Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., took to the Senate floor this evening to back colleague Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, who was stopped from reading a letter in the Senate from civil rights icon Coretta Scott King about Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Attorney General.
Warren was silenced after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked an obscure Senate rule that bars senators from criticizing via "imputing to another senator…any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming of a senator."
"What I don’t understand is that we have fairly significant responsibilities under the Constitution to provide advice and consent, and it appears that the ruling from the chair has just said that when a member of this body is the subject of advice and consent, then derogatory information about that person is not in order and is a violation (of Senate rules)," said Whitehouse in a statement.
"Are we simply supposed to blind ourselves to derogatory information?," said Whitehouse. "Discuss it privately in the cloakrooms? Not bring it out on the floor of the United States Senate, this supposedly great debating society that has a constitutional responsibility to discuss both the advantages and the deficits of a particular nominee."