“Defending America isn’t a partisan issue,” U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) said today while speaking on the Senate floor about the charges filed in connection with U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference with the 2016 election.
“These are very serious charges,” Nelson said. “Yet, sadly, the response to these indictments has been seemingly split along partisan lines. That doesn’t make sense.”
“Russian President Vladimir Putin interfered in our election and, in so doing, he has attacked the very foundation of our constitutional democracy,” Nelson said. “It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican, it should be clear: if you help an enemy of the United States meddle in our Democracy, you will be held accountable!”
Nelson said too often lawmakers and the country as a whole find themselves divided on an issue because of party politics, but said that shouldn’t be the case here.
“There should be no disagreement when it comes to protecting America,” he said. “Finding out what happened is the only way we’re going to be able to prevent this from happening again.”
Below is a rush transcript of his remarks:
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson
Remarks on the Senate floor
October 30, 2017
Everybody now in Washington knows that the special counsel announced charges against two of President Trump’s former campaign aides in connection with the ongoing investigation into whether or not Russia interfered with the 2016 election.
We know now after painstaking investigations in the intelligence community that, in fact, Russia did interfere in the election, and what many of us = are concerned about, since they have continued this pattern in other countries’ elections, we are concerned about the fact that they will interfere in the next elections coming up.
We’ve already seen attempts in this special election down in Alabama that they have bene trying to increase the number of hits going to a Facebook or Twitter account.
So they interfered.
Well, we learned also this morning that a third former Trump aide has pled guilty to lying to the FBI in January when he was asked about his interactions with Russians while he was with the Trump campaign.
Mr. President, these are very serious charges, and we should be united against any individual who helped further Russia’s interference in our elections.
Yet, sadly, the response to these indictments has been seemingly split along partisan lines. That doesn’t make sense. Defending America isn’t a partisan issue.
In fact, everyone in this Senate – all of our Democrats, Republicans, our two Independents — they have sworn an oath to do exactly that: to defend the constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic.
Charging these individuals shouldn’t be seen as a victory for one party, or a defeat for the other.
These individuals are charged with crimes against the U.S. – crimes against all of us Americans.
And the fact is: Russian President Vladimir Putin interfered in our election and, in so doing, attacked the very foundation of our constitutional democracy.
We know that. We also know that we’re not the only country that he has attacked and, according to U.S. intelligence community, he will continue this type of behavior unless he is stopped.
And that’s why we have such a heavy responsibility to defend America from these types of attacks. And to defend our American constitutional foundations built on a process of free and fair and unfettered elections.
It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican, it should be clear: if you help an enemy of the United States meddle in our Democracy, you will be held accountable.
Too often, here in this Senate and throughout the country as a whole, we find ourselves suddenly divided on issues because of party politics, but that shouldn’t be the case. There should be no disagreement when it comes to protecting America. Because we should be Americans first, not Democrats or Republicans first. We should be Americans first.
We must continue to be patient with the Mueller investigation, and allow it to follow the facts wherever they may lead.
Because finding out what happened is the only way we’re going to be able to prevent this from happening again – and it’s the only way that we’re going to be able to keep our country safe.
Madam President, I yield the floor.