One of President Biden’s judicial nominees is stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee because the judge prosecuted an alleged Chinese spy, prompting at least one Senate Democrat to worry that this prosecution reflected “anti-Asian” racism, three Senate aides told Fox News Digital.
Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, is stalling the confirmation process for attorney Casey Arrowood, a former Obama-era prosecutor at the Justice Department and Biden’s nominee for U.S. attorney to the Eastern District of Tennessee, the aides said. Arrowood led the prosecution of a case as part of the Trump-era “China Initiative” at the DOJ, which was disbanded earlier this year.
Hirono’s office declined to comment to Fox News Digital on the senator’s alleged opposition to Arrowood, as did a spokesperson for Democrats on the committee. But Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who backs the nomination, said she is also aware that opposition from the Democrat side of the aisle is what is stalling it.
Blackburn said it is a “shame” that Democrats are stonewalling Arrowood’s “well-qualified” appointment for “prosecuting a potential CCP spy.”
“Mr. Arrowood has put his life on the line to protect and defend our country,” Blackburn said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “It is a shame that some Senate Democrats now want to disqualify him for prosecuting a potential CCP spy at UT.”
“Communist China is the biggest threat facing our country, and Mr. Arrowood was correct in seeking to bring a person accused of spying to justice. Protecting the United States against potential threats, foreign and domestic, should never be a crime or disqualify an individual for a Senate-confirmed position,” Blackburn said.
Arrowood previously served in the Obama Justice Department’s National Security Division and received several awards during Attorney General Eric Holder’s tenure. He also served as captain in the Army and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2003.
Biden nominated Arrowood in July. According to the Senate aides, Hirono is stalling the voting process of the Senate Judiciary Committee to run the clock out on Arrowood’s nomination, which expires at the end of this Congress.
If the nomination remains stuck, Biden would have to chose whether to renominate Arrowood or choose a different candidate.
Arrowood led the prosecution of a university professor, Anming Hu, whom the government alleged failed to disclose that he was also a professor at the Beijing University of Technology in China while receiving funds from NASA.
Federal law prohibits NASA from using federally appropriated funds on projects in collaboration with China or Chinese universities.
The case was part of the Justice Department’s Trump-era “China Initiative,” which sought to identify and prosecute “those engaged in trade secret theft, hacking and economic espionage,” among other things. In February, Biden ended the initiative countering China amid complaints about bias.
However, Biden’s DOJ continued to pursue the case against the Tennessee professor. A federal judge acquitted Hu after a jury couldn’t make a unanimous decision.
Under Biden, the Justice Department reauthorized continued prosecution of the case, which a judge later rejected on a technicality.