California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is requesting Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa allow members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to testify at Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing to become the next attorney general.
Members of the CBC raised the idea to testify Thursday, questioning Sessions’ record on immigration, voting rights and civil rights. Critics of Sessions, who is slated to face two days of questioning, have cited his federal judgeship bid getting derailed over alleged racially charged comments.
“He has been hostile to every community that DOJ is supposed to protect from discrimination,” Democratic Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana told reporters Thursday.
Grassley is open to letting CBC members, including Civil Rights activist Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, speak following the testimonies of a group of outside witnesses, sources first told Politico. According to the publication, the Iowa Republican’s offer did not sit well with Democrats since lawmakers traditionally testify before other witnesses at hearings.
Beth Levine, Grassley’s spokeswoman, dismissed Democrats’ qualms about the lineup of witnesses, noting American Civil Liberties Union official former Attorney General Michael Mukasey will be in attendance.
“A members-only panel that could have proceeded even Senator Sessions, simply to satisfy an ideological perspective, was unacceptable to Senator Grassley,” Levine told Politico. “Instead, a third panel, with both supporters and opponents, has been added to the hearing following the panel of citizens on Wednesday afternoon.”
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