The US Senate Judiciary Committee is to vote on President Donald Trump’s choice for attorney general, Jeff Sessions.
A conservative senator and early backer of Mr Trump, Mr Sessions has been dogged by allegations of racism which overshadowed his confirmation hearings.
The vote comes a day after the president dismissed Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who questioned the legality of his immigration directive.
It imposes a temporary travel ban on seven, mainly-Muslim countries.
Committee chairman Senator Chuck Grassley began the meeting by saying that neither Mr Sessions nor any of his current staff, “had a role in formulating or drafting the executive orders” – including the controversial travel ban.
Several Democratic Senators have spoken in the committee meeting, which is now under way, to say that they intend to vote against the Alabama Senator.
If Mr Sessions’ nomination is approved by the judiciary committee, the full Senate – where Republicans hold a 52-48 majority – is expected to vote on it by the end of the week.