McConnell withdraws Trump judicial pick minutes before vote

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a surprise move, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has withdrawn one of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees just minutes before he was set for a confirmation vote.

McConnell announced Thursday on the Senate floor that he was pulling the nomination of Ryan Bounds. Trump had nominated the assistant U.S. attorney in Oregon to be a judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The withdrawal of the nomination is a blow to the White House. Judicial nominations are rarely pulled back at such a late stage in the process unless a nominee does not have the support to pass.

The two senators from Bounds’ home state, Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, had objected to the nomination and protested his confirmation in speeches on the Senate floor.

Bounds did not disclose to Oregon’s judicial selection committee that he had a history of writing inflammatory pieces on sexual assault, the rights of workers, people of the color and the LGBTQ community, Wyden and Merkley said.

Merkley brought blown-up images of some of Bounds’ college writings to the confirmation hearing and the two senators also read passages from the articles.

“I find much of what was written to be disgusting and baffling,” he said.

Bounds, a conservative who has served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Oregon since 2010, received his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in 1995 and his law degree from Yale Law School in 1999.

Bounds has maintained that he was only asked to provide the committee with material dating back to law school.

Although Bounds issued an apology in May for the “often highhanded and overheated tone” in his articles about campus politics, Wyden said it wasn’t sincere apology, but one made for the sake of saving his nomination.

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