White House Must Start Playing by the Rules

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We begin today with explosive revelations by a White House whistleblower who says senior Trump officials overturned at least 25 security clearance denials, despite, quote, “serious disqualifying issues.” In a memo released Monday, Tricia Newbold, who works in the White House Personnel Security Office, told the House Oversight and Reform Committee the individuals had been flagged by her office due to concerns about either blackmail or conflicts of interests or criminal conduct or foreign influence. Newbold explained why she decided to speak out during an interview she did with NBC.

TRICIA NEWBOLD: The protection of national security is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. It’s an American issue. And we, as security professionals, owe it to make all our recommendations in the best interest of national security. … I am always concerned, but it’s important that we stand up to do the right thing, no matter what.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Newbold said she was subjected to retaliation for refusing to issue the security clearances, including a 14-day suspension without pay.

Well, on Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee voted along party lines to subpoena Newbold’s supervisor, Carl Kline, the former director of personnel security at the White House, who overruled her denials. The move is part of the committee’s investigation into the White House security clearance process. This is Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: It was not until yesterday — keep in mind, we started in January. It was not until yesterday, after the whistleblower’s claims were made public and less than 24 hours before today’s subpoena vote, that we finally received last-minute letters from Mr. Kline’s lawyer and the White House saying that he would voluntarily comply. But — and there is a big “but’ here — but there’s a catch: He will come in voluntarily, but he will not answer any of our questions about specific officials, about specific…

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