Reid rips Grassley over Clinton-Abedin probe
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Republicans are headed for a disappointing end to their year in power Obama's HHS secretary could testify in Menendez trial MORE (D-Nev.) is demanding that Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans jockey for position on immigration House clears bill to combat crimes against elderly Grassley: DACA deal wouldn't need border wall funding MORE drop his hold on dozens of State Department nominations, arguing the Iowa Republican is wasting money to try to bring down Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support MORE's presidential campaign.

"Why are nonpartisan public service positions being used as political pawns, especially if they are being blocked just because Senator Grassley doesn't want Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States," Reid said from the Senate floor. "How much money will Republicans in Congress waste to try to bring down Hillary Clinton? We don't know all the numbers." 

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Grassley has blocked nearly two dozen nominations—including roughly 20 foreign service officers. He's cited a slow response from the administration over questions about Clinton's use of a private email server and other State Department programs. 
 
Reid called on Grassley to drop his objections, adding that it's "troubling" that the Iowa Republican, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, would block the nominations.
 
"He admits that he's blocking the promotion of these foreign service officers until he gets answers about Secretary Hillary Clinton's emails and a woman by name of Huma Abedin," he said, referring to the longtime Clinton aide. 
 
Grassley fired back at Reid, criticizing the Nevada Democrat for suggesting that the more than 600 Foreign Service promotions, which the Senate received last month, could be used as "political pawns."
 
“My hold is on 22 nominees, not 600," he said in a statement. "Ironically, if the State Department had answered my questions then, we probably wouldn’t be here today. ... Looking out for the public interest isn’t a waste of time, and I’ll keep at it regardless of misguided attacks on my motivations or mischaracterizations of my work."
 
Grassley has sent multiple letters to top administration officials, including FBI Director James Comey and Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryFor the sake of national security, Trump must honor the Iran deal Bernie Sanders’s 1960s worldview makes bad foreign policy DiCaprio: History will ‘vilify’ Trump for not fighting climate change MORE, to inquire about a thumb drive that holds copies of Clinton's private emails when she served as secretary of State, as well as a potential investigation into Abedin.
 
He and Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker to unveil bill banning gun bump stocks Senate Homeland Security chairman backs bump-stock ban after Las Vegas shootings MORE (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, have also tried to set up interviews with State Department officials who worked with Clinton and were responsible for overseeing her server. 
 
Reid added on Monday that Grassley is trying to "duplicate" the work of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
  
"The senior senator from Iowa always talks out here on the floor about the proper use of taxpayer resources. He should walk in his bathroom, look into the mirror and found out what he's doing about the proper use of taxpayer resources," he said. "How much taxpayer money is Senator Grassley wasting on this anti-Hillary Clinton campaign? …He should be willing to tell us about his committee resources that are being used." 
 
This story was updated at 6:27 p.m.