Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Discusses Cabinet Nominations CSPAN January 19, 2017 1:42pm-1:52pm EST
>> just about 24 hours from now barack and michelle obama will depart this location as private citizens. donald trump and his family, meanwhile, staying at the blair house tonight. just across the street from the white house, a tradition started by jimmy carter the day before he was sworn in as president in 1977. an update on donald trump's cabinet picks. more news from "the hill" here reporting about comments from senator shuck shumer and his briefing earlier today saying the senate will take up at least two of donald trump's -- donald trump's nominees. democrats allowing for a day one vote on retired general james mattis and john kelly. trump picks to head the pentagon and department of homeland security respectively. perhaps others. we'll show you as much as we can of senator schumer's comments as we wait for the hearing to resume.
senator schumer: hello, everybody. i want to be right next to my potential cabinet people. [laughter] reporter: well, that implies hey are going to be confirmed. senator schumer:. no. keep your friends close and all that stuff. sorry we're a bit late. now, early on during the transition, senate republicans said that they hope they could confirm as many as seven cabinet nominations on inauguration day. they said that's what president obama got so we should get the same treatment, they said. but over the last several weeks
republicans have made a mockery of the cabinet hearing process. trying to jam through nominees in truncated hearings, nominees with serious conflicts of issues and ethical issues unresolved and without giving senators and more importantly the american people a fair chance to question and hear from these nominees. if there was ever a group of cabinet nominees that cry out for rigorous scrutiny, it's this one. the president-elect's cabinet is a swamp cabinet, full of billionaires and bankers that have conflicts of interest and ethical lapses as far as the eye can see. congressman mulvaney failed to pay taxes on a household worker. the exact same issue that caused past nominees to withdraw. congressman price is facing serious scrutiny, for trading
stock with one hand and pushing legislation to boost the stock with the other. betsy devos has refused to pay an old election fine. and by the way, the fact that her hearing was so appalling to so many americans, 15 million people, we sent out just a video of a couple of the questions. 15 million people have seen it and if you go look on the social media, trump supporters are saying, why the heck did he nominate her? rex tillerson has refused to recuse himself from matters relating to exxonmobil for the length of his term. amazing. head of the biggest oil company, and after one year he can do things to help it again. his work there decades. and just this morning, we've learned that steve mnuchin tried to hide his holdings in the cayman islands from the
finance committee. the list goes on and on and every day there is a report of a major ethical lapse by this cabinet, the swamp cabinet. the president-elect isn't draining the swamp with his cabinet picks. he's filling it up, contrary to everything he promised during his campaign. these issues and others deserve to be thoroughly and rigorously reviewed by the senate. senate democrats asked for multiple rounds of questions, multiple days of hearings, outside witnesses and to have ample time to review a nominee's completed paperwork before a hearing is held, particularly in light of the fact that so many of these fox -- folks have such complicated paperwork you can't just review it in a day. i would remind my republican friends that the only real billionaire in president
obama's cabinet, penny, took ix months to clear her ethical conflicts and file papers. so we have made some progress on a few fronts. but the more we learned about the nominees, the more important a thorough, fair process became. and the more it became clear republicans were simply trying to jam through these nominees out of sight of the american people. they're not really proud of this cabinet, and so they want the hearings to be as quick, as short and as bufrpbled up as they can be. -- bunched up as they can be. even though back in 2009, republicans asked democrats not to have any hearings before the office of government ethics had signed off on a given nominee. senate republicans did exactly that with betsy devos.
senator alexander stymied members from asking critical questions of both mrs. devos and mr. price. some members of the public were kept out of hearings. one report was there were only seven public seats in the hearing for mr. pruitt. from top to bottom, it's clear republicans were attempting to orchestrate a cover-up of the president-elect's swamp cabinet. senate democrats and the american people won't stand for it. so the inauguration is tomorrow , and here is what we are prepared to do. senators on both sides of the aisle have expressed support for the president-elect's key national security nominees. we expect to be able to vote on general kelly and general mattis tomorrow and look forward to beginning the debate on congressman pompeo in hopes
that he can also receive a quick vote. it's possible that some other noncontroversial nominees could be considered relatively quickly, but from there, we intend to have a full and rigorous debate on the president-elect's remaining nominees. senate republicans did not want to have a full debate on the merits of these nominees in committee, but they should be prepared to do so on the floor of the united states senate. i understand republicans are saying they wouldn't have chosen any of obama's nominees but allowed them to be conpirmed. let me be clear. -- them to be confirmed. let me be clear. the republicans would allow confirmations and votes for nominees who would not have been chosen by our party, but what we will not support are nominees who are so extreme in their viewpoints or their noncompliance with ethics laws and practice that they have
demonstrated themselves to be unfit. we will not be dilatory for the sake of it, and we're hopeful nominees will answer the remaining questions their hearings have raised and some believe will come back for another round of questioning. that type of cooperation could speed things up on the floor. we'd much prefer to have full questions with these nominees in hearings because they're there. but if we can't, the floor will be the place we have to bring to light the key issues that i've mentioned. if republicans continue to stonewall and cover up the serious issues that many of these nominees are trying to avoid, they should be prepared to have those debates on the floor of the full senate. and i would make just one final point. if republicans continue down this path, they're going to dramatically lower the ethical
standards in government that we've always had, standards that were upheld by previous administrations, obama and bush and clinton and h.w. bush and eagan. a dramatic lowering of the standard in a country where we try to hold ourselves up to higher standards. if the cabinet nominees are confirmed with republican support, when republicans opposed previous nominees for lesser ethical lapses, our ethical standards will wither and that will be one of donald trump's first legacies as president. it will make clear that conflicts of interests and ethical lapses are totally acceptable from the president to his cabinet and on down. the political price, the new administration pays for that, will come down the road for sure. the conflicts of interest and conflicts betwn