Democratic senators have secured testimony from Congressional Black Caucus members this week at the confirmation hearing for Jeff Sessions as attorney general — heightening the issue of race in what’s already expected to be a contentious nomination battle.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, approached chairman Chuck Grassley last week with her request: to allow Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and other CBC members to appear before the committee to discuss Sessions’ nomination to be the nation’s top cop, according to two sources.
The Iowa Republican was willing to do so, but on the condition that the lawmakers appear only after a group of outside witnesses testify about Sessions, the sources said. Democrats were miffed at Grassley’s offer, viewing it as an insult to lawmakers who typically appear before non-lawmaker witnesses testify. They also saw it as an attempt by Republicans to bury what would be high-profile testimony from Lewis, a civil rights icon, and other CBC lawmakers.
Sessions’ bid for a federal judgeship three decades ago was derailed by allegations that he made racially charged comments as a federal prosecutor.
In a statement to POLITICO, Feinstein said Lewis, Congressional Black Caucus chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) asked her late last week to speak at Sessions’ confirmation hearing, which begins Tuesday and will run for two days.Read More...
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