WASHINGTON –Today in the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) questioned Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco on why the Department of Justice was not present at last month’s hearing on Larry Nassar’s systemic abuse of Olympic gymnasts under his care. Excerpts from Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video can be found here.
SEN. CORNYN: “I’m actually a little surprised to see you given the fact that you refused to attend the hearing where the heinous conduct of Larry Nassar was exposed again and where even the FBI Director personally apologized.”
SEN. CORNYN: “Ms. Raisman, one of the victims of repeated sexual assault by the Olympic team doctor, said the message by them not showing up sends that child abuse doesn’t matter. She’s talking about the Department of Justice, talking about you. I think it’s completely shocking and disturbing that they didn’t think it was important.”
SEN. CORNYN: “Why didn’t you or the Attorney General show up at the hearing?”
MONACO: “Senator, I think the Committee, and I thank the Committee for its work was able to hear from Director Ray and the Inspector General.”
SEN. CORNYN: “Don’t you know you that you demonstrated profound disrespect for these victims of sexual assault by your refusal to respond to Sen. Blumenthal, Sen. Feinstein’s letter, or to even show and express your personal apology as the public official responsible for supervising the FBI at the Department of Justice? Don’t you think you showed them disrespect by refusal to show?”
MONACO: “I mean no disrespect, Senator. And I am here to answer whatever questions the Committee has with regard to the steps the Department is taking to ensure that failures, the inexcusable failures, fundamental failures, do not happen again. I welcome the Committee’s questions here today on that subject.”
SEN. CORNYN: “Well you’re about three weeks too late by my count. A lot of the initial failures of the FBI occurred in 2015. We are now in 2021. And despite the Department of Justice’s refusal to act on the criminal referral by the Inspector General, now you tell us six years later that the Department of Justice is reviewing new information and has a sense of urgency and gravity over the over these potential criminal prosecutions. You know, I’ve been in Washington long enough to know there’s a difference between what people say and what they do. And when you’re talking about a six-year delay between the time that the outcry of these victims of sexual assault has made and six-year delay between then and now, it’s pretty hard to understand or to believe that there is any sense of urgency or gravity on the part of the Department of Justice. What is the statute of limitations for lying to the FBI or from some of the other potential criminal activities that have been charged by the Inspector General in this case?”
MONACO: “I believe the statute of limitations… is five years.”
SEN. CORNYN: “So here we are, six years later. Isn’t it likely that any criminal charges for lying to the FBI would be barred by the statute of limitations?”
MONACO: “Sen. Cornyn, I really don’t want to get into the specifics about what legal theories could be pursued, what evidence may be pursued.”
SEN. CORNYN: “No. I’m asking about the statute of limitations. You said it’s five years for lying to the FBI. Here we are, six years later, and the Department of Justice has done nothing, and you have the audacity to tell us that you are experiencing a sense of urgency and gravity over this. It is simply not credible.”
Sen. Cornyn sent a letter in June of 2020 asking Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz to release his report on the FBI’s investigation of Larry Nassar and the Bureau’s lack of urgency with his case. You can view the letter here. You can view Sen. Cornyn’s response to the eventual release of the Inspector General’s report here.