Schumer to oppose Pompeo as secretary of State
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law | Michigan governor seeks to pause Medicaid work requirements | New front in fight over Medicaid block grants House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Why a second Trump term and a Democratic Congress could be a nightmare scenario for the GOP MORE (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that he will oppose Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS, Sudan to exchange ambassadors for first time in decades Iran expert: Trump's foreign policy approach aimed at instigating 'unrest' Fox's Napolitano says obstruction 'easiest' impeachment offense for Democrats MORE's nomination to serve as secretary of State, in part over the federal Russia probe.

Schumer, one of 15 Senate Democrats who previously supported Pompeo as President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE's CIA director, said he would oppose the secretary of State nomination because Pompeo wouldn't commit to publicly urging Trump not to fire special counsel Bob Mueller.

"I'm going to oppose the nomination of Secretary Pompeo. I haven't said anything 'til today," Schumer told reporters when asked about the nomination.

The Democratic leader said that while he was "disappointed" in Pompeo's committee hearing, the two had "very good discussions" and he was "pleasantly surprised" by Pompeo's stance on Russia and sanctions.

But Schumer pointed to two reasons for his decision to oppose Pompeo: his refusal to publicly tell Trump not to fire Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosensten and his refusal to walk back some of Trump's "nasty comments" about Muslim-Americans or individuals from South Asia. 

"I am voting 'no' for those reasons, and I think people have good reasons to vote 'no' for Secretary Pompeo, both on the foreign policy sphere, and in these areas," Schumer added. 

Schumer said he asked Pompeo in a meeting after his confirmation hearing if he would "speak out publicly and forcefully that the president should not fire Mueller or Rosenstein. [But] he demurred." 

Schumer's opposition won't impact Pompeo's ability to be confirmed.

Pompeo won a surprise favorable recommendation from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week after Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans Democratic congressman calls for study of effects of sex-trafficking law McConnell says he's 'honored' to be WholeFoods Magazine's 2019 'Person of the Year' MORE (R-Ky.) made an eleventh hour vote switch to support him.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans Schumer briefs Democrats on impeachment trial 'mechanics' Trump legal team gears up for Senate impeachment trial in meeting with GOP senators MORE (R-Ky.) filed cloture on Pompeo's nomination Tuesday, setting up an initial vote for Thursday.

With every Republican — except Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLessons of the Kamala Harris campaign Overnight Defense: Trump clashes with Macron at NATO summit | House impeachment report says Trump abused power | Top Dem scolds military leaders on Trump intervention in war crimes cases Top Armed Services Democrat scolds military leaders on Trump's intervention in war crimes cases MORE, who is in his home state of Arizona — expected to vote for Pompeo, he will have the simple majority to be confirmed.

Three Democratic senators — Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa MORE (N.D.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyGinsburg health scare raises prospect of election year Supreme Court battle Watchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world MORE (Ind.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinNo one wins with pro-abortion litmus test Senate confirms Brouillette to replace Perry as Energy secretary Political purity tests are for losers MORE (W.Va.) — have also said they will vote for Pompeo.