Schumer: Block new FBI director until special prosecutor on Russia is appointed

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerFCC advances proposal to unmask blocked caller ID in threat cases Trump: Pelosi's leadership good for the GOP Live coverage: Senate GOP unveils its ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (D-N.Y.) said Sunday he would support blocking the nomination of a new FBI director until a special prosecutor is appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“We will have to discuss it as a caucus, but I would support that move because who the FBI director is, is related to who the special prosecutor is,” Schumer told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Yes, I think there are a lot of Democrats who feel that way,” he added.

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Schumer said the special prosecutor would report to Congress instead of the Department of Justice or the White House to prevent the administration from trying to influence the probe’s findings. 

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have advocated for an independent counsel to investigate whether Trump campaign aides colluded with Russian officials to sway the election, an allegation Trump and his administration have repeatedly denied.

“Remember, the criteria for a special prosecutor, independent in making day-to-day decisions from the hierarchy in the Justice Department and the White House, can only be fired for cause, has to report to Congress, and, very importantly, can look into any attempts to thwart the investigation, are all really important criteria,” Schumer told Tapper on Sunday.

“And to have that special prosecutor, people would breathe a sigh of relief, because then there would be a real independent person overlooking the FBI director,” the Democratic senator added.

Schumer expressed hope that more Republicans would join their push for a special prosecutor. 

“The key here, of course, is getting some of our Republican colleagues to join us. We're hoping. We're waiting. We understand it's difficult, but I think patriotism and the needs of this country demand it,” Schumer said.