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 SchumerBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' House passes border deal, setting up Trump to declare emergency Christie: Trump doesn’t give nicknames to people he respects MORE (D-N.Y.) said he is not currently urging his caucus to oppose Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump to sign funding deal, declare national emergency | Shanahan says allies will be consulted on Afghanistan | Dem demands Khashoggi documents Senate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general Top Dem demands State Department documents on Khashoggi killing 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 TillersonTrump administration’s top European diplomat to resign in February Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation Trump concealed details of meetings with Putin from senior officials: report 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 KingDrama hits Senate Intel panel’s Russia inquiry Warner, Burr split on committee findings on collusion Overnight Defense: Top general wasn't consulted on Syria withdrawal | Senate passes bill breaking with Trump on Syria | What to watch for in State of the Union | US, South Korea reach deal on troop costs 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 Health Care: Push for cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill | Court lets Dems defend ObamaCare | Flu season not as severe as last year, CDC says Dems unveil bill to let VA doctors prescribe medical marijuana David Hogg: GOP's plan to deal with climate change is 'thoughts and prayers' 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 braces for Trump's emergency declaration Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown Senate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general MORE (R-Ky.) was the only GOP senator to oppose Pompeo for CIA director. Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMark Kelly's campaign raises over M in days after launching Senate bid The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers wait for Trump's next move on border deal Mark Kelly launches Senate bid in Arizona 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 TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could 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."