Republicans are not wasting any time ramming through the more controversial picks for Trump’s cabinet. All indications are that Trump is “draining the swamp” only to expose the slime at the GOP bottom. Here’s the story (abbreviated) from the Washington Post.
THE BIG IDEA: By scheduling six confirmation hearings for the same day, the Senate GOP is working to prevent any one Donald Trump nominee from dominating a news cycle. The gambit is very likely to succeed.
The GOP leadership’s approach will minimize unflattering process stories and prevent Trump’s nominees from receiving the kind of full airing and scrutiny that they would otherwise.
…the conventional wisdom inside the Capitol right now is that all of Trump’s picks will get confirmed, no matter how many red flags several have in their backgrounds. …
Here are the six hearings now set for next Wednesday:
Secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, with his questionable ties to Vladimir Putin and long tenure as CEO of ExxonMobil, will appear before the Foreign Relations Committee.
Trump’s pick for CIA director, Mike Pompeo, appears before the Intelligence Committee. He’ll face questions about Trump’s sustained attacks on the integrity of intelligence professionals, his plans to reorganize the community (much more on that below), as well as his outspoken support for torture.
Education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos, who has funded campaigns both to expand charter schools and to limit regulations on them, will appear before the education committee. She played a central role in a Michigan charter school movement that even supporters of charters acknowledge lacks in oversight and quality. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on HELP, said yesterday that DeVos still hasn’t returned her questionnaire or submitted financial disclosures.
The Judiciary Committee on Jan. 10–11 considers the nomination of Attorney General nominee Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, whose checkered record on race prompted the Senate to block him when he was nominated for a district judgeship. Wednesday is when Democrats finally get their chance to call witnesses who can speak out against Sessions. (In addition to civil rights, which everyone knows is a liability for the Alabama senator, a new ACLU report is highly critical of his record on immigration, abortion and criminal justice.
John Kelly’s confirmation hearing to run the department of homeland security, which would have jurisdiction over Trump’s proposed deportation force and crackdown on illegal immigration …
Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is a lock to become Transportation secretary. …
About this last one: you would think that transportation, relative to the other nominations, would not be super controversial. Apparently Chao has pretty broad support. Even from her husband. McConnell says he won’t recuse himself from wife’s cabinet confirmation. Of course not. See what you find when you drain the swamp?