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Schumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe

Schumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerLawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food Ron Johnson forces reading of 628-page Senate coronavirus relief bill on floor Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Friday that Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell makes failed bid to adjourn Senate after hours-long delay Paul Ryan to host fundraiser for Cheney amid GOP tensions Senate Democrats near deal to reduce jobless boost to 0 MORE (R-Ky.) should force members of his caucus to call off hearings and business meetings scheduled next week as part of GOP investigations tied to the Obama administration. 

Schumer, in a letter sent to Senate Democrats, said Republicans have become the "conspiracy caucus."

"The Republican-led Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees — two powerful committees with broad jurisdiction over issues related to the coronavirus — have instead used their majority to chase wild conspiracy theories to appease President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new tranche of endorsements DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food MORE," Schumer wrote.

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"They have failed the American people by turning the institutions of the Senate into an extension of the President’s re-election campaign. ... [The] Republican Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold yet another hearing, not on the pandemic, but on baseless conspiracy theories related to the 2016 election. Leader McConnell should instruct these committees to cancel these conspiracy hearings,"  Schumer added.

Schumer's letter to Senate Democrats comes as Republicans are ramping up their controversial investigations into Crossfire Hurricane, the name of the FBI's investigation of Russian election interference and the Trump campaign.

Both Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Biden helps broker Senate deal on unemployment benefits Senate braces for 'God-awful,' 'stupid' session ahead of COVID-19 relief vote MORE (R-S.C.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonJohnson says leaving office after 2022 'probably my preference now' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Senate begins marathon vote-a-rama before .9T COVID-19 relief passage Senate braces for 'God-awful,' 'stupid' session ahead of COVID-19 relief vote MORE (R-Wis.) — the chairmen of the Judiciary and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees, respectively — are scheduled to hold subpoena votes next week.

Johnson's committee also voted along party lines last week to subpoena Blue Star Strategies, a firm tied to Ukraine gas company Burisma Holdings, as part of its probe into Hunter Biden. 

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Comey argues Trump shouldn't be prosecuted after leaving Oval Office Trump turns his ire toward Cabinet members MORE is also scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, marking the first public hearing to stem from Graham's investigation. 

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Democrats have fumed over the investigations, accusing Republicans of using their gavels to dig into Trump's political enemies ahead of the November election and inadvertently spread Russian misinformation. 

Democrats have also warned that the investigations are a distraction from combatting the coronavirus. Republicans have hit "pause" on passing another relief bill as they review the roughly $2.8 trillion already passed by Congress. 

Schumer, in his letter to Democrats, noted that they will try to pass legislation next week to extend the amount of time businesses have to spend loan money under the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans to companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: YouTube to restore Trump's account | House-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interference | Senators introduce legislation to create international tech partnerships Senators introduce bill creating technology partnerships to compete with China DeSantis's rising GOP profile fuels 2024 talk MORE (R-Fla.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCOVID-19 relief debate stalls in Senate amid Democratic drama Senate GOP will force clerks to read bill to delay COVID-19 relief vote OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine MORE (D-Md.) had hoped to pass their own fix before a weeklong Memorial Day break, but at least one office objected and stalled the Senate's legislation. 

Democrats are also planning to "dedicate a 'Day of Action' to essential workers" on Wednesday. 

"I urge you to participate and lift up the stories of essential workers from your state," Schumer wrote.