President Donald Trump assailed Senator Richard Blumenthal on Twitter after the Connecticut Democrat reported that Supreme Court justice nominee Neil Gorsuch was disheartened by the president's attacks on a judge.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday he has "serious, serious concerns" about President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee after their meeting, complaining that the federal judge "avoided answers like the plague". On Thursday Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of NY upped the ante by demanding that Gorsuch go public with his criticism of Trump: "To whisper to a senator but to refuse to say anything public is not close to good enough to show an independence", Schumer said. And then Sean Spicer insisted, in a tetchy exchange with the press, that Gorsuch's comments about attacks on the judicial branch had absolutely nothing to do with Trump's attacks on the judicial branch.
THE FACTS: Blumenthal, a Democrat from CT who falsely claimed in years past that he had served in Vietnam, offered an account of his meeting with Gorsuch that was corroborated by Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist serving as communications director for the team that is working to get Gorsuch confirmed by the Senate.
Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) confirmed that was also his impression from his own meeting with Gorsuch.
The Washington Post: "As President Trump's new Pentagon chief, Jim Mattis has a long list of tasks ahead, including devising a more aggressive campaign to combat the Islamic State and restoring military readiness after years of budget cuts".
"With the President's attacks on federal judges, senators from both parties will be more focused and more concerned about the ability of Neil Gorsuch and the Supreme Court to provide an independent check on executive branch activity", said Nan Aron, president of progressive judicial advocacy group Alliance for Justice.
Neil Gorsuch's nomination was announced by President Trump on January 31st, when Gorsuch was a sitting judge on the 10th circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Blumenthal said there were numerous White House staffers in the room when Gorsuch made the comments.
"He said very specifically that they were demoralizing and disheartening and he characterized them very specifically that way", Blumenthal said of Gorsuch.
Senators deluged with calls on Betsy DeVos' nomination
Do a quick search for other Republican senators' names along with " DeVos " and "on the fence", and you'll find similar results. Senators Bob Casey (Pennsylvania) and Brian Schatz (Hawaii) both confirmed that they were scheduled to speak tonight.
Gorsuch has not made any public comment on the matter. But now the President has said that Mr Gorsuch never actually said that and that the senator is liar.
I don't think anyone questions Judge Gorsuch's qualifications.
Malloy said the president has the wrong approach with social media.
Schumer's questions to Gorsuch followed Trump's directive to temporarily ban people from seven Muslim-majority countries and any refugees from entering the United States.
On Saturday, Trump called Robart a "so-called judge" whose "ridiculous" ruling "essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country".
Democrats have called Mr Trump's Twitter comments about the justice system an attack on a core principle of American democracy that the judiciary is independent and upholds the rule of law.
Because Gorsuch's comments could grow support for his nomination, some Democrats - including a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee - are now saying Gorsuch's words were "meaningless" and a "ruse" crafted by the White House.
"It needs to be a strong condemnation and that kind of public condemnation is important to establish his independence", Mr Blumenthal said.