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Graham officially schedules hearing on Trump's Supreme Court pick to start Oct. 12

Graham officially schedules hearing on Trump's Supreme Court pick to start Oct. 12
© Greg Nash

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: Threatening emails raise election concerns | Quibi folds after raising nearly B | Trump signs law making it a crime to hack voting systems Trump signs legislation making hacking voting systems a federal crime Jaime Harrison on Lindsey Graham postponing debate: 'He's on the verge of getting that one-way ticket back home' MORE (R-S.C.) on Monday formally scheduled the panel to start its days-long hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination on Oct. 12.

The move by Graham — which aligns with a timeline released by his office late last month — comes as two GOP members of his committee have tested positive for the coronavirus and another two are self-isolating, sparking calls from Democrats to delay the proceedings.

But Republicans, including Graham and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Trump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE (R-Ky.), have vowed to move forward, regardless of whether the Senate is in session next week.

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The notice comes after Graham spoke with President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE earlier Monday about Barrett's nomination.

"Just spoke with President @realDonaldTrump and he sounds terrific -- very engaged and ready to get back to work! He’s also very excited about Judge Amy Coney Barrett being confirmed to the Supreme Court and focused on a good deal to help stimulate the economy," Graham tweeted.

Graham's scheduling of the Supreme Court hearing comes after he canceled a committee hearing set for Tuesday with former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeHillicon Valley: CEOs of Google, Facebook and Twitter to testify before Senate | European Union police agency warns of increase in cybercrime | Twitter to remove posts hoping for Trump's death Graham officially schedules hearing on Trump's Supreme Court pick to start Oct. 12 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump eager to leave the hospital MORE, who had been expected to testify on the bureau's Russia probe. McCabe had refused to testify, citing health concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. Barrett, meanwhile, is expected to testify in person.

Democrats are calling on Republicans to delay the hearings, arguing they would jeopardize the health and safety of both senators and their staff.

The days-long hearing will pave the way for a committee vote on Barrett's nomination on Oct. 22. Republicans want to confirm Barrett on the Senate floor during the final week of October.

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Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (D-N.Y.) said earlier Monday that if Graham does not delay the hearings then he should require testing for senators and their staff.

"Instead of engaging in continuously more absurd and dangerous behavior, Chairman Graham should halt this already illegitimate nomination process, and if he refuses, he must put into place a thorough testing procedure that is in accordance with CDC best practices before hearings can take place," Schumer said in a statement.

"Every Senator and relevant staff must have negative tests on two consecutive days and have completed the appropriate quarantining period, and there should be mandatory testing every day of the hearing," he added.

According to a Judiciary Committee aide, the hearing will last four days, including a first day of opening statements, followed by two days of questioning and a final day of testimony from outside witnesses. 

Any senator will be able to participate virtually if they want, according to the aide, but Graham will attend in person. 

Because of the coronavirus, the hearing is expected to be held in a larger committee room in order for senators to be able to adequately socially distance. 

The committee is expected to limit the number of staff and reporters in the room. The public has also not been allowed in the Capitol complex unless they had a specific meeting since earlier this year, and they are not expected to be in the hearing room. 

“Committee staff are working in concert with the Architect of the Capitol, Office of the Attending Physician (OAP), the Senate Sergeant at Arms, the Capitol Police, and the Rules Committee to ensure the nomination hearing for Judge Barrett is conducted safely and in accordance with public health recommendations – as we have done for all recent hearings,” the aide added. 

--Updated at 9:52 p.m.