Democrats threaten subpoenas over White House security clearances for Kushner, others

Posted on: April 1st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Bill Chizek/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are intensifying their search for answers about White House security clearances, preparing a subpoena as soon as this week for the former White House personnel security director to testify before the committee.

The committee says it wants to talk to Carl Kline, who was reportedly involved in granting high-level security clearance to Jared Kushner and others against the recommendations of security specialists. Chairman Elijah Cummings says the White House has not been cooperative in the growing probe of clearances given to members of the Trump administration. The news was first reported by NBC News.

On Tuesday, Oversight Chairman Cummings is expected to hold a vote to issue these subpoenas.

In a new letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Cummings details an interview with White House whistleblower Tricia Newbold, who currently serves as the adjudications manager in the personnel security office. Newbold told the committee that “she and other career officials adjudicated denials of dozens of applications for security clearance applications that were later overturned,” according to the letter.

“As a result, she warned that security clearance applications for White House officials ‘were not always adjudicated in the best interest of national security,’” Cummings writes.

During Newbold’s interview she revealed to the committee she kept a working list starting in 2018 of White House employees who were denied security clearances, but then later overturned, according the committee letter. Cummings says her list grew to 25 individuals that include two current senior White House officials, along with other individuals including contractors.

“According to Ms. Newbold, these individuals had a wide range of serious disqualifying issues involving foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct,” Cummings wrote in a separate memo to all members of the committee.

Cummings also writes he is open to foregoing interviews with other White House officials if the White House produces documents related to a number of current and former White House employees, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

The White House has faced mounting questions for months about issues with security clearances for dozens of administration officials who were operating under temporary clearances well into 2018. Two of the president’s top aides, former White House staff secretary Rob Porter and personal aide John McEntee, departed the White House after flags were raised in their respective clearances.

The New York Times in February cited four sources who claim former chief of staff John Kelly said President Donald Trump ordered him to get a top-level security clearance for his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, approved. ABC News has not independently confirmed the report, which cites a memo written by Kelly.

Trump told the Times earlier this year he “was never involved in his [Jared’s] security” clearance. In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Abby Hunstman in February, Ivanka Trump said ” the president had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband’s clearance, zero.”

The White House has previously denied anything improper about the security clearance process.

Cummings said he launched the investigation in January “in response to grave breaches of national security at the highest levels of the Trump Administration.”

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