Senators 'incredibly frustrated' over Trump officials' handling of refugee numbers
© Greg Nash

The top members of the Senate Judiciary Committee knocked the State Department on Wednesday, saying they hadn't been adequately consulted over President Trump's decision to slash refugee admission numbers.

"We are incredibly frustrated that the annual consultation for refugee admissions, which is required by law, was finalized just one day in advance," Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyArchivist rejects Democrats' demand for Kavanaugh documents Kavanaugh recommended against Clinton indictment in 1998: report Russian meddling on social media happens on both the right and left MORE (R-Iowa) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinArchivist rejects Democrats' demand for Kavanaugh documents Senate Judiciary announces Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing Latino legal group slams Kavanaugh MORE (D-Calif.) said in a joint statement.

They added that it is "simply unacceptable" to read media reports about the administration's decision before a meeting with Congress had been scheduled.

The senators noted that the meeting with the administration wasn't scheduled until Tuesday afternoon, after The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump would cap refugee admissions at 45,000, the lowest cap ever set for resettlement.

A meeting between Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonDems want GOP chairman to subpoena State Department over cyber docs Overnight Energy: Trump elephant trophy tweets blindsided staff | Execs of chemical plant that exploded during hurricane indicted | Interior to reverse pesticide ban at wildlife refuges Administration should use its leverage to get Egypt to improve its human rights record MORE and top lawmakers on the House and Senate Judiciary committees took place on Wednesday afternoon.

"Since August, our offices have made bipartisan requests to the State Department on this meeting. Congress and the law require real engagement on this important subject. An eleventh-hour meeting to check a legal box is not sufficient," Feinstein and Grassley said. 

The Trump administration officially informed Congress on Wednesday afternoon of its decision to slash refugee admissions to 45,000.

Wednesday's statement isn't the first time Grassley has knocked the Trump administration for sidelining requests for information from Congress.

Grassley lashed out at the Office of Legal Counsel earlier this year for issuing a guidance memo restricting the ability of most lawmakers to get answers to requests.

"[The opinion] falsely asserts that only requests from committees or their chairs are 'constitutionally authorized,' and relegates requests from non-Chairmen to the position of 'non-oversight' inquiries— whatever that means. This is nonsense," Grassley wrote in a letter to Trump at the time.

The memo came as Democrats, who do not hold committee chairmanships as the minority party in Congress, expressed growing frustration with the Trump administration over oversight requests, arguing that they were being ignored.