‘Traitor’! Flake blocks advancement of Trump’s judicial nominees after Mueller protection bill fails

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.

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.

Listen:

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.

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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.”

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