The vote that mattered in confirming Loretta Lynch to become the next Attorney General was not her actual confirmation vote, but the cloture vote that set that up, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on Friday. Cruz said:
Yesterday I gave an impassioned floor speech calling on Senators to stop this confirmation. The place to stop it was the cloture vote. Cloture requires 60 votes. Republicans have a majority. We have 54 Republican senators. Had Republicans simply stood together, Ms. Lynch would not be attorney general today. But unfortunately Republican leadership decided that it was not worth fighting to defend the rule of law. Loretta Lynch is attorney general today because Republican leadership decided they wanted her to be attorney general. And I said on the Senate floor yesterday there are a great many people across this country wondering why exactly did we have an election when we fought so hard in 2014, when a Republican Senate confirms the exact Attorney General Harry Reid’s Democratic senate would confirm?
While 10 Republican senators voted for Lynch’s final confirmation, it was the cloture vote—which had a 60-vote threshold—where Senate GOP leadership could have stopped Lynch if they wanted to. A whopping 66 senators voted for cloture, which means 20 Republicans technically voted for Lynch’s nomination—and by extension, for President Obama’s executive amnesty in doing so. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell personally whipped votes for Lynch’s nomination, and for the cloture vote, according to a report from The Hill‘s Alex Bolton.
Those Republicans who voted for cloture alongside all 46 Democrats are: Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Rob Portman (R-OH), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Thune (R-SD) and Thom Tillis (R-NC).
Cruz said those Republicans responsible for confirming Lynch and all the Democrats violated their oaths of office, since Lynch has guaranteed that she will uphold President Obama’s lawlessness, including especially his executive amnesty. Cruz said:
For several months, I have been leading the fight to stop the confirmation of Loretta Lynch—and the reason is simple: Ms. Lynch came before the Senate Judiciary Committee and refused to articulate any constitutional limits whatsoever on the authority of the president. When asked how she would differ from Eric Holder, the most partisan attorney general this nation has ever seen, she refused to state even a single difference. I had wanted to support Ms. Lynch’s confirmation precisely because Eric Holder has so undermined the Department of Justice, and like many others I was eager to see a new attorney general sworn in. But the answers Ms. Lynch gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee over an extended period of questions refused to acknowledge any limits on the president’s power, and she made clear that she intended to be a rubber stamp for unlimited executive power in the hands of President Obama. In my view, no senator—Democrat or Republican—could vote to confirm Ms. Lynch consistent with his or her oath of office. Some say, confirming Loretta Lynch means Eric Holder is no longer Attorney General. But there is a difference. Eric Holder began disregarding the law and abusing his office after he was confirmed. Ms. Lynch looked senators in the eye and told us she intends to disregard the law. For senators to vote to confirm an attorney general in that circumstance means they are complicit in the lawlessness.
Cruz was not present for the final vote—meaning he didn’t cast a vote on final confirmation—and he told Breitbart News that’s because cloture is where it could have been stopped. He went on to say:
I would note that some of the press had a field day that I was not physically present for the final confirmation vote. For two months I led the fight to stop her confirmation. I voted against confirmation in the Senate and repeatedly questioned Ms. Lynch. I urged my colleagues in writing, in public, in private and on the national stage not to confirm Ms. Lynch. I flew back to Washington to cast the vote that mattered, the cloture vote, yesterday morning. That was the 60-vote threshold that could have stopped Ms. Lynch and I was there to cast that vote and I spoke on the Senate floor urging my colleagues to vote no. Once Republicans had invoked cloture, her confirmation was a done deal. The final vote was a 50-vote threshold and there were ample votes to confirm her. I had a scheduling conflict that did not enable me to be there for what was in the end a meaningless vote because leadership had already decided to give President Obama and Harry Reid what they wanted. So while I was not physically present, under Senate rules being absent is the same thing as a no vote.
When Breitbart News noted that his not voting on final confirmation bolsters his argument that the real vote was cloture, he added that “that’s exactly right.”
“The fight to defeat this nomination was on cloture, and Republican leadership did not want to fight that fight,” Cruz said.