FILE PHOTO: U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) enters Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Jim Risch said on Thursday he had postponed consideration of Darrell Issa, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, to be director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
Risch, a Republican, said that consideration of President Donald Trump’s nominee Issa had been postponed after a short break in an acrimonious hearing of the Senate panel.
Senator Bob Menendez, the committee’s top Democrat, said the White House had blocked access for all committee members to what he described as potentially embarrassing information on Issa.
“There is information in his FBI background investigation that concerns me greatly and that I believe members may find problematic, potentially disqualifying for Senate confirmation,” Menendez said.
Menendez said he had been given access to the FBI file but that the White House had refused to make the information available to other members of the committee.
Menendez said Risch had scheduled the hearing despite the Trump administration’s refusal to provide answers about both Issa and Matthew Billingslea, Trump’s nominee to be undersecretary for civilian security, democracy, and human rights at the State Department.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Steve Orlofsky