Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Politico on Tuesday that he plans to support Merrick Garland’s nomination to lead the Justice Department.
Five years ago McConnell refused to even consider Garland’s nomination by former President Barack Obama, to fill the SCOTUS seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. He later called the move the “most consequential thing I’ve ever done.”
Asked on Tuesday if he supports Garland’s nomination to be attorney general after two days of testimony, McConnell said, “I do” without offering any explanation.
McConnell’s decision to support Garland for attorney general is not surprising, since he recommended him to lead the FBI during the Trump administration, according to Politico.
Garland pledged to maintain the independence of the Justice Department and “fend off any effort by anyone to make prosecutions or investigations partisan or political in any way,” during his confirmation hearing.
Some Republicans have already said that they would support Garland’s nomination, including Senators Thom Tillis (N.C) and John Cornyn (Texas). McConnell voting to confirm clears the way for more Republicans to get on board.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a vote on Garland’s nomination on March 1 and Sen. Dick Durbin is hoping for final confirmation next week.