Rep. Mike Pompeo’s confirmation as CIA Director was to take place by voice vote this past Friday along with the confirmation of General Mattis as Secretary of Defense and General John Kelly as Secretary of Homeland Security. That was the deal that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made with Senate Republicans, but Schumer went back on his word. It seems rather early for Schumer to show himself for who he is but, according to the Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes, that’s what happened.
Here is the heart of Steve’s intensely reported story featuring our friend Senator Tom Cotton:
on January 19, one day before Trump’s inauguration, Ron Wyden said he’d seek to delay Pompeo’s confirmation when the Senate convened late Friday afternoon. That evening Cotton, who is close to Pompeo from their time together in the House of Representatives, began calling his colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee, including Wyden, seeking to avoid the delay. Some of the calls were cordial. Others were testy.
The Senate reconvened after the inaugural ceremonies on Friday, with Pompeo’s nomination set to come up at 4:50pm. Cotton angrily confronted Schumer about his broken promise. According to witnesses, Schumer told Cotton to lower his voice and asked him move off of the Senate floor to an adjacent hallway for a private discussion. “We need to take this out into the hallway,” Schumer said. Cotton walked with Schumer but loudly rejected his first request. “Don’t tell me to lower my voice!” he shouted, with an additional salty admonition tacked on for emphasis. Burr and Cornyn were present, as was Senator Mark Warner, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and several aides.
Schumer told Cotton that the Senate had never previously confirmed a CIA director on Inauguration Day and if Cotton had been around eight years earlier, he’d know that Republicans didn’t extend that courtesy for incoming president Barack Obama. “Eight years ago, I was getting my ass shot at in Afghanistan,” Cotton snapped. “So don’t talk to me about where I was 8 years ago.”
Cotton asked Schumer why he’d gone back on his word. Schumer claimed that he’d only been speaking for himself when he promised to let Pompeo through. “I said that I would not block him,” Schumer said, emphasizing the personal pronoun, according to sources who witnessed the exchange. “I never said that I could speak for 47 other Democrats.”
In case you didn’t know this about Schumer: what a weasel.
Steve’s report continues:
The Republicans were stunned.
“I’m not telling Ron Wyden to do this,” Schumer declared. “Why don’t you go talk to Wyden?”
“That ain’t my job, Chuck,” said Burr.
“I know what you promised me,” said Burr. “You made the deal!”
Cornyn recalls: “That’s when [Schumer] started dissembling and said: ‘I don’t control my whole caucus.’ Either he’d lost control or he was trying to make excuses for an outcome he wanted.”
Burr, not known for his aggressiveness, pointedly told Schumer that Republicans had learned something important about taking Schumer at his word. “I won’t make that mistake again,” he said.
As I say, what a weasel.
Read the whole thing here.