McConnell Recognizes Joseph Maguire and Discusses Senate Business

‘Our nation asks our Intelligence Community to fulfill an enormous array of sensitive missions.’

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the intelligence community and the week’s business:

‘First this afternoon, I’d like to recognize the career in public service of retired Vice Admiral Joseph Maguire, whose tenure as acting Director of National Intelligence and Director of the National Counterterrorism Center concluded last week.

‘Mr. Maguire spent 36 years serving our nation as a U.S. Navy special operator. His leadership record included SEAL Team 2 and the U.S. Navy Special Warfare Command, where he guided some of our nation’s most sensitive military operations.

‘Admiral Maguire retired from the Navy in 2010. But it was not long before public service came calling again. In 2018, the President asked him to direct the NCTC. The Senate confirmed him by voice vote. And he took on an even more challenging assignment last summer when he agreed to follow our former colleague Senator Dan Coats and act in the role of the DNI.

‘Our nation asks our Intelligence Community to fulfill an enormous array of sensitive missions. These men and women work day and night to protect the homeland from terrorists. They fight nuclear proliferation. They keep watch on dangerous adversaries like Russia and China.

‘They guard against what hostile intelligence services are doing in our nation. And they work to protect American elections from foreign interference that seeks to sow division and chaos and reduce public confidence in our democracy.

‘Recent reports suggest that adversaries including Russia are likely continuing efforts aimed at dividing Americans, sowing chaos in our politics, and undermining confidence in our elections. 

‘Fortunately, in stark contrast to the failures of the Obama administration in 2016, the Trump administration once again appears to be doing the right thing — in this case, by promptly providing a specific counterintelligence briefing to the Democratic presidential candidate in question.

‘This is just the latest example of the vigilance and the action we’ve seen from this administration on this crucial issue. In parallel with the hundreds of millions that Congress has appropriated in new election security assistance for state and local authorities, the Administration has taken major proactive steps.

‘The Treasury Department has sanctioned numerous Russian entities involved in the 2016 interference. The Department of Homeland Security has worked closely with states, local jurisdictions, and the private sector to bolster our cybersecurity defenses.

‘The Obama administration’s naive and belated efforts failed to deter or defend against Russian interference in 2016 and failed to provide substantive counterintelligence briefings to the Trump and Clinton campaigns. By contrast, the Trump administration has been vigilant and appears to be providing timely warnings to candidates affected by foreign intelligence activities.

‘This is critically important work. And it wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of the intelligence community to identify the hostile activities. 

‘This is just one of the many critical tasks the Intelligence Community performs for our country. Our country is safer and stronger when they have the tools and the resources they need, and leadership that understands that political bias must have no quarter in intelligence work and that all Americans’ rights need protecting.


‘This week the Senate will continue to fulfill both of our constitutional charges: We will vote on important legislation and we will provide advice and consent on a number of presidential nominations.

‘We’ll begin with two nominations to the federal bench in U.S. territories.

‘Judge Robert Molloy, who currently sits on the U.S. Virgin Islands Superior Court, is nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Virgin Islands for a term of ten years.

‘Judge Silvia Carreño-Coll currently serves as a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of Puerto Rico, and has been nominated to be a U.S. District Judge.

‘Both nominations were reported out of committee by voice vote.

‘This week, we’ll also consider Katharine MacGregor, the President’s nominee to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior, and Travis Greaves, a nominee to serve as Judge on the United States Tax Court for a term of fifteen years.

‘But first, following the first two nominations, the Senate will turn to important legislation put forward by Senators Graham and Sasse to expand protections for innocent lives.

'Senator Graham’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act would finally remove the United States from the list of only seven nations -- including China and North Korea -- that permit elective abortion after 20 weeks. It would bring our nation’s regard for the unborn off this sad and radical fringe and bring us more in line with the global mainstream.

‘I do not believe this legislation should be controversial. But even less controversial should be Senator Sasse’s Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. It would simply ensure that infants who survive abortion attempts receive the same level of professional care as other children.

‘My colleagues and I will have more to say on this subject in the days ahead. But I will urge all Senators to join me in supporting these nominees and these pieces of legislation when we vote on them this week.’

Related Issues: Nominations