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Washington — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will vote to confirm Merrick Garland as the next attorney general, five years after refusing to act on Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court.

A McConnell spokesperson confirmed to CBS News that the Kentucky Republican supports President Biden's pick to lead the Justice Department.

 Politico first reported his decision on Tuesday.

Garland was nominated to the Supreme Court by former President Barack Obama in 2016, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. McConnell refused to consider Garland's nomination, arguing that the Senate should not fill a Supreme Court seat during an election year, and instead let the American people decide. After the GOP won the White House, the Republican-controlled Senate filled the vacant seat with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017, the first of three justices nominated to the bench by former President Donald Trump.

McConnell has described his decision to block Garland's nomination as the "most consequential thing I've ever done." The Senate later confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the court days before the 2020 election.

Garland appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee for confirmation hearings this week. The committee will hold a vote to advance Garland's nomination on March 1.

The longtime federal judge pledged to senators during his confirmation hearings that he would work to maintain the independence of the Justice Department, and "fend off any effort by anyone to make prosecutions or investigations partisan or political in any way."

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"I am not the president's lawyer," he said. "I am the United States' lawyer."

Some Republicans have already said that they would support Garland's nomination, including Senators Thom Tillis and John Cornyn.

"I think you'll be a straight shooter when it comes to questions of law. And I respect that. We need that," Cornyn, the former Republican whip and a close ally of McConnell's, told reporters on Monday.

Garland is currently a judge on the powerful D.C. Court of Appeals.

News Source: CBS News

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Former Prosecutor Tapped for Connecticut General Counsel Job

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A former federal prosecutor, who helped lead the investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe before resigning from the Justice Department last year, is being tapped by Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to become his office's new top lawyer.

The Democrat announced Monday that Nora R. Dannehy will fill the job being vacated by General Counsel Bob Clark, who Lamont recently nominated to become a judge on the Connecticut Appellate Court.

“Nora has spent her career in both the public and private sector, and her time in government with the state of Connecticut and the federal government have earned her a reputation as a problem-solver and a champion for the public good,” said Lamont in a statement, adding how he expects Dannehy's counsel will be a ”tremendous benefit" as the state continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dannehy joined the U.S. Attorney's office in Connecticut in 1991. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, she worked on complex public corruption cases, including the first conviction of former Republican Gov. John G. Rowland. In April 2008, she was appointed Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, making her the first woman to lead the district.

She left the U.S. Attorney’s Office in December 2010 and became Deputy Connecticut Attorney General, a job she held from 2011 to 2013. She later worked for United Technologies Corp. before serving in the U.S. Justice Department as counsel to former Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, who stepped down last week.

Dannehy worked with Durham on several investigations, including into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.

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