Senate

Flake threatens to limit Trump court nominees: report

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is reportedly considering using votes on President Trump's appellate court nominees as a bargaining chip for demands on two separate issues. 

CNN reported that Flake may block votes on the court nominations while he attempts to secure action on tariffs and travel restrictions to Cuba.

"We're discussing it," he told the network. 

Flake is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Republicans hold a one-seat advantage over Democrats.

If Flake does not support the appellate nominees, it could compromise their nominations. Most judges are voted out of the committee along party lines. 

However, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told CNN that he will not schedule votes on the judges until Flake has indicated he'll support the nominees.

Grassley added that the Senate nominations calendar is full, and he does not feel pressured to vote on judges at this time. 

Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have touted the confirmation of circuit court judges as one of his administration's hallmark achievements. The Republican-held Senate set a record pace for judge confirmations earlier this year.

Flake, who is retiring from the Senate when his term expires in January, has become one of the most vocal GOP critics of Trump in recent months.

He has expressed concerns over Trump's decision to implement steep tariffs on U.S. allies. 

Last year, he slammed Trump's reversal of the Obama administration policy that lifted travel restrictions to Cuba. Flake co-sponsored a bill that would have lifted such restrictions.

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