Schumer to ‘conspiracy caucus’ GOP: Stop probe into origins of Russia investigation

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Senate Republicans on Friday to cancel a hearing next week on the origins of the 2016 Russia investigation and instead focus on the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter sent to the Democratic caucus ahead of the upcoming five-week session that starts Monday, Schumer decried Republicans as the “conspiracy caucus” and accused the GOP of “turning the institutions of the Senate into an extension of the President’s re-election campaign.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing with former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein next week on the FBI’s probe into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. The panel will also hold a vote on subpoenas of former Obama administration officials connected with the probe.

Schumer’s letter also outlined Democratic priorities for the coming weeks, including negotiating on the next coronavirus relief package and extending the Paycheck Protection Program. The House this week passed legislation to reform the Paycheck Protection Program to allow businesses more flexibility for how they can use the government-backed loans.

“The Senate should quickly take up and pass the House bill,” the New York Democrat wrote. “Senate Democrats will seek the chamber’s consent to pass this urgently needed small-business extension next week.”

But Senate Republicans are already signaling they’re not going to accept the House bill. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla), chair of the Senate Small Business Committee, said the legislation had "inadvertent technical errors.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said this week that “in the next month or so we’ll be talking about possibly another bill.” McConnell has made it clear that any next phase of coronavirus relief will need to include liability reform.

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