Trump Cabinet picks undergo mock Senate hearings

Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees have spent much of the weekend locked in grueling mock hearings to prepare them for the scrutiny they will face before Congress.

The president-elect nominates his Cabinet members, but many of the positions require Senate approval, which can involve intense and varying questions.

The sessions to prepare the nominees are known as "murder boards" in which transition team members grill the prospective Cabinet members on all sorts of issues. The mock hearings often include harsh environments, including bright lights designed to mimic the camera-packed rooms they will be held in.

The mock hearings are similar to the debate prep that presidential candidates go through, but the rules are different for these Senate confirmation hearings.

While debate moderators typically attempt to be unbiased, many senators -- especially from an opposing party -- will aim to trick a nominee into making a fatal misstep.

RELATED: Trump's official picks for cabinet and administration positions

Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions
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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions

Counselor to the President: Kellyanne Conway

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Veterans Affairs Secretary: David Shulkin

(Photo credit DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Energy secretary: Rick Perry

(Photo credit KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson

 REUTERS/Daniel Kramer

Secretary of Defense: Retired Marine General James Mattis

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Chief of staff: Reince Priebus

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief strategist: Steve Bannon


Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Director of the CIA: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Deputy national security adviser: K.T. McFarland

(Photo by Michael Schwartz/Getty Images)

White House counsel: Donald McGahn

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Ambassador to the United Nations: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

(Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Education secretary: Betsy DeVos

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Homeland security secretary: General John Kelly

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Housing and urban development secretary: Ben Carson

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Health and human services secretary: Tom Price

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Department of Homeland Security: Retired General John Kelly

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Secretary of agriculture: Sonny Perdue

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

Given the number of the nominees who are millionaires or billionaires, their financial interests could be a prime target for questioning. Many of Trump's picks have never served in government either, which could prompt questions about inexperience and fitness for the jobs.

While most nominees tend to field the toughest questions from members of the opposing party, some Republicans expressed concerns over some of Trump's picks, perhaps most notably Rex Tillerson. Trump's nominee for secretary of state has reportedly been doing hearing prep since mid-December.

Part of the concern over Tillerson being secretary of state is his relationship with Russian leaders when he was CEO of Exxon Mobil.

Trump's nominees need a simple majority to be confirmed. Republicans currently hold 52 of the 100 seats in the Senate, but three Republican senators have questioned whether he is the right fit for the job, signaling the possibility he may not clear the threshold.

At least seven confirmation hearings are scheduled to take place this week.

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