Oversight Okays Subpoena To Former White House Security Clearance Official

Donald Trump and Jared Kushner appear at the White House in December 2018

Donald Trump and Jared Kushner appear at the White House in December 2018

A White House whistleblower has told members of Congress that Donald Trump's administration overturned more than two dozen denials for security clearances, often ignoring the guidance of intelligence officials.

According to the memo, Newbold and a first-line adjudicator denied "Official 1" security clearance after a background investigation revealed "significant disqualifying factors, including foreign influence, outside activities ('employment outside or businesses external to what your position at the EOP [Executive Office of the President] entails'), and personal conduct".

Speculation about Jared and Ivanka's security clearances has dogged Trump since well before the 2016 election, and has continued well into his presidency. Carl Kline, director of Trump's personnel security office, was said to have overruled these concerns.

Lowell could not say whether or not Kushner shared classified information but noted the president's son-in-law took screen shots of his WhatsApp messages and sent them to his official White House email account or to the National Security Council so they could be preserved, as required by the Presidential Records Act.

"I want it known that this is a systematic - it's an office issue, and we're not a political office, but these decisions were being continuously overrode [sic]". That denial was ultimately upheld, the committee says, and the individual is no longer at the White House.

Newbold, an 18-year veteran of the security clearance process who has served under both Republican and Democratic presidents, said she warned her superiors that clearances "were not always adjudicated in the best interest of national security". Trump has denied he had any involvement in the security clearance process.

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Republicans accused House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., of cherry-picking excerpts from Newbold's testimony to justify another partisan investigation into the Trump White House.

Ms Newbold told congressional investigators that in a third case she was pressured by Mr Kline to reverse a recommendation that the clearance application be rejected.

"I would not be doing a service to myself, my country, or my children if I sat back knowing that the issues that we have could impact national security", the letter quoted Ms Newbold as telling his committee.

Other government agencies, she said, questioned why the White House had so many individuals with interim SCI clearances.

"In light of the grave reports from this whistleblower - and the ongoing refusal of the White House to provide the information we need to conduct our investigation - the committee now plans to proceed with compulsory process and begin authorizing subpoenas, starting at tomorrow's business meeting", the Maryland Democrat wrote.

Attorney General William Barr issued a summary of Mueller's findings to Congress on March 24, saying the special counsel did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with Russian Federation. And White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is firing back, warning that House Democrats are playing a "dangerous game".

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