Demand a special prosecutor and threaten to “crank up the pressure” on Republicans
Democrats have gone from demanding former FBI Director James’ Comey’s resignation or dismissal to being puffed up with such outrage that the president has fired Comey they have decided to grind Senate work to a halt by cancelling or postponing meetings . . . for a whole day. This is their way of protesting the “lack of an independent investigation” into Russia’s alleged election meddling.
Democrats on Capitol Hill slowed committee business in the Senate to protest the lack of an independent investigation into Russia’s election meddling, and a growing number of Republicans questioned Trump’s decision.
Comey’s firing is expected to consume Capitol Hill’s attention until the weekend and potentially through Tuesday of next week, when the former FBI director has been invited to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The panel’s chairman, who met with Comey on Monday, said the director’s dismissal will frustrate bipartisan efforts to investigate Russian interference in the election and any possible ties between the Kremlin and associates of Trump.
For his part, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is dismissive of the hypocritical and abrupt about-face from Democrats on the subject of Comey and attempted to turn the Senate’s attention to the health care bill that just arrived in the Senate from the House.
The Washington Post continues:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, downplayed the firing and sought to bring the debate back to friendlier territory.
“Obamacare hasn’t lived up to its promises,” he said Wednesday morning on the Senate floor. “We’re working to keep our commitment to the American people to move beyond the failures of Obamacare.”
Briefly addressing Comey’s firing, McConnell accused Democrats of “complaining about the removal of an FBI director who they themselves repeatedly and sharply criticized.”
McConnell’s accusations of hypocrisy did little to subdue the controversy on Wednesday. Democrats responded by invoking an obscure rule that prevented committee hearings from continuing past midday — an effort to slow the Senate’s work to increase pressure on Republicans to support an independent investigation.
It is unclear if Democrats will continue this obstruction beyond one day. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) stated: “I can’t say it’s an ongoing strategy. It certainly is for the day.”
According to Talking Points Memo, the plan might be extended beyond one day if Republicans don’t agree immediately to their demands.
Senate Democrats have not yet revealed if they plan to continue their delay tactics in the days and weeks ahead, potentially holding up votes on dozens of bills and nominees for various agency positions.
“I can’t say it’s an ongoing strategy,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, told the Washington Post. “It certainly is for the day.”
Hirono was similarly coy about future tactics. “Let’s just take it one day at a time,” she told TPM.
But Merkley and other Democrats talked openly about the need to escalate going forward if Republicans refuse to collaborate.
“If we don’t have a briefing by early next week, if we don’t have an executive session, if we don’t reach an agreement on the vision for a special prosecutor, we’re going to have to crank up the pressure,” he said.
When pressed on how far she thinks the Senate should go in stopping all Senate business until they get their demands met, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) changed the subject. Three times.DONATE
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