Washington (CNN) - Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said Thursday he will block two of President Donald Trump's nominees from moving forward in the confirmation process until the administration provides "adequate reasons" for firing the inspectors general of the intelligence community and State Department.
The move marks an escalation by Grassley after White House counsel Pat Cipollone chose not to explain why Trump had removed the two inspectors general last month, instead emphasizing the President's legal authority to do so.
Last month's letter from Cipollone, which Grassley swiftly blasted as having "failed to address" the congressional requirement that there "ought to be a good reason" for such dismissals, came in response to the Iowa senator's request that Trump explain why they had been ousted.
Now, the Iowa Republican says he will refuse to allow two of Trump's nominees to advance unless the White House provides details about why ICIG Michael Atkinson and State Department IG Steve Linick were removed earlier this year.
Michael Ho, the former Maple-Brown Abbott investment analyst who pleaded guilty to insider trading has been assisting the corporate regulator in its ongoing investigation into Big Un Ltd. Lawyers for Mr Ho, who appeared at the Downing Centre District Court on Thursday for a sentencing hearing, presented Justice Michael King with a letter of assistance from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission as they argued for leniency.
But Mr Sharrif conceded this was "not a fair characterisation" and that such cases were "often complex" suggesting Mr Ho's evidence was likely to aid authorities in bringing charges against individuals involved in Big Un. Mr Ho's statements included admissions of receiving information verbally, which Mr McHugh argued would have made it difficult for ASIC to determine "beyond doubt" that he had committed insider trading offences.