Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona threatened on Wednesday that he will not vote to support dozens of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees until legislation he has offered to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation receives a full Senate vote.
The Republican’s pronouncement came after a bill he co-sponsored with Delaware Democrat Sen. Chris Coons — S. 2644, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act — failed to garner unanimous consent to bring it to a floor vote, USA Today reported.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected to the request, so it was defeated.
McConnell told reporters earlier in the day that there was no need for the legislation, because there was “no danger” of Trump ending the probe.
“I don’t think any legislation is necessary,” he said. “We know how the president feels about the Mueller investigation, but he’s never said he wants to shut it down.”
Following the defeat of his unanimous consent bid, Flake took to the Senate floor, saying, “This bill is designed to do one thing: protect the integrity of the Special Counsel’s investigation, and spare it of any interference from the executive branch, including from those who may themselves be subjects of that investigation.”
He added, “One would think that there would be unanimous national resolve to get to the bottom of such aggression from an enemy foreign power…”
Later in his remarks, Flake mimicked a line of attack top Democrats including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have leveled against Trump regarding the forced resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions in relation to the Russia investigation.
“With the firing of the attorney general, and (in my view) the improper installation of an acting attorney general — who has not been subject to confirmation by this body – the president now has this investigation in his sights, and we all know it,” the Arizonan charged.
Flake promised to continue bringing his legislation to the floor until he obtains a full vote on the measure, and added he will not vote to advance Trump’s judiciary nominees until it does.
“One further note on this unanimous consent request: because it has failed today, Senator Coons and I are prepared to raise it again and again, until there is a vote on this vital bipartisan legislation on the Senate floor,” he said.
“And I have informed the Majority Leader that I will not vote to advance any of the 21 judicial nominees pending in the Judiciary Committee, or vote to confirm the 32 judges awaiting a confirmation vote on the floor, until S. 2644 is brought to the full Senate for a vote,” Flake pledged.
Working in concert with Coons and other Democratic colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Flake successfully employed a similar maneuver last month forcing McConnell and his fellow Republicans to delay a confirmation vote on now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh until an FBI supplemental investigation into sexual harassment allegations was completed.
Trump targeted Mueller’s investigation in a series of tweets on Thursday, accusing the special counsel’s team of “threatening” and “screaming and shouting at people” in an effort to find evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia.
The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess. They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want. They are a disgrace to our Nation and don’t…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2018
“They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts,” Trump tweeted. “They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want.”
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