A rearranging of Republican leadership in the Senate will see South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham take over as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee following Senator Chuck Grassley’s announcement that he will move to head the Finance Committee, according to The Hill.
> The shuffle would put Graham, a close ally of President Trump who made headlines this fall with a forceful denunciation of Democrats during Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, in charge of the panel handling judicial nominations.
Graham, who is up for reelection in 2020, tweeted praise for Grassley’s leadership of the Judiciary Committee and said in a separate statement that he will continue making judicial appointments a top priority.
> “I very much appreciate Senate @ChuckGrassley’s leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He chaired the committee with a steady hand, sense of fundamental fairness, and resolve,” Graham tweeted. “His leadership serves as a model to us all.”
> “If I am fortunate enough to be selected by my colleagues to serve as chairman, I will push for the appointment and Senate confirmation of highly qualified conservative judges to the federal bench and aggressive oversight of the Department of Justice and FBI,” he said.
The move will also give Graham jurisdiction over the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, The Hill noted.
Graham met with acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker this week and reportedly was reassured that Whitaker has no plans and sees no justification for firing Mueller or interfering with the investigation — an issue many Democrats and some Republicans have renewed concerns over after President Donald Trump appointed Whitaker to replace Jeff Sessions.
> “There’s no reason to fire him. I asked him, ‘Do you have any reason to [fire] Mr. Mueller. He said he has zero reason to believe anything is being done wrong with the Mueller investigation,” Graham said, recounting the conversation.