Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch will face a two-day confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 28th and 29th. Even though she is widely expected to be confirmed, Lynch has been splitting her time between Washington, DC and New York -- where she is currently the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of New York -- to help her prepare for her big day.
"She has met with subject matter experts at the Department of Justice to discuss issues that will be in front of her as attorney general as well as subjects that may come up during her confirmation hearing," a Justice Department official told CBS News.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley says the first day of hearings will consist of opening statements from the chairman and ranking member, an opening statement from Lynch, and then she'll be questioned by committee members. The next day, outside witnesses invited by both the majority and the minority will testify about Lynch.
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"I expect that she'll be forthright in return," Senator Grassley said. "It will be a long first day because my approach as chairman is to allow for as many questions as necessary to ensure that members have a chance to receive answers in person if they'd like."
While the current attorney general has often had a contentious relationship with Congress, Lynch is expected to enjoy a smooth confirmation process, even if some Republicans vote against her. Timing could also work in her favor, given that then-Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed to allow the new Senate under Mitch McConnell to preside over her hearing, instead of trying to schedule it during the 113th session, before Democrats lost control of the Senate.
Lynch has already met with 45 Senators and will have met with every member of the Judiciary Committee before her confirmation hearing, all while continuing to serve as U.S. Attorney in New York. "Even when Lynch is in Washington for meetings she still steps out of meetings to take calls about issues in her district," according to a Justice official. "She makes calls while she walks to her appointments on the Hill."
The Judiciary Committee is expected to ask her questions about about a wide range of issues she will have to contend with if confirmed as the nation's top law enforcement including the threat of lone wolf terrorists, cyber-attacks, use of force by police, and bank prosecutions. In addition to current issues, she may also be grilled on any anything from her past that could be controversial.
Lynch has had almost twice as much time as Attorney General Eric Holder to prepare for her confirmation hearing. Holder only had about six weeks, while Lynch will have had a leisurely eleven weeks to get ready.