GOP senator abandons principles to be lapdog for Trump's SCOTUS nominee


Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley abandons his beliefs in the Senate's constitutional duty to advise and consent, and chooses to carry water for Trump instead.

After a long career of independence, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is now just another Republican lawmaker abandoning long-held principles in order to carry water for Trump.

Grassley is the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which holds confirmation hearings on judicial nominees.

Yet despite this important position — and despite his history of doing the opposite — Grassley is now choosing to abdicate the Senate's constitutional obligation to conduct proper oversight before giving its advice and consent on Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

Senate Democrats are requesting to see all of Kavanaugh's documents from his time in the George W. Bush White House, where he spent time as both an associate White House counsel and as staff secretary for Bush.

Republicans, including Grassley, are refusing to join Democrats in their request — even though Republicans made the same request of previous Supreme Court nominees.

The Washington Post reports that Grassley asked for only Kavanaugh's documents from his time as associate White House counsel, but not all documents related to his time as staff secretary.

When the National Archives recently denied the request from Senate Democrats to provide documents about Kavanaugh, Grassley did not speak out. Instead, he decided to move ahead with a partisan request for only the documents Republicans want.

Yet when President Obama nominated Elana Kagan, Grassley took to the Senate floor to demand all of Kagan's documents from her time working in the Clinton White House, "in order for the Senate to fulfill its constitutional responsibility of advice and consent."

When Trump nominated Kavanaugh — an extremist hostile to Obamacare, workers' rights, and women's reproductive rights — Grassley abandoned his usual ideals to kowtow to Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Grassley's abdication of the Senate's proper constitutional role is a striking departure from his previous efforts holding administrations of both parties accountable.

In 1984, a younger Grassley cited President Reagan's attorney general for contempt of Congress after he declined to turn over documents Grassley requested.

In subsequent decades, Grassley routinely held up presidential nominees for similar reasons.

In 2010, Grassley held up several of President Obama's Treasury Department nominees because of lack of documents provided to the Finance Committee, on which Grassley served as the senior Republican.

As recently as June 2017, Grassley held up the nomination of a Trump Department of Justice appointee until he received documents he wanted. A month before that, Grassley delayed the nomination hearing of a different DOJ nominee over missing ethics paperwork.

And Grassley strenuously objected when Trump's DOJ issued an opinion last year that agencies can ignore information requests from lawmakers who aren't committee chairs.

"It's just wrong. It violates the Constitution," said Grassley — sticking up for his colleagues who aren't committee chairs, even though he is one.

When it comes to choosing between upholding the Constitution and ramming through Trump's extremist Supreme Court nominee, Grassley seems to have picked his side.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.