The Senate Judiciary Committee canceled Thursday's vote on more than 20 federal judge nominations Wednesday after Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) reiterated that he won't vote for any judges until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) holds a vote on legislation to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The committee has an 11-10 Republican majority, which is not enough to push through nominees without the backing of Flake. When Attorney General Jeff Sessions was ousted earlier this month and replaced with Matt Whitaker, a critic of the Russia investigation, Flake said he would fight for a bill to cover Mueller, and Flake and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) have since requested multiple times a full Senate vote on legislation that would prevent the executive branch from "inappropriately interfering" with any independent investigation.
McConnell refuses to hold a vote on the Senate floor, saying President Trump won't do anything to end the Mueller investigation and the bill is a "solution in search of a problem." On Wednesday, Flake said the findings of the Mueller probe "are too important for our national security and well-being of democratic institutions to be halted or watered down. Mr. Mueller must be able to preserve the work he has done by completing this very thorough investigation and for his findings to be made public."
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