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Sen. Lindsey Graham during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept. 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News Saturday he expects confirmation hearings on Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court to start Oct. 12 and for his panel to approve her by Oct. 26.

Why it matters: That would mean the final confirmation vote could take place on the Senate floor before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

  • "Republicans are privately aiming for a late October confirmation vote," AP notes.

Driving the news: President Trump announced earlier Saturday he would nominate the conservative judge to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

  • Axios' Jacob Knutson and Alayna Treene reported earlier Saturday that the hearings were tentatively scheduled to begin with opening statements on Oct. 12.

What he's saying: "Hopefully we'll come to the floor around the 26th," Graham said on "Justice with Judge Jeanine," stressing this "will be up to" Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who's yet to announce a date for the hearings.

  • Asked by Fox News host Jeanine Pirro to respond to reports that Democrats might boycott the hearings, Graham said: "If they continue this pattern of trying to demean this nominee, I think the American people will push back and push back hard."

Go deeper: What they're saying: Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

Go deeper

McConnell: "No realistic path to quickly pass" stimulus check increase

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday he does not see a "realistic path to quickly pass" a House-approved standalone measure for $2,000 stimulus checks, despite calls from President Trump for increased payments.

Why it matters: The move effectively kills any pathway to pass the bill before the end of the the 116th Congress.

Updated Dec 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump slams McConnell for blocking vote on $2,000 stimulus checks

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday blocked Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) request to hold a vote on a House standalone measure that would boost the size of stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 per person.

Why it matters: President Trump has demanded that the payments be increased, creating a rift between him and Senate GOP leadership ahead of a crucial runoff election in Georgia that will determine control of the chamber. He tweeted on Tuesday afternoon: "Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP. "

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

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