Former Congressman Darrell Issa has waited for a year for a Senate confirmation hearing as President Trump’s pick to run the US Trade and Development Agency.
Today was supposed to be The Day. Until the FBI background check got passed on to the Senate committee chairs. Now the hearing has been postponed.
My bet is that Issa will back out of the nomination so he can pursue his quest for Congressman Duncan Hunter’s seat. Meanwhile, here’s what we know…
- In front of Issa, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, pushed for the public hearing to turn to a private session in which every member on the panel could learn of confidential information that only he and chairman Jim Risch, an Idaho Republican, knew to save Issa from any “embarrassment or harm.”
- “There’s information in his FBI background investigation that concerns my greatly, and that I believe members may find problematic, and potentially disqualifying for Senate confirmation,” Menendez said. “I firmly believe that every member of this committee should have the opportunity to review that information.”
The former Congressman’s past run-ins with the law have been public knowledge for years, so it’s likely this concerns something not previously disclosed.
- In 1972, he and his older brother, William, were arrested for allegedly stealing a Maserati from a car dealership. The charges were dropped.
- In 1980, the two were charged with faking the theft of Issa’s Mercedes-Benz; again, the charges were dropped. In both cases, Issa blamed his brother.
- In 2011, the New Yorker reported that Issa had settled out of court with his then-insurance company over a 1982 warehouse fire claim that arson and insurance investigators found suspicious.
The White House has stonewalled the committee’s request for additional information concerning the matters discussed in the background check.
From Roll Call:
- Committee Chairman Jim Risch, R-Idaho, had decided to hold confirmation hearings for two nominees whose FBI background files contained classified and potentially disqualifying information that the White House declined to release to anyone other than Risch and ranking Democrat Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey…
- …Risch had joined Menendez in sending a letter earlier this year asking the White House to release the FBI background investigation into Issa, who in his past role as chairman of the House Oversight Committee was a relentless interrogator of Obama administration officials. But their joint letter received no response, according to Menendez.
- “The White House has simply ignored the joint request of the chairman and the ranking member of this committee for additional information on an executive branch nominee,” Menendez said.