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Clinton Joins Opposition To Mukasey

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday joined a growing list of Democrats opposing Michael Mukasey’s nomination to be attorney general, potentially jeopardizing the key administration appointment.

“I am deeply troubled by Judge Mukasey’s continued unwillingness to clearly state his views on torture and unchecked executive power,” Clinton said in a statement.

Mukasey raised the ire of senators earlier this month when he repeatedly dodged questions about whether the practice of “waterboarding” was torture. He acknowledged that torture was unconstitutional but added that he had not been briefed on the interrogation techniques used by U.S. intelligence agencies and thus could not comment in detail on them.

The growing concern about Mukasey could mean trouble for his nomination, especially if his written answers to pending committee questions still rankle some members.

A senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity, said: “If we had a vote in the committee right now, he wouldn’t make it through.” 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that Democrats were waiting to schedule a vote on Mukasey’s nomination until he had answered their written questions, expressing frustration that Mukasey had yet to respond to the waterboarding query.

“He can’t answer that?” Reid asked. The right answer, Reid added, would be this: “After this review, I’m convinced waterboarding is torture.”