Issa's Senate confirmation hearing delayed over concerns about background check

Former Rep. Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaDuncan Hunter to plead guilty to campaign finance violations Why the GOP march of mad hatters poses a threat to our Democracy Elijah Cummings, native son of Baltimore, gets emotional send-off from Democratic luminaries MORE’s (R-Calif.) Senate confirmation hearing to become the director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency was postponed on Thursday after Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSaagar Enjeti says Corbyn's defeat in UK election represents 'dire warning' for Democrats Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Lankford to be named next Senate Ethics chairman MORE (D-N.J.), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member, raised concerns over a background check.

Menendez said background information he and committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-Idaho) had requested from the White House hasn't yet been provided and said the committee should have access to any potentially disqualifying information. 

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“We simply do not have the information we need to make informed decisions. With regard to Mr. Issa, as you know, there is information in his FBI background investigation that concerns me greatly, and that I believe members may find problematic, and potentially disqualifying for Senate confirmation. I firmly believe that every member on this committee should have the opportunity to review that information,” he said. 

The New Jersey Democrat added that Risch has previously vowed to treat hearings like a trial, adding he doesn’t believe they were meeting that standard. 

Menendez said there was “ample precedent” for delaying the hearing, calling on Risch to join him in pushing the White House to provide the information they requested.

"So let that sink in for a moment: The White House simply has ignored the joint request of the chairman and the ranking member of this committee for additional information on an executive branch nominee, yet here we are holding a hearing for that very nominee," Menendez said.

Menendez pushed to go into a private session to bring up his concerns, filing a motion that ultimately failed. Risch then argued Issa, who was previously chairman of what was at the time called the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, accepted the nomination and should be able to answer the questions publicly. The Idaho Republican then announced the hearing would be pushed back.

“We’re going to get this file open, so all of you have the ability to see that file,” he said.

Issa was nominated by President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE in September 2018, but the confirmation hearing remained in limbo until recent weeks.  

Issa is also considering a bid for embattled Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterHouse ethics watchdog finds 'substantial' evidence of financial misuse by Hunter Duncan Hunter announces plan to resign The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached MORE’s (R-Calif.) seat in the event he is not confirmed, having formed an exploratory committee in August. 

The Hill has reached out to Issa for comment.