Sen. Charles E. Grassley on Thursday escalated his confrontation with President Obama over the administration’s failure to answer questions about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure at the State Department, saying he would block more nominees to the agency.
Mr. Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, previously put a hold on one nominee, upped the ante with holds on 20 nominees for Foreign Service Officer positions.
“My objection is not intended to question the credentials of the individuals up for appointment,” said Mr. Grassley, Iowa Republican. “However, the department must recognize that it has an obligation to respond to congressional inquiries in a timely and reasonable manner.”
Since 2013, Mr. Grassley has been investigating both Mrs. Clinton’s controversial emails and the employment arrangement of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin had during her time with the department.
He said the the State Department has been largely unresponsive to his requests for documents and information.
“In addition to the multiple inquiries I’ve made that are still unanswered, I sent another letter to the State Department today and the Department has failed to confirm receipt, yet again,” Mr. Grassley said. “In addition, my staff placed multiple phone calls to Department personnel to inquire as to the status of the most recent letter. Department personnel have failed even to return phone calls.”
Earlier this week, Mr. Grassley 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.