- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday demanded Chairman Dick Durbin schedule a second hearing with President Biden’s controversial Justice Department nominee Vanita Gupta.

The Republicans say Ms. Gupta, who is nominated for the No. 3 position at the Justice Department, should address what they say were “misleading statements” during a confirmation hearing before the panel.

Ms. Gupta gave conflicting answers when she appeared before the committee earlier this month. Some of her answers even contradicted statements she made last year when she appeared before the same panel to discuss changes in policing in America.

The Republicans said they sought more clarity through written questions to Ms. Gupta, but she remained opaque.

“In our responses to her written questions, Ms. Gupta was no more forthcoming,” they wrote in a letter to Mr. Durbin, Illinois Democrat. “In some cases she doubled down on her misleading statements from the hearing, and in others she refused to answer altogether.”

“In ‘response’ to scores of our questions, she merely copied-and-pasted the same inapplicable general statements for one question after another,” the letter continued.

At the hearing last year, Ms. Gupta suggested she supported defunding the police, saying funds should be reallocated to community programs. But when she appeared before the committee earlier this month, she explicitly stated she opposed defunding the police.

Ms. Gupta also backpedaled on policies like marijuana legalization and the broad decriminalization of other drugs. While previously stating that she did support progressive drug policies, she told the committee this month that she no longer supports those policies.

She also dodged questions about her support for the death penalty. While Ms. Gupta had advocated in the past against capital punishment, she avoided directly answering questions from Republicans. Instead, she simply said her personal opinion takes second place to the Constitution.

“We urge you to immediately schedule a second hearing with Ms. Gupta so that she can answer for her misleading statements, and for her refusal to respond to our written questions,” the Republican senators wrote in their letter to Mr. Durbin.

Republicans who signed the letter include Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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