Senate

GOP senator blocking Trump nominee until he gets answers from DOJ

Greg Nash
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is warning that he will block a Department of Justice nominee until the department responds to his oversight requests.
 
Grassley said during a Judiciary Committee business meeting on Thursday that the panel would not vote on Stephen Boyd’s nomination to be assistant attorney general for legislative affairs because the Justice Department hasn’t responded to more than a dozen letters. 
 
“The department needs to improve its communications with the committee members and staff. It needs to be more serious about answering the mail and questions from Congress,” Grassley said, explaining why the committee wasn’t going to vote on Boyd’s nomination even though it was on the meeting’s agenda. 
 
Grassley added that the Obama administration was a “little worse” about not responding to his letters, but “with a new administration, I want to do something about it. I hope that we will resolve these outstanding letter responses soon.” 
 
{mosads}Grassley noted that at the time of Boyd’s confirmation hearing he had 15 outstanding letters, with some responses due more than six months ago. 
 
“Second, the department has refused — now, can you believe this — to make Mr. Boyd available for a conversation with the committee’s oversight and investigations staff,” he said. 
 
Grassley has a penchant for holding up nominees in an effort to garner responses from the executive branch. 
 
He previously warned that he would hold up Rod Rosenstein’s nomination to be deputy attorney general until then-FBI Director James Comey briefed he and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). 
 
At one point during the Obama administration, he had a hold on roughly two dozen State Department nominees to push the department to respond to his letters on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top aides. 
 
Grassley added on Thursday that when he met with then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as part of his nomination to be attorney general, he showed him a folder of letters that he was still waiting to hear back from the Justice Department on. 
 
“That’s not a Republican or a Democratic thing, that’s just my wanting my letters answered,” Grassley said. 
 
Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, told Grassley during the meeting that “this side admires your true grit, and I think we support you fully in what you’re doing.”

Grassley ripped the Trump administration in a letter late last week for ignoring oversight requests from rank-and-file senators, calling the policy “nonsense.”  

Grassley, in the letter, asked Trump to reverse an Office of Legal Counsel opinion that prioritized requests from committee chairmen, all of whom are Republicans.

Tags Chuck Grassley Dianne Feinstein Hillary Clinton Jeff Sessions

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