Lindsey Graham Poised to Take Senate Judiciary Gavel

Lead Flake Panel Live Jake Tapper_00005829

Senator Lindsey Graham, a fierce defender of President Donald Trump, is seeking to lead the Judiciary Committee next year, where he could deliver on his threats to investigate the Justice Department's handling of probes on Hillary Clinton and Russian election-meddling.

The spot opened after Orrin Hatch, a long-time Republican senator from Utah, retired this year.

The Committee on Finance is one of the original committees established in the Senate and was first created on December 11, 1815.

Based on seniority, Graham is poised to be named chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Flake said in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday. To do that, he'll have to give up the gavel of the Judiciary Committee, which he has held since 2015. He previously served as ranking member for the four years before becoming chairman.

He has previously served as chairman of the committee from January-June 2001 and from January 2003-January 2007.

During his tenure on the committee, 18 nominees to the Supreme Court were submitted to the Senate, and 15 of those nominees served or are now serving on the bench.

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Grassley will leave a significant legacy, as the committee managed to confirm both Judges Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, as well as a historic number of circuit judges, despite significant levels of resistance from Senate Democrats.

More recently, Grassley has been a key proponent of a criminal-justice bill that would cut mandatory minimum sentences for some federal crimes, including drug offenses.

Sen. Graham also backed President Trump's appointment of Matt Whitaker to serve as acting attorney general (AG) after Jeff Sessions left the post following the 2018 midterm elections.

Two potential Republican allies for Flake, Sens.

Grassley's fellow Finance Republicans still need to formally elect him to the chairmanship in January, and their decision would then be subject to ratification by the full Senate Republican Conference.

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