Donald Trump isn’t president yet, but the schedule for his cabinet’s confirmation hearings was just released and January 11 is going to be a chaotic day on Capitol Hill. Nine days before Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, six key members of his cabinet will attend their confirmation hearings. On that very same day, the president-elect will hold his first official news conference in months.
Chuck Schumer, Senate minority leader and the most powerful Democrat in Congress, believes the scheduling is meant to distract the media and alleviate pressure on Trump’s cabinet nominations. Several congressmen are on other committees that will be holding multiple confirmation hearings simultaneously.
Real Clear Politics reports that Schumer was on the Senate floor on Thursday when he stated his concerns about the hectic Trump cabinet confirmation hearing schedule while also searching for a solution.
“That is mostly unprecedented in the modern era of cabinet considerations, happening only once in history,” Schumer said. “That’s not the standard.”
The last time there were six confirmation hearings on the same day was just two days before George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001.
Trump’s cabinet confirmation hearings schedule on Wednesday, January 11:
- Secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson’s hearing with the Foreign Relations Committee will take place at 9 a.m.
- Attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions’ first of two hearings will start at 9:30 a.m.
- CIA director nominee Rep. Mike Pompeo’s hearing with the Intelligence Committee will be at 10 a.m.
- Secretary of education nominee Betsy DeVos’ hearing with the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee will also be at 10 a.m.
- Secretary of transportation nominee Elaine Chao’s hearing with the Commerce Committee will be conducted at 10:15 a.m.
- Department of Homeland Security director nominee Gen. John Kelly’s hearing with Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will be the last one starting at 2 p.m.
Rex Tillerson’s hearing will probably be the most talked about confirmation hearing of the day. The media will have a lot on their plates for January 11 with Trump’s highly anticipated news conference which is just days after his intelligence briefing on the Russian hacks during the election. President Obama’s farewell address will also take place on the day before the hearings.
All eyes will be on Marco Rubio when Rex Tillerson appears before the Foreign Relations Committee. The Republicans hold a one-seat advantage on the committee and Rubio’s vote could make or break Tillerson’s desire of securing one of the most influential roles in Trump’s cabinet.
An anonymous source told the Washington Post that former vice president Dick Cheney recently met with Rubio lobbying the Florida senator to approve Tillerson’s nomination. Rubio, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham all serve on the same committee and have been vocal critics of Russia and publicly stated in the past that they’re uncomfortable with Tillerson’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his tenure as Exxon Mobil CEO.
Being a “friend of Vladimir” is not an attribute I am hoping for from a #SecretaryOfState – MR
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 11, 2016
On Wednesday, reporters asked McCain if there’s a scenario that they can expect where the Arizona senator will throw his support behind Tillerson to serve in Trump’s cabinet.
“Sure,” McCain said. “There’s also a realistic scenario that pigs fly.”
Politico reports Graham appeared on Fox News recently and said that Tillerson will only get his support if Trump’s nominee for secretary of state chooses to endorse more sanctions against Russia after hacking the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman during the election.
“I want you to come forward and say whether or not you believe they interfered in our elections, they’re interfering in other democracies. If you say they are not, I will be troubled by your judgment,” Graham said. “Do you support new sanctions? And if he doesn’t, it would be very hard for me to vote for him because you’re giving a green light for this behavior.”
If three Republicans vote against Tillerson, barring him from serving in Trump’s cabinet, the president-elect will be forced to scramble for a replacement just days before moving into the White House without the party’s leaders unified behind him. This scenario will no doubt inspire some very angry Trump tweets.
[Featured Image by Alexei Druzhinin/AP Images]