By Clare Foran, Ali Zaslav and Ted Barrett, CNN
The Senate confirmed a batch of US attorney and US marshal nominations on Wednesday after GOP Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas lifted long-standing holds he had put in place to raise concerns about the treatment by the Justice Department of several deputy US marshals who had been involved in protests in Portland, Oregon, in 2020.
The nominations were confirmed by voice vote.
Cotton gave a speech on the floor and explained his reasoning for lifting the holds after Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio asked to bring up the nominations.
Cotton reiterated that he wants answers from the Justice Department about four deputy US marshals who he said the Justice Department has refused to defend in court. The issue had received significant attention in conservative media.
But Cotton said that Republicans are committed to oversight of the matter in the next Congress if it doesn’t occur during this session, and ultimately said he would not object to the nominations, clearing the way for them to go through.
“The facts will come out one way or another,” Cotton said. “If not this year, it will happen next year.”
“So now that I’m confident the department will receive the oversight that it deserves in this matter, I will no longer object to these nominees,” Cotton said. “I will withdraw my objection to the confirmation of today’s nominees.”
“These nominations are very important to our states,” said Brown, pointing to a rise in violent crime in the US.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer celebrated the outcome.
“It’s a good thing that our Republican colleagues finally stopped their indefensible obstruction of qualified U.S. Attorneys and Marshals. These nominees are vital to keeping our communities safe and secure and they should never have been held up for leverage in partisan games,” the New York Democrat said in a statement.
“After months of waiting, communities in Georgia and Ohio and Nevada and Minnesota and New Hampshire and other states are finally getting the security they need with confirmed U.S. Attorneys. So I’m very glad that this … finally, finally happened. It took too long but now it’s done,” Schumer said.
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