Trump Jeopardized National Security By Reversing Staffer Rulings (#GotBitcoin?)
Tricia Newbold says she kept a list of about 25 rulings denying clearances that were overturned. Trump Jeopardized National Security By Reversing Staffer Rulings (#GotBitcoin?)
A House committee released details of an interview with a Trump administration employee who said the White House reversed rulings that denied security clearances for about two dozen officials and contractors, including two senior officials who are still working for the administration.
The release of the interview by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform comes as Democrats step up their scrutiny of the clearance process, citing concerns about national security. In a letter, the panel also said it would authorize subpoenas seeking testimony from staff members involved in granting security clearances, including Carl Kline, the White House’s former personnel security director.
The panel said that its staff members interviewed Tricia Newbold, a longtime career member of the White House security office. In the interview, Ms. Newbold told Democratic and Republican staff that she kept a list of about 25 rulings denying clearances that were subsequently overturned.
The committee didn’t provide the names of the people affected by the clearance rulings, but Ms. Newbold said the list included two current senior White House officials, both of whom were flagged for having significant disqualifying factors, including foreign influence. One of the two senior officials is Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ms. Newbold said security-clearance applications for White House officials “were not always adjudicated in the best interest of national security” adding that she wanted to “bring back the integrity of the office.” She said she raised her concerns with Mr. Kline and other officials.
Ms. Newbold also told the committee that she has been retaliated against for raising objections at the White House, but decided to come forward to Congress because of national security concerns. In January 2018, Ms. Newbold, who has a rare form of dwarfism, said Mr. Kline took steps to humiliate her by moving personnel security files out of her reach.
John Kelly, the former White House chief of staff, last year wrote a memo expressing concerns about granting a top-secret clearance to Mr. Kushner, according to a person familiar with the matter. The New York Times reported in February that President Trump had overruled those concerns and ordered Mr. Kelly to grant Mr. Kushner’s clearance.
Mr. Trump has denied involvement in Mr. Kushner’s and any other official’s security-clearance process. When Mr. Kushner received a top-secret clearance in May, his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said his client’s application had been “properly submitted, reviewed by career officials, and went through the normal process.”
Elijah Cummings (D., Md.), the oversight committee’s chairman, said in January that he planned to look into how White House security clearances were issued and made numerous requests to the Trump administration for information. In a letter sent to White House counsel Pat Cipollone on Monday, Mr. Cummings wrote that the “White House has refused to produce a single piece of paper or a single requested witness.”
Mr. Cummings also requested that Mr. Cipolione release by April 5 the list that Ms. Newbold made, along with White House policy documents and clearance information for several current and former officials, including information on Mr. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump.
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the oversight panel, criticized Democrats for providing short notice of Ms. Newbold’s interview and said Mr. Cummings mischaracterized the information by releasing a summary of the interview and not a transcript. He said that one of the people on Ms. Newbold’s list was a custodian for the General Services Administration.
“Chairman Cummings has departed from longstanding bipartisan oversight of the security clearance process to advance his partisan efforts to attack the president,” Mr. Jordan said in a statement. “His unilateral decision to release cherry-picked excerpts from one witness so early into an investigation is far from the constructive oversight he promised.”
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