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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 SchumerThe five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Collins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs Protect America's houses of worship in year-end appropriations package MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Friday that Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFive things to know about Georgia's Senate runoffs Obama chief economist says Democrats should accept smaller coronavirus relief package if necessary Memo to Biden: Go big — use the moment to not only rebuild but to rebuild differently 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 John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report 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 GrahamIs Trump headed to another campaign or to a courtroom? Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE (R-S.C.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonMcConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus 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 RosensteinTrump turns his ire toward Cabinet members Ex-deputy attorney general says Justice Dept. 'will ignore' Trump's threats against political rivals The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump's erratic tweets upend stimulus talks; COVID-19 spreads in White House 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 RubioVoters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls The Memo: GOP mulls its future after Trump MORE (R-Fla.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDemocratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry On The Money: Biden, Democratic leaders push for lame-duck coronavirus deal | Business groups shudder at Sanders as Labor secretary | Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year Top Democrat: Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year 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.