Schumer says he isn't actively urging Dems to oppose Pompeo, Haspel

Schumer says he isn't actively urging Dems to oppose Pompeo, Haspel
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerObama says US 'desperately needs' Biden legislation ahead of key votes Congress shows signs of movement on stalled Biden agenda Schumer gets shoutout, standing ovation from crowd at Tony Awards MORE (D-N.Y.) said he is not currently urging his caucus to oppose Mike PompeoMike PompeoTrump administration mulled kidnapping, assassinating Julian Assange: report Republican lawmakers raise security, privacy concerns over Huawei cloud services WashPost fact-checker gives Pompeo four 'Pinocchios' for 'zombie' claim about Obama Iran deal MORE's nomination to be secretary of State or Gina Haspel's nomination to lead the CIA.

"At this point, I am not," Schumer told reporters on Tuesday, while stressing both nominees will face "unanswered" and "outstanding" questions.

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Trump's early morning tweet that he was ousting Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Supreme Court lets Texas abortion law stand Trump-era ban on travel to North Korea extended Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump MORE caught most of Washington by surprise. 

Trump also announced that Pompeo, currently the director of the CIA, would take over Tillerson's job, while Haspel, the CIA deputy director, would succeed Pompeo.

Pompeo was confirmed for his current post in a 66-32 vote last year. Fourteen Democrats, including Schumer, and Sen. Angus KingAngus KingState Department spokesperson tests positive for COVID-19 North Dakota Republican latest House breakthrough COVID-19 case Texas House Republican tests positive for coronavirus in latest breakthrough case MORE (I-Maine), supported him for the post.

But Democrats stressed on Tuesday that their previous support for Pompeo did not automatically mean they would support him to be secretary of State.

Schumer noted he wants to know if the former House member will be tougher on Russia if he's confirmed to be the country's top diplomat.

"I'm not taking a position until we hear from him, but there are lots of outstanding questions," he said.

King, who supported Pompeo last year, separately told reporters that "they are two different jobs" and he'll reserve judgment. Meanwhile, Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzManchin raises red flag on carbon tax Panic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Hotel workers need a lifeline; It's time to pass The Save Hotel Jobs Act MORE (D-Hawaii), who supported Pompeo for his CIA post, said "there are a number of us who voted for him last time who are actively reconsidering."

Trump's nominees only need simple majority support to be confirmed, meaning they won't need help from Democrats if the Senate GOP caucus can remain united.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 White House debates vaccines for air travel Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken MORE (R-Ky.) was the only GOP senator to oppose Pompeo for CIA director. Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWhoopi Goldberg signs four-year deal with ABC to stay on 'The View' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Meghan McCain: Country has not 'healed' from Trump under Biden MORE (R-Ariz.) is fighting brain cancer and has been absent since late last year, potentially adding an extra hurdle for Republicans.

Schumer also knocked Trump for how he fired Tillerson, while also noting that he had been "very disappointed" by the secretary of State and that the country's foreign policy is in "shambles."

"What President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE did and the way he did it once again indicates the chaos in this administration. The inability to have a center. The inability to have a consistent policy, and it's creating huge problems in the world and here in America," he said.

He added that he has "never seen a presidential administration so basically disorganized, at war with one another, creating such huge problems for the country."