8 GOP Senators Say They’ll Slow Senate Even Further Because Of Trump Verdict

Donald Trump’s “guilty” verdict on 34 counts of falsifying business records in his hush money trial could make it harder for the Senate to get much work done in the next few months — at least, if a group of pro-Trump senators has their way.

Eight Republican senators said Friday they would try to slow down the Senate’s business in response to the verdict.

Unlike the House, the Senate runs its day-to-day business under small, temporary agreements between the majority Democrats and minority Republicans. It’s a system that can be undermined sometimes by even one obstinate senator.

“The White House has made a mockery of the rule of law and fundamentally altered our politics in un-American ways. As a Senate Republican conference we are unwilling to aid and abet this White House in its project to tear this country apart,” said the eight senators in a letter.

Signatories included Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Specifically, the group promised three things: to not allow any increase in “non-security” funding or spending bills that fund “partisan lawfare”; to not vote for any of the White House’s political or judicial nominees; and to not allow faster consideration of Democratic legislative priorities “not directly relevant to the safety of the American people.”

“Those who turned our judicial system into a political cudgel must be held accountable,” Lee said in a social media post about the letter.

“We are no longer cooperating with any Democrat legislative priorities or nominations, and we invite all concerned Senators to join our stand.”

The signers all hail from the most right-wing part of the Republican Party in the Senate. Even prior to Trump’s verdict, they were not seen as particularly cooperative, so it’s unclear how much of an effect this declaration will have.

If the signers follow the letter’s provisions strictly, though, the Senate could take longer for even non-controversial nominees for low-profile posts in the Biden administration to be confirmed, for example.

The eight senators could raise objections to passing a stopgap spending bill when the government’s funding authority runs out on Sept. 30. While a short-term bill that would allow lawmakers to leave the Capitol and hit the campaign trail is almost certain to be passed by then, any bill that funds the Department of Justice may, to Lee’s group, count as “lawfare.” The group could force the Senate to spend more time on such a bill and scramble to avoid a shutdown.

But with the most important issues settled — funding through September, a reauthorization of aviation programs and renewed foreign spying authority — Congress faces few must-pass bills until Sept. 30.

One potential exception is the need to extend the compensation program for some victims of U.S. Cold War-era atomic bomb testing. Claims under the current law can only be accepted through June 10.