Over the last four years, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) has gone from being a harsh critic of President Donald Trump to being one of his administration’s staunchest defenders.
However, it looks like the longtime lawmaker has increasingly felt as though he is being left out of the loop, as Graham recently drew a line in the sand with regard to Trump’s choice to become the next U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), according to The Blaze.
The rift became evident from a statement Graham released on the president’s decision to nominate Jay Clayton for the role.
“I have not been contacted by the administration in this regard,” Graham stated in a press release. “However, I know Mr. Clayton and believe him to be a fine man and accomplished lawyer.”
Graham cites protocol
In terms of Clayton’s nomination, Graham made it clear that he would not serve as a rubber stamp, declaring, “As to processing U.S. Attorney nominations, it has always been the policy of the Judiciary Committee to receive blue slips from the home state senators before proceeding to the nomination. As chairman, I have honored that policy and will continue to do so.
Graham’s remarks referenced the tradition under which senators from a nominee’s home state are given the opportunity to submit “blue slips” that detail whatever thoughts or objections they may have concerning the individual in question.
Clayton currently chairs the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and he has been chosen to succeed recently ousted U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, according to NBC News.
DOJ fight goes public
Attorney General Bill Barr publicly announced late last week that Berman would be leaving his position in Manhattan, praising the lawyer for having “done an excellent job” and shown “tenacity and savvy.”
However, Berman shot back with a statement of his own, insisting that he had “no intentions of resigning” and promising to remain until “a providentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate.”
That prompted a response from Barr in the form of a letter that was quoted by Business Insider. In it, the attorney general didn’t hold back, accusing Berman of choosing “public spectacle over public service.”
“I was surprised and disappointed by the press statement you released last night,” Barr complained, according to Business Insider. “As we discussed, I wanted the opportunity to choose a distinguished New York lawyer, Jay Clayton, to nominate as United States Attorney and was hoping for your cooperation to facilitate a smooth transition.”
The standoff between Berman and the DOJ — which ultimately ended with the former agreeing Saturday to leave his post — has already sparked calls for an investigation from the left, as CBS News reported, with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) saying that the lawyer’s dismissal “reeked of potential corruption of the legal process.”