MSNBC Touts Dem Scheme to Use Pandemic to Block Conservative Judges

Mitch McConnel is Smeared by Fake News

On Thursday, MSNBC repeatedly teed up Democratic senators to argue that the U.S. Senate should not reconvene because doing so may allow Republicans to fill judicial vacancies with conservative nominees. Both the journalists and the liberal lawmakers insisted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was “endangering the lives” of Capitol Hill staff amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning to bring you and your colleagues back to the Capitol on Monday to start working again,” correspondent Kasie Hunt noted during an interview with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine on Morning Joe. She then fretted: “But not necessarily on voting on coronavirus-related packages. It seems like he wants to move judicial nominations.”

The reporter cited another Democratic senator to hype the concern: “And your colleague in Maryland, Chris Van Hollen, wrote to him [McConnell] and said, ‘You’re endangering the lives and health of our constituents who work in the Capitol.’” Hunt asked: “Do you think that the Senate should be coming back next week to do judicial nominations, and do you share those concerns?”

Kaine jumped at the chance to slam McConnell and the GOP:

We shouldn’t be coming back to do judicial nominations….They want to do judges, but they won’t do hearings to exercise oversight over the administration’s coronavirus response. And so, they’re going to block action on coronavirus to try to get judges done and endanger the lives of the Capitol Police, security, grounds crew, everybody else, forcing them to violate the local work-from-home orders. It makes absolutely no sense.

Later in the 10:00 a.m. ET hour, anchor Ayman Mohyeldin proclaimed: “This morning, Senate Democrats are urging Mitch McConnell not to bring the chamber back to Washington on Monday. In fact, Senator Dianne Feinstein is calling on the Majority Leader to follow the House’s lead and reconsider his plan to reconvene next week.”

He then turned to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and wondered if Democrats were “seriously considering not returning” to Washington to conduct the nation’s business.

Durbin ranted:

Listen, we’re ready to go back to work and there are important things for us to consider…So we asked Senator McConnell, “We’re ready to come back, even if it’s still dangerous and we’re not supposed to leave our homes we’re ready, what is the agenda?” Well, he tells us he has a family friend who he believes should be elevated to the federal bench. He’s 38 years old, he was judged unqualified. He’s from Kentucky and used to be an intern in the Senator’s office. You can understand why a lot of us are saying, “Mr. McConnell, there are more important things than your family friend, who has been found unqualified, getting a lifetime appointment to the second highest court in America.”

What Durbin managed to leave out was that McConnell’s “family friend” and former “intern” was actually U.S. District Judge Justin Walker of Kentucky, who clerked for both Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and then-D.C. appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Mohyeldin didn’t bother to correct the record, but instead touted:

Our reporting also confirms what you said, which is that Mitch McConnell’s focus will be on confirming judges. In fact, he told a conservative radio host recently that his motto for this year is, “Leave no vacancy behind.” What is your response to the Majority Leader, who wants to make that his priority going forward?

Durbin sneered: “And wouldn’t it be nice if his nominees were qualified?…So it isn’t just a matter of filling the vacancy, he wants to fill them with his friends, family friends, former staffers, and those who will pledge loyalty to his agenda.”

The success of Senate Republicans in approving conservative judicial nominees has long been one of the great fears in the Democratic Party and the liberal media. With the coronavirus pandemic, both reporters and members of Congress see a chance to shut that down.

Here are transcripts of the April 30 exchanges:

Morning Joe
7:35 AM ET

(…)

KASIE HUNT: The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning to bring you and your colleagues back to the Capitol on Monday to start working again. But not necessarily on voting on coronavirus-related packages. It seems like he wants to move judicial nominations. And your colleague in Maryland, Chris Van Hollen, wrote to him and said, “You’re endangering the lives and health of our constituents who work in the Capitol.” Not necessarily expressing concern about his own safety, but rather the dozens, if not hundreds of people that will have to come into the complex to help it work. Do you think that the Senate should be coming back next week to do judicial nominations, and do you share those concerns?

