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 SchumerDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' A renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the government Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Friday that Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCongress pulls punches on Russian bounties firestorm Congress under pressure to provide billions for school openings Hillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok 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 TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' 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 GrahamGraham says he will call Mueller to testify before Senate panel about Russia probe Romney blasts Trump's Stone commutation: 'Historic corruption' Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE (R-S.C.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Romney, Collins, Murkowski won't attend GOP convention 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 RosensteinSupreme Court to hear dispute over Democrats' access to Mueller materials Republicans release newly declassified intelligence document on FBI source Steele GOP's Obama-era probes fuel Senate angst 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 RubioGOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad GOP Miami mayor does not commit to voting for Trump MORE (R-Fla.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCongress eyes tighter restrictions on next round of small business help Senate passes extension of application deadline for PPP small-business loans 1,700 troops will support Trump 'Salute to America' celebrations July 4: Pentagon 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.