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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Dems threaten to bring Senate to a crawl over FBI firing

Dems threaten to bring Senate to a crawl over FBI firing
By Jordain Carney - 05-10-17 11:32 AM EDT

Democrats are threatening to slow the Senate to a crawl in response to President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, launched the effort by objecting to the Senate GOP's routine request  to allow 13 committee hearings to take place on Wednesday.

"Because of the decision last night by the president of the United States to terminate the director of the FBI and the questions that its raised we gathered together, the Democratic senators on the floor, and listened as our leader at least suggested a path for us to follow as an institution facing this constitutional question," Durbin said from the Senate floor.

The move abruptly ended a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that had already started.

Democrats are holding a caucus meeting to discuss how to move forward after Comey's firing.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) requested that McConnell ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to meet in a separate closed-door briefings with senators.

Wednesday isn't the first time Democrats have tried to leverage the Senate schedule.

Former Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned last year that he would block committee meetings as part of a protest after Republicans refused to hold hearings or votes on Merrick Garland, former President Obama's Supreme Court nominee. Democrats quickly blocked down from that threat.

Senate committees can still meet, but under the Senate's "two-hour rule," they are limited to meeting during the first two hours after the Senate convenes.

A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing ended abruptly Wednesday after word spread that Senate Democrats were planning a slowdown of committee business.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) suddenly adjourned the hearing before Democrats could carry out the plan.

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