SEN. TIM KAINE [D-VA]: We shouldn’t be coming back to do judicial nominations. Kasie, as you know, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, are still under work-from-home orders, likely that will go into early June. And so, I’m not going to ask my staff to violate those orders to come in. I will come in, I’m a U.S. Senator, but I’ll try to do my work, just me, with staff supporting me via telecommute. I’m not going to order them to violate the safety rules that the governors and mayors have laid down.

And the thing that’s ironic is Senator McConnell wants us to come back, but the committees, the Republican committees are generally blocking hearings about coronavirus. They want to do judges, but they won’t do hearings to exercise oversight over the administration’s coronavirus response. And so, they’re going to block action on coronavirus to try to get judges done and endanger the lives of the Capitol Police, security, grounds crew, everybody else, forcing them to violate the local work-from-home orders. It makes absolutely no sense. I’ll be there, but I’m going to have my staff supporting me from home because I’m not going to order them to violate rules that are designed to protect their own health.

(…)

MSNBC Live
10:16 AM ET

(…)

AYMAN MOHYELDIN: This morning, Senate Democrats are urging Mitch McConnell not to bring the chamber back to Washington on Monday. In fact, Senator Dianne Feinstein is calling on the Majority Leader to follow the House’s lead and reconsider his plan to reconvene next week. But when asked about her letter moments ago, McConnell signaled that he is standing by his decision.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL [R-KY]: I think we can conduct our business safely, and as I said, we’ve got a whole lot of other people who are showing up for work during the pandemic. It’s time for the Senate to do that as well.

MOHYELDIN: Joining me now, Senator Minority Whip Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois who sits on the Appropriations and Judiciary Committee. Senator Durbin, it’s great to have you back on the program. Thanks for joining us this morning.

SEN. DICK DURBIN [D-IL]: Thank you.

MOHYELDIN: So one of your colleagues, Senator Chris Coons, says some of you are seriously considering not returning despite the Majority Leader’s decision that we just played for you there. Give me your quick take on this, are you considering staying home next week?

DURBIN: Listen, we’re ready to go back to work and there are important things for us to consider, the testing across America that’s critical for reopening the economy and dealing with this virus, the Paycheck Protection Program, how it’s being administered and who’s getting help, which small businesses, whether unemployment checks are coming through. There are so many issues we could be considering.

So we asked Senator McConnell, “We’re ready to come back, even if it’s still dangerous and we’re not supposed to leave our homes we’re ready, what is the agenda?” Well, he tells us he has a family friend who he believes should be elevated to the federal bench. He’s 38 years old, he was judged unqualified. He’s from Kentucky and used to be an intern in the Senator’s office. You can understand why a lot of us are saying, “Mr. McConnell, there are more important things than your family friend, who has been found unqualified, getting a lifetime appointment to the second highest court in America.”

MOHYELDIN: So let me pick up on that point that you just brought up. Because as you mentioned, there are no immediate plans to take up another coronavirus relief bill. Our reporting also confirms what you said, which is that Mitch McConnell’s focus will be on confirming judges. In fact, he told a conservative radio host recently that his motto for this year is, “Leave no vacancy behind.” What is your response to the Majority Leader, who wants to make that his priority going forward?

DURBIN: And wouldn’t it be nice if his nominees were qualified? Nine of the nominees from the Trump White House for lifetime appointments to the federal bench have been found unqualified. Now your viewers may be saying, “Well, give us the numbers for Obama.” In eight years, not a single nominee was found unqualified for the bench. In this case, the man that Mitch McConnell is trying to elevate to the second highest court in the land, lifetime appointment after six months on the federal bench, was found unqualified by the American Bar Association. So it isn’t just a matter of filling the vacancy, he wants to fill them with his friends, family friends, former staffers, and those who will pledge loyalty to his agenda.

(…)

Source: https://www.newsbusters.org/blog/feed

April 30, 2020 8:00 pm

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