Democrats' strategy to block FBI pick: GOP help

Who is being considered for top FBI post?
Who is being considered for top FBI post?

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Story highlights

  • Democrats are working behind the scenes to try and GOP senators to oppose a new FBI director
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer hinted at this Sunday on CNN

(CNN)Democrats are embracing reality when it comes to threats of blocking President Donald Trump's FBI director selection: They'll need Republican help to get it done, according to a senior Democratic aide.

As it stands, the Senate rules allow the FBI director nominee to be confirmed with just 51 votes, so Republicans can confirm any selection with zero Democratic help.
Democrats are working behind the scenes to try to get wary and concerned GOP senators to join them in their push to block any selection unless Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein names a special counsel.
At this point, it's far from a sure-thing strategy -- while there is no shortage or Republicans who have expressed problems with how and when James Comey was fired from the FBI's top spot, there has been no rush to embrace Democratic calls for a special counsel.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer hinted at this Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper.
"The key here, of course, is getting some of our Republican colleagues to join us," Schumer said. "We're hoping. We're waiting. We understand it's difficult, but I think patriotism and the needs of this country demand it."
The ranking Democrat of the Senate intelligence committee, Mark Warner, made a similar pledge last week.
"If (Rosenstein) doesn't (name a special prosecutor), then I think it's going to be very difficult to solicit a lot of support from Democrats and support from Democrats -- in terms of whoever the President picks to be a permanent FBI director," the Virginia Democrat told reporters Friday.
Another alternative Democrats could pursue is essentially shutting down the Senate -- refusing to grant unanimous consent for hearings to continue or occur two hours after the Senate convenes or grinding floor proceedings to a halt through procedural mechanisms. But at this point, the aide says, that is not the path they are working on.