- The Washington Times - Monday, January 9, 2017

Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, predicted Monday that Democrats are going to overplay their hand if they adopt an obstructionist position on Mr. Trump’s nominees for top administration slots.

“I think the Democrats will overplay their hand here, and they will be blamed,” Ms. Conway said on “Fox & Friends.”

There are a handful of Senate hearings scheduled this week for top administration slots, including attorney general and secretary of state.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer released a letter from the Office of Government Ethics over the weekend that said the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who hadn’t completed the ethics review process is “of great concern.”

“There’s no scandal here. It’s basically just a process that takes a great deal of time,” Ms. Conway said.

“The Democrats have demanded financial information and tax returns from these Cabinet nominees and agency designees,” she said. “That is not in the normal course.”

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“They want to play a bunch of political peeping toms into the tax records of people,” she said.

Sen. Jeff Sessions and Rex Tillerson, Mr. Trump’s nominees for attorney general and secretary of state, respectively, figure to face tough questioning from Democrats.

“What concerns me … is that it looks like the Democrats are going to go full-on with obstruction and trying to embarrass some of these nominees,” Ms. Conway said.

“And people should be reminded: What is the purpose of these confirmation hearings? Is it to play got you? Is it to give that swift sound bite?” she said. “It’s politics. But we need them confirmed.”

“Rex Tillerson is absolutely brilliant. I had occasion to work with him,” she said. “And he will do very well, as will Senator Sessions.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley, Oregon Democrat, said Monday that hearings should be postponed until all the information can be provided.

Mr. Merkley also acknowledged, however, that Republicans control the process as the majority party and there’s little Democrats can do about the hearing schedule.

“But if there’s an effort to push those hearings through and move these votes to the floor … we can exercise our ability to use the rules on the floor,” Mr. Merkley said on CNN’s “New Day.”

“We can’t stop the nominees, but we can use up a fair amount of time in the process of vetting them on the floor of the Senate,” he said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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