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Graham: 'I was worried' Trump would pick TV judge for Supreme Court

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham pushes Schumer for vote to dismiss impeachment article Impeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP An attack on America that's divided Congress — and a nation MORE (R-S.C.) on Tuesday showered praise on Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, saying that he was initially concerned the president would nominate a television judge to fill the seat.

“I think you’re a man of the law and I really want to congratulate the president for picking you,” Graham told Gorsuch at his Senate confirmation hearing. “Quite frankly, I was worried about who he’d pick. Maybe someone on TV.”

Graham, who has been anything but shy in criticizing Trump, said Gorsuch was the right choice to fill the seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last year.

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Gorsuch, a judge on the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, is facing a partisan confirmation fight, with some Democrats suggesting blocking his nomination in retaliation for Republicans’ refusal to grant a hearing to former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden faces monumental task healing divided country Garth Brooks to play at Biden swearing-in ceremony Obama honors MLK Day: 'He never gave in to violence, never waved a traitorous flag' MORE’s nominee, Merrick Garland.

Graham urged his Democratic colleagues on the Judiciary Committee to confirm Gorsuch, arguing that, while they might not agree with the conservative judge, they must acknowledge he is qualified.

“I hope people on the other side will understand that you may not like it — I certainly didn’t agree with President Obama, but I understood why he picked Sotomayor and Kagan,” Graham said, referring to Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who are both Obama appointees.

“I hope you can understand why President Trump picked Neil Gorsuch, and I hope you’ll be happy with that, because I am.”

Graham also used the hearing to level a warning to Trump, saying that if he pursues the use of waterboarding, among other banned interrogation techniques, he could face prosecution. Trump has repeatedly argued in favor of waterboarding and previously suggested reinstating the practice.

“If you start waterboarding people, you may get impeached,” Graham posited to Gorsuch. “Is that a fair summary?”

“Senator, the impeachment power belongs to this body,” Gorsuch responded.