Biden nominates HHS official targeted by Trump

President BidenJoe BidenUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Schumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden's State picks GOP Rep. Cawthorn likens vaccine mandates to 'modern-day segregation' MORE nominated Health and Human Services (HHS) official Christi Grimm on Friday to become the department’s permanent inspector general.

Grimm, who has been serving as acting HHS inspector general since early 2020, was tapped to fill the role on a permanent basis after being targeted by former President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE last year.

Trump went after Grimm in April 2020 over a report that highlighted supply shortages in hospitals early in the COVID-19 pandemic, and sought to replace her atop the watchdog office.

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Her office concluded in the report that there were “severe” shortages of usable coronavirus tests and “widespread” shortfalls of protective equipment for workers.

The former president called the report “wrong” and “another Fake Dossier” in a tweet at the time, referring to allegations that his campaign had links to Russia.

About a month later, in an attempt to replace Grimm, Trump’s White House unveiled his pick for a permanent inspector general at HHS as then-assistant U.S. attorney Jason Weida. However, Weida was never confirmed to the top-ranking position by the Senate.

Grimm continued to serve as HHS principal deputy inspector general and has been performing the duties of the inspector general since January 2020, the White House said in a release.

She defended the watchdog's work following pushback last year, saying that independent investigators should complete their probes without undergoing political interference. 

"Anything that is done that could impair independence, I think, compromises the effectiveness of oversight of programs that are there to serve the American public," she said in front of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. 

The HHS watchdog is the largest federal inspector general office.

In Friday’s release, the White House described Grimm, who started working in the HHS Office of Inspector General in 1999, as “a crucial voice in guiding and informing key stakeholders,” including on the unaccompanied children program, COVID-19 response and health care technology.