Schumer to oppose Pompeo as secretary of State
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers Senate Dems race to save Menendez in deep-blue New Jersey MORE (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that he will oppose Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' 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 TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East 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.

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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 PaulSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Noisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks MORE (R-Ky.) made an eleventh hour vote switch to support him.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' 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 McCainComey donates maximum amount to Democratic challenger in Virginia House race Live coverage: McSally clashes with Sinema in Arizona Senate debate Is there difference between good and bad online election targeting? 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 HeitkampElection Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach Heitkamp apologizes for ad misidentifying abuse, sexual assault victims Cinton knocks Trump while rallying Dems: 'The president degrades the rule of law' MORE (N.D.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyElection Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach Dems outraising Republicans in final stretch of midterms Trump Jr. to stump in Indiana for Pence’s brother and governor hopeful MORE (Ind.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump makes new overtures to Democrats Gillibrand backs Manchin, Bredesen despite their support of Kavanaugh Senate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees MORE (W.Va.) — have also said they will vote for Pompeo.