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Grassley Foresees No Obstacles For AG Nominee, Disputes Issues With White House Turnover

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley says he doesn't anticipate any major obstacles for the president's nominee to be the next attorney general.

Iowa’s senior U.S. senator says he’s not troubled by turnover at a top job in the White House. A leading pick to be President Donald Trump’s next chief of staff has turned down the position. That’s after Trump announced John Kelly is leaving the post. 

The next chief of staff will be the third in the Trump Administration's first two years, which the Brookings Institution calls a record.

But Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says many administrations have staffing changes.

“These people work 24/7, 365 days a year," Grassley said. "You get worn out.”

But an analysis by Brookings shows the Trump White House does have more instability than previous administrations. According to the group, the turnover rate among key advisors in the executive office is two to three times the rate under other recent presidents.

NPR reported in March no other president going back 100 years has had more turnover among Cabinet secretaries this early in the administration. 

Grassley said he has no specific knowledge on what's next for Iowan Matthew Whitaker, who was named acting attorney general after the president forced out Jeff Sessions.

When it comes to filling another key post in Washington, Grassley says he doesn’t foresee any major roadblocks for the president’s new pick to be attorney general.

Trump has named William Barr as his pick to lead the Justice Department. Barr previously served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush from 1991-1993. During the investigation of theIran-contra affair, Bush consulted with Barr before issuing pardons to former Reagan administration officials for their part in an initiative to trade weapons for Iranian hostages. 

It’s not clear how Barr may handle the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. But based on current knowledge, Grassley says he doesn’t see any major obstacles for the nomination.

“He had an outstanding reputation as attorney general in the past. And I would expect him to be confirmed unless there’s something that’s really bad about something he’s done in the past twenty years," Grassley said. "I can’t think of anything…but then I haven’t kept in touch with him.”

Grassley expects the Senate will hold confirmation hearings on Barr in January or February.

Kate Payne was an Iowa City-based Reporter