Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Wednesday slammed Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for using a rare procedure to block a classified briefing on the Obama administration’s steps to “unmask” members of the Trump campaign and transition teams.
Committee members told The Washington Times they planned to use the session with intelligence officials to find out how agencies identified Americans whose communications with foreigners outside the United States were monitored.
“Today, the Judiciary Committee was set to hear from senior intelligence officials about highly sensitive intelligence gathering authorities that will soon require action from Congress,” Grassley, the Iowa Republican, said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“It’s disturbing and reckless for the minority leader to block the briefing,” he added, referring to the New York Democrat. “We’ve seen too many recent reminders of how unsafe the world is today.
“This is no time to play politics with our national security,” Grassley said.
— Senate Judiciary (@senjudiciary) June 28, 2017
Under Senate rules, Schumer can object to committees holding meetings beyond the first two hours after the Senate’s day begins.
No new date for the briefing had been scheduled.
Last week, Grassley rebuked Schumer twice for using the same tactic to block two Judiciary Committee actions: a hearing on Russian involvement in last year’s presidential election and a session concerning legislation to block human trafficking.
“The federal government’s primary responsibility is to protect the American people, so it’s unbelievable that the minority leader would block senators from both parties from holding a national security briefing to examine our nation’s most critical tools to protect the homeland,” Grassley said.