Lindsey Graham turns down Garland confirmation hearing on Feb. 8

'A one-day hearing ... before the impeachment trial of a former president is insufficient,' he wrote to Sen. Dick Durbin.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham rejected scheduling a confirmation hearing for U.S. attorney general nominee Merrick Garland, who was chosen by President Joe Biden to lead the Justice Department.

The date sought for the Garland confirmation hearing is Monday, Feb. 8, which is one day before the scheduled impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump begins.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham questions Antony Blinken during Blinken’s Jan. 19 confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (Photo by Alex Edelman-Pool/Getty Images)

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois will be the new head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, replacing Graham, once the Senate finalizes an organizing resolution that will determine the heads of committees. Until it is completed, the Republicans — who were previously the majority — still hold their positions from the previous Congress.

In a letter to Durbin, Graham, the South Carolina Republican, wrote: “The Senate is about to conduct its first-ever impeachment trial of a former president and only its fourth trial of a president, incumbent or not. Under the procedure the Senate has adopted, Donald Trump’s trial is set to start on February 9. But you want us to rush through Judge Garland’s hearing on February 8.”

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“A one-day hearing as you are proposing the day before the impeachment trial of a former president is insufficient,” Graham contended. “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.”

Durbin indicated in his earlier letter to Graham requesting Feb. 8 as the day to start Garland’s confirmation hearing that Democrats have encountered “obstacles that needlessly delay” the confirmation, which he calls a matter of national security. He also wrote he was “prepared to take other steps to expedite the Senate’s consideration of Judge Garland’s nomination should his hearing not go forward on February 8,” even without Republican support.

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Garland was famously denied a confirmation hearing by the Republican-controlled Senate in 2016 when then-President Barack Obama nominated him for the Supreme Court.

Graham wrote “the reason we can’t give Judge Garland two days next week is, of course, that Senate Democrats voted to proceed with former President Trump’s impeachment trial on February 9.”

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