Trump office cleared 25 officials originally disqualified over security fears, whistleblower claims

A uniformed Secret Service officer sends guard outside the White House
A uniformed Secret Service officer sends guard outside the White House Credit AP

03 April, 2019

Those officials - including Ivanka Trump and Kushner - received security clearances despite "disqualifying issues" in their backgrounds, such as concerns about foreign influence, drug use and criminal conduct.

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. "All of those things have turned out to be false", he said, when asked about reports that at least 25 individuals in the White House were able to "leap frog" over career officials' concerns about their clearance.

Ms Newbold said she made a decision to speak to the panel after repeated attempts to share her concerns with superiors were ignored, adding that it was her "last hope to really bring the integrity back to our office", according to a committee-released transcript of her interview on Monday.

"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joked Tuesday about White House advisor Jared Kushner's use of WhatsApp messaging to conduct official business, saying, "'What's next?

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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.

In his ten years on the Oversight committee, Jordan said he'd "never seen anything like this".

"I'm terrified of going back", she is quoted as saying in the letter, which Mr Cummings sent to White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

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Jordan complained Cummings scheduled the meeting with her on a Saturday and didn't tell the Republicans until the day before.

The Maryland Democrat said Kline representatives had told him that "they might have him come in but that he would be limited to only talking about the process in general and would not talk about what happened in these cases". That probe has picked up steam after The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump ordered officials to grant Kushner a clearance over the objections of national security officials, and after Newbold spoke out to NBC News and other news outlets about her concerns.

Instead, she said, the White House retaliated.

Newbold said that when she returned to work in February, she was cut out of the security clearance process.

Barr has said he will issue a redacted copy of Mueller's full report by mid-April, but Democrats want it without redactions and have demanded it be given to them this week.

It also said Ms Newbold told congressional investigators that a second person, referred to as "senior White House Official 2", was the subject of a 14-page memo laying out "multiple disqualifiers" including foreign influence and outside activities.

Is any of this evidence that any of the officials Trump granted clearances to via such waivers handed classified information over to hostile foreign powers?

AOC then said that it was necessary to issue subpoenas to Trump administration officials because they were refusing to cooperate with basic oversight requests.

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