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Rudy Giuliani is a conduit for Russian disinformation: Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy joins Yahoo Finance’s On The Move panel to discuss the latest developments on a potential stimulus deal and his expectations for the final presidential debate.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Senator Murphy is joining us from Washington, DC. And thank you for being here. I do want to ask you about stimulus, first of all. I mean, we've been talking about this thing for weeks now, obviously the back and forth that has been going on. Purely from a political perspective, doesn't it make sense for Nancy Pelosi to push this off until after the election?

CHRIS MURPHY: I mean, who cares about politics. My constituents in Connecticut can't pay their rent. You should see the lines that exist right now at food banks in my state. People are literally starving. Businesses who are facing the winter months are looking at a mass extinction event.

So you know, I know everybody sort of thinks that we view all of this through a political lens, but if we can get a deal done that makes sense for my folks in Connecticut, then I'll vote for it. The problem here has been that the president's position changes on an hourly basis. And as Mitch McConnell has very readily said, he doesn't think he can get any votes in his caucus for a package that's big enough to make a difference. So you know, we still have some big stumbling blocks to get to the finish line, but ultimately, this is about saving lives.

JESSICA SMITH: Hi, Senator. Jessica Smith here. So what happens if there is no deal by Election Day? Do negotiations continue, no matter who wins the White House? Or is there a chance that people are going to have to wait for that relief until sometime in January?

CHRIS MURPHY: Well, there's no reason why those negotiations couldn't continue. There is some scuttlebutt out there that Mitch McConnell is sitting out these negotiations, because he does not want to rescue the economy prior to Biden taking office, that he essentially wants to hand Joe Biden a hemorrhaging economy. I hope that isn't true. But I did watch Mitch McConnell sit on the sidelines in 2009 when we were trying to rescue the economy from the Great Recession.

So my belief is that the negotiations could continue. There's no reason why we couldn't get a deal in late November or early December. But my worry is that there will be a bunch of Republicans who, having voted for, you know, massive amounts of deficit financing, both for tax cuts and for coronavirus relief, will all of a sudden become deficit hawks the minute that the election is over, in the case that Joe Biden wins.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Senator, I want to shift from stimulus, because we know that's going to be discussed, the economy's going to be discussed at the debate, to the role you also play with the Foreign Relations Committee. And something that's unfolding, a lot of this is unverified, the laptop and the Hunter Biden emails and all of that, and that's going to come up in this debate tonight.

What do you want to hear from Joe Biden? Because we haven't-- even if this is an outright lie or Russian some kind of interference, we haven't heard the Bidens say absolutely not true. We haven't heard Hunter Biden say that or the senator say that. Do they need to say that?

CHRIS MURPHY: I mean, what a victory for Russian propaganda that we're talking about this right now. I mean, this is exactly what they had hoped, that they would be able to sort of filter this information through Rudy Giuliani, ultimately get it talked about in mainstream media, and force Joe Biden to have to discuss it. The fact of the matter is, Rudy Giuliani is, at this point, you know, whether he knows it or not, a conduit for Russian disinformation.

He still, to this day, won't say that Andrii Derkach is a Russian spy. He is. The Department of Treasury has labeled Andrii Derkach as a Russian asset. So you know, I hope that Joe Biden tonight is talking about how he is going to save this country from financial ruin, how he is going to build a national plan to confront the coronavirus, how he is going to tackle climate change.

Those are the things that matter to my voters in Connecticut. They want to make sure that we're protected from Russian interference. But they are hoping desperately that this debate tonight is not a debate about Russia, it's a debate about America.

JULIE HYMAN: Nonetheless Senator Murphy, something has to be done about this election interference, right? You're on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. What does need to be done? Whoever the actors are, the bad actors who are trying to influence the election, whether it's through social media or other means, sending direct emails to people, telling them their votes won't be counted, for example, how do we stop all that? What needs to be done from a policy perspective?

CHRIS MURPHY: Well, one of the things that needs to be done is for the American public to be given all the information. And what we know through a whistleblower complaint is that the White House is telling the intelligence agencies to bury information about Russian interference. Americans need to know what the scope of this operation is.

I mentioned this guy Andrii Derkach. This was a guy that was showing up on American TV programs, who was filtering information to Congress. The administration knew he was a Russian spy, and yet they wouldn't tell that to the American public for months. So for a long time, Americans would see this guy Derkach spinning these stories about Joe Biden and believe that he was some objective political analyst.

So part of how you confront interference is by exposing it. And the administration has been running a campaign, at least with respect to Russia's efforts, to try to bury that information. That's not me saying that. That's the head of intelligence at the Department of Homeland Security, who filed a whistleblower complaint because he was getting orders from the White House to shut up about Russian interference efforts.

JESSICA SMITH: Senator, I wanted to ask about the Supreme Court. You have said in the past if the Senate does go ahead and confirm Amy Coney Barrett before the election, the Senate will never be the same. She moved out of committee today, so it sure looks like they are on track to do that. How do you think the Senate is going to change? And what can you do about it?

CHRIS MURPHY: Yeah, I mean, this is a small place, right. There's only 100 of us. And it's hard to make the Senate work if your word doesn't matter. And all these Republicans told us in 2016 that there was a new rule that you couldn't confirm a Supreme Court justice in the last year of a president's term. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham said hold me to what I'm saying, we will not confirm a justice in the final year of President Trump's term.

But they did. They went back on their word. And why I say the Senate won't be the same is that when you can't trust what your colleagues are telling you, then it just becomes hard to get anything done here when all that matters is political power, when truth sort of just is less important.

So I do worry for the future of the Senate. I think what they have done over the past few months is a fundamental breaking, shattering of the way in which the Senate has worked in the past. And I don't know how we'd put things back together after this.