Senate panel delays Trump’s judicial picks amid Mueller standoff

The Senate Judiciary Committee is postponing votes on nearly two dozen judiciary nominees for the second time in as many weeks.  

The decision to punt the business meeting again comes as Republicans are locked in a stalemate with Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake: Republicans don't speak out against Trump 'because they want to keep their jobs' GOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials The 5 most vulnerable senators in 2020 MORE (R-Ariz.) over legislation protecting special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE.

ADVERTISEMENT

Flake is voting against all judicial nominees until he gets a vote on the bill, which would let Mueller, or any special counsel, challenge the firing and be reinstated if a court determined it wasn’t for “good cause.”

With Republicans holding an 11-10 majority on the Judiciary Committee, Flake’s "no" vote effectively blocks the party from sending judicial nominees to the full Senate unless they can win over help from Democrats.

Flake indicated on Wednesday that he had not yet reached a deal with GOP leadership. 

“We can have the markup, I’ll just vote 'no,'” he quipped.

The notification from the Judiciary Committee didn't specify when, or if, the committee votes on the nominations would be rescheduled. Six circuit court nominees had been expected to get a vote, as well as 15 district court nominees.

The nominations were expected to get a vote last week, but committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care: Justices won't fast-track ObamaCare case before election | New virus spreads from China to US | Collins challenger picks up Planned Parenthood endorsement Mnuchin warns UK, Italy of tariffs if digital tax plans are implemented GOP can beat Democrats after impeachment — but it needs to do this one thing MORE (R-Iowa) canceled the meeting after indicating that his staff was trying to work out a deal with Flake.

“If we don't get a positive out of it, we'll probably cancel the meeting,” Grassley said last week shortly before he canceled the meeting. 

Updated at 4:05 p.m.