Dems rip Trump DOJ nominee who represented Russian bank

Dems rip Trump DOJ nominee who represented Russian bank
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Senate Democrats are pushing back against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE’s nominee for assistant attorney general, citing concerns over his past work for a Russian bank.

A number of Democrats issued statements on Tuesday raising red flags about the nomination of Brian Benczkowski to lead the Department of Justice's criminal division. They cited his lack of prosecutorial experience, as well as his ties to a Russian bank.

The New York Times first reported last year that Benczkowski told lawmakers he previously represented Alfa Bank, one of Russia's largest financial institutions. The owners of Alfa Bank have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDems launch pressure campaign over migrant families Kavanaugh paper chase heats up Senate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one MORE (D-Ill.) knocked Benczkowski for his lack of experience in addition to his job history, calling him the “wrong person” for the assistant attorney general job.

“Will Senate Republicans simply rubber stamp this nomination? The Benczkowski vote could mark a pivotal moment in the Russia investigation,” Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, tweeted.

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDems launch pressure campaign over migrant families California Dems endorse progressive challenger over Feinstein Kavanaugh paper chase heats up MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement that Benczkowski’s nomination “presents glaring conflicts of interest” with regard to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election. 

“Despite repeated requests from Judiciary Committee Democrats that he recuse himself from any matters involving the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign, Benczkowski has refused to commit,” she said.

Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSunday shows preview: Trump readies for meeting with Putin Sunday shows preview: Washington braces for Trump's Supreme Court pick America stands to lose as China places bets on developing world MORE (D-Del.) urged Trump to nominate qualified individuals "without concerning Russia connections."

“Every American should expect that the person nominated for this important position is qualified to meet the weighty demands of the job, and every American is entitled to the assurance that the Department of Justice is entirely independent and impartial. Mr. Benczkowski does not pass this test," Coons said in a statement.

Several other Democrats voiced concerns with the nomination, repeatedly pointing to Benczkowski's past work for Alfa Bank.

The Senate is scheduled to consider Benczkowski's nomination on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

A group of more than a dozen former U.S. attorneys urged the Senate earlier this year to approve Benczkowski's nomination, which has been stalled for months.

Trump nominated Benczkowski last June. The post was previously held by Christopher Wray, who Trump appointed last year to lead the FBI after he fired James ComeyJames Brien ComeyFBI confidence in leaders sank after Comey was fired: report Ex-GOP lawmaker: Strzok hearing 'was a humiliating day' for Republicans Ignore the spin — still no evidence of Trump collusion MORE.