Schumer: Delay Gorsuch vote because of Russia probe
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFacebook reeling after damning NYT report Schumer warns Trump to stay out of government funding negotiations Schumer predicts Nelson will 'continue being senator' if 'every vote counted' MORE (D-N.Y.) is urging Republicans to delay a vote on Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, because of an ongoing investigation into potential ties between Trump officials and Russia.  

"It is unseemly to be moving forward so fast on confirming a Supreme Court justice with a lifetime appointment while this big gray cloud of an FBI investigation hangs over the presidency," the Senate's top Democrat said, echoing language used the day before by Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (Calif.). 
 
Schumer's request, which is unlikely to gain traction with Republicans, comes as Gorsuch is into his second day before the Judiciary Committee. The committee is expected to vote on his nomination by April 3, with a full Senate vote following within days. 
 
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But the the New York Democrat argued that it was "the height of irony" that Republicans blocked then-President Obama from filling the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia's death in 2016 but are "now rushing" to confirm Gorsuch. 
 
"You can bet if the shoe were on the other foot and a Democratic president was under investigation by the FBI the Republicans would be howling at the moon about filling a Supreme Court seat in such circumstances," he said. 
 
Gorsuch is expected to need 60 votes to clear the Senate, including the support of at least eight Democrats. No Democrat has yet said they will support him, with most of the caucus expected to remain on the fence through the hearings. 
 
 
“If Judge Gorsuch can’t achieve 60 votes in the Senate, could any judge appointed by a Republican president be approved with 60 or more votes in the Senate?” he asked. 
 
McConnell and top Republicans have refused to rule out “going nuclear,” a historic move that would lower the vote threshold to a simple majority.
 
Progressive outside groups are pressuring Senate Democrats to more forcefully oppose Gorsuch's nomination.
 
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said Democrats should be prepared to block Trump's pick if Republicans refuse to hold off on a vote.
 
"The Senate should delay hearings on Neil Gorsuch's nomination while the president is under an active FBI investigation. Short of that, Senate Democrats must filibuster this nomination," Hogue said in a statement.
 
FBI Director James Comey confirmed during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday that the bureau is investigating Russia's meddling in the White House race, including any potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow. 
 
The White House has repeatedly denied that Trump officials worked with Russia. Press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Monday that he expected the FBI's probe to come up empty. 
 
"Following this testimony, it's clear that nothing has changed. Senior Obama intelligence officials have gone on record to confirm that there is no evidence of a Trump-Russia collusion," Spicer said.