Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley on Monday praised whistleblowers while discussing government oversight at the Heritage Foundation.
“It’s our job to protect and empower whistleblowers,” Mr. Grassley, Iowa Republican, said during the event at the Washington think tank, which was slated as a discussion on the importance of government oversight.
Mr. Grassley touched on some of the recent issues Congress has been experiencing in trying to carry out this responsibility, including the Justice Department stalling House Republicans’ quest for documents relating to the Hillary Clinton email case and Russia probe.
“A committee often issues a subpoena only after it has attempted to get that information voluntarily and those efforts have failed,” he said of the process.
The Justice Department turned over some of the documents as recently as last week after a threat of contempt from members waiting to review the information. The House Intelligence and House Judiciary Committees both requested millions of documents from the Justice Department and FBI relating to surveillance of President Trump’s campaign during the election.
Mr. Grassley said that in his decades on Capitol Hill, nearly every nominee promises to be transparent, but he said that does not seem to hold true once they take office.
“Of course every nominee who comes into my office says they will answer my oversight request in a timely fashion,” he said. “But then they get confirmed and they must get amnesia because all too often I don’t hear back from them as quickly as I should. Sometimes I don’t hear back at all.”
In addition to protecting whistleblowers, Mr. Grassley faced questions about the ongoing investigation into Mr. Trump’s campaign and allegations of collusion with the Russia government.
The case has brought up questions about the limits of presidential pardon power, as Mr. Trump alluded to the possibility of pardoning himself if necessary in a tweet earlier this month.
“As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!” Mr. Trump tweeted.
“If were president of the United States and somebody said I had the power to pardon myself, I’d get a new lawyer,” Mr. Grassley said.