Tue Jan 10, 2017, 08:05 PM
Bill USA (6,385 posts)
Republicans Used To Care About Cabinet Disclosures. Then Trump Won.
..THe video in the article is a brilliant take-down of the Republican Majority. GOD-DAMN IT'S GREAT TO HAVE A DEMOCRATIC LEADER WHO IS ARTICULATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Go to article to see a great statement by Schumer. He reads a letter to then Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid, signed by McConnell and other Repugnants about documentation required of Presidential nominees to conduct a proper review of Presidential nominations. Schumer points out that McConnell's letter mirrors the very requirements Democrats are now asking Trump nominees to meet and which the Trump transition team and Repugnants in general seem to consider optional. Schumer stated he will be sending the letter to Sen McConnell to indicate the Democratic Senators requests are not capricious.)
WASHINGTON ― Senate Republicans used to care about Cabinet nominees making full disclosures ― at least they cared when President Barack Obama was the one doing the nominating.
So concerned with the potential for foreign conflicts of interest that, in 2013, Republicans demanded unprecedented disclosures from a member of their own party: former Sen. Chuck Hagel, Obama’s nominee for secretary of Defense.
“This Committee, and the American people, have a right to know if a nominee for Secretary of Defense has received compensation, directly or indirectly, from foreign sources,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), then one month into the job, wrote in a letter to Hagel that was signed by 25 additional Republican senators. “Until the Committee receives full and complete answers, it cannot in good faith determine whether you should be confirmed as Secretary of Defense.”
But now that President-elect Donald Trump looks apt to retain a financial stake in his multibillion-dollar business enterprise ― with deals connected to foreign businesses and a hotel that is being rented out by foreign governments ― the GOP no longer seems to care.
Republicans in both the House and Senate have refused to hold hearings on Trump’s conflicts of interest, and there is no apparent concern that some of the nine Cabinet nominees scheduled to testify this week have so far failed to properly disclose their financial holdings or reach the customary agreement with the Office of Government Ethics.
Here's McConnell's letter of Feb 2009:
Here is a press release of Sen. SCHUMER REMARKS ON THE NEED FOR PROPER VETTING OF TRUMP’S CABINET NOMINEES https://www.schumer.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/schumer-remarks-on-the-need-for-proper-vetting-of-trumps-cabinet-nominees
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor about the updated confirmation hearing schedules for Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees as well as the ongoing concern for their proper vetting. Below are his remarks:
As hearings for the President-Elect's nominees get under way starting today, I wanted to reiterate that a fair and thorough investigating process is a top priority not only for my caucus, but for the American people.
And today, there are reports in the media that under Rex Tillerson’s leadership, Exxon conducted business with Iran, potentially in violation of U.S. sanctions law. So there are really serious questions that need to be answered. In this particular case, Mr. Tillerson should release all his tax returns and promise to answer any questions on the Iran dealings that members ask.
This is too serious a subject to have questions ducked. It demands a completely open airing of all relevant information.
Did Mr. Tillerson go around our Iran sanctions simply to line Exxon’s pockets? That would be a very bad thing. The American people ought to know about it before the Senate has to vote to confirm.
For Rex Tillerson to answer the questions -- and particularly questions about Exxon setting up a separate subsidiary to get around our Iran sanctions -- is what the founding fathers wanted us to do when they enumerated in the advise and consent process.
Mr. President, this is not a partisan game. We're not doing this for sport. These aren't obscure procedural complaints. This is standard process. And as I reminded my friend, the Majority Leader, yesterday, this is the same exact process my counterpart demanded in 2009 when the shoe was on the other foot. Just as then-Minority Leader McConnell laid out in his 2009 letter to then-Majority Leader Reid, Democrats expect each nominee to have all the prerequisites with time to review before we move forward with the hearings. President Obama’s nominees completed all of their paperwork in 2009 before the hearings.
We expect nothing less from President-Elect Trump's nominees. Particularly, we expect that the paperwork to be all in with time to review. Having the paperwork in at 7:00 a.m. and holding a hearing at 10:00 a.m. is unacceptable, and we expect there will be adequate time for follow-up questions on a second day of hearings if senators are unable to finish their questions.
Now, today my colleague, the Majority Leader, said well, most of the cabinet nominees were in already when this letter came out, but the letter doesn't specify who. It includes cabinet members, and there were future cabinet members that would come forward. It's a good standard. We're all for it. We're asking our friends on the other side of the aisle to stick with it. What was good for them in 2009 is good for the country in 2017.
So, Mr. President, we are insistent on the process because it's the right thing to do.
It's the American thing to do. We don't hide nominees and rush them through. They have huge power, huge power.
If President-Elect, our Republican colleagues are as proud of the nominees as they state, then they should be happy to have them answer a lot of questions in a hearing that is not rushed. It's how we'll ensure that cabinet officials who are imbued with an immense power in our government are ethically and substantively qualified for these positions.
And, Mr. President, if there is any group of cabinet nominees that cries out for this process, it's this group of nominees. This proposed cabinet is unlike any other. It is wealthier than any other. It has a complex web of corporate connections.
So many of the nominees that pose huge potential conflict of interest problems. And frankly, it is the most hard right cabinet in its ideology. Quite different from the way President-Elect Trump campaigned.
The potential conflicts of interest for multimillionaires like Rex Tillerson or Betsy DeVos or Steve Mnuchin are enormous.
As I have said, the nominees have views so far to the right of what the President-Elect campaigned on.
The most glaring example is Representative Price. His whole career has been focused on ending Medicare as we know it. My colleague, the Majority Leader, said the American people want us to move forward and give President-Elect Trump his nominees.
If they knew that one of the nominees had been dedicated to basically getting rid of Medicare, would they want us to vote for him? I’ll bet not. But it sure explains why they want to rush these nominees through.
They don't want all of these things brought to life, but that is the wrong thing to do, and we're going to fight for the right thing to do.
The American people have a right to know if they voted for a president who might be going back on one of his key campaign promises. They deserve nothing less than open and deliberate hearings going forward.
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