A top Republican senator announced Wednesday he will block one of President Obama’s State Department nominees until the administration does a better job of answering questions surrounding former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has been investigating both Mrs. Clinton’s controversial emails and the employment arrangement top Clinton aide Huma Abedin had during her time with the department — but said he’s having trouble getting answers from the administration.
He filed a notice with fellow senators saying he will place a “hold” on David Malcolm Robinson, who is Mr. Obama’s pick to be assistant secretary for conflict stabilization operations. Mr. Grassley said the hold has nothing to do with Mr. Robinson’s qualifications, and is intended strictly to send a message to the administration to drop its stonewalling.
“These actions illustrate a pattern of conduct that clearly demonstrates a lack of cooperation and bad faith in its interaction with Congress,” Mr. Grassley said in a statement.
The State Department said it has been overwhelmed with requests stemming from Mrs. Clinton’s controversial time as secretary.
Most notably, the department is struggling to comply with a court order that it release Mrs. Clinton’s emails, which she belatedly returned to the government nearly two years after she left office.
SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin emerges as potential liability in 2016 bid
But Mr. Grassley said the department has also been reluctant to provide him information about the work arrangement of Ms. Abedin, who has been a top aide to Mrs. Clinton for years, and who was approved to work at both the State Department and a private consulting firm, Teneo, at the same time.
Last week Mr. Grassley said an internal department audit found evidence Ms. Abedin improperly collected paid leave from the State Department.
Ms. Abedin’s lawyer called the audit “fundamentally flawed” and blamed the State Department for “record keeping issues.”