Donald Trump's team has a message for Senate Democrats threatening to slow-walk their nominees: Give the president-elect's Cabinet picks the same treatment extended to President Obama's. Top transition officials, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are citing a potential double standard as some Democratic lawmakers seek a delay in advance of a packed schedule of confirmation hearings. Eight years ago, the Senate confirmed seven Cabinet-level nominees the day of Obama's inauguration, including top picks like Janet Napolitano for Homeland Security secretary. Hillary Clinton was confirmed as secretary of state the following day. Trump allies are optimistic Trump will get a comparable number confirmed from the outset, but are warning Democrats they'll suffer politically if they throw the brakes on the process.
HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: For more on the confirmation process, I'm joined from Washington by NewsHour political director, Lisa Desjardins. Lisa, why is this back and forth happening this time? I mean, is the order traditionally different in how this process moves forward? There are some things happening this time around that have not happened before. Let's start with the logistics.
President-elect Donald Trump delivered brief remarks to reporters at the Mar-a-lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida in December. The independent Office of Government Ethics is expressing "great concern" that several of President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet nominees have not yet completed the required ethics review process or even filed any financial information but face confirmation hearings in the next week. The concerns came in a Friday letter from Walter Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics, who was responding to questions from top Democrats in the Senate. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer released the letter Saturday. "The announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me," Shaub wrote.
So, Tam, we just heard from Kellyanne Conway. What do you expect from these confirmation hearings? TAMARA KEITH, NPR: They certainly will be interesting, but they will all be happening at the same time, so we will have to have split-screens to pay attention to everything. And add on that screen Donald Trump having a press conference on Wednesday on the same day that there are five confirmation hearings. It's going to be information overload.
JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump has named his Supreme Court nominee, and now the battle begins for his confirmation. Senators form both political parties began lining up today, and Mr. Trump warned Democrats not to filibuster. LISA DESJARDINS: The president was out early today, touting the man he wants on the high court, Neil Gorsuch. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: He is just a spectacular man. I think he will be a spectacular -- you tell me, how would they go about opposing him?