Washington, D.C. — Following day one of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing and the stunning revelation that the FBI is investigating Russian interference of the 2016 presidential election, Center for American Progress Action Fund President and CEO Neera Tanden issued the following statement:
On the same day that the hearing for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee began, FBI Director James Comey told Congress that the FBI “is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 president election.” This includes determining whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials, again calling into question the very legitimacy of Trump’s presidency. The Senate cannot move forward on Trump’s Supreme Court appointment until the FBI determines the extent of Russia’s influence on President Trump’s rise to power. The American public deserves to know whether this lifetime appointment is the choice of the people or Vladimir Putin.
Immediately after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, Republican senators insisted that they would keep the Supreme Court seat open until the American people had their voices heard in November’s election. After making Americans wait an entire year for a fully functional high court, they are now trying to rush through numerous confirmations at breakneck speed, desperately attempting to spin the damage Trump and Russia have done to U.S. democracy. Regardless of Judge Gorsuch’s qualifications, no president has ever made a lifetime appointment while facing such serious questions about his claim to the presidency.
Senators must demand answers about the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia and about Judge Gorsuch’s record of arguing that the president should have a blank check when it comes to national security. As the first judicial nominee put forward by this administration, the cloud of an ongoing FBI investigation into the campaign of the man who appointed him can only undermine Judge Gorsuch. Holding off on any key decisions is paramount to integrity of the Supreme Court and the system of checks and balances.
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Terrence Clark at tclark.af@americanprogressaction or 202.741.6251.