Republican Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio said Wednesday he would continue to hold up nominations in the Department of Justice over the Biden administration’s targeting of former President Donald Trump.
Special counsel Jack Smith secured a four-count indictment of Trump in August relating to his efforts to contest the results of the 2020 election, months after a federal grand jury issued a 37-count indictment against Trump in June based on an investigation into allegations surrounding classified documents. Some of Trump’s top rivals for the Republican nomination for president in 2024, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, condemned the indictment as a weaponization of the Justice Department.
“This whole policy that I’ve implemented on Department of Justice nominees is unprecedented,” Vance said on the Senate floor, referencing a complaint by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. “He mentions that we have, in the past, this body, before I got here, approved a number of Department of Justice nominees through unanimous consent. What the senator from Illinois doesn’t mention, Madam President, is that in that time, when these nominations sailed through unanimous consent, the Department of Justice was not trying to throw the political rival of the president of the United States in prison.”
“I objected this because we are living in a banana republic, where the president is using his Department of Justice to go after his chief political rival, the person he will appear on the ballot with in about a year,” Vance said. “If the Department of Justice will use these nominations for a law instead of politics, I am happy to end this whole policy. But so long as the Department of Justice uses its nominations and uses its personnel to go after its political opponents, from the president of the United States on down, I will object. Because of that, Madam President, I do object.”
Vance announced the hold on Justice Department nominations in a June 13 release, citing the indictment of Trump.
Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama has been holding up most senior military promotions since March to protest the Pentagon’s policy of paying for female servicemembers to travel for out-of-state abortions after a number of states placed restrictions on the procedure.
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