Thanks to what some call “treachery” by resigning Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, the Senate Judiciary Committee was forced to cancel a Thursday hearing designed to advance 18 of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees to the full Senate floor for confirmation.
The unexpected cancellation Wednesday by committee chair Sen. Charles Grassley reportedly resulted because of intransigence by Flake, who refuses to vote for any of the president’s nominees unless the Senate considers a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller.
Republicans were hoping to vote a LOT of judicial nominees out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Grassley just canceled the hearing. Without Flake’s vote, they can’t report those nominees out. pic.twitter.com/ABedRz7E3H
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) November 28, 2018
At the start of the month Flake vowed that he and fellow Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat, would soon bring up a bill, the so-called Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, that would prevent the president from interfering with Mueller’s widely criticized investigation.
When the duo introduced the bill roughly a week later, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnnell promptly blocked it, telling reporters at the time that the measure was unnecessary.
“The Mueller investigation is not under threat. The president said repeatedly that he’s not going to dismiss the Mueller investigation. He’s said repeatedly it’s going to be allowed to finish,” he said.
An incensed Flake then struck back vengefully by pledging to block Trump’s judicial nominees.
“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 action on the floor, until the Mueller protection bill is brought to the full Senate for a vote,” he tweeted.
When the Senate convenes next week, @ChrisCoons and I will ask for unanimous consent to bring S.2644, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, to a vote on the Senate floor. After the firing of The AG, it is more important than ever to protect the Special Counsel.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) November 8, 2018
Earlier this year, we passed S.2644, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would safeguard Robert Mueller’s investigation. Leader McConnell should bring the bill to the Senate floor as soon as possible
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) November 7, 2018
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 action on the floor, until the Mueller protection bill is brought to the full Senate for a vote.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) November 15, 2018
The Arizona senator’s most recent actions make it clear he’d been 100 percent serious. Following another failed attempt by him and Coons this week to advance their unnecessary bill, he doubled down on his pledge, thus forcing Grassley to cancel Thursday’s hearing.
“Right now I have leverage because there are a number of judges — about 25 or so — that we haven’t moved through the Judiciary Committee, that my vote is needed to move them through,” he proudly boasted during an appearance Wednesday evening on CNN.
“I indicated I won’t vote for those judges. In fact, more than a dozen are slated for a vote tomorrow morning in the Judiciary Committee, and I will vote no.”
Listen to the full discussion below:
When asked to defend this stance, Flake cited the president’s recent replacement of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, telling CNN host Anderson Cooper that the AG’s abrupt removal proved that the president can’t be trusted.
“Just look at what has happened,” he said. “The attorney general has been fired. And oversight for the investigation has been taken from the deputy attorney general where it belonged and given to Matthew Whitaker, who has not been confirmed by the Senate, and like I said, when he was auditioning for this job, expressed a lot of hostility for the Mueller probe.”
Democrats believe the president may attempt to interfere in Mueller’s investigation via Whitaker. It’s a conspiracy theory that continues to persist despite being debunked by Rep. Trey Gowdy, who noted earlier this month that every justice official has “jurisdictional boundaries,” including Whitaker.
The one exception might be Mueller, who’s been granted near unlimited authority to target President Donald Trump and his current/former staff members for a litany of alleged crimes, most of them entirely unrelated to his ostensible goal of uncovering Russian collusion.
Nevertheless, it’s clear to many on social that there’s no need to “protect” Mueller — and that Flake’s obstruction is just another example of his near-endless “treachery.”
Jeff Flake puts his own aggrandizement ahead of the nation. I’m sure the Democrats and media are thrilled. https://t.co/TWAcNvsQ0m
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) November 29, 2018
Not enough bad things can be said about @JeffFlake‘s treachery and total lack of character.
— Theodore (@RefDemo) November 29, 2018
It must be a great satisfaction to you knowing that your whole existence is based on treachery and narcissistic madness. Democrats have no honor or loyalty and will kick you to the curb 10 seconds after their done with you.
— HowDoesItEnd (@LetItBeMeMyLord) November 26, 2018
Thoroughly disgusting person who never should have been elected to Congress. Jeff Flake is a traitor to our country, and it will be a great day to see him leave Washington. @realDonaldTrump @JeffFlake
— Dee Cee (@deecee2018) November 29, 2018
@JeffFlake Your support for the thug Mueller and his Gestapo like crew is disgusting but not surprising you even look and act like a good Nazi!!
— Paul Boger (@paulboger) November 29, 2018
@JeffFlake You are scum! We can’t wait for January so your sorry worthless ass is out of office!!
You are a Democratic demon in an over price suit!
Please go away traitor!!!#maga
P.S. you must’ve been bullied as a kid!
— The Original Jefferson (@originaljeff18) November 29, 2018
Flake is setting himself up to run as a Democrat-He’s a Traitor McCain Republican.
— Billy Reiser (@reiser_billy) November 29, 2018
Flake is the worst traitor of them all because he knows what’s happening and he does nothing about it. He knows America is dying and he will not stand up against it. Shame on him.
— Scream the Truth (@raba_mary) November 29, 2018
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