Washington, D.C. (KGTV) - A bombshell surprise in the form of a mystery allegation led to the postponement for Darrell Issa's confirmation to serve in the Trump administration. The unusual machinations at Thursday's hearing in the Senate could derail the nomination and push Issa to run for Congress, instead.
The scheduled hearing came one year to the day after President Donald Trump nominated Issa, a former nine-term congressman serving parts of San Diego and Orange County, to run the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. But as the hearing began, ranking Democrat Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) moved that the hearing be held in private. "There's information in his FBI background investigation that concerns me 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." He went on to suggest that holding the hearing in public could bring embarrassment or harm to Issa.
Chairman James Risch (R-Idaho) initially suggested continuing in public, but then left the room for a brief conference with Menendez and Issa. When the senators returned, Issa was not with them. Risch revealed his decision to postpone the confirmation hearing indefinitely. Risch later told reporters he had seen nothing in Issa's FBI file that he found disqualifying.
Afterward, in an interview with CNN, Issa suggested that Menendez was simply trying to defeat his nomination out of politics and that there is nothing in the background check that hasn't been previously reported in the media. "Senator Menendez has only brought up — and perhaps it's anecdotal but it's what he chose to bring up — my being disciplined for false ID when I was 17," Issa said."I was a Boy Scout, but I wasn't the perfect Boy Scout, so to speak, as a young man," Issa added. "I've dealt with that for 20 years in public life."
Previously reported brushes with trouble when Issa was young include a guilty plea to carrying a concealed weapon, an arrest for car theft (the charge was later dropped) and a poor record for his service in the Army.
Issa has reportedly said that if he is not confirmed soon, he will run for a return to Congress, challenging fellow Republican in the 50th District. While Issa has launched an exploratory committee, he told the Los Angeles Times Thursday he needs more time before making an official decision.