According to sources familiar with the discussions, Schumer asked his Republican colleagues to delay Pompeo’s hearing for one day. “Democrats asked that the hearing be moved so that six hearings did not occur on one day,” says a senior Democratic senate aide. “That many cabinet hearings in a single day had only happened once in American history, and it was an unfair schedule to senators on both sides. Republicans accommodated that request.”
Among the reasons Schumer cited: Senator Dianne Feinstein, who had until this Congress been ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee and is currently ranking member on Senate Judiciary, complained that the schedule would prevent her from attending hearings for both Pompeo and Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions.
McConnell consulted Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, Intel committee member Tom Cotton, and the incoming Trump administration. Republicans agreed to delay Pompeo, whose team was happy to have an extra day to prepare. But the Republicans had a condition. If we agree to push back Pompeo’s hearing for a day, they told Schumer, you must agree to include him in the group of national security officials who will be confirmed by a voice vote on Inauguration Day, January 20. According to these sources, Schumer agreed, with alacrity, having secured the delay he’d sought.
But on January 19, one day before Trump’s inauguration, Ron Wyden said he’d seek to delay Pompeo’s confirmation when the Senate convened late Friday afternoon. That evening Cotton, who is close to Pompeo from their time together in the House of Representatives, began calling his colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee, including Wyden, seeking to avoid the delay. Some of the calls were cordial. Others were testy.