GOP’s Kennedy sends warning shot to Trump nominee Menashi

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) sent a warning shot on Wednesday, saying he could oppose President Trump’s nominee for an influential appeals court. 

Asked about Steven Menashi’s nomination for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Kennedy warned, “I’m not going to vote for him until I understand how he approaches legal issues.”


{mosads}”He may be Oliver Wendell Scalia but I can’t tell because he won’t answer my questions,” Kennedy said, referring to Supreme Court Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Antonin Scalia. “The burden of proof is on him. If someone gets mad at that, they need to call somebody who cares, because that is my job and I’m tired of them playing games.” 

A number of senators have expressed frustration with Menashi’s unwillingness to discuss his work for the Trump administration on immigration. 
Menashi sparked a bipartisan backlash during a confirmation hearing last week when he sidestepped directly answering questions from senators, including on his work for the Trump administration. 

Kennedy warned Menashi during the hearing, as he tried to get him to weigh in on a hypothetical, that “I don’t want you dodging my questions.”

“You’re really a smart guy but I wish you would be more forthcoming. This isn’t supposed to be a game. We’re supposed to try to understand not how you’re going to rule but how you’re going to think,” he said.  

When Menashi offered to answer a follow-up question, Kennedy noted that he was “out of time.”  

“You took a lot of it by not answering my questions,” he said.

Kennedy on Wednesday declined to say if was leaning one way or another on Menashi, but said he was willing to give him a second chance to come back and answer his questions. He separately told HuffPost that he was “real doubtful” about Menashi. 
Menashi, who is a special assistant and senior associate counsel to the president, also tangled with Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) at last week’s hearing. 

Graham, who chairs the committee, defended questions by Durbin, who had asked Menashi what policies he worked on. When Menashi began to say he worked on immigration, Graham interrupted to press him again. 

“I’m not asking you to talk about what you did, in terms of legal advice, but did you work on the topic? That’s all,” Graham said during the hearing.
“I think it is important that you tell us what you worked on,” Graham said.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has not scheduled a vote on Menashi’s nomination. 
Tags appeals court nominations Dianne Feinstein Dick Durbin Donald Trump John Kennedy Lindsey Graham Steven Menashi trump nominees
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