Sen. Lindsey Graham, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent his successor, Sen. Dick Durbin, a letter that seemed to accuse the Illinois Democrat of political gamesmanship over his hearing request for Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s pick to be attorney general.
Durbin requested that Graham holds a Feb. 8 hearing that would allow a day’s worth of testimony before the Senate shift focus to former President Trump’s impeachment trial. Graham referred to the trial as an “unprecedented act of political theater.”
Graham wrote that Garland deserves a prompt hearing and went as far as to say that he is “inclined to support” him for the post. But he said a one-day hearing is insufficient and pointed to how the last five nominees have had two days of hearings and said it isn’t clear why Garland’s “extensive record deserves any less.”
“Democrats do not get to score political points in an unprecedented act of political theater on one hand while also trying to claim the mantle of good government on the other,” Graham wrote.
Politico reported that Durbin sent Graham a letter about having the hearing prior to the impeachment trial. The report said Republicans still control some committees due to the fact that an organizing resolution has yet to be completed by the Senate that is split 50-50. Durbin insisted in his letter that the lack of a confirmed attorney general is a safety concern for the country.
“There is simply no justification to object to a Feb. 8 hearing,” Durbin wrote.
Garland is expect to field questions related to the president’s son, Hunter Biden and the riot at the Capitol. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told “Fox News Sunday” in December that the president would not discuss any investigation of his son with his nominee.
Garland is an experienced judge who held senior positions at the Justice Department decades ago, including as a supervisor of the prosecution of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Senate Republicans refused to hold hearings when a Supreme Court vacancy arose in 2016.
Graham, in a tweet, pointed to former President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court after the death last year of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and said, “Justice Barrett wasn’t given a free pass on a routine 4-day hearing during her Supreme Court confirmation, and Judge Garland shouldn’t get one either on his nomination for Attorney General.”
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and the Associated Press contributed to this report