Dems rip Trump DOJ nominee who represented Russian bank

Dems rip Trump DOJ nominee who represented Russian bank
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Senate Democrats are pushing back against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE’s nominee for assistant attorney general, citing concerns over his past work for a Russian bank.

A number of Democrats issued statements on Tuesday raising red flags about the nomination of Brian Benczkowski to lead the Department of Justice's criminal division. They cited his lack of prosecutorial experience, as well as his ties to a Russian bank.

The New York Times first reported last year that Benczkowski told lawmakers he previously represented Alfa Bank, one of Russia's largest financial institutions. The owners of Alfa Bank have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats introduce bill to reverse Trump's shift of military money toward wall Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (D-Ill.) knocked Benczkowski for his lack of experience in addition to his job history, calling him the “wrong person” for the assistant attorney general job.

“Will Senate Republicans simply rubber stamp this nomination? The Benczkowski vote could mark a pivotal moment in the Russia investigation,” Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, tweeted.

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCalifornia lawmakers mark Day of Remembrance for Japanese internment Democratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe House passes bipartisan bill to create women's history museum MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement that Benczkowski’s nomination “presents glaring conflicts of interest” with regard to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election. 

“Despite repeated requests from Judiciary Committee Democrats that he recuse himself from any matters involving the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign, Benczkowski has refused to commit,” she said.

Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDemocratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe Graham warned Pentagon chief about consequences of Africa policy: report Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump MORE (D-Del.) urged Trump to nominate qualified individuals "without concerning Russia connections."

“Every American should expect that the person nominated for this important position is qualified to meet the weighty demands of the job, and every American is entitled to the assurance that the Department of Justice is entirely independent and impartial. Mr. Benczkowski does not pass this test," Coons said in a statement.

Several other Democrats voiced concerns with the nomination, repeatedly pointing to Benczkowski's past work for Alfa Bank.

The Senate is scheduled to consider Benczkowski's nomination on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

A group of more than a dozen former U.S. attorneys urged the Senate earlier this year to approve Benczkowski's nomination, which has been stalled for months.

Trump nominated Benczkowski last June. The post was previously held by Christopher Wray, who Trump appointed last year to lead the FBI after he fired James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn Comey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Trump punts on Stone pardon decision after sentencing MORE.