National Security

White House Tells Security Clearance Official to Ignore Subpoenas

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Various outlets recently reported that dozens of people employed by the White House received security clearance even though background checks turned up conflicts of interest, drug abuse, financial problems, and exposure to foreign influence.

In response to those reports, Congressional Democrats on the House Oversight Committee subpoenaed the former official in charge of granting security clearance to interview him, but the Trump White House has now told him not to comply.

After a day of tense negotiations, the White House late Monday told the former official, Carl Kline, who now works at the Defense Department, to not appear at Tuesday's deposition, contending that Democrats were seeking access to confidential information that should be off limits.

The move raises the prospect that the House Oversight Committee could seek to hold Kline in contempt, a step that Chairman Elijah Cummings warned Monday he would take. [...]

Michael Purpura, deputy counsel to Trump, argued that Cummings' subpoena of Kline "unconstitutionally encroaches on fundamental executive branch interests," according to a letter obtained by CNN.

Like Trump's lawsuit against Chairman Cummings aimed at squashing the subpoena of Trump's financial records from his accounting firm, I don't think this is going to hold up. I expect Kline will eventually appear in front of the Oversight Committee.

Investigating something like this is literally the constitutional duty of Congress, so the idea that this subpoena is "unconstitutional" does not pass the laugh test.

Granting security clearance to people you know to be at high risk of blackmail and possibly under the influence of foreign governments is a significant threat to national security and the Trump White House doesn't want anyone to know about it.

This has been today's episode of "What if Obama did it?"

  • Draxiar

    Sure…but let’s wait until 2020 rather than impeach his sorry ass.

  • muselet

    I’m not a fan of grand, theatrical gestures, but right about now it would do my flabby old heart good if the Oversight Committee were to send the Sergeant-at-Arms out to physically drag Carl Kline before the committee.

    Josh Marshall is right: the White House is engaged in massive resistance and Congress needs to assert its authority, quickly.

    –alopecia

  • Isn’t telling people to ignore lawful subpoenas “obstruction of justice”? What the Absolute F*ck

    • muselet

      As I understand it, the short answer is yes.

      –alopecia

  • Wildson

    But Obama is black (and half white, but racist don’t give him any credit for that)…