The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee denied a request from Democrats to hold a quick hearing on Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, before former President Trump’s impeachment trial.
Outgoing Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said in a letter to incoming Chairman Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, that a one-day hearing next Monday is not acceptable.
Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial is set to start on Tuesday.
“I agree completely that Judge Garland deserves a hearing — even a prompt one,” Mr. Graham wrote. “However … a one-day hearing as you are proposing the day before the impeachment trial of a former president is insufficient.”
Mr. Graham noted that the last five attorneys general nominees all received two-day hearings and called the request “highly unusual.”
“Although I am very inclined to support Judge Garland, I have many questions for him, including how he intends to handle ongoing investigations at the Department of Justice as well as the threats of extremism on the far-left and the far-right,” Mr. Graham wrote.
In a letter Monday, Mr. Durbin told the former chairman that “there is simply no justification for delaying Judge Garland’s hearing any further.”
Mr. Durbin said the recent deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 — when a mob of violent pro-Trump supporters stormed the building as members of Congress affirmed Mr. Biden’s election victory — “made even clearer the need to quickly process Judge Garland’s nomination.”
While Mr. Durbin will soon lead the committee, he hasn’t officially taken over as chairman because a power-sharing agreement in the Senate, which is split evenly between both parties, has not been finalized.
Judge Garland, who currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, was nominated last month to serve as attorney general.
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