Grassley vows to block Trump nominees over watchdog firings

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The Hill

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, questions former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 3, 2020. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says he is blocking two Trump administration nominees until the White House provides adequate reasons for the termination of two inspectors general.

The Iowa senator, a longtime advocate for the watchdog role of inspectors general, pledged to block Senate consideration of Christopher Miller to be director of the National Counterterrorism Center and Marshall Billingslea to be undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, indefinitely.

Grassley has been seeking answers on President Donald Trump's recent firings of several inspectors general, including Michael Atkinson, inspector general for the intelligence community, and State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.

While the Constitution gives the president authority to hire and fire executive branch personnel, "Congress has made it clear that should the president find reason to fire an inspector general, there ought to be a good reason for it,'' Grassley said.