A Democratic senator is vowing to “use every possible” tool to block President Donald Trump’s pick to be deputy attorney general, unless the nominee is willing to do one thing.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to hear testimony Tuesday morning from Deputy Attorney General-designate Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein was appointed U.S. attorney for the district of Maryland in 2005 by former President George W. Bush.
Blumenthal, along with the three other Democrats who sit on that committee, are sure to ask Rosenstein about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Testifying before Congress in January, Sessions said he never spoke with any Russian officials in his capacity as a Trump campaign surrogate. However, a Washington Post report last week revealed Sessions did, in fact, speak with Kislyak at least twice last year. Sessions clarified after that report was published that he spoke with the ambassador only in his senatorial capacity.
One day after the Post report, Sessions announced that he would recuse himself from any Justice Department investigation having to do with the Trump campaign. He further promised to amend his congressional testimony to show that he had, in fact, spoken with Russian officials throughout the course of the campaign, although the discussions were not directly related to the U.S. election itself.
But now one Democrat is taking the fight against the Trump administration a step further, promising to block Rosenstein’s nomination unless he appoints a special prosecutor, as several other Democrats are calling for.
“I’ll use every possible tool to block DOJ Deputy AG nominee unless he commits to appoint independent special prosecutor,” Blumental tweeted.
I'll use every possible tool to block DOJ Deputy AG nominee unless he commits to appoint independent special prosecutor
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) March 5, 2017
Blumenthal’s statement came as Democrats called for Sessions to not only recuse himself from Trump campaign investigations but also resign as attorney general.
”Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country and must resign,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said. Progressive firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) added, “And we need Attorney General Jeff Sessions – who should have never been confirmed in the first place – to resign. We need it now.”
But it’s not just Democrats who are open to appointing a special prosecutor to look into the Trump campaign’s alleged Russia ties.
“There may be nothing there. But if there’s something there that the FBI believes is criminal in nature, then for sure you need a special prosecutor. If that day ever comes, I’ll be the first one to say it needs to be somebody other than Jeff [Sessions],” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said, the Washington Post reported.
(H/T: The Hill)