Investigate Approval of White House Security Clearances Against Expert Advice

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UPDATE (04/01/19): As part of his committee’s ongoing investigation of the Trump White House’s security clearance processes, House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has released a summary of an interview with former White House personnel security director Tricia Newbold. Newbold alleged the White House overturned security clearance denials for 25 individuals, including two current senior White House staffers. The memo states that the clearances were originally denied over reasons including “foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct."

UPDATE (02/28/19): The New York Times is reporting that Trump himself ordered a top-secret security clearance for son-in-law Jared Kushner, against the advice of his then Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House counsel Donald McGahn. In January, Trump stated he had no involvement in Kushner’s security clearance.

On January 24, 2019, NBC News released a report confirming that Carl Kline, a Trump-appointed security official, approved Jared Kushner’s top-secret security clearance status against the advice of two career White House security experts. Kushner’s receipt of top-secret clearance despite his dubious financial entanglements, lack of foreign policy experience, omissions on his security clearance application, and known vulnerability to manipulation by foreign powers is deeply troubling. Disturbingly, NBC reported that Kline granted at least thirty other Trump officials high-level clearance despite objections from security specialists.

The House Oversight Committee, led by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has already launched an investigation into the White House’s security clearance process. The NBC report makes it clear the Senate must immediately follow suit. Furthermore, both chambers must call on Carl Kline to testify publicly about why he approved security clearance for Kushner and others against the recommendations of career security experts.