- Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings is pressing Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy to subpoena the White House for documents related to fired national security adviser Michael Flynn’s and senior adviser Jared Kushner’s security clearances.
- Gowdy and Cummings are chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, respectively.
- Democrats have been pushing for information on the clearances for much of the past year.
The top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is pressing the Republican committee chairman on Thursday to subpoena the White House for documents related to top White House officials’ security clearances.
Cummings wrote that the White House has withheld the documents related to the security clearances of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and current White House senior adviser Jared Kushner from Congress for more than half a year. Cummings wants to know why Kushner and Flynn’s security clearances hadn’t been suspended.
“The rules governing the suspension of security clearances were established to protect our national security by temporarily halting the flow of classified information until allegations are fully investigated and resolved,” committee ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings wrote. “We do not understand why the White House disregarded these rules in these cases, but it is our responsibility on the Oversight Committee to find out.”
The Maryland Democrat highlighted that Flynn still held an authorised security clearance during the 18-day period from when acting Attorney General Sally Yates informed the White House that he could possibly be blackmailed by Russia until he was fired last February, while Kushner maintains his security clearance even as he has had to amend the application form on several occassions for omitting contacts with foreign sources.
In the letter, Cummings called for all documents and communications related to Flynn’s and Kushner’s security clearances; Kushner’s application; White House officials who have had to resign or were fired; policies related to how the White House handles the suspension of security clearances; and contacts between Yates and White House counsel Donald McGahn about Flynn.
He also requested documents and communications related to Kushner’s contacts with Russians; all classified information that Flynn and Kushner have had access to since December 2016; any information on whether President Donald Trump or other White House officials granted access to classified information to individuals under law enforcement investigation or had been previously convicted of a crime; and their policies related to such individuals.
Committee chairman Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, declined to comment.
Democrats have tried to obtain such documents for much of the past year
This is hardly the first time Cummings and other top Democrats have pushed their Republican counterparts or the White House to obtain or provide information related to Kushner, Flynn, and others who serve or served in the administration.
Kushner has been one of the Democrats’ main targets, with efforts made to obtain emails from a private address he used while in the White House as well as to strip him of his security clearance.
In a letter to McGahn in October, Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Don Beyer of Virginia requested that the White House immediately revoke Kushner’s security clearances following reports on his use of private email while serving in the White House.
And in July, Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida introduced a pair of amendments aimed at stripping Kushner of his security clearance into a 2018 appropriations bill. Those amendments were quickly voted down. That effort came after the revelation of a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting that Kushner had participated in with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Donald Trump Jr., and then-chairman of Trump’s campaign Paul Manafort.
Meanwhile, Flynn struck a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller and pleaded guilty in federal court last month to making false statements to federal investigators about his discussions in December 2016 with Russia’s ambassador to the US at the time, Sergey Kislyak.
It was the highest-profile person charged as a result of the Mueller probe to date.
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