Senate Dem Will Try To Block Confirmation Of Jeff Sessions’ Deputy
A Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee is vowing to do everything in his power — limited as it is — to prevent President Trump’s deputy attorney general nominee from taking office until a special prosecutor is appointed to oversee any case involving Trump campaign ties to Russia.
“I’ll use every possible tool to block DOJ Deputy AG nominee unless he commits to appoint independent special prosecutor,” Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal said on Twitter on Sunday.
Trump nominated Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. Attorney in Maryland, to the deputy position on Jan. 31. He will testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
Blumenthal sits on the committee.
The deputy attorney general role took on new responsibilities on Thursday, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigations involving the Trump campaign. (RELATED: Obama Intelligence Director Says No Evidence Of Collusion Between Trump And Russia)
The FBI, which is overseen by DOJ, is said to be investigating whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government to influence the election. Sessions said he was recusing himself because of his work on the campaign. The announcement came a day after news broke that Sessions met Russia’s ambassador two times prior to the election.
Sessions did not disclose those encounters during his confirmation hearing in January. He was asked in the hearing if he met any Russian government officials as a member of the campaign and denied doing so.
If confirmed, Rosenstein will fill a void left by the firing of Sally Yates. Trump fired the Obama appointee in late January when she was serving as acting attorney general after she refused to comply with his executive order cutting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Yates was confirmed by the Senate in May 2015 on an 84-12 vote.
Despite Blumenthal’s vow to block Rosenstein’s confirmation, Democrats would need several Republicans to break from the party and vote against the nominee, an unlikely scenario.
Democrats have issued a variety of demands regarding the Justice Department’s involvement in the Trump campaign probe. Some Democrats sought only a Sessions recusal. Others called for a recusal followed by an appointment of a special prosecutor. Another group of Democrats called on Sessions to resign.