Senate Dems warn they will block recess appointments

Senate Dems warn they will block recess appointments
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats are warning they will block President Trump from trying to bypass the confirmation process by firing Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAlabama senator: Sessions hasn't ruled out Senate bid Alabama senator: Sessions hasn't ruled out Senate bid The Hill's Morning Report - Trump to kick off bid for second term in Florida MORE and appointing a successor during the August recess.

"Let me state for the record now, before this scheme gains wings, Democrats will never go along with the recess appointment if that situation arises," Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community Senate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community Democrats detail new strategy to pressure McConnell on election security bills MORE (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday, amid speculation about Sessions’s future in the administration. 

He added that Democrats "have some tools in our toolbox" to block Trump from a recess appointment, which would allow the president to bypass what would likely be a contentious confirmation fight. 

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"We're ready to use every single one of them, any time, day or night. It's so vital to the future of the republic," Schumer said. 

Democrats could prevent the Senate from adjourning in mid-August, which could force Republicans to set up "pro-forma" sessions that would effectively block Trump from being able to name a successor without Senate confirmation. 

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Senate to vote Thursday to block Trump's Saudi arms deal MORE (R-Ky.) said he didn't have any announcements on pro-forma sessions, which usually last only a few minutes, but noted that "if the Senate doesn’t adjourn, typically pro forma sessions happen every three days." 

The Senate held pro forma sessions over the weeklong July Fourth recess. 

Schumer said Tuesday that Trump is trying to "bully" Sessions out of office. 

"I cannot imagine my friends on the Republican side, and particularly in the Republican leadership ... would be complicit in creating a constitutional crisis," Schumer said. 

Schumer's warning comes as Trump appears increasingly frustrated with Sessions for his decision to recuse himself from the Justice Department's investigation into Russia's election meddling and potential contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow. 

Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning that Sessions, who as a senator from Alabama was one of Trump's earliest allies in the 2016 campaign, “has taken a VERY weak position” on former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats bristle as Hicks appears for daylong Capitol Hill testimony Democrats bristle as Hicks appears for daylong Capitol Hill testimony Trump: 'So sad' Democrats are putting Hope Hicks 'through hell' MORE’s past.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!” he tweeted.

Republicans have largely defended their former colleague, though Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' The unexpected shadow of 1994, 25 years later Addressing climate change is a win for Republicans — why not embrace it? MORE (R-Wis.) told reporters on Tuesday that "it’s up to the president to decide what his personnel decisions is and any possible fallout that comes with that."