News Of N.Y. Senior Senator's Decision Leaked During GOP Presidential Debate

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s a major blow for President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.

Chuck Schumer has finally come out against it, but the White House isn’t taking it lying down and may be behind an attempt to injure New York’s senior senator, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Friday.

Schumer’s decision to oppose Obama’s controversial deal with Iran is winning praise from Jewish groups.

“We welcome it. We think it is a very important statement. Senator Schumer is a leader in the Senate,” said Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

However, the decision infuriated the White House, which according to sources is not taking the defection lying down.

Sources told Kramer that Schumer had not planned to make his decision public until after he told Senate colleagues, but after he told the president, the White House leaked it to the media in the middle of the GOP presidential debate in an apparent attempt to limit coverage, Kramer reported.

The White House is also believed to be behind a donor strike against Schumer by the liberal group moveon.org.

“We could be starting down the path to a new war in the Middle East and New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer is to blame,” the group said in asking is members to withhold $10 million in donations from Schumer and other Democrats who oppose the deal.

After weeks of study Schumer said he found “serious weaknesses” in the deal, including:

* A 24-day delay in inspections

* The U.S. cannot demand an inspection without agreement of a majority of other commission members, like China and Russia

* Iran would still be able to fund state-sponsored terrorism

Schumer outlined his decision to vote against the deal in a statement posted on Medium.com late Thursday.

“I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy,” he said in the statement. “It is because I believe Iran will not change, and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power.”

If enough Democrats vote down the bill, then Congress could override a potential presidential veto, which would kill the agreement for good, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.

On Wednesday, Obama did not hold back in a speech on the deal at American University.

“Let’s not mince words,” he said. “The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and war.”

Schumer’s decision came as New York’s junior senator, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, said she will back the deal, though she called it “imperfect.” She may pay a political price.

“I think clearly many will remember this decision,” Hoenlein said.

A number of New York lawmakers have said they will oppose the deal, including Democratic Reps. Steve Israel, Kathleen Rice, Grace Meng and Eliot Engel. They join Republican Congressmen Lee Zeldin and Peter King in opposition, Kramer reported.