Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham declared that Donald Trump 'has the votes' to confirm his Supreme Court nominee after two key Republican swing voters voiced their support for the president's plan to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat before the election.
The South Carolina senator hit out at Democrats trying to delay the confirmation process in an interview with Fox News on Monday night.
'It's pretty obvious that if [Democrats] want an outcome, they'll just destroy anybody's life to keep the seats open,' Graham told host Sean Hannity.
'They said they tried to destroy Brett Kavanaugh so they could fill the seat - they were dumb enough to say that. I've seen this movie before. It's not going to work, it didn't work with Kavanaugh.
'We've got the votes to confirm Justice Ginsburg's replacement before the election. We're going to move forward in the committee, we're going to report the nomination out of the committee to the floor of the United States Senate so we can vote before the election. Now, that's the constitutional process.'
Graham's confident statements came after Iowa Sen Chuck Grassley, the former Judiciary Committee chair, and Colorado Sen Corey Gardner confirmed that they will back a hearing for Trump's nominee.
Meanwhile, the president appears to be narrowing down his list of potential picks as insiders say Amy Coney Barrett is a strong frontrunner, followed by Barbara Lagoa in a 'distant second'.
South Carolina Sen Lindsey Graham expressed confidence in Trump's chances of rushing through a Supreme Court pick in an interview with Fox News on Monday
Graham's confident statements came after Iowa Sen Chuck Grassley (left) and Colorado Sen Corey Gardner (right) confirmed that they will back a hearing for Trump's nominee
President Donald Trump (pictured on Monday in Ohio) has said he is 'strongly considering' four or five women to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court
Judge Amy Coney Barrett (left) has reportedly emerged as Trump's top choice to replace Ginsburg, sources say - and Barbara Lagoa (right) is a 'distant second'
It had been speculated that Grassley could try to block the nomination process because he'd previously opposed filling Supreme Court vacancies during an election year.
Gardner's stance was also in question because he faces a tough re-election race in his home state, and some thought he could side with Democrats to boost his standing among moderate voters.
The nomination will come just six weeks before the election and has sparked fierce debate, with many Democrats - as well as some Republicans - insisting the seat must not be filled until after the election.
The crux of the debate centers around the move made by Republicans back in 2016 - and led by McConnell and Grassley - to block then-President Barack Obama from appointing a new justice to the court nine months before the election.
Their argument at the time was that the position should not be filled until a new president was elected by the American people - a standard set by the Republicans that the Democrats now argue the party must continue to honor.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is leading the charge to allow Trump to nominate a new justice ahead of the election
Four Republican senators need to join the Democrats to stop a Supreme Court nomination going forward.
Two GOP senators - Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins - have already dissented on the Supreme Court vote, vowing to derail Trump's nomination plans until after the November 3 election.
Murkowski became the second Republican senator Sunday to say the chamber should not take up the president's nominee before the American people vote for their next president, hours after Trump threw shade at her publicly and after her colleague and frequent collaborator Collins made her own opposition to a quick vote known.
'For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election,' the Alaska senator said.
'Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed,' she continued.
'I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia.
'We are now even closer to the 2020 election – less than two months out – and I believe the same standard must apply.'
Murkowski in her statement was referencing the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, which never got a hearing despite Obama nominating Garland nine months before the 2016 elections.
Two GOP senators - Lisa Murkowski (left) and Susan Collins (right) - have already dissented, vowing to derail Trump's nomination plans until after the November 3 election
Iowa Sen Grassley fell in line with McConnell on Monday, saying: 'Once the hearings are underway, it's my responsibility to evaluate the nominee on the merits, just as I always have.
'The Constitution gives the Senate that authority, and the American people's voices in the most recent election couldn't be clearer,' Grassley added.
Grassley was chairman of the Judiciary Committee when Republicans blocked Obama's pick in 2016, when he joined McConnell in arguing that it was best to let voters decide who should fill the Supreme Court seat.
The senator maintained that stance as recently as this summer, telling reporters that he would still hold that position if he were chairman now.
Gardner followed suit soon after, saying: 'When a President exercises constitutional authority to nominate a judge for the Supreme Court vacancy, the Senate must decide how to best fulfill its constitutional duty of advice and consent.
'I have and will continue to support judicial nominees who will protect our Constitution, not legislate from the bench, and uphold the law. Should a qualified nominee who meets this criteria be put forward, I will vote to confirm.'
Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee (pictured) threw his support behind McConnell in a statement on Sunday, saying 'no one should be surprised' by a new appointment in an election year and that voters 'expect it'
Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee also threw his support behind McConnell in a statement on Sunday, saying 'no one should be surprised' by a new appointment in an election year and that voters 'expect it'.
Alexander had been eyed as a swing vote due to his history of bipartisanship, having worked closely with Democrat Senate Minority Leader Schumer in the past on making it easier for the Senate to confirm presidential nominees.
With Alexander, Grassley and Gardner eliminated from the list of possible dissenters, the focus has shifted to Republican Sen Mitt Romney, who votes with conservatives but also voted for an impeachment article against Trump and has called him out occasionally in public.
Sen Graham's position on the Supreme Court vacancy has come under scrutiny after a 2016 video went viral over the weekend in which he emphatically declared that a Supreme Court seat should not be filled during an election year.
'I want you to use my words against me. If there's a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let's let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination,' the senator said four years ago when arguing against Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland.
However, Graham has said his stance changed after the heated confirmation process for Trump's last nominee, Kavanaugh.
Protesters gathered outside Graham's home in Washington, DC, on Monday morning to pressure him into backing down.
'We can't sleep so neither should Lindsey,' on banner, held by multiple protesters, read.
'We are wide awake,' another sign said.
Another group mobbed McConnell's Louisville home on Saturday and demanded that he stop the vote from taking place.
Protesters gathered outside of Graham's home in Washington, DC, on Monday (pictured) after the senator said he would support Trump's pick for the open Supreme Court seat
Demonstrators also mobbed McConnell's Louisville home on Saturday (pictured)
Unfazed by the intense pressure to delay the nomination process, Trump has said he is 'strongly considering' five candidates to replace Ginsburg, with Barret emerging as a favorite.
Trump met with Barrett, a judge on the Seventh Circuit and mother of seven who adopted two children from Haiti, at the White House on Monday.
reported that the president is 'leaning toward' Barrett for the nomination but is also planning to meet with another contender, Lagoa, sometime this week.
NEW: President Trump is leaning toward nominating Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, sources tell @JenniferJJacobs, @yaffebellany & me. Barbara Lagoa is the only other person being seriously considered, but is distant 2nd— Jordan Fabian (@Jordanfabian) September 21, 2020
Story on @TheTerminal
Sources told the outlet that Lagoa, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and former justice on the Florida Supreme Court, is the only other person being seriously considered for the job, but she is a 'distant second' to Barrett.
Trump said Monday that he will wait to announce his nomination until Friday or Saturday – after funeral services for Ginsburg have concluded.
'I think it'll be on Friday or Saturday,' Trump said of the impending announcement for his third Supreme Court nomination. 'And we want to pay respect. We, it looks like, it looks like we will have probably services on Thursday or Friday, as I understand it.'
'I think in all due respect we should wait until the services are over for Justice Ginsburg,' he told the Fox & Friends panel during a Monday morning call-in interview. 'And so we're looking probably at Friday or maybe Saturday.'
Trump told Fox & Friends Monday morning he will reveal his pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday or Saturday, claiming he wanted to 'respect' her by waiting until after her funeral services to make the announcement
Trump said he is 'seriously considering' five or four different people for the job, as a person familiar with the process said the White House narrowed it down to four women – Amy Coney Barrett, Barbara Lagoa, Kate Todd and Allison Jones Rushing
Speaking to reporters before leaving the White House on Monday, Trump urged the Senate to vote on the nomination before the election, claiming there is 'plenty of time' to get someone through the process before Election Day on November 3.
'I'd much rather have a vote before the election because there's a lot of work to be done,' the president asserted. 'We have plenty of time to do it. I mean there's really a lot of time. So let's say I make the announcement on Saturday, there's a great deal of time before the election. That'll be up to Mitch in the Senate. I think it sends a good signal. And it's solidarity… I'm just doing my constitutional obligation.'
