This week, members of the Congressional Black Caucus are expected to speak out against the nomination of Jeff Session as President-elect Donald Trump’s attorney general.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, requested of the chairman, Chuck Grassley, that CBC members such as Cory Booker and John Lewis be allowed to testify. While Grassley did agree to the request, he stipulated that the Democrats should not be allowed to speak until after a group of outside witnesses, angering many Democrats as he broke with the norm that lawmakers testify before non-lawmakers.
“I was pleased when Chairman Grassley agreed to make this possible, however I regret that they will have to wait until after a nine-member panel speaks,” Feinstein wrote in a statement to Politico. “Asking three members of Congress to sit and wait until the end of the hearing to testify — likely at the same time the Senate will be holding important budget votes — is deeply unfair.”
“These members offer a very important perspective and they deserve to be heard,” she added.
Grassley spokeswoman Beth Levine, however, called the demand or the CBC members to testify before non-lawmakers “unacceptable.”
“A members-only panel that could have preceded even Sen. Sessions, simply to satisfy an ideological perspective, was unacceptable to Sen. Grassley,” Levine said. “Instead, a third panel, with both supporters and opponents, has been added to the hearing following the panel of citizens on Wednesday afternoon.”