Chuck Grassley opts to cede Judiciary Committee chairmanship

Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is moving to become the chair of the Finance Committee, paving the way for Sen. As the next most senior Republican on the Judiciary panel, Graham is all but guaranteed the chairmanship he's seeking.

At the time of that announcement, Grassley said he was undecided whether he wanted to lead Judiciary or Finance, which he chaired from January to June 2001 and from January 2003 to January 2007.

"We talked about border security and how to resolve all this, and we're optimistic we have a way forward", McConnell of Kentucky said after he and Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby of Alabama met with the president.

Speaking of oversight: Graham could also be the GOP point man in dealing with a host of issues involving the Trump administration that are certain to be raised by House's new Democratic proprietors. Graham has become a close Trump ally and was a vocal supporter of Kavanaugh's confirmation, pushing back against sexual misconduct allegations, which Kavanaugh denied.

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When asked if he would look into the FBI's handling of those investigations, Graham said, "Totally". He retired from the Air Force Reserves in 2015.

Grassley and Graham both played high profile roles in the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, standing out as staunch defenders of Kavanaugh. Jeff Flake in using the processes of the Senate to insist on a bill to protect the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and related crimes.

Graham said Thursday in an interview that it's important to start considering names for a permanent attorney general to replace acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

"You don't recuse somebody because they have opinions different than the people they are overseeing", Graham said on CBS's "Face the Nation". He declined to respond to questions about whether Trump would accept fencing as a wall at the U.S. -Mexico border.

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