Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have called for President Biden’s pick for associate attorney general, Vanita Gupta, to return for a second round of hearings to answer for “misleading statements.”
All eleven Republican members of the committee penned a letter to Chairman Richard Durbin, D-Ill., requesting he schedule a second hearing to address a litany of issues the lawmakers had with what they hold is her refusal to adequately answer questions.
“Our call for a second hearing is not due to Ms. Gupta’s substantive views—either her longstanding views or her new ones claimed only since her nomination. It’s about her lack of candor with the Committee,” the group wrote.
The group homed in on four topics they want Gupta to clarify her stance on, including her support for eliminating qualified immunity, decriminalizing all drugs, defunding the police and her death penalty record.
Lawmakers accused her of a contradictory stance on “defunding the police” by pointing to statements she made in June 2020, when she suggested communities have been “overspending on criminal-justice system infrastructure and policing.” But she later told lawmakers she believed this to be a misrepresentation and that she has advocated “for greater resources for law enforcement” throughout her career.
“Any claim that Ms. Gupta was not aware that the policies she espouses are what other activists mean by ‘defund the police,’ directly contradicts how she described her own policies just months ago,” the lawmakers wrote to Durbin.
Following Gupta’s at times contentious hearing earlier this month, Senate Republicans issued her additional questions they wanted clarification on – but the responses only further frustrated GOP committee members.
“In some cases, she doubled down on her misleading statements from the hearing, and in others, she refused to answer altogether,” the group wrote in their letter. “In ‘response’ to scores of our questions, she merely copied-and-pasted the same inapplicable, general statements for one question after another.”
Fox News could not immediately reach the Judiciary Committee chairman to confirm whether he would schedule a second hearing, but the group of lawmakers pointed to Grupta’s own calls for additional questioning during a 2017 confirmation process for two nominees under President Trump.
In Gupta’s November 2017 letter to then-chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, she claimed two nominees lacked “credible evidence” and urged the committee to bring them back to question their “truthfulness under oath.”
“If the Senate Judiciary Committee is going to be taken seriously by this and future administrations, it must demand that nominees accurately respond to questions,” she wrote to Grassley.
Lawmakers said that given her potential position at the Department of Justice, it is “critical” that she can be trusted to “tell the truth.” They said that they do not believe this is the case with Gupta.