In a fiery two-and-a-half minute plea today, Congressman Ruben Gallego called out Republicans for "doing President Trump's dirty work" after they added a loophole for funding the border wall that Trump promised in his campaign.
"Republicans are resorting to deceptive legislative tactics to do Trump's bidding just for his small, fragile ego," said Gallego on the floor.
This "legislative magic, a sneaky gimmick" Gallego is referring to is the self-executing amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. This automatically stripped a provision backed by Gallego and other Democrats that would prohibit federal funds from the NDAA to support building a border wall.
“Just six months into this administration, it’s already abundantly clear that Mexico won’t pay for Trump’s stupid, dumb border wall," Gallego said. "We must not allow precious resources to be robbed from our troops simply to score political points for Trump’s ego.”
The NDAA will continue to be debated this week possibly late into the night. Of the hundreds of amendments added to the bill, 88 were approved today. Other amendments aimed at blocking Trump's agenda include Gallego's cyber security amendment co-authored with Congressman Ted Lieu.
The amendment was written in response to Trump suggesting the United States should work with Russia on creating "an impenetrable cyber security unit" after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.
The amendment argues that no federal funds authorized through the NDAA should be used to share information related to cyber security with the Russian government. It also blocks the NDAA from including an agreement with Russia pertaining to cyber security unless it is specifically authorized by Congress.
“The idea that we would let the fox into the hen house is dumb," Gallego said. “We really can't trust Donald right now with Russia. He's either not seeing how much of a threat it poses or he's in denial."
Republican senator John McCain shared a similar sentiment on CBS' 'Face the Nation' and mocked the President's joint task force idea.
"I am sure that Vladimir Putin could be of enormous assistance in that effort, since he's doing the hacking," McCain said.
Gallego said it's crucial that Arizona residents continue to call their representatives and hold Republicans like McCain and senator Jeff Flake to their word that they will protect cyber security from the Russian government especially in light of Donald Trump Jr.'s email exchanged released Tuesday.
Less than 24 hours before Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out his full email exchange with a senior Russian government official, Gallego was demanding the Trump administration shed light on the possible hacking of the 2016 election.
Monday night the District 7 representative tweeted out a letter to Chairman of the House Rules Pete Sessions signed by himself and California Congressman Ted Lieu urging Sessions to bring their amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to the floor.
"Contrary to the findings of our intelligence, President Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on whether the Russian government engaged in efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election," Gallego said in the letter.
Donald Trump Jr.'s email exchange detailing a meeting between himself, campaign manager Paul Manafort and White House adviser Jared Kushner and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was considered the smoking gun Democrats were looking for in the 2016 election hacking scandal.
The emails promised incriminating information on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and support for Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
Donald Trump Jr., now infamously, replied "I love it."
In response to these emails and the media frenzy that followed, Gallego released a statement.
"If any other campaign had gotten an email saying that the Russian government wanted to help the campaign, they would have contacted the FBI immediately," Gallego said in his statement. "But not the Trump campaign — instead, the President’s son, President’s son-in-law, and the campaign manager took a meeting to see what dirt they could get from the Russians."
What information actually came from the meeting, if any, is still unclear, but the fact that the campaign agreed to meet under the pretense of getting sensitive information about an American citizen is a problem in itself, Gallego said.
"It's hard for Republicans to deny that something was shady and we need more answers," Gallego said.
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