Posts tagged with "Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)"

No harm, no foul: Schumer asks Army to provide Vindman with same protections as whistleblower

October 31, 2019

Fearing that a crucial witness may now be in harm’s way, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) has asked the U.S. Army to provide Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman—who testified behind closed doors as part of the House impeachment inquiry on October 29—with the same protections against retaliation that a whistleblower would receive.

According to a report by The Hill, Schumer sent a letter on Wednesday to Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy and Chief of Staff of the Army General James McConville raising concerns that Vindman could face retaliation for his testimony from President Donald Trump, his political base, and GOP supporters on Capitol Hill.

“I … ask that you provide me with a briefing on what actions the Army is taking to ensure that LTC Vindman and whistleblowers like him are afforded appropriate protections— both from retaliation and for the personal safety of him and his family,” Schumer wrote.

The Senate Minority Leader added that he also wants the Army leaders to “issue public statements indicating your support for him and others in the U.S. Armed Forces who fulfill their duty to tell the truth when asked to do so.”

Vindman told the three committees that he had raised concerns more than once about Trump and other officials pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch politically motivated investigations that would benefit Trump, according to a copy of his opening remarks.

Trump and some of his allies attacked Vindman, questioning his credibility and patriotism and sparking bipartisan backlash on Capitol Hill.

Trump railed against Vindman on Tuesday, calling him a “Never Trumper witness.”

“Supposedly, according to the Corrupt Media, the Ukraine call ‘concerned’ today’s Never Trumper witness,” Trump tweeted. “Was he on the same call that I was? Can’t be possible! Please ask him to read the Transcript of the call. Witch Hunt!”

Schumer, in his letter on Wednesday, called the criticism “outrageous.”

“These attacks are outrageous and unacceptable, but more importantly, this vitriol toward LTC Vindman may result in professional reprisals and threats to his personal safety and that of his family,” he wrote.

“It is incumbent on the Army to ensure that he is afforded the same protections as whistleblowers and protected from reprisal for testifying before Congress.” 

Research contact: @thehill

Schumer to Trump: Order McConnell to hold vote on background check bill

August 6, 2019

It’s a vicious cycle in the United States: A mass murder, prayers and vigils, a demand for background checks on gun transactions, a mass murder ….

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) called on President Donald Trump on August 5 to tell Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to bring a stand-alone background check bill for gun sales up for a Senate vote—dismissing Trump’s suggestion of tying it to immigration reform, The Hill reported.

Just after noon on Monday, Schumer tweeted, “… McConnell has called himself the ‘grim reaper’ and refuses to act on this bipartisan legislation. It is incumbent upon the Senate to come back into session to pass the House-passed Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 immediately.”

Following two mass shootings over the past weekend—one in El Paso, Texas, and one in Dayton, Ohio, that killed a total of nearly 30 people and injured many more—Schumer tweeted, “Instead of flailing around blaming everything under the sun, if the president is serious about ‘strong background checks’ there’s one thing he can do: Demand Senator McConnell put the bipartisan, House-passed universal background checks bill up for a vote.”

Trump, himself, said on Monday that he wanted legislation providing “strong background checks,” including potentially linking it to long-stalled immigration reform.

However, it didn’t take long for the president to backtrack. By 12:21 p.m. on Monday, Schumer had tweeted, “It took less than three hours for President @realDonaldTrump to back off his call for stronger background check legislation. When he can’t talk about guns when he talks about gun violence, it shows the president remains prisoner to the gun lobby and the NRA.”

The Senate left for the five-week August recess on August 1 and are out of session until September 9. A spokesperson for Schumer did not respond immediately to a question from The Hill about if Democrats will try to clear a bill by unanimous consent during pro forma sessions this week. The request would likely be blocked by a GOP senator.

Senator Chris Murphy (Connecticut) echoed Schumer’s demand in a tweet on Monday morning—saying Trump asking McConnell to bring up a bill would ensure its passage.

“Background checks has already passed the House—w Republican votes. If Trump asked McConnell to support it, it would pass in a week. FYI – he won’t do that,” he tweeted.

Research contact: @thehill

Budgetary bluster: Trump threatens government shutdown, if Congress rejects $5B for wall

November 29, 2018

President Donald Trump is throwing his considerable weight around again: He is calling for no less than $5 billion in funding to build the border wall. He refuses to negotiate—and has gone on record saying that he is willing to instigate a partial government shutdown—as the clock ticks down to Congress’s December 7 deadline for the FY2019 budget bill.

What’s more, the president repeatedly has threatened to close the entire southern border, if he is not satisfied, tweeting on November 26, “…We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!”

The House and the Senate still have to pass seven spending bills to fund multiple government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the State Department, Vox reported on November 28. But Trump has renewed a push for border wall funding, throwing a major wrench into these negotiations. What’s more, the president has said, if he does not get the money, the Democrats are to blame.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) had previously been optimistic about closing the year with no drama, but a veto threat over wall funding could make that tougher to do. Because these are spending bills that require 60 votes to pass, Democrats have a fair amount of leverage.

And they don’t appear to be backing down easily, Vox said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) signaled Tuesday, the news outlet said, that he would support no more than the already allocated $1.6 billion for funding the wall in the Senate version of spending legislation.

They haven’t spent a penny of the $1.3 billion they requested in last year’s budget .… We’re not negotiating in the press,” Schumer told reporters.

According to the Vox report, Democrats also are standing firm over issues related to protecting the Mueller investigation and addressing the citizenship question on the 2020 Census questionnaire—matters they would much prefer to see tackled in the bill.

Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) has characterized wall funding as the “linchpin” of current talks, telling reporters the $5 billion figure is a “red line” for Trump.

If Congress is unable to reach an agreement that gets closer to this figure, Trump said that he could—and would—veto whatever bill comes across his desk.

Research contact: Li Zhouli@vox.com