WASHINGTON — Democrats continued their efforts to slow down business in the Senate Thursday in order to pressure the Trump Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor for the Russia investigation and to give into other demands.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer went to the floor and demanded that Attorney General Jeff Sessions not be involved in the search for former FBI Director James Comey’s replacement.
“Attorney General Sessions, who had to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, played a significant role in firing the man who was leading it. Not only that, the Attorney General is now reportedly leading the search to replace Mr. Comey,” Schumer said. “He’s helping select the next FBI Director who will be in charge of an investigation that he cannot oversee. What an irony.”
He added, “This Attorney General should not oversee the hiring process of the next FBI Director. His role will jaundice the entire process if it hasn’t already.”
Schumer also stated that Democrats want the highest ranking civil servant at the Justice Department to appoint the special prosecutor.
“Mr. Rosenstein and other political appointees should not be the ones who decide on a special prosecutor, lest that decision be seen as influenced, or worse, made at the direction of the Administration. And I thank my colleague from California Senator Feinstein for speaking so eloquently on this proposal.”
The Minority Leader added that his caucus wants Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to call for an all-Senate briefing where “Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein should make themselves available to Congress” and “answer the questions swirling about from Tuesday night’s firing. They should appear separately, and in a classified setting if necessary.”
Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins took to the floor Wednesday and vented her frustration that the Senate Aging Committee hearing had been shut down when Senate Democrats invoked the two-hour rule which can prevent committee hearings from happening.
“We have witnesses who have come here from four different states,” the Collins said. “How does that contribute to solving anything that has to do with Jim Comey’s firing? I mean, it’s just ridiculous.”
However, Senate Democrats did have a hearing of their own related to the House legislation to replace Obamacare in the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not appear to be willing to concede to Schumer’s demands saying on the floor Wednesday morning:
“Two investigations are currently ongoing: the Senate Intelligence Committee’s review of Russian active measures and intelligence activities, and the FBI investigation disclosed by Director Comey. Today we will no doubt hear calls for a new investigation which could only serve to impede the current work being done to not only discover what the Russians may have done, but also to let this body and the national security community to develop the countermeasures and warfighting doctrine to see that it doesn’t occur again. Partisan calls should not delay the considerable work of Chairman Burr and Vice Chairman Warner — too much is at stake.”