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Schumer: ‘Unseemly’ to confirm Gorsuch amid FBI probe of Trump campaign
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

While Judge Neil Gorsuch answered questions during his confirmation hearings, the Senate’s top Democrat on Tuesday questioned whether he should be confirmed at all amid an FBI investigation into President Trump’s campaign.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) spoke on the Senate floor a day after FBI Director James B. Comey confirmed that the bureau was investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the presidential race.

As part of his extraordinary admission, coming while he testified before a House committee on Monday, the FBI director also noted that the probe began last July, at the height of the presidential contest.

[Schumer’s dilemma: Satisfying the base while protecting his minority]

The presidential campaign also kept open the seat Gorsuch hopes to fill. Within hours of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last year, Senate Republicans vowed not to consider anyone nominated by then-President Barack Obama because it was an election year, a promise they held after Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland.

“I’d like to point out that it is the height of irony that Republicans held this Supreme Court seat open for nearly a calendar year while President Obama was in office, but are now rushing to fill the seat for a president whose campaign is under investigation by the FBI,” Schumer said, according to remarks sent out by his office.

Schumer said that, to him, it appeared “unseemly to be moving forward so fast on confirming a Supreme Court Justice with a lifetime appointment” due to the looming FBI investigation, which could potentially last for months or years.

“You can bet that if the shoe was on the other foot – and a Democratic president was under investigation by the FBI – that Republicans would be howling at the moon about filling a Supreme Court seat in such circumstances,” Schumer said. “After all, they stopped a president who wasn’t under investigation from filling a seat with nearly a year left in his presidency.”

During his hearings, Gorsuch was asked about Garland’s snub. He praised his fellow judge but declined to comment on what happened last year, calling it “politics.”

Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearings: Updates and analysis on the Supreme Court nominee
epa05860192 Neil Gorsuch appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 20 March 2017. Gorsuch, who was nominated by US President Donald J. Trump on 31 January 2017, begins his confirmation hearing 401 days after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Senate Republicans refused to vote or hold confirmation hearings on former President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, resulting in the longest opening on the court since the 1860s. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
Gorsuch appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. (Michael Reynolds/EPA)

Judge Neil Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge from Colorado, is on Capitol Hill today for confirmations hearings for a seat on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch was nominated by President Trump to fill the seat left open by the death of Antonin Scalia and has broad support among Republicans.

It’s a chance for Senate Democrats to take a stand against the Trump administration, and express their anger that Republicans blocked a hearing for President Barack Obama’s selection for the seat, Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Monday is the beginning of four days of hearings. Follow along.