Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar said the fate of Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court depends on how he answers the Senate's questions about his judicial record.
"Everything depends on how he answers the questions when we look at his record," the Minnesota senator said of President Trump's nominee in an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that aired Sunday.
Stephanopoulos pressed the senator on the fact that some Democrats, such as President Obama's acting solicitor general, Neil Katyal, have come out in support of Gorsuch. Katyal wrote that Gorsuch is "an extraordinary judge and man" who should be at the top of the Senate's list for the Supreme Court.
Klobuchar said, "We have a solemn obligation here, George, to look at this judge's record, how his decisions have differed from precedent in the past."
"I care a lot about campaign finance, and he made a decision, or he concurred in a decision, put out his own opinion, that went even farther than the other judges in terms of what it could do to campaign finance laws," the Minnesota senator said, adding that as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, "I think it is very important that we hear [Gorsuch] out, that we listen to his views."
Asked by Stephanopoulos about the possibility that the Senate's Republican leadership could change the rules to allow Gorsuch to be confirmed on a bare 51-vote majority, Klobuchar said the higher vote threshold is important to ensure Supreme Court nominees win confirmation by appealing to senators of both parties and representing mainstream views.
"This has a 60-vote threshold, and we have put in this place over the years so that you can get mainstream discussion, mainstream candidates that can get both Democrat and Republican votes," she said. "It has been a longstanding precedent."
Stephanopoulos also asked Klobuchar about Trump's comparing the U.S. to Russia under Putin. When the president told Fox News interviewer Bill O'Reilly that he respects Putin, O'Reilly said, "Putin is a killer." Trump replied, "A lot of killers. We got a lot of killers. What, you think our country's so innocent?"
"I really do resent that he would say something like that," Klobuchar said. "I don’t think there's any comparison."
“You cannot compare any leaders in our country to what Vladimir Putin has done,” the senator said. “This is a man and a regime that has taken down a passenger plane in Ukraine, killing hundreds of people. This is a regime that has been known to poison human rights activists … This is a regime that, we believe -- 17 intelligence agencies in our own country have said -- has tried to influence our own election.”
The Democratic senator noted that she recently went with GOP senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham to Ukraine and the Baltics where she said she “saw firsthand what they're facing every day there.”
“We would like to see support from the administration for the expanded sanctions bill [against Russia] as well as the independent commission to be able to look what these cyberattacks were” by Russia on the U.S., she said.
“Not just on our election, by the way,” Klobuchar added. “This isn't just about one candidate, one party, one country. [Russia has] engaged in these attacks all over the world.”