Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley made the following statement after meeting with Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions. The meeting focused on a number of issues important to Grassley, such as congressional oversight, the False Claims Act, and criminal justice reform. Grassley has indicated that Sessions is currently completing the committee questionnaire and once that is returned, Grassley will announce a hearing date. As he noted prior to the meeting, Grassley said that he intends to hold the hearing before the President-elect is sworn in. Note that it is customary to hold a hearing for the Attorney General prior to the Inauguration as was the case with both Attorney General Eric Holder and Attorney General John Ashcroft.
“I was glad to have Senator Sessions in my office today. Members of the Judiciary Committee know him to be an honorable man, and a person of integrity. He knows the Justice Department well, and cares deeply about the even-handed application of the law.
“The process for Attorney General Holder’s hearing was fair, and a good model to follow. Every nominee to be Attorney General has a long record, and Senator Sessions’ record of public service is just that, public. Unlike most recent nominees for Attorney General, members of the committee are extremely well acquainted with Senator Sessions, after having served with him for up to twenty years.
“Democratic members of the committee have pledged a fair process. Based on those commitments, I trust the other side will resist what some liberal interest groups are clearly hoping for – an attack on his character. The confirmation process of John Ashcroft to be Attorney General turned into a reckless campaign that snowballed into an avalanche of innuendo, rumor and spin. That will not happen here.
“The hearings for the four most recent Attorneys General lasted one to two days each. And at each of those hearings, three to nine outside witnesses testified. Nine witnesses testified at the hearing for Attorney General Lynch, seven witnesses testified at the hearings for Attorneys General Holder and Mukasey, and three witnesses testified at the hearing for Attorney General Gonzales.
“Senator Sessions will receive the fair and thorough vetting process he deserves, as have the last four nominees to be Attorney General.”