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VIDEO: On CNN and CBS, Rubio discusses Russia Investigation, Venezuelan Sanctions
Miami, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Committee on Foreign Relations and Committee on Appropriations, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union and CBS’ Face the Nation this morning to discuss the investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election, and the latest sanctions against corrupt officials in the Venezuelan regime. A partial transcript is below.
VIDEO: On State of the Union, Rubio discusses the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Investigation into Russia
A downloadable broadcast quality version is available for TV stations here.
RUBIO: People are going to the press who appear to be in the know or at least pretend to be in the know, they leak information, the press reports on it. These questions need to be answered. Unlike some other people, I am one of the 15 people in the Senate that serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee. A lot of people say, ‘Well, you’re being very cautious about this.’ I am and here’s why – because the credibility of our investigation depends on every single one of us in that committee going in without any preconceived notions. I’ve told everybody, I want to know the truth. I want to know the entire truth. I want us to put it in a report and I want to share it with you and the whole country so people can reach their own conclusion.
But the reason why the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who’s a good guy, had to recuse himself is because he was taking hard positions in one direction or another on these issues, and so I don’t want to prejudge any of this. I acknowledge the media reports raise questions that need answers, but let’s get to the facts. Let’s establish the facts and then people can make a concrete opinion or take a concrete opinion on these matters.
But until then it’s my obligation to reserve judgment on all of this until all the information is in and we’ve analyzed it together and not just based on media reports. I think that’s the right thing to do for the country because we need an intelligence committee report that people have confidence in. We’re not going to have that if the members of the committee are out there in front of the press already having made up their mind before the whole report is together.
Our job in the intelligence committee has been to look at this entire episode for the purposes of counterintelligence in particular and then arrive at the facts, put them out in a report, and move on from there. That’s what we’re endeavoring to do in a bipartisan way and again, the best way to do that is not to litigate it in the press, but to do our work and put the report in a way that is credible so no one can deny its credibility and no one can say that we went into it already having made up our minds. This I can tell you for a fact, no matter what the facts are, I want them to go wherever they take us, irrespective what outcome it reaches one way or the another.
My interests here are clear and I don’t think anyone has ever doubted the concern that I have about Russian interference. Back in October I was running for re-election and it looked like my race was going close. I may have been the only Republican in the country running for Congress who refused to discuss WikiLeaks, use it against my opponent or use it against Secretary Clinton because I said it was the work of a foreign intelligence agency. I said it then, I believe it now. I think our report will lay that out and any other facts pertinent to that.
VIDEO: On State of the Union, Rubio discusses sanctions against Venezuelan dictatorship
Maduro is not a president, he’s a dictator right now. He’s canceled the constitution, he basically tried to ify the National Assembly and what solves the situation of Venezuela is not problematic. They have to follow their own constitution. That’s it, follow the constitution that Chavez put in place, hold an election. They are scheduled to hold elections this year. Hold an election. I believe that there isn’t an election – any free and fair election in Venezuela, there’s no way that Maduro’s group wins. Hold an election. That’s what needs to happen. That’s the solution and that’s what he’s standing in the way of and that’s what he refuses to do, and in the process, he’s destabilizing the entire region, and luckily you were starting to see breaks in there, the attorney general of Venezuela is repeatedly breaking from the Maduro regime and the things that they’re doing.
I think hopefully there will be people in the military that refuse to continue to cooperate with these human rights violations that are occurring. And I thanked the White House, we worked on it for weeks with them and I thank them for coming forward and sanctioning these fraudulent puppets on the Supreme Court of Venezuela, who basically are just rubber stamps for whatever Maduro tells them to do. They should be sanctioned and there are more people to come because they are stealing the money of the Venezuelan nation to enrich themselves and they’re spending it in the United States to buy homes in Florida and invest in properties and private jets in the state of Florida and in the United States. We should sanction and seize those properties that they are purchasing with the treasure of Venezuela’s people.
VIDEO: On Face the Nation, Rubio discusses former FBI Director Comey
A downloadable broadcast quality version is available for TV stations here.
RUBIO: Well obviously, look, these media reports that are out there raise questions that deserve answers. ‘What did the president say? Did you in fact keep memos, what did those memos say, and why did you write them and what was your feeling?’ And the American public deserves to know the answers to that. I think that’s fair to the president. I think that’s fair to former Director Comey and I think that’s fair to the country.
VIDEO: On Face the Nation, Rubio discusses importance of speaking publicly in defense of human rights
I certainly believe that we need to confront Venezuela, and Cuba, and Iran, and all the human rights violators in the world. And the White House is willing to do so publicly for nations that are hostile toward the United States. They believe, and it’s a point of disagreement, but they believe that on the countries that are cooperative with us on other issues – like Saudi Arabia, like Egypt – we should privately confront them on the issues of human rights. That you’ll get a better result that way.
Now, I have a different take on it. I believe that human rights are important for us to speak about publicly. The human rights activists in those countries would agree because they’re demoralized when they don’t hear it. But, in fairness, the White House has gotten results. I remember raising the issue of Aya Hijazi repeatedly with the White House. They raised it in private with Egypt. She was released. Sandy Phan-Gillis was being held unjustly in China. I raised it with the White House. They raised it privately with the Chinese. She was released. So I do want to acknowledge they have gotten results through their approach, but I think from a broader perspective, I disagree with it. I’ve told them that. They know it’s a point of disagreement with me, because I believe that these countries – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the like – are not sustainable in the long term if they continue to systemically violate the rights of their people.