Senate Republicans are warning their Democratic counterparts not to pull a Brett Kavanaugh during confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee and engage in what they call a ‘character assassination.’
Confirmation hearings for William Barr begin Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally who led a passioned defense of Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing, is the new chairman of the committee.
Republican Senators are warning their GOP colleagues not to treat attorney general nominee William Barr (above) as they did Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing
Sen. Lindsey Graham (right) is the new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which begins Barr’s (left) confirmation hearing on Tuesday
Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court became contentious after he was accused of sexual assault, which he denied
‘I’m going to let it be up to [Democrats]. You pick these fights at your own peril. [Barr will] be challenged for sure. Hopefully respectfully,’ Graham told Politico.
Another senator warned Democrats not to hold a ‘Kavanaugh 2.0’ hearing.
‘I guess the question we all have is, ‘Is this going to be Kavanaugh 2.0?’ Where it’s really not about the search for the truth, it’s more about character assassination,’ said Republican Sen. John Cornyn. ‘So I can hope for the best, but we’ll have to wait and see.’
The Kavanaugh hearing became must-see TV after Christine Blasey Ford charged him with sexually assaulting her in high school. Kavanaugh denied the allegations.
The hearing became contentious as Kavanaugh fought back against the allegations, including getting into snapping matches with Democratic senators.
Some Republicans, like Graham, nearly shouted their defense of the nominee.
And protestors filled the room and the outside area, several of whom confronted senators with their own stories of sexual assault.
There have been no such allegations against Barr.
However, the dynamics of the committee will be influenced by the new chair and by the fact there are three Democrats on it considering 2020 presidential bids: Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.
‘I hope that Lindsey Graham can be the Lindsey Graham that I worked on immigration reform with. And not the Lindsey Graham who yelled during the Kavanaugh hearing,’ Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono told the news website.
Barr can be confirmed without Democratic votes given the Republican majority in the Senate. A simple majority can confirm a member of the Cabinet.
Additionally, the GOP has a two-seat majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee and Jeff Flake, a swing vote who got the Kavanaugh vote delayed a week by asking for an additional investigation, has retired.
But Democrats’ can make their presence felt in the questioning.
‘Hopefully he won’t go after the senators in any manner,’ said Klobuchar of Barr. She was asked by Kavanaugh if she had a drinking problem during her questioning of him.
And Booker testified against Jeff Sessions’ nomination to be attorney general. The New Jersey senator got national attention – and some mockery from the GOP – with his ‘I am Spartacus’ moment in the Kavanaugh hearings, when he vowed to risk expulsion from the Senate in order to release documents about Kavanaugh’s time in the White House under President George W. Bush. Turns out those documents were already public.
Democrats plan to ask Barr about his criticism of special counsel Robert Mueller’s (above) Russia investigation
Expect Democrats to ask Barr about his criticism of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which he would supervise if confirmed.
Barr will say in his opening remarks that Mueller should be allowed to continue his work.
‘I believe it is in the best interest of everyone – the president, Congress, and most importantly, the American people – that this matter be resolved by allowing the special counsel to complete his work,’ according to his released remarks.
‘I will not permit partisan politics, personal interests or any other improper consideration to interfere with this or any other investigation,’ Barr will say. ‘I will follow the Special Counsel regulations scrupulously and in good faith, and on my watch, Bob will be allowed to complete his work.’
In June 2018, Barr wrote a 20-page memo to Justice Department leaders criticizing aspects of Mueller’s inquiry, particularly Mueller’s theory of potential obstruction of justice by the president.