Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is leaving, but not quietly. The immensely unpopular Republicanhas decided to totally trashhis party’s judicial agenda. Flake is the key 11thvote on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he’s not budging until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a binding vote on a billprotecting Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Department of Justice’s Russia investigation. It’s frustrating. It’s deplorable. And it just comes to show you why Flake would never have won re-election if he decided to execute a suicidal banzai charge concerning that effort. He would have been knocked off in a primary, but I digress. The Senate Judiciary Committee has pushed back votes on judges. In all, he’s holding up the advancement of 21 judicial nominations, along with the confirmation of an additional 32 nominees whose votes are now stalled on the floor (via CNN):
Grassley postpones judiciary committee meeting AGAIN. Flake still holding out until he gets special counsel vote on the floor. McConnell has b locked it.— Alana Abramson (@aabramson) December 5, 2018
Sen. Jeff Flake's vow to block judicial nominees is significantly disrupting the Senate Judiciary Committee's plans to advance more of President Donald Trump's picks for the lower courts.
The committee's chairman, Chuck Grassley, plans to scrap a Thursday meeting if Flake doesn't back off his threat to vote against all pending nominees until he gets a floor vote on a bill to protect special counsels like Robert Mueller from political interference, according to a Grassley aide. This would be the second meeting in consecutive weeks the committee has scrapped, delaying 22 nominees from floor consideration by the end of the year.
Flake is not going to budge, so it would appear the judicial agenda for this Congress is over. Flake torpedoed it over something that is anathema to the GOP base. He’s a thorn in the side, a perpetual pain in the a** who will reap nothing with this ridiculous stunt. If he thinks sinking conservative judges will garner him gold stars in his potential bid for the presidency—yes, he seems to be mulling a run—this is a massive Never Trump miscalculation. This move should motivate people to hurl beer bottles at Flake. McConnell went deeper into why Flake’s course of action is straight idiocy (via Newsweek):
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took aim at outgoing GOP Senator Jeff Flake Tuesday night, calling Flake’s attempt to block judicial nominees until a vote is held on a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller a "futile gesture."
“I’m perplexed, frankly, by his pushing for the Mueller protection bill,” McConnell said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council event Tuesday evening in Washington, D.C.
McConnell believed the measure to protect Mueller, a bipartisan bill that would curb Trump’s ability to interfere with Mueller's investigation or to fire the special counsel, is “blatantly unconstitutional.”
McConnell added that the House “would never pass it” and the president “would never sign it.”
"It strikes me as, what I would call, a futile gesture, and we’re hoping that [Flake] will change his view on that," McConnell said. "I believe we could confirm the judges that are already out on the floor."
Flake is quickly becoming one of the biggest cancers to the GOP. He cannot leave soon enough.