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Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Schumer: Trump budget would ‘cripple’ gun background checks Schumer: Senate Republicans’ silence ‘deafening’ on guns, Russia MORE (D-N.Y.) said he is not currently urging his caucus to oppose Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe CIA may need to call White House to clarify Russia meddling Intel agencies to brief officials from all 50 states on election threats Russia probe complicating House hearing on threats facing US: report MORE‘s nomination to be secretary of State or Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the CIA.
“At this point, I am not,” Schumer told reporters on Tuesday, while stressing both nominees will face “unanswered” and “outstanding” questions.
Trump’s early morning tweet that he was ousting Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonFormer WH adviser: Trump will want to rejoin Paris climate pact by 2020 Why the US should lead on protecting Rohingya Muslims ‘Bolivarian Diaspora’ can no longer be ignored MORE caught most of Washington by surprise.
Trump also announced that Pompeo, currently the director of the CIA, would take over Tillerson’s job, while Haspel, the CIA deputy director, would succeed Pompeo.
Pompeo was confirmed for his current post in a 66-32 vote last year. Fourteen Democrats, including Schumer, and Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingLawmakers are failing in duty to respond to the American people Congress fails miserably: For Asian-Americans, immigration proposals are personal attacks GOP senators float fallback plan to protect Dreamers MORE (I-Maine), supported him for the post.
But Democrats stressed on Tuesday that their previous support for Pompeo did not automatically mean they would support him to be secretary of State.
Schumer noted he wants to know if the former House member will be tougher on Russia if he’s confirmed to be the country’s top diplomat.
“I’m not taking a position until we hear from him, but there are lots of outstanding questions,” he said.
King, who supported Pompeo last year, separately told reporters that “they are two different jobs” and he’ll reserve judgment. Meanwhile, Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzSchatz’s ignorance of our Anglo-American legal heritage illustrates problem with government Dem senator trolls Trump over Mueller indictments: ‘This is a VERY well done hoax’ Trashing our Anglo-American legal tradition does no one any favors MORE (D-Hawaii), who supported Pompeo for his CIA post, said “there are a number of us who voted for him last time who are actively reconsidering.”
Trump’s nominees only need simple majority support to be confirmed, meaning they won’t need help from Democrats if the Senate GOP caucus can remain largely united.
Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDem wins Kentucky state House seat in district Trump won by 49 points GOP’s tax reform bait-and-switch will widen inequality Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived MORE (R-Ky.) was the only GOP senator to oppose Pompeo for CIA director. Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.) is fighting brain cancer and has been absent since late last year, potentially adding an extra hurdle for Republicans.
Schumer also knocked Trump for how he fired Tillerson, while also noting that he had been “very disappointed” by the secretary of State and that the country’s foreign policy is in “shambles.”
“What President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out ‘subversion’ at VA MORE did and the way he did it once again indicates the chaos in this administration. The inability to have a center. The inability to have a consistent policy, and it’s creating huge problems in the world and here in America,” he said.
He added that he has “never seen a presidential administration so basically disorganized, at war with one another, creating such huge problems for the country.”