In a statement on Friday Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced his intention to leave the Judiciary Committee when the 116th Congressional term begins in January.
Grassley has instead opted to rejoin the Finance Committee as it’s chair “once committees are organized in January.”
In his statement Grassley writes, “The economy is better than it’s been in years and there’s a sense of optimism about the future of our country that people haven’t felt in a long time thanks to the pro-growth policies of a Republican President and a Republican majority in Congress.”
With the departure of Grassley from the Judiciary Committee that opens the door for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (R) as the next “in line to replace him as Chairman,” Politico reported.
This move would allow Graham to have valuable power over The Department of Justice this includes oversight of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Office Russian Investigation.
On Tuesday Graham was asked by CNN if he intended, as the new Judiciary Committee Chairman, to investigate the FBI’s handling of both the Russian Election Interference and the Hillary Clinton email investigations to which Graham said, “totally,” adding, “the oversight function will be very much front and center.”
Asked about President Trump’s appointment of Matt Whitaker as acting Attorney General, replacing the resigned/fired Jeff Sessions, he told them “I don’t see an imminent threat to Mueller,” adding that he’d support the Protection bill that the Judiciary Committee passed earlier this year if it was brought to a floor vote.
Speaking of Whitaker he told CNN after speaking with Whitaker last week that Whitaker understands the position he is in, “he’s probably not going to be the next attorney general, but this is a chance for him to show he can handle responsibility. This enhances his political future if he handles this well. It would be a nightmare for us to truncate the Mueller investigation.”
Politico notes that Graham has before displayed “a bipartisan streak, aligning with Democrats on Judiciary to steer legislation protecting Mueller’s job through the committee.”
Grassley would be replacing the retiring Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) with his move to Finance Committee Chairman.