Grassley Refuses To Confirm DOJ Nom Until He Gets Full Briefing On Russia

J. Scott Applewhite

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is openly frustrated with the Trump administration dragging its feet on fully briefing Congress on its various Russia investigations.

This week, he put his foot down, refusing to move forward on the backlog of confirmation votes before his committee until FBI Director James Comey tells the committee what is going on.

"He was supposed to get back to us and we still haven't heard anything," Grassley vented to reporters in the basement of the Capitol Tuesday night. "So here's what we've done: the Justice Department would like to get their deputy out of committee just as soon as they can. But I will not schedule a hearing on the Deputy Attorney General [Rod Rosenstein] until we get a briefing from Comey."

Other members of the Judiciary Committee are speaking out as well, demanding information about the intelligence community's probes into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and contact with Michael Flynn and other members of the Trump campaign. The committee has also written to the FBI requesting evidence to back up President Trump's seemingly baseless allegations that former President Obama wiretapped and surveilled him during the campaign. So far, they have received nothing.

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) told reporters Tuesday that he will exercise his subpoena powers if the committee continues to be stonewalled.

"We have jurisdiction over the FBI," he said. "It wasn't a complicated letter. This is not an unreasonable request. I expect some kind of reply."


Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.