UPDATE: Senate committee postpones vote on Hagel confirmation

From Steve Clemons, who rightly calls out senators for asking Chuck Hagel for things they themselves can’t provide.

They also want financial information about donations received by and business done in the private and public firms Hagel was associated with but did not actually control.

Ted Cruz’s wife works for Goldman Sachs. Let’s turn this around a bit. Should Cruz’s wife, Heidi, eventually be nominated for something big time — or Senator Cruz himself have ambitions beyond his senate perch — will he be able to compel her to make Goldman Sachs, which has considerable equities involving the US national interest, disclose its business and relationships domestic and foreign? I certainly hope not. Wrong way to get at Goldman Sachs — and an inappropriate expectation from the eventually-nominated-to-something Ted or Heidi Cruz.

Goldman Sachs is a private firm. Chevron, for whom Hagel sits on a board of directors, is a private firm. The Atlantic Council, whose board Hagel is also on, is a nonprofit, private firm.

[…] Should Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin see merit in the requests made by Senators Cruz and others about matters that are proprietary to private firms and not in Hagel’s latitude to offer, then this is going to be a really fun slippery slope. ….


“Senator Levin had said the vote could happen “˜as early as Thursday,’ and that is still the case,” Levin spokesperson Tara Andringa said. – Josh Rogin

TWO REPORTS reveal the smallness of Hagel haters like Sens. James Inhoffe, Jeff Sessions and Lindsey Graham inside the Senate Armed Services Committee over the Chuck Hagel nomination for Secretary of Defense. Graham issued a statement yesterday actually asking President Obama to reconsider and withdraw his nomination of the decorated veteran and Purple Heart recipient. Now there’s some senatorial grandstanding by extremists on the Committee getting some attention, though it’s not at a tipping point yet.

More from Rogin:

According to Sessions and all three aides, the female staffer told the committee she had been sexually harassed by a senior male staffer while working in Hagel’s office in 2007. One aide said the alleged harassment included “inappropriate statements and conduct.”

Neither the accuser nor the accused responded to requests for comment, but The Cable spoke with Lou Ann Linehan, Hagel’s chief of staff at the time of the alleged incident.

“I remember handling it, I thought it was handled. I did not bring it to the senator. I would not have taken it to the senator unless it required a termination and that wasn’t the case,” she said. “The term sexual harassment shocks me a little bit. I wouldn’t have put up with anything that was actually sexual harassment. I had a very low tolerance for it. I don’t put up with that stuff. Hagel didn’t tolerate it, I didn’t tolerate it.”

I smell a right-wing rat.

Sexual harassment is obviously a very serious allegation. But considering former Senator Hagel was not even brought the incident for action, it’s hard to take seriously any concern right-wing Republicans are raising over sexual harassment when these are the same people who won’t even support the non-controversial Lily Ledbetter Act.

Democrats have a 14 to 12 edge in the Committee, with a vote likely to happen tomorrow, according to reports. As for when his nomination gets to the Senate, there are 55 Democrats in favor, with Republicans not willing to attempt a filibuster, meaning confirming Hagel could be near.

From CNN this morning, which confirms this fact:

CNN has learned there are now at least five Republican senators who would oppose a filibuster of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, all but ensuring the embattled nominee will be confirmed in the coming days. – Hagel approval all but certain

Josh Rogin over at Foreign Policy late yesterday had a much less rosier assessment, which is putting wind beneath a few wingnut wings.

Two senior GOP members of the Senate Armed Services Committee told The Cable Tuesday that they won’t consent to a committee vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be secretary of defense until the former Nebraska senator discloses all of his recent paid speeches and until an allegation of misconduct in his Senate office is fully investigated.GOP senators call for delay in Hagel committee vote

Rogin’s report is a wee bit dangerous, because Republicans are looking for any excuse to stop Hagel’s nomination. We’ll see if they can get a swarm going, which right now is not building quickly enough to make a difference.