Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Tuesday cautioned President Donald Trump against forcing Attorney General Jeff Sessions out of office and appointing a replacement while Congress is away on recess next month.
In a speech on the Senate floor, he warned that Democrats have tools to stop such a recess appointment and urged Republicans to join them in blocking it should Trump make that move.
“Many Americans must be wondering if the President is trying to pry open the office of attorney general to appoint someone during the August recess who will fire special counsel [Robert] Mueller and shut down the Russian investigation,” Schumer said. “First let me state for the record now, before this scheme gains wings, Democrats will never go along with the recess appointment if that situation arises. We have some tools in our toolbox to stymie such action. We’re ready to use every single one of them.”
Any Republican colleague who may support a recess appointment would be “complicit in creating a constitutional crisis,” he added.
Trump has recently stepped up his criticism of Sessions as he continues to fume over the attorney general’s recusal from the federal investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The administration is reportedly floating replacement options for Sessions, such as Rudy Giuliani or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
The President could theoretically appoint a replacement for Sessions during the August recess, which would not require Senate confirmation.
Democratic senators already are plotting to keep the chamber from officially going on recess by filibustering the resolution to adjourn the session, CNN reported, citing both Democratic and Republican aides.
During his floor speech, Schumer blasted Trump for publicly ridiculing his attorney general, a key ally who was the first big congressional backer of the real estate mogul’s presidential candidacy.
“In recent days, President Trump has gone out of his way to undermine his own attorney general, his first supporter,” Schumer said. “He has tweeted scathing criticism of Attorney General Sessions, chastised himself publicly for recusing himself from the Russia investigation and several other perceived failures in the eyes of the President.”
“We should all take a moment to think about how shocking these are on a human basis,” he continued. “This is the first person who stuck his neck out for Donald Trump, who was with him through thick and thin, and now, even if the President has disagreements with him, which are ill-founded self-centered and wrong, you don’t ridicule him in public.”