Trump tells Senate GOP he's frustrated on pace of nominations
© Bonnie Cash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE told Senate Republicans on Tuesday that he's frustrated with the delay on some of his nominations. 

Trump, during a closed-door lunch, specifically pointed to Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffePat Fallon wins GOP nomination in race to succeed DNI Ratcliffe Hillicon Valley: Google extending remote work policy through July 2021 | Intel community returns final Russia report to Senate committee after declassification | Study finds election officials vulnerable to cyberattacks Intel community returns final Russia report volume to Senate after declassification review MORE's (R-Texas) director of national intelligence (DNI) nomination and Michael Pack's nomination to lead the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

"The president today expressed some totally justified frustration in the continued lack of cooperation from the other side and our ability to get nominations through the Senate and to work," Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSkepticism grows over Friday deadline for coronavirus deal GOP expects Senate to be in session next week without coronavirus deal House Republicans introduce legislation to give states 0 million for elections MORE (R-Mo.) told reporters after the lunch. 

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Asked if Trump mentioned specific nominees, Blunt pointed to Ratcliffe and Pack. Ratcliffe got a vote in the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, while Pack, whose nonprofit is under investigation by the D.C. attorney general's office, is expected to get a vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee later this week.

Trump's comments to Senate Republicans come after he railed last month over the Senate's decision to hold pro forma sessions, which prevent him from making recess appointments. 

Trump indicated at the time that he could try to invoke a never-before-used provision of the Constitution that allows him to adjourn Congress when there is a disagreement between the House and Senate. 

"Perhaps it’s never been done before. Nobody’s even sure if it has," Trump said. "But we’re going to do it. We need these people here. We need people for this crisis, and we don’t want to play any more political games."

Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution grants Trump the power to “on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper.”

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But constitutional experts warned that Trump did not have the authority to force Congress to adjourn without cooperation from at least one chamber, and Senate Republicans poured cold water on the idea.

Nominations have become increasingly divisive during the Trump era. Republicans say they've had to file an unprecedented number of cloture petitions, a procedural tool that allows them to force a vote but eats up floor time. Democrats counter that Trump has been slow to nominate key positions and that many of his picks are outside the mainstream or not qualified. 

Trump, during Tuesday's lunch, did not bring up trying to adjourn Congress, according to Blunt. 

"I think he's decided he can't do that," Blunt added.