Senate Judiciary Committee Members: Meet the Senators Questioning Christopher Wray

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Getty Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley with Christopher Wray on June 29.

The Senate Judiciary Committee takes center stage on July 12, with the 20 members questioning President Donald Trump’s nominee for FBI Director, Christopher Wray.

If confirmed, Wray will replace James Comey, who Trump fired in May. The 50-year-old Wray is a former Justice Department lawyer, having worked in the George W. Bush Administration from 2003 to 2005. However, he hasn’t worked in government since then. He has been a partner at King & Spalding and represented New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during the Bridgegate scandal.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, officially known as the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, is considered one of the most important committees in the Senate. It was established in December 1816 as one of the Senate’s first standing committees.

Here is a look at the 11 Republicans and nine Democrats on the Committee.


Chairman: Chuck Grassley

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Chuck Grassley.

Chuck Grassley, the senior Senator from Iowa, has been the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee since January 3, 2015. He has been in the Senate since 1981, but was first elected to Washington in 1975 as the Representative of Iowa’s third Congressional District. Grassley won his first political office in 1959, when he was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives.

NPR notes that Grassley hopes to get Wray confirmed before the Senate goes on its August recess. When Wray was nominated, Grassley told ABC News that he first heard about Wray’s nomination from Trump’s Twitter announcement.

After Comey was fired, Grassley went on Fox & Friends and told Trump’s critics to “suck it up and move on.”

The 83-year-old Grassley also sits on the Committee on Finance, Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and Committee on the Budget.


Ranking Member: Dianne Feinstein

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Dianne Feinstein.

The Ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee is California’s Senior Senator, Dianne Feinstein. The 84-year-old Feinstein was first elected to the Senate in 1992, following a political career in San Francisco. She was Mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988.

After Wray was nominated, Feinstein told CNN that Wray “may be fine,” but she still wanted to learn more about his career.

Feinstein said on July 11 that Donald Trump Jr. should answer questions before the Judiciary Committee about his meeting with a Russian lawyer during last year’s presidential campaign.

Feinstein also sits on the Committee on Appropriations; the Committee on Rules and Administration; and the Select Committee on Intelligence.


Republicans

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Senators Mike Lee, Orrin Hatch, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham.

The other Republicans who sit on the committee are:

  1. Orrin Hatch, Utah – As the most senior Republican member of the Senate, he is President pro tempore, making him third in the line of Presidential succession. The 83-year-old Hatch has represented Utah in the Senate since 1977. He is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee from 2003 to 2005.
    Lindsey Graham, South Carolina – Graham has been in the Senate since 2003, following his 10-year tenure in the House. Graham ran an unsuccessful Presidential campaign in 2015 and 2016, and has continued to be critical of President Donald Trump. He also sits on the Committee on Appropriations; Committee on Armed Services; and Committee on the Budget.
    John Cornyn, Texas – Cornyn, who was rumored to be on Trump’s shortlist for FBI director, has been in the Senate since 2002 and serves as Senate Majority Whip. Before reaching the Senate, he was Attorney General of Texas. He also sits on the Committees on the Budget and Fiance.
    Mike Lee, Utah – Both Utah Senators are on the Judiciary Committee. Lee rode the Tea Party wave to the Senate in 2011. His other committee assignments are the Committees on Armed Services and Energy & Natural Resources.
    Ted Cruz, Texas – Texas’ Ted Cruz, who also ran an unsuccessful 2016 Presidential campaign, has been in the Senate since 2013. He is also on the Committees on Armed Services; Commerce, Science & Transportation; and Rules & Administration.
    Ben Sasse, Nebraska – Sasse is currently in his first term, having just been elected in 2014. He also sits on the Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs.
    Jeff Flake, Arizona – Jeff Flake has served as Arizona Senator with John McCain since 2013, after 10 years in the House of Representatives. He also sits on the Committees on Foreign Relations and Energy & Natural Resources.
    Mike Crapo, Idaho – Mike Crapo has been in the Senate since 1999 and chairs the Senate Banking Committee. He’s also on the Budget, Finance and Indian Affairs committees.
    Thom Tillis, North Carolina – Tillis is the junior North Carolina Senator, serving with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr. He also sits on the Committees on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry; Armed Services; and Veterans’ Affairs.
    John Neely Kennedy, Louisiana – Following 17 years as Louisiana’s Treasurer, Kennedy was elected to the Senate in November 2016. He also sits on the Committees on Budget; Appropriations; Small Business & Entrepreneurship; and Banking.

Democrats

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Senators Chuck Grassley, Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein and Al Franken.

The other Democrats who sit on the committee are:

  • Patrick Leahy, Vermont – Leahy is the longest-serving Senator in the Senate today, since he was first elected in 1974. When Democrats had the Majority, he was President pro tempore of the Senate from 2012 to 2015. The 77-year-old Leahy also served as the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee from 2001 to 2003 and 2007 to 2015. He also sits on the Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry; and Rules & Administration committees. He is the Ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.
    Dick Durbin, Illinois – Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin was first elected to the Senate in 1996 after 14 years in the House. He’s also on the Committee on Rules & Administration and Appropriations.
    Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island – Whitehouse, a former Rhode Island Attorney General, has been in the Senate since 2007. He’s also on the Committee on the Budget; Environment & Public Works; and Health, Education, Labor & Pensions.
    Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota – Klobuchar became the first woman elected to represent Minnesota in the Senate in 2007. She’s a Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee. She is also on the Committees on Commerce, Science and Transportation; Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; and Rules & Administration.
    Al Franken, Minnesota – Former Saturday Night Live writer Franken was first elected in November 2008, but didn’t get to take his seat until July 2009 because of a recount. He’s also on the Committees on Indian Affairs; Health, Education, Labor & Pensions; and Energy & Natural Resources.
    Chris Coons, Delaware – Coons, who worked on President Ronald Reagan’s campaigns before switching parties in 1988, was elected to the Senate in 2010. He is Vice Chair of the Senate Ethics Committee. He also sits on the Foreign Relations and Appropriations Committees.
    Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut – Former Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was elected to the Senate in 2010. He also sits on the Armed Services; Commerce, Science & Transportation; and Veterans’ Affairs Committees.
    Mazie Hirono, Hawaii – Hirono has been in the Senate since 2013, following six years in the House. She was first elected to political office in 1981, when she joined the Hawaii House of Representatives. She is also on the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; Environment & Public Works; and Armed Services.
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