Attorney General Jeff Sessions has not even stepped aside, and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is already warning President Donald Trump against attempting a recess appointment of a replacement in August.
On the floor Tuesday, the New York Democrat said that members of his caucus were prepared to use every means available to prevent a recess appointment to replace Sessions during the break. That likely means the Senate will technically be in session throughout the month, even after the chamber’s scheduled already-extended time in Washington, D.C.
“Here’s the danger. Many Americans must be wondering if the president is trying to pry open the office of attorney general to appoint someone during the August recess who will fire Special Counsel Mueller and shut down the Russian investigation,” Schumer said of former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, who is leading the probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. “Before this scheme gains wings, Democrats will never go along with the recess appointment if that situation arises. We have some tools in our toolbox to stymie such action. We’ll be ready to use every single one of them, any time, day or night,” Schumer continued.
Adjournment resolutions have a privileged status on the floor, but attempting to move one could further jam up other business as Democrats seek to retaliate. Senate Democrats could also try to filibuster an adjournment resolution by continuously offering amendments. Absent an agreement, the practice has been to hold pro-forma sessions with no business conducted once every three days.
Trump has an actually unprecedented option to overcome the efforts by Democrats to keep the Senate nominally in session during August, however. If the House and Senate disagree on the time of adjournment, the Constitution says that the president may, “adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper.”
That has never happened in American history. “I cannot imagine my friends on the Republican side, and particularly in the Republican leadership ... would be complicit in creating a constitutional crisis. They must work with us and not open the door to a constitutional crisis during the August recess,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.