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Schumer: Yates Firing “Monday Night Massacre”

A few minutes ago, during a late-night Senate session, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) discussed Donald Trump’s firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates, calling it the “Monday Night Massacre”. Yates was fired earlier today after refusing to enforce Trump’s ban on certain Muslim citizens entering the U.S. and expressing the opinion that the executive order was illegal and maybe even unconstitutional. Here’s Schumer earlier this evening:

“We’ve had a large number of eloquent speeches about the President’s executive order and while they were going on, of course, we had a Monday Night Massacre. Sally Yates, a person of great integrity, who follows the law, was fired by the President. She was fired because she would not enact, pursue the executive order on the belief that it was illegal, perhaps unconstitutional. It was a profile in courage. It was a brave act. And a right act. And I hope the president and his people who are in the White House learn something from this.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s diminutive minion Sean Spicer also weighed in tonight saying “Ms. Yates is an Obama administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”

Debate Ended on Tillerson Nomination

Rex Tillerson’s nomination for Secretary of State moved another step closer to confirmation when the Senate voted today to invoke cloture (end debate) and move to an up-or-down vote, probably on Wednesday. The vote was 56-43 and, with the 2013 filibuster rule change, 60 votes are no longer needed for cloture on cabinet nominees.

No Republicans voted against cloture but I’m guessing what you really want to know is who strayed from the Democratic caucus and voted to move forward with a confirmation vote. Here they are: Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) along with Angus King (I-ME). All but Warner are up for reelection in 2018.

As to the other obvious question, no, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III did not recuse himself, as he should have.

With this as a bellwether, look for Tillerson to be confirmed later this week.

McCain, Graham Reject Trump Muslim Ban

Donald Trump has been in office a little more than a week and there are already signs that the Republican wall is cracking. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) issued a joint statement today slamming Trump for his anti-Muslim executive order on immigration.

This came after an appearance on ‘Face The Nation’ in which McCain said that Trump’s actions will serve primarily as a recruiting tool for terrorists. While conceding that the U.S. must always act in a way that protects our citizens, the Republican Senators emphasized that we must do so while staying consistent with “… all that is decent and exceptional about our nation.”

“We should not turn our backs on those refugees who have been shown through extensive vetting to pose no demonstrable threat to our nation, and who have suffered unspeakable horrors, most of them women and children,” McCain and Graham said in the statement. “Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism. At this very moment, American troops are fighting side-by-side with our Iraqi partners to defeat ISIL. But this executive order bans Iraqi pilots from coming to military bases in Arizona to fight our common enemies.”

“Our most important allies in the fight against ISIL are the vast majority of Muslims who reject its apocalyptic ideology of hatred. This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”

The Senate begins floor debate Monday on Rex Tillerson’s Secretary of State nomination. McCain and Graham’s commitment to these words will be tested when they take to the floor to speak — and in how they vote later in the week.

Senate Floor Debate on Tillerson Nomination Begins Monday

Trump’s Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson will be the subject of Senate floor debate tomorrow, before a procedural vote that may pave the way for a full confirmation vote on Wednesday. This is terrible timing for Tillerson given Trump’s decision to embarrass us on the world stage with his un-American action banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

It should be an interesting week but, no matter what Tillerson says about Trump’s executive order, I agree completely with people who say Tillerson should not get a single Democratic vote to run the State Department. If the Senate Democratic caucus provides 48 ‘nay’ votes, it will take only three Republican Senators with a conscience — yes, I understand the improbability of that — to kill his nomination and send a strong message to Trump.

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