© Greg Nash
Senate Democrats want to delay a Friday vote on Scott Pruitt's nomination to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after a judge ordered the Oklahoma attorney general's records to be released next week.
"We don't have all the information we need to make an informed vote on this nomination," Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySenate advances Trump's Commerce pick Senate confirms Pruitt to lead EPA Democrats want Pruitt vote delayed over emails MORE (D-Ore.) told reporters during a press conference.
He added that delaying the nomination until Feb. 27 "wouldn't delay the businesses of the Senate at all" because lawmakers are out of town next week.
The Senate is expected to take a final vote Friday afternoon on Pruitt after the Senate voted 54-46 a day earlier to advance his nomination.
The final vote comes days before Pruitt's office is expected to have to turn over documents requested roughly two years go.
Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons, based in Oklahoma City, ordered the release of up to 3,000 documents by Tuesday in response to a request by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) under Oklahoma’s Open Records Act, E&E News reported.
Democrats argue the emails could shed new light on Pruitt's ties to the oil and gas industry that he will be tasked with helping regulate as EPA administrator.
Democrats pulled an all-night protest from the Senate floor to voice their opposition to Pruitt ahead of the final vote.
They tried to paint Republicans as flip-flopping, noting that they are ignoring Pruitt's emails while spending the presidential campaign focused on Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump and Democrats must work together or face the wrath of voters Five big Trump narratives to watch NBC: Russia setting up dossier on Trump MORE's private email server.
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles SchumerCEOs praise House GOP border tax proposal Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump defends Flynn, blasts leaks | Yahoo fears further breach Overnight Finance: Trump's Labor pick withdraws | Ryan tries to save tax plan | Trump pushes tax reform with retailers MORE (D-N.Y.) said Republicans had spent months talking about "emails, emails, emails."
Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehousePruitt confirmation sets stage for Trump EPA assault Senate Dems ask DHS inspector general for probe of Trump’s business arrangement Senate confirms Pruitt to lead EPA MORE (D-R.I.) added that Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellCEOs praise House GOP border tax proposal GOP sets sights on internet privacy rules The Trump Administration has definitely not drained the swamp MORE (R-Ky.) is asking for Republicans to engage in "willful blindness."
"The majority leader is asking his people to vote aye on a very, very difficult case," he said.
But McConnell quickly shut down any speculation that he would delay the vote, arguing that Democrats were trying to buy more time in an effort to sink Pruitt's nomination.
"The effort has been to delay the nominations that they have made controversial as long as possible," he said. "They want to have Pruitt out there over the recess so all their supporters can express themselves."