House committee chairman warns of subpoenas in White House security clearance probe

Posted April 07, 2019

Jared Kushner, a White House adviser and President Donald Trump's son-in-law, defended his security clearance Monday, saying all the accusations against him during the past two years have turned out to be false.

The controversy involves a long-serving White House bureaucrat named Tricia Newbold.

In his nine-page response memo, Jordan said Cummings had "cherry-picked" excerpts of Newbold's nine-hour interview, and that the 25 examples of overruled recommendations she cited include nonpolitical officials such as a Government Services Administration custodian. She said she was concerned that many of her determinations that employees were ineligible for security clearances had been overturned outside of the normal process.

She added that rejections occurred due to a variety of reasons, including "foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct".

Director of Personnel Security Carl Kline, who Ms Newbold claims reversed her rejections, is on the list of officials that Democrats plan to compel to testify.

Kushner has reportedly carried on chatting with the crown prince informally, offering advice on how to deal with the uproar, the New York Times has reported. When Official 1 applied for an even higher level of clearance, Newbold said that another agency contacted her to determine "how we rendered a favorable adjudication", an inquiry she said reflected the agency's "serious concerns".

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"The kinds of concerns that she mentioned are very serious", he said.

Two sources familiar with the information obtained by the Oversight Committee said two of those three senior officials are Ivanka Trump and Kushner, her husband. "I had extensive holdings - I disclosed all my holdings to the Office of Government Ethics", he explained.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Mark Warner, D-Virginia, introduced bipartisan legislation last month created to "protect the integrity of the security clearance process and ensure that it can not be abused for political purposes".

Of course it is hard not to savor the irony in a White House whistleblower's claim that the Trump administration improperly granted security clearances to more than two dozen individuals.

Brooke Rollins, a senior staffer at the White House Office of American Innovation, has also played a role in the meetings, a meeting attendee said.

"She raised her concerns inside the White House ... and they targeted her for retaliation", Cummings said.

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The committee move ramps up pressure on the White House over its handling of security clearances, an issue that came into public view a year ago with the revelation that dozens of staffers had temporary approvals to access sensitive government information while they awaited clearance approval.

And when she pressed the issues, Kline and others retaliated against her, she said, including suspending her without pay for two weeks in early February.

"I want it known that this is a systematic. issue", she said.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler informed the administration on Monday that he intends to subpoena Special Counsel Robert Muller's full report on his investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

"What is next? Putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs?" she asked.

The GOP members of the committee called Cummings's decision to move forward with the investigation into Newbold's claims "reckless".

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