Schumer says he isn't actively urging Dems to oppose Pompeo, Haspel

Schumer says he isn't actively urging Dems to oppose Pompeo, Haspel
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerData confirm that marijuana decriminalization is long overdue Pollster: Kavanaugh will get Dem votes Democrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans MORE (D-N.Y.) said he is not currently urging his caucus to oppose Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump privately frustrated over lack of progress with North Korea: report Russian diplomat calls on Pompeo to free accused Russian agent Pelosi: 'Thug' Putin not welcome in Congress MORE's nomination to be secretary of State or Gina Haspel's nomination to lead the CIA.

"At this point, I am not," Schumer told reporters on Tuesday, while stressing both nominees will face "unanswered" and "outstanding" questions.

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Trump's early morning tweet that he was ousting Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe Memo: Putin furor sparks new questions on Kelly’s future US steps up its game in Africa, a continent open for business Matt Drudge shares mock ‘Survivor’ cover suggesting more White House officials will leave this summer MORE caught most of Washington by surprise. 

Trump also announced that Pompeo, currently the director of the CIA, would take over Tillerson's job, while Haspel, the CIA deputy director, would succeed Pompeo.

Pompeo was confirmed for his current post in a 66-32 vote last year. Fourteen Democrats, including Schumer, and Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingMaine Senate candidate says he's a democratic socialist Bipartisan bill would bring needed funds to deteriorating National Park Service infrastructure Lawmakers say Trump tariffs are threatening local newspapers MORE (I-Maine), supported him for the post.

But Democrats stressed on Tuesday that their previous support for Pompeo did not automatically mean they would support him to be secretary of State.

Schumer noted he wants to know if the former House member will be tougher on Russia if he's confirmed to be the country's top diplomat.

"I'm not taking a position until we hear from him, but there are lots of outstanding questions," he said.

King, who supported Pompeo last year, separately told reporters that "they are two different jobs" and he'll reserve judgment. Meanwhile, Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOn The Money: Trump rips Fed over rate hikes | Dems fume as consumer agency pick refuses to discuss border policy | Senate panel clears Trump IRS nominee Senate approves resolution warning Trump not to hand over US officials Senate to vote on resolution telling Trump not to hand over former diplomats MORE (D-Hawaii), who supported Pompeo for his CIA post, said "there are a number of us who voted for him last time who are actively reconsidering."

Trump's nominees only need simple majority support to be confirmed, meaning they won't need help from Democrats if the Senate GOP caucus can remain united.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia GOP leader blocks resolution backing intelligence community on Russia Rand Paul blocks Sanders's Russia resolution, calls it 'crazy hatred' against Trump MORE (R-Ky.) was the only GOP senator to oppose Pompeo for CIA director. Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Memo: Summit fallout hits White House Graham: Biggest problem is Trump ‘believes meddling equals collusion’ Obama, Bush veterans dismiss Trump-Putin interpreter subpoena MORE (R-Ariz.) is fighting brain cancer and has been absent since late last year, potentially adding an extra hurdle for Republicans.

Schumer also knocked Trump for how he fired Tillerson, while also noting that he had been "very disappointed" by the secretary of State and that the country's foreign policy is in "shambles."

"What President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE did and the way he did it once again indicates the chaos in this administration. The inability to have a center. The inability to have a consistent policy, and it's creating huge problems in the world and here in America," he said.

He added that he has "never seen a presidential administration so basically disorganized, at war with one another, creating such huge problems for the country."