Senate passes bill to make lynching a federal crime
Schumer sends McConnell back his own 2009 letter on nominations
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is using Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's own words against him in a looming confirmation fight, sending the Kentucky Republican his own 2009 letter outlining nomination requirements.
Schumer said he sent McConnell the exact letter McConnell sent to then-Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in February 2009 about President Obama's nominees.
"In 2009, then-Minority Leader McConnell sent then-Majority Leader Reid a letter laying out his list of pre-requisites for time agreements on the floor for President Obama's nominees," he said from the Senate floor. "They are almost exactly what Democrats have requested."
McConnell sent the letter after many Obama nominees, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had already been confirmed. The senator's staff argued on Twitter Monday that the letter was aimed at lower-level nominations.
Schumer also tweeted out an edited copy of his letter on Monday, which shows him marking out McConnell's signature and writing in his own.
McConnell's 2009 requirements include an ethics agreement letter and financial disclosures being submitted to a Senate committee before a hearing.
Schumer's move comes as the Senate is expected to have confirmation hearings for nine of President-elect Donald Trump's nominees this week.
Democrats have blasted the schedule, arguing Republicans are rushing to confirm Trump's nominees without proper vetting.
The Office of Government Ethics has released financial disclosures and ethics letters for five nominees that will get hearings this week: Rex Tillerson, Trump's pick to be secretary of State; Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), his pick to be attorney general; Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), his pick for CIA head; Elaine Chao, his pick to be Transportation secretary and McConnell's wife; and retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, his pick to lead the Pentagon.
McConnell pledged over the weekend that no nominee would get a full Senate vote before all of their paperwork has been turned in.
He added on Monday after meeting with Trump that "everybody will be properly vetted as they have been in the past."
Democrats face an uphill battle to block any of Trump's nominees, who only need 50 votes to clear the upper chamber.
But any one senator could slow down the confirmation process, potentially undercutting the GOP's push to confirm up to seven nominees on "day one."