Senate Dems urge Sessions to abstain from voting on Trump’s Cabinet picks – The Hill
Senate Democrats are urging Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsSenate Dems urge Sessions to abstain from voting on Trump’s Cabinet picks Senate panel sets vote on Sessions for AG Dems want Sessions to recuse himself from Trump-Russia probe MORE (R-Ala.), President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpChristie blames wife for no Trump role Trump’s UN pick threads needle on Russia, NATO Senate panel approves Mattis for Defense secretary MORE‘s choice to be attorney general, to recuse himself from voting to confirm other Cabinet nominees.
“There is at the very least an appearance of conflict of interest since he owes his job as attorney general to the same boss who has nominated these other Cabinet nominees,” Sen. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalSenate panel approves Mattis for Defense secretary Senate Dems urge Sessions to abstain from voting on Trump’s Cabinet picks Takata will plead guilty, pay B in faulty airbag probe MORE (D-Conn.) told Politico. “The attorney general has to be an independent voice and prosecutor. He may be called upon to investigate, perhaps represent them in court. He ought to be strictly impartial.”
Another Democrat, Sen. Chris CoonsChris CoonsSenate Dems urge Sessions to abstain from voting on Trump’s Cabinet picks Booker to vote against Tillerson Senate Democrats brace for Trump era MORE (Del.), told the news outlet that a Sessions recusal would be a show of goodwill for the Trump administration amid concerns of potential ethics violations.
“Given that Sen. Sessions endorsed President-elect Trump, campaigned vigorously and nationally, and presents as probably the Cabinet nominee most closely aligned with President-elect Trump […] and given the number of ethical concerns that have already been raised about the Trump Cabinet, I think it would reflect well on both Sen. Sessions and the Trump administration were he to recuse himself,” Coons said
Sessions has said that he would abstain from voting on his own confirmation. If Sessions votes for Trump’s other nominees, Politico reports, it would be the first time a sitting senator nominated for a cabinet position has done so.
Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynSenate Dems urge Sessions to abstain from voting on Trump’s Cabinet picks Trump scrambles GOP’s healthcare plans Senate Democrats brace for Trump era MORE (R-Texas) told Politico that Sessions is entitled to vote on the other nominees’ confirmations because he is still a senator.
“My view is, as long as he hadn’t been confirmed as [attorney general], he’s still a U.S. senator with all the rights and privileges that pertain to that,” Cornyn said.
Sessions currently sits on the Senate Budget Committee, which will vote on Rep. Mick Mulvaney’s (R-S.C.) nomination for director of the Office of Budget and Management, as well as the Environmental and Public Works Committee, which must confirm Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as Environmental Protection Agency administrator.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Sessions’s confirmation on Jan. 24.
–This report was updated at 11:28 a.m.