WASHINGTON ― Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wants the Senate to delay a vote on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick as long as Trump’s campaign remains under investigation by the FBI.
Democrats have struggled to come up with a cohesive strategy on how to handle the vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch, whom Trump picked in January to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat on the high court.
On Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed in his testimony to Congress that his agency is investigating ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
“There is a cloud now hanging over the head of the president, and while that’s happening, to have a lifetime appointment made by this president seems very unseemly and there ought to be a delay,” Schumer told reporters on Tuesday.
The only reason Gorsuch has a chance to win confirmation now is because Republicans refused to even hold a hearing for President Barack Obama’s nominee after Scalia died in February more than a year ago. Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland, went through all the motions of meeting senators, but Republicans refused to consider him because Obama was going to leave office in a little less than a year.
If the shoe was on the other foot -- and a Democratic president was under investigation by the FBI ... Republicans would be howling at the moon about filling a Supreme Court seat. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Schumer now seems to be holding out for the possibility that Trump’s problems with the FBI could be so grave that he might have to leave office.
“I’d like to point out that it is the height of irony that Republicans held this Supreme Court seat open for nearly a calendar year while President Obama was in office, but are now rushing to fill the seat for a president whose campaign is under investigation by the FBI,” Schumer said on Senate floor.
“You can bet that if the shoe was on the other foot ― and a Democratic president was under investigation by the FBI ― that Republicans would be howling at the moon about filling a Supreme Court seat in such circumstances,” Schumer added. “After all, they stopped a president who wasn’t under investigation from filling a seat with nearly a year left in his presidency.”
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made clear on Tuesday that he doesn’t intend to slow down the confirmation process.
“We’ll confirm him before we leave for the April recess,” McConnell said of Gorsuch.