Sen. Chuck Grassley speaks on the Senate floor on March 20, 2020. (Screen shot from video provided by Grassley’s office)
Saying he still doesn’t agree with the president’s decision to fire two government watchdogs, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has lifted the holds he placed on two Trump nominees.
“Although I do not agree with the president’s stated reasons for removing (the inspectors general), my objection to these nominees was designed to prompt compliance with the IG Reform Act, which the president has now done,” Grassley said in a statement issued Friday.
Grassley had previously said he would block two of Trump’s nominees until the president provided his rationale for firing State Department Inspector General Steve Linick and Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.
In a statement published earlier this week, Grassley said that he had received letters from the White House that “fulfill the president’s requirement to provide Congress reasons for the removal” of the inspectors general.
Grassley had been blocking the nominations of Marshall Billingslea as the State Department’s undersecretary for arms control and international security and Christopher Miller as director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
The president had fired Linick May 15 on a recommendation from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was at the center of two investigations then being conducted by Linick’s office.
In April, Trump fired Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community who flagged the Ukraine whistleblower complaint that led to Trump’s impeachment in the House.
Trump has said he lost “confidence” in Linick and Atkinson, without elaborating. The State Department has indicated the reasons for firing Linick involve the leak of information to a news reporter.
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