Senate Democrats are now fighting back against President Trump’s nominee for Assistant Attorney General, pointing to his past work for a Russian bank as a cause for concern.
Several Democrats released statements on Tuesday pointing out the red flags involved in the nomination of Brian Benczkowski who is set to lead the Department of Justice’s criminal division. They referenced his utter lack of prosecutorial experience, as well as his connections to a Russian bank.
The New York Times first revealed last year that Benczkowski had informed lawmakers that he had previously represented Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s largest financial institutions. The owners of Alfa Bank have close ties to Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
Senator Dick Durbin blasted Benczkowski for his lack of experience in addition to his shady past, stating that he is the “wrong person” for the Assistant Attorney General job.
“Will Senate Republicans simply rubber stamp this nomination? The Benczkowski vote could mark a pivotal moment in the Russia investigation,” Durbin tweeted.
Will Senate Republicans simply rubber stamp this nomination? The Benczkowski vote could mark a pivotal moment in the Russia investigation. The warning signs are clear. Read my letter here: pic.twitter.com/I3FbK26ZMJ
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) July 10, 2018
Senator Dianne Feinstein also released her own statement stating that Benczkowski’s nomination “presents glaring conflicts of interest” in regards to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.
“Despite repeated requests from Judiciary Committee Democrats that he recuse himself from any matters involving the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign, Benczkowski has refused to commit,” she added.
Benczkowski refuses to recuse himself from the Russia investigation despite having worked for a Russian bank under investigation for ties to Trump. He also pushed for Comey’s firing to AG Sessions while serving on the Trump transition team. Those are clear conflicts of interest.
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) July 10, 2018
Senator Chris Coons called upon Trump to nominate more qualified individuals “without concerning Russia connections.”
“Every American should expect that the person nominated for this important position is qualified to meet the weighty demands of the job, and every American is entitled to the assurance that the Department of Justice is entirely independent and impartial. Mr. Benczkowski does not pass this test,” Coons said in a statement.
Brian Benczkowski is about to get a confirmation vote to run the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice in the Senate. Two things you should know about him are that he’s never tried a case and that he was a lawyer for Alfa Bank. So. Many. Coincidences.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) July 10, 2018
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