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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE (D-N.Y.) said he is not currently urging his caucus to oppose Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Latest on Korea talks | Trump says summit results 'very exciting!' | Congress to get Space Force plan in February | Trump asked CIA about silent bombs Pompeo: US ready to 'immediately' resume talks with North Korea READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV 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 TillersonPompeo working to rebuild ties with US diplomats: report NYT says it was unfair on Haley curtain story Rubio defends Haley over curtains story: Example of media pushing bias 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 Stanley KingRestoring our national parks would be a bipartisan win for Congress Restore our parks Renaming Senate office building after McCain sparks GOP backlash 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 SchatzOvernight Energy: Warren bill would force companies to disclose climate impacts | Green group backs Gillum in Florida gov race | Feds to open refuge near former nuke site Warren wants companies to disclose more about climate change impacts Congress just failed our nation’s veterans when it comes to medical marijuana 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 PaulConservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Senate approves 4B spending bill Some employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report MORE (R-Ky.) was the only GOP senator to oppose Pompeo for CIA director. Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Another recession could hit US in 2019, says credit union association chief R-E-S-P-E-C-T: One legacy of Franklin and McCain is up to us 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 John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency 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."