LIVE UPDATES: Merrick Garland hearing continues, as HHS nominee Xavier Becerra faces tough questions

Garland faced sustained questioning from senators about his plans to handle specific investigations, like the Hunter Biden investigation

Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden's attorney general nominee, was grilled by  Republican senators during Monday's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the hearing continued Tuesday as outside witnesses testify.

Meanwhile, Biden is standing behind a pair of Cabinet picks facing uphill battles — including Neera Tanden, his nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget, and Xavier Becerra, his pick for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services — as a growing number of senators have vowed to oppose their confirmations.

On Monday, Garland dodged questions about the Durham investigation into the Trump-Russia probe origins, transgender athletes in high school sports, and whether crossing the border illegally should be a criminal offense. 

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-MO, asked Garland whether he believes that illegally crossing the border should remain a crime.

FAST FACTS

    • Garland faced sustained questioning from senators about his plans to handle specific investigations, like the Hunter Biden investigation
    • Garland was also asked about allowing biologically male athletes who identify as transgender to compete in female athletic competitions. 

    Garland was also asked about allowing biologically male athletes who identify as transgender to compete in female athletic competitions. 

"I haven't thought about that question, I just haven't thought about that question," Garland said. "The president has made clear that we are a nation with borders, with national security, I don't know of a proposal to decriminalize but still make it unlawful to answer, I just haven't thought about it." 

Garland also defended Kristen Clarke, the attorney tapped to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division, during a heated exchange with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, at the hearing.

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