“All I Want Is A Reason”: Grassley Holds Up Trump Nominees Until He Gets Answers On IG Firings

Chuck_Grassley_officialI previously criticized the additional firings of Inspectors General by President Donald Trump and applauded Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, for his pledge to get answers on the basis for the terminations.  On Thursday, Grassley used one of the few tools in his position to force oversight: he held up two Trump nominees until he receives answers to these important inquiries. It is the fulfillment of the constitutional role of the Congress to exercise oversight authority and the action against a president of his own party inures to the great credit of Grassley.

Grassley tweeted: “Im placing holds on 2 Trump Admin noms until I get reasons 4firing 2 agency watchdogs as required by law Not 1st time ive raised alarm when admins flout IG protection law Obama did same& got same earfull from me All I want is a reason 4 firing these ppl CHECKS&BALANCES.”

ChuckGrassley

@ChuckGrassley

Im placing holds on 2 Trump Admin noms until I get reasons 4firing 2 agency watchdogs as required by law Not 1st time ive raised alarm when admins flout IG protection law Obama did same& got same earfull from me All I want is a reason 4 firing these ppl CHECKS&BALANCES

The tweet proved two things: first, that there is still someone who is more prone to typos than I am; second that there remain senators who believe in their duty to exercise oversight even of a president of their own party.
As discussed earlier, President Trump has unleashed an unprecedented attack on the IG system with a series of firings, including State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, acting Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General Christi Grimm, acting Transportation Department Inspector General Mitch Behm, and Pentagon official Glenn Fine.
Grassley has repeatedly asked for explanations but has been stonewalled.

Now he is holding up the confirmations of Christopher C. Miller to be the director of the National Counterterrorism Center and Marshall Billingslea to be the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. Both positions are related to terminated Inspectors General.

This is an important fight for Congress to win. The Inspector General system is a critical bulwark against corruption and abuse in the Executive Branch.  The terminations are highly concerning for that reason but the failure to respond to a congressional inquiry is even more so.  This is a fight worthy of the Senate.

29 thoughts on ““All I Want Is A Reason”: Grassley Holds Up Trump Nominees Until He Gets Answers On IG Firings”

  1. Respect to Grassley for not just rolling over like other committee heads. I’m going to guess he prays every night not to become the abomination that Lindsey Graham has.

  2. YES, to Grassley’s request for reasons.
    Yes to “oversight”, but there was LOTS of corruption and abuse under Obama, especially Sec of State Clinton’s illegal email server and the obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence done by FBI & DOJ. i believe there were many other problems.

    Trump & White House should specify those concerns and issues in writing. So, ya, the Dems will disagree blah blah blah, but they need to make sense to other Reps.

  3. Uh, no, the role of the IG is NOT to be “a bulwark against corruption and abuse in the Executive Branch.” The role of the Inspector General is to ensure that actions are conducted in compliance with regulations and established policies, that’s all.

  4. Withholding the Senate confirmation process unless the President answers questions to an unrelated oversight issue? Sounds like a Quid Pro Quo to me.

    1. A quid pro quo is not necessarily corrupt or wrong. Grassley is entirely within his authority. I would much rather see Senators use their power as Grassley did, to extract information or compromise than to have the Article 2 branch subjugated by the Article 1 branch.

      The exercise of hegemony over he Executive is what led to the first Presidential impeachment where a President refused to comply with an unconstitutional law.

      1. I appreciate the comment ti. My point was whether Grassley’s demand for reasons has an appropriate connection to the confirmation process.

  5. The Inspector General system is a critical bulwark against corruption and abuse in the Executive Branch.

    Critical bulwark you say. Hmm? Why is an IG system necessary when we have a Constitution, Bill of Rights, Oaths and mountains of laws? Oh, that’s right, our human nature doesn’t care about titles or politics. How critical is this system if our FBI/DOJ/IC were able to perpetuate from the highest levels, a fraudulent investigation against President Trump and his administration? Where was the IG’s in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019? Who’s the IG watching this critical bulwark system? Who is the similar IG for Congress? The civically illiterate People? How’s that working out for us?

      1. How about this: what would be the motivation for any city to defund or outright terminate their police force? To promote equal justice? To ensure domestic tranquility? Or to force the hand of governors and/or the President to deploy the military in our communities? How about those optics for the civically ignorant in an election year?

  6. The Inspector General system is a critical bulwark against corruption and abuse in the Executive Branch.

    The evidence suggests its completely toothless because the offices are staffed with people who go back to work in other segments of the bureaucracy. At least one of these IGs appears to have been a political gamesman on the order of the characters who testified during the shampeachment.

    1. The IG works for the Executive. The Congress has its own oversight responsibility and power.

      Explain to me how there can be a part of the Executive not answerable to the Chief Executive? The Congress has the power to impeach, investigate, withhold funding, and doing things like Grassley did.

      You can’t protect the Constitution by violating it.

  7. As Rosenstein testified, the IG was HIS internal affairs designee. I think the Congress has oversight but not primacy over the Executive. The Congress can hold hearings and ask for accountability but it seems they overstep when they expect to be able to control the dismissal or retention of any Executive Branch appointee or employee.
    That said, Grassley is well within his rights to ask questions but if Trump answers “because I felt like it”, I see no grounds for Senate action. The only recourse is if the House impeaches and good luck with that.

      1. It’s in the Statutes but that doesn’t necessarily make it the Law. The Logan Act is on the books but I challenge you to find a scholar who will tell you it is constitutionally valid.
        Other items in the Law included things like the Fugitive Slave Act.

        If all that was required for legality was the enactment of a law we would not need a Constitution.

  8. Why don’t Democrats ever break rank like this? It’s always Republicans (or RINOs), even if it hurts the entire cause. I’m not saying that this time Grassley shouldn’t have done this, but rather, wondering why only Republicans seem to have a moral compass independent of their party.

    1. You have a false perception DV. Look up votes in Congress before Obama on major legislation and there was none of this party line voting. W got substantial Democratic votes on his major initiatives. When Obama got in, the GOP decided to freeze their support and went lock step and blew up the record on filibusters – exponentially. Obama also faced Democratic opposition on the TPP and various foreign policy initiatives.

    1. Ditto Grassley is one of the very few who is not a DINO Socialist and one who along with citizens like Tulsi Gabbard is capable of forming a real second party as Constitutional Democrats

      So our job is reject and eject the foreign ideolgists in one of the three brands of Marxist Socialism including RINOs but including Pelosi and Schumer Cartel.

      1. third parties do not work they just siphon off votes. the two party system is what we are stuck with indefinitely

        what you do if you want to be effective, is form a faction inside a party, like the riot-praising freaks have formed inside the Democratic party which now apparently calls their shots.

  9. Jonathan Turley, if you support this, then mark my words, your political career is finished.

  10. President Trump has the right to fire all IG’s if he should choose to do so. I’ll bet you didn’t question Obama’s firing of 40-50 IG’s. Did you?
    Iowa, please vote this man out of office. He is not on our side.
    Just another RINO obstructionist.
    Grassley is a sleeper, Not a keeper!

    1. Obama fired 1 IG and presented specific reason to congress in less than a week as required by law. Trump has yet to comply with this requirement..

      You’re confusing IG’s who are intended to be independent with US Attorneys whose replacement with a new President is absolutely SOP. They are political appointees and know it and fully expect to be replaced with a new administration.

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