Tags: Loretta Lynch | vote | attorney general | Eric Holder | Mitch McConnell

Politico: Loretta Lynch Vote Nears Amid Unease by Many in GOP

By    |   Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 09:18 PM

Loretta Lynch's nomination to succeed Eric Holder as attorney general goes to the full Senate for a vote next week as many Republicans continue to express unease with the federal prosecutor's stance on President Barack Obama's executive overreach and other issues.

"I think that's a big issue, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito told Politico, referring to her support of Obama's immigration orders. She said that she had not decided whether to support the nomination. "I think that'll weigh in on the decision that I would make, too."

"I have concerns over what she said about the executive order," said Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, "but I'd really like to meet with her."

Lynch, 55, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, was nominated in November. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the chamber would vote on the nomination next week.

But the vote could easily go down to the wire, Politico reports, with all 44 Democrats and four Republicans supporting her. Two independents, who caucus with the Democrats, are also likely to back Lynch.

The four Republicans supporting the nomination are Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Susan Collins of Maine.

Vice President Joe Biden could be brought into the Senate to break a tie, according to Politico. If confirmed, Lynch would be the first African-American woman to head the Justice Department.

But Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, doesn't think a Biden tie-breaker would be necessary.

"Ms. Lynch's nomination has broad support from Democrats and Republicans across the legal and law enforcement communities," Leahy told Politico. "She should not be treated any differently than previous nominees."

Still, many Republicans are indicating that they will not back Lynch, many of whom were potential endorsers early in the process, according to Politico. Others remain undecided.

North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr recalled Lynch's response more than two months ago when he asked whether she would run a Justice Department that was different from her predecessor.

"She told me it would not be different," Burr told Politico. "I voted against Eric Holder and he's lived up to exactly what I thought he would."

Holder, 64, has clashed repeatedly with Republicans during his six-year tenure, and he was held in contempt of Congress in June 2012 for withholding thousands of pages of Fast and Furious documents.

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller told Politico that he was "leaning no" because of how Lynch responded to his questions on gambling regulation. Her responses to a follow-up letter he sent on the matter left him "not very comfortable," he said.

"She said she has very little knowledge of what occurred in the Wire Act," Heller told Politico, referring to a 1961 law that banned certain types of interstate gambling. "And yet at the same time, she prosecuted illegal gambling, offshore gambling.

"You can't be prosecuting illegal gambling and say you have very little knowledge of the Wire Act itself," he said.

Two top Senate Republicans — Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas and Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, the No. 5 GOP member — have said they would oppose Lynch's nomination. McConnell has not yet indicated how he would vote, Politico reports.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana have already said they would not back Lynch because she supports Obama's executive amnesty orders.

Among those undecided are Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, as well as both Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee.

Two weeks ago, Alexander told Politico that he was "deeply concerned about her refusal to put limits on the president's executive power."

Corker met with Lynch late last year, asking her about the issue of officials exercising discretion on law enforcement. He noted that her responses could "use some sharpening," Politico reports.

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk said that he remained undecided, even after recently meeting with Lynch.

"I had a very good meeting with her," Kirk told Politico. They discussed federal efforts for combating gang violence. "She was very well prepared."

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Loretta Lynch's nomination to succeed Eric Holder as attorney general goes to the full Senate for a vote next week as many Republicans continue to express unease with the federal prosecutor's stance on President Barack Obama's executive overreach and other issues.
Loretta Lynch, vote, attorney general, Eric Holder, Mitch McConnell
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2015-18-12
Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 09:18 PM
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