Biden’s Nominees Face the Senate The bulk of President-elect Joe Biden’s national security cabinet picks go before U.S. Senate committees today to face confirmation hearings a day before Biden is sworn in—and a contentious impeachment trial begins.
Antony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, is set to face a heated confirmation hearing. He is expected to be pressed by Democratic and Republican lawmakers on a wide range of foreign policy issues including Iran, China, North Korea, and the United States’ global response to the coronavirus pandemic. (There’s unlikely to be any time to question him on his musical abilities, however). WestExec questions. Blinken is also sure to face questions on WestExec Advisors, an international consulting firm he co-founded in 2017.
The company and its clients, which include foreign governments, have come under scrutiny in recent months given how many members of the consulting firm are expected to join the Biden administration.
“With Blinken, the committee needs clear visibility on any potential conflicts of interest to ensure the committee can fulfill its oversight responsibilities of the State Department and how U.S. foreign policy decisions may be made.
Blinken has been asked to provide additional clarifying information in regards to his role at WestExec and what countries he and his organization were advising their clients on,” a Republican Senate aide told Foreign Policy.
Senate aides on both sides of the aisle have told FP that Blinken’s past business ties are not likely to be a deal breaker, but they expect clear answers from him on how he will head off potential conflicts of interest. “Even with a democratic majority, in a 50-50 Senate, Biden’s nominees will need Republican support,” the aide said.