US Politics

Cotton vows to block Biden nominees over classified documents flap

Cotton vows to block Biden nominees over classified documents flap


Cotton’s stance threatens to shut down an already slow-moving Senate. The chamber has taken just one roll-call vote since being sworn in on Jan. 3: confirming an assistant defense secretary on Monday. The chamber will take its second floor vote on Thursday to dub January National Stalking Awareness Month.

Otherwise, the chamber has been in a deep freeze, with no votes on Tuesday or Wednesday and continued haggling over committee assignments. If Cotton follows through on his objection, it will mean Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has to burn multiple days of valuable floor time to set up nominee votes.

Classified documents have recently been found at the homes of both Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence and promptly turned over to the National Archives. Additionally, Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago was searched by the FBI last summer after he refused the Archives’ attempts to recover troves of classified records. Cotton said the administration would need to provide Congress with all the material seized from Biden, Trump and Pence to satisfy the Arkansas senator.

“Congress has an absolute right to every single document or item or photo or box or picture or map that was at President Trump’s residence, President Biden’s residence and office, and for that matter, President Pence’s residence as well,” Cotton said. “I still have no clue what was in these documents. I’m not aware of any member of Congress that has any clue.”

With agreement from all 100 senators, nominees can move immediately, although many nominees must go through a more laborious process. Nominees can be confirmed with simple majority votes, though any senator can still filibuster a nominee to delay their confirmation.

“I’m sorry to see him try to find a way to obstruct the Senate. I’m hoping we can find a bipartisan way to get this done,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “The special counsel is investigating.”

The special counsel probes into Biden’s and Trump’s handling of classified documents could complicate congressional oversight efforts. Administrations have historically been reluctant to share information with Congress that’s relevant to ongoing investigations, an issue that flared up during the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

But senators noted that a precedent was established during the Russia investigation permitting lawmakers to receive preliminary briefings and the administration found ways…

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