Grassley weighs-in on contention in Senate following vote to sil - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Grassley weighs-in on contention in Senate following vote to silence Warren

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(KWWL) -

Senate Republicans voted on Tuesday to silence Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren by invoking Senate Rule 19. Senator Chuck Grassley commends the Senates vote, saying motives shouldn't be questioned. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) censored the Massachusetts legislator for "impugning the motives and conduct" of Sen. Jeff Sessions by reading a letter from the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr. that criticized Sessions' civil rights record.

The unusual move came during a debate on Trump's nominee for attorney general and drew renewed attention to Sessions, who is expected to be confirmed later on Wednesday.

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren says she was silenced for speaking out against Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions.

Warren was reading a 1986 letter written about Sessions by Coretta Scott King, the widow of Doctor Martin Luther King Junior. The letter criticized Jeff Sessions' actions as a federal prosecutor, at the time he was being considered for a federal judgeship.

"Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens," read Warren from King's letter. 

Republicans argued Senator Warren violated Senate rule 19 by demeaning a sitting senator. 

"You stated that a senator is a disgrace to the Department of Justice."

The senate voted down party lines to reprimand Warren, silencing her for the rest of the sessions debate.

Senator Chuck Grassley says the Senate is meant to function in a civil way and have respect for one another. 

"And you can't impune the integrity and question the motives of a fellow senator," said Senator Grassley. "We should not be questioning motives. We can question policy differences. We can disagree strongly. We can yell and complain to each other, but we can't question peoples motives and that's what was being done."

University of Northern Iowa political science department head Donna Hoffman says the senate majority wanted to make a point.

"It has not been any one thing that has done this," said Hoffman. "But a lot of little things that have accumulated up to this point, and this is another thing that is eroding the way the senate typically functions. And so we'll see what happens of retaliation, of rulings, that kind of thing."

Senator Warren continues to stand by that letter, saying Coretta Scott King states the fact, and that she hopes everyone will read the letter. 

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