Graham set to hand Judiciary chair back to Grassley at end of term; some say, not soon enough

(Getty file photo)

Conservatives frustrated by “all talk, no action” Senate Judiciary Committee chair Lindsey Graham have just received some welcome news.

News broke Thursday that Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley intends to return to the Judiciary Committee when his term with the Finance Committee expires at the end of 2020, right after the presidential election.

“Under Senate GOP rules, Grassley will hit his term limit for the Finance panel at the end of next year. He has informed Graham that he intends to use his seniority to become chairman of the Judiciary Committee starting in January 2021,” The Hill confirmed.

“He has, I think, two more years [before he hits his Judiciary Committee term limit],” Graham said to the outlet. “I’d honor any request that he wants to make.”

And so starting with the 117th Congress, the committee will no longer be led by a man whom many conservatives, including Graham’s own colleagues, argue has failed miserably at his job.

In a tweet posted late last month, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul got to the crux of the right’s beef with the South Carolina senator, writing that it’d be nice if Graham would “actually hold hearings and subpoena witnesses” instead of doing nothing.

It’s this same frustration that inspired an untold number of conservatives to jump on social media late Thursday to demand that the “all talk, no action” senator step down from the committee now or have his seat handed to him in next year’s election.


As noted by Paul, the current Judiciary chair has held zero hearings and subpoenaed zero witnesses, despite a prior promise to use all the resources at his disposal to conduct his own investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.

“Once the Mueller report is put to bed, and it will be soon, this committee is going to look long and hard at how all of this started,” he said during a Senate hearing last May about former special counsel Robert Mueller’s then-just-published report.

“We’re going to look at the FISA warrant process. Did Russia provide Christopher Steele the information about Trump, that turned out to be garbage, that was used to get a warrant on an American citizen and if so, how did the system fail? Was there a real effort between Papadopoulos and anybody in Russia to use the Clinton e-mails stolen by the Russians, or is that thought planted in his mind? I don’t know, but we’re going to look.”

Half a year later, Graham has done none of what he’d promised.

Listen starting from the 1:38 mark:

(Source: CNN)

But while some have accused Graham of being an undercover member of the “deep state,” it seems more likely that he’s simply not equipped for the job of a committee leader — that he’s more of a follower than a leader.

The evidence lies in how he followed then-Judiciary chair Grassley’s lead during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings last year.

On more than one occasion, the senator won emphatic praise from conservatives for standing up for Kavanaugh.

“I would never do to them what you’ve done to this guy,” he fearlessly said to Democrats during one hearing in late September of 2018. “This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy.”

“I cannot imagine what you and your family have gone through,” he then said to Kavanaugh but pivoting his attention back to Democrats again. “Boy, you all want power. God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham. That you knew about it and you held it. You had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford. None.”


Some conservatives have wondered what happened to this version of Graham. Perhaps the answer is that nothing has happened — and that while the senator has a talent for delivering powerful speeches, he simply sucks at being a leader.


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Vivek Saxena


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