Sen. Cory Booker said Thursday that the Senate should “push pause” on confirming a new Supreme Court justice until the completion of the Russia investigation.
“We have a president in an unprecedented way, who is the subject of a criminal investigation.” Booker told CNN’s Don Lemon on “CNN Tonight.” “Donald Trump has two, three years left. But we should put a pause on this now and avoid a conflict of interest and a constitutional crisis.”
The New Jersey Democrat argued there’s a possible conflict of interest for Trump to pick a Supreme Court nominee while his presidential campaign is under investigation for possible ties to Russia.
Booker’s comments came as the President met with three red-state Democrats at the White House on Thursday. The meetings were a day after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he’ll retire on July 31. The White House plans to nominate a new justice by July 9, CNN reported earlier Thursday.
Sens. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly, of Indiana, and Heidi Heitkamp, of North Dakota voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and are facing tough re-election fights this year.
“Tonight President Trump met with Senators Grassley, Collins, Murkowski, Manchin, Donnelly, and Heitkamp to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “The President’s team also talked with more than a dozen other Senators today as part of ongoing outreach to get views and advice from both sides of the aisle on this important nomination.”
Booker admitted he wasn’t confident that his Senate colleagues would delay action on a Trump nominee, but stressed that their inaction won’t stop him from making his case.
“This is a moment in American history like I have never seen before,” Booker said. “Here we now have a court that has been voting 5-4 on a lot of these decisions that have been trying to protect individual freedoms now about to leave. … This is one of those moral moments in our country’s history where we can see ourselves becoming a country where a lot of the rights we’ve taken for granted and the freedoms and liberties are taken away from us.”
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Kyle Feldscher contributed to this report.