former Northern Alliance, have told 

       Look, if we could elect our own governors, elect our own 
     mayors like you do in America, and pick our own police 
     chiefs, then, yes, we know--they have been saying this for 
     years--we know you are going to have to pull out at some 
     time. We understand. That is fine. You don't want to be an 
     occupier, and we don't want you to be. But if you leave the 
     president as all powerful and he picks the governors, mayors, 
     and police chiefs, then all the Taliban have got to do when 
     you leave is either knock him off or corrupt him, and then 
     they will control the whole country, and there is nothing we 
     can do about it.
       In fact, all of us who fought with you Americans and helped 
     defeat the Taliban--actually they defeated the Taliban 
     initially--they are all going to be dead. We are going to all 
     be dead, so that when the Taliban gets strong enough again, 
     they attack you again and you come to Afghanistan looking for 
     allies, we are going to all be dead, and nobody is going to 
     want to be your ally because you allowed us all to die when 
     you allowed the Taliban to take back over.

  So, I would hope something that we will work toward is helping the 
  I said: Well, what makes you think we could help you amend your own 
  I was told: Well, you guys pay most of our budget. If you say you are 
not going to pay the budget anymore, then we will amend our 
constitution. If you force us to do that, we will amend our 
constitution, and we will get to elect our governors like you do, elect 
our mayors like you do, and pick our own police chiefs like you do; and 
we won't have people brought in through corruption or favoritism, and 
we will be capable.
  As Massoud said:

       Look, when you leave, if we get to elect our own governors 
     and mayors and pick our own police chiefs, yeah, the Taliban 
     may be able to take over one or two provinces, but the rest 
     of us will band together again, as we did in 2001 and 2002, 
     and we will kick them out again. But if you leave us where 
     the Taliban can take over complete control and where all the 
     control is in the president of Afghanistan, we are all going 
     to be killed, and you won't have any allies to fight with you 
     and for you when the Taliban hits you again.

  So, I hope we will quit taking advice from a person, no matter how 
well-meaning or not, who just proved to be totally wrong in 
administration after administration. I think that we can do as the 
President truly wants to do, get out of Afghanistan and save American 
  Mr. Speaker, I want to address one other thing, and that is the 
comments of the minority leader of the Senate made at the Supreme Court 
  There is an article here from FOX News, Edmund DeMarche, which says:
  ``The American Bar Association said on Wednesday that it is `deeply 
troubled' by a comment made by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, 
Democrat, New York, outside the Supreme Court that many said was a 
direct threat to two sitting Justices.
  ``Schumer was at a rally over a high-profile abortion case while the 
case played out inside. Schumer named Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch 
and Brett Kavanaugh and, in an impassioned speech, said: `You have 
released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You will not know 
what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.'
  ``Justin Goodman, a Schumer spokesman, responded after Chief Justice 
John Roberts issued a statement on what he called `threatening' 
comments. Goodman said that Schumer was addressing Republican lawmakers 
when he said a `price' would be paid.''
  Now, I think it is very important to note the difference between a 
threat and total agreement with Supreme Court Justices. President Trump 
has disagreed with things the Supreme Court has done or comments that 
have been made. That is the American way. We can disagree whenever we 
want to. People in this body, including me, have been very disagreeable 
with some of the things the Supreme Court has done, and it is very 
helpful to voice that.
  As Natan Sharansky points out in his book, ``The Case for 
Democracy'', he says, there are basically two societies, a fear society 
and a free society. In a free society he suggests an appropriate test 
is if you can go into the town square and say anything you want to as 
long as it is not a criminal statement, but otherwise you say whatever 
you want to, and if you don't have to worry about arrest or being 
harmed, that is a free society.
  A fear society is one where you have to constantly be afraid because 
the government may decide to swoop you up or people may come beat you 
up for saying what you say.
  For many years this country has been a free country, but even in a 
free country where you can say whatever you want, it crosses the line 
when you threaten individuals who are in government.
  I understand this Goodman speaking for Minority Leader Schumer as 
saying, no, no, he was talking about Republican lawmakers. But if you 
look back at the quote, there is no mistake about what Senator Schumer 
said. He said: ``You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the 

  This is after he has called out Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, ``and you will 
pay the price,'' and if there is any question at all about whom the 
threat was intended to go to, he said: ``You will not know what hit you 
if you go forward with these awful decisions.''
  Now, these are not awful decisions he is threatening over by 
Republican lawmakers because the Republican lawmakers have nothing to 
do with the Supreme Court decisions. And he says ``decisions.''
  This was a threat to two of our Supreme Court Justices, and that 
crosses the line from disagreement--as all of us probably in this body 
have done from time to time and should because the Supreme Court is not 
perfect. They make mistakes. Dred Scott was, I think, probably the 
worst mistake the Supreme Court has ever made, but they have certainly 
made many more since then, not to that level.
  It is fine in America to disagree with the Supreme Court. It is fine 
for Senator Schumer to do that, but not when he threatens and says: 
``You will not know what hit you--'' of course, the term ``hit'' is an 
assaultive reference--``you will not know what hit you if you go 
forward with these awful decisions.''
  Now, he could be speaking of this assaultive term figuratively, but 
regardless of whether it is figurative or literal, it is a threat upon 
two of our Supreme Court Justices.
  Then, unfortunately, Senator Schumer has doubled down by his coming 
after Chief Justice John Roberts. I have certainly disagreed with him 
plenty of times, but he did the appropriate thing here in defending two 
of his Justices who were attacked or threatened. He doesn't need to 
defend them when they are verbally attacked as so often happens in the 
Senate or the House, but certainly when they are threatened he needed 
to step up and he did so.
  For those who wonder, 18 U.S.C. section 115 of the U.S. Code says: 
That whoever threatens to assault, kidnap, or murder a U.S. official, a 
U.S. judge, a Federal law enforcement officer or an official whose 
killing would be a crime under such section--then it goes on and says--
that person has committed a crime can be arrested.
  So it is a crime just to threaten. I am not sure the term ``hit'' 
would be adequate to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an assault 
was threatened, but something was threatened because they would not 
know what hit them, and that goes beyond the pale. As I understand it, 
people have been disbarred for making threats of that nature.
  But we will see what happens. I certainly hope that there will be an 
apology by Senator Schumer because we

[[Page H1530]]

ought to disagree with the Supreme Court when they are wrong or when we 
think they are wrong, but no threats.
  This should be the last bastion of civility where we can come, we can 
disagree, we can fuss at each other, we can complain, and we can expose 
ignorance, but not threaten. There is no place for that in the House or 
in the Senate.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Malinowski). Members are reminded to 
refrain from engaging in personalities toward Members of the Senate.