Ted Cruz, Texas. 49
Josh Hawley, Missouri. 40
Tom Cotton, Arkansas. 43
Bridget Bade, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 54
Stuart Kyle Duncan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. 48
James Ho, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 47
Gregory Katsas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 56
Barbara Lagoa, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. 52
Carlos Muñiz, Supreme Court of Florida. 51
Martha Pacold, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. 41
Peter Phipps, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 47
Sarah Pitlyk, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. 43
Allison Jones Rushing, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. 38
Lawrence VanDyke, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 47
CURRENT AND FORMER REPUBLICAN OFFICIALS
Daniel Cameron, Kentucky Attorney General. 34
Paul Clement, partner with Kirkland & Ellis, former solicitor general. 54
Steven Engel, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. 46
Noel Francisco, former U.S. solicitor general. 51
Christopher Landau, U.S. ambassador to Mexico. 56
Kate Todd, deputy White House counsel. 45
At the same time signaling 'respect' for the late justice, the president also brought into question her 'dying wish' that she not be replaced by a Trump nominee.
He cast doubt on Ginsburg's dying wish to have the next president replace her on the Supreme Court, alleging it was actually written by a Democrat.
Trump said it was actually Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff who were behind the justice's last request.
There is not proof that this allegation has any validity and Trump did not offer any explanation.
'I don't know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff, Schumer and Pelosi,' Trump said during his Fox & Friends interview.
'I would be more inclined to the second, it sounds so beautiful. But that sounds like a Schumer deal or maybe a Pelosi or shifty Schiff. So that that came out of the wind. Let's see. I mean, maybe she did and maybe she didn't,' he added.
Ginsburg's granddaughter Clara Spera said that in her dying days, the liberal justice dictated a dying wish to her.
'My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,' she said.
Trump told reporters before boarding Marine One from the South Lawn Monday: 'It just sounds to me that it would be someone else. I don't believe – it could be, it could be and it might not be too.
'It was just too convenient,' he added.
Trump also lashed out at House Speaker Pelosi on Monday - calling her 'crazy' after she refused to rule out impeaching him in a gambit that could be used to stall a Supreme Court confirmation process.
Trump blasted the idea – which has some political risks and practical flaws – as he defended his infamous July 25, 2019 call with the president of Ukraine that was the subject of the Democratic impeachment effort as 'perfect.'
'@SenateGOP Crazy Nancy Pelosi wants to Impeach me if I fulfill my Constitutional Obligation to put forth a Nominee for the vacated seat on the United States Supreme Court. This would be a FIRST, even crazier than being Impeached for making a PERFECT phone call to Ukrainian Pres,' Trump tweeted Monday morning.
The attack came hours after Pelosi refused on Sunday to rule out impeachment as one of the 'options' Democrats could avail themselves of in an effort to try to stall a vote on the judicial vacancy.
'We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I'm not about to discuss right now but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country,' she told ABC's 'This Week ' when asked about the prospect.
'This president has threatened to not even accept the results of the election,' Pelosi continued. 'Our main goal would be to protect the integrity of the election as we protect the people from the coronavirus.'
Trump also attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday as 'crazy' after she refused to rule out impeaching him in a gambit that could be used to stall a Supreme Court confirmation process
'We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I'm not about to discuss right now but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was asked if she might use impeachment as a tactic to slow a Supreme Court nomination
Ginsburg, who was lovingly referred to as RBG, died at the age of 87 late last week due to complications from her ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer.
She will be honored in a viewing outside the Supreme Court building later this week, according to pandemic-era guidelines.
The late Justice will lie in state this week as her casket will be on public view Wednesday and Thursday at the Supreme Court Building and Friday in National Statuary Hall in the US Capitol. Private ceremonies will also be held at both locations.
Pelosi announced Monday that the formal ceremony at the Capitol on Friday morning is invitation-only due to the COVID pandemic.
It's unclear if Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will pay their respects and, if so, when.
Ginsburg will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery in a private service, the court said in a statement. Her husband, Martin Ginsburg, was buried at Arlington in 2010.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was lovingly referred to as RBG, died last week at the age of 87 due to complications from an ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer. She will be honored in an outdoor viewing near the Supreme Court building later this week
The president also claimed to the Fox News morning show panel that he has narrowed his list of potential nominees to five different people.
'I'm looking at five, probably four, but I'm looking at five very seriously,' Trump said.
'I'm going to make a decision on either Friday or Saturday. I will announce it either Friday or Saturday, and then the work begins,' he continued. 'Hopefully, it won't be too much work, because these are very qualified people. No matter how you would look at it, these are the finest people in the nation. Young people. Pretty young for the most part.'
The president has signaled an impending announcement following the death of Ginsburg last week, claiming it's his 'obligation' to nominate a new justice 'without delay.'sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
With Ginsburg's passing,