Whistle-Blower Tells Congress of Irregularities in White House Security Clearances
A whistle-blower working inside the White House has told a House committee that senior Trump administration officials granted security clearances to at least 25 individuals whose applications had been denied by career employees, the committee’s Democratic staff said Monday.
Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee are zeroing in on a handful of current and former officials in President Trump's White House as part of their investigation into the administration's security clearance practices.
Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has ramped up the probe in recent weeks, accusing the White House of stonewalling his efforts to obtain additional documentation and information about the process.
HeMonday detailing allegations raised by White House staffer Tricia Newbold, who has worked as a career official in the Executive Office of the President for 18 years.
White House Whistle-Blower Did the Unexpected: She Returned to Work
Tricia Newbold, the Trump administration’s latest whistle-blower, did something unexpected only hours after a House committee released her deposition that the White House had overruled career staff members who denied officials their security clearances: She went back to work. “As you can imagine,” Ms. Newbold, a 39-year-old employee of the White House Personnel Security Office, wrote in an email during her commute on Monday, “I am extremely nervous for how people at work will treat me.” But according to people close to her, she was not afraid to tell them about the things she had seen. Ms.
Newbold told committee staff last month that she and other career staffers denied applications for multiple security clearances, decisions that were later overturned by senior officials in order to allow those individuals to access classified material.
The list of individuals whose clearances were granted despite initial denials totaled 25, according to Newbold.
While Cummings did not identify the 25 people in Monday's memo, here are nine current and former officials the committee has prioritized as part of its investigation into White House security clearances.
Democrats are seeking additional information on Bolton's security clearance, a subject party members aired concerns about when the national security adviser joined the Trump administration last spring.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls out Jared Kushner's alleged use of WhatsApp for government business
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., appeared to call out Jared Kushner, President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, over claims he used the messaging service WhatsApp during a House hearing on Tuesday. The committee met to discuss White House security clearances when the freshman congresswoman brought up media reports alleging that Kushner used WhatsApp to conduct government business outside official channels. House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md.
The president picked Bolton in March 2018 to replace H.R. McMaster, and he has become a key voice on the administration's strategy in North Korea, Iran and Venezuela.
Bolton worked in the State Department and Justice Department under previous Republican presidents, but Democrats seized on a more recent interaction with Russian nationals in questioning his clearance bonafides.
Bolton appeared in a video for the Russian gun rights group The Right to Bear Arms in 2013. The group was established by Russian politician Alexander Torshin, a staunch ally of President Vladimir Putin.
Cummings, who at the time was ranking member of the Oversight committee,upon Bolton's appointment over whether he had reported his previous work with the group.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) suggested last year that Bolton's contacts with the group could impede his ability to receive a clearance.
White House whistleblower says she felt humiliated after retaliation from boss
Tricia Newbold says of supervisor moving files out of her reach: "It was definitely humiliatingBut it didn't stop me from doing what was right." Newbold's allegations were detailed in a letter that House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., released Monday after she spoke to the committee in a private interview in March. Newbold told the lawmakers that at least 25 applicants were granted security clearances despite "disqualifying issues" including concerns about foreign influence, conflicts of interest, drug use and criminal conduct, according to Cummings letter.
Democrats have had the president's son-in-law and senior adviser in their crosshairs for more than a year over concerns about conflicts of interest and security clearance levels.
Those qualms ratcheted up earlier this year after The New York Times reported that Trump ordered Kushner receive a top-secret security clearance despite flags raised by the intelligence community.
Kushner had hisin February 2018 from top secret to secret, meaning he would no longer be able to view top-secret intelligence. It was revealed around the same time that he had been operating with a temporary clearance.
He received a permanent clearance in May 2018.
Kushner has a broad portfolio within the administration, leading efforts on criminal justice reform, Middle East peace talks and other topics. Democrats and other critics have raised concerns that his business interests could make him susceptible during negotiations with foreign leaders.
The president's daughter and senior adviser has also been a lightning rod for criticism from Democrats, including some who have questioned her role in the administration.
Cummings: Tax firm asks for subpoena before providing Trump docs
“They have told us that they will provide the information pretty much when they have a subpoena,” he said.
Ivanka Trump has spearheaded a number of efforts focused on the economy, family leave and tax reform. But she has also run into government ethics hurdles along the way, drawing scrutiny from congressional Democrats and watchdog groups.
Ivanka Trump and her husband, Kushner, were reportedly fined in 2017 after they missed a deadline for filing financial reports required by the Office of Government Ethics.
She also reportedlyby sending emails to government officials from her personal email account in 2017.
that the president pressured former White House chief of staff John Kelly and former White House counsel Don McGahn to grant Ivanka Trump a clearance despite their recommendations otherwise.
Flynn's brief tenure as Trump's national security adviser was overshadowed by questions about his contacts with foreign officials.
The retired Army lieutenant general resigned in February 2017, shortly after he took the post, amid reports he misled Trump transition and administration officials, including Vice President Pence, about a conversation he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. before Trump took office.
Flynn initially denied reports that he spoke with the Russian ambassador about new sanctions levied by the outgoing Obama administration, but later admitted he had given Pence "incomplete information."
Jared Kushner identified as senior White House official whose security clearance was denied by career officials
The president’s son-in-law, described in a House committee document as ‘Official 1,’ had ‘significant disqualifying factors,’ according to a White House whistleblower.
The Justice Departmentagainst two of Flynn's associates, alleging they engaged in a secret lobbying campaign on behalf of the Turkish government. Flynn was not named in the indictment, but a "Person A" described in the filing matches his description.
in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about contacts with the Russian ambassador as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
He is still awaiting sentencing.
Porter's February 2018 departure as White House staff secretary prompted a firestorm of questions over the administration's security clearance process, and even some changes.
Porter resigned after public allegations that he abused his two ex-wives. Kelly, who at the time was chief of staff, was among White House staff who initially defended Porter, saying they only learned of the accusations when they were reported in the press.
But FBI Director Christopher Wray testified that the bureau notified the White House months earlier that the allegations turned up during Porter's background check.
The Republican-led House Oversight committee at the time launched an investigation into the White House's handling of the allegations and sought clarity on whether proper security clearance practices were followed when hiring Porter.
The White House did not say whether there were any improprieties, but issued a memo in March 2018to its security clearance policies.
Federal Watchdog Probes Trump Admin Push for Saudi Nuke Deal
One of the government’s top investigative agencies has looked at allegations of potential wrongdoing by individuals in the Trump administration about their planning of a nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia, according to two individuals with knowledge of the probe.
The memo established a working group to address the standards for security clearances, and explained that the White House had changed its approach to granting interim clearances.
Gorka served as a special assistant to the president until August 2017, but it's unclear whether he resigned or was fired.
The former Breitbart News employee said he resigned out of frustration with recent changes in the administration, but the White House.
Kelly, who took over as chief of staff weeks before Gorka's departure, reportedly revoked the counterterrorism adviser's security clearance prior to his ouster, further complicating his standing in the administration.
McFarland served a brief stint in the White House, working as the deputy national security adviser under Flynn. She stepped down in April 2017, a short time after Flynn's resignation.
The president later nominated McFarland as ambassador to Singapore, butin February 2018 after Republicans and Democrats voiced opposition in light of allegations that she deceived the Senate about what she knew about Flynn's contacts with Russia.
McFarland told lawmakers she "was not aware" of conversations between Flynn and Russian officials, but court documents later revealed that Flynn had emailed her about his contacts with the Russian envoy during the 2016 presidential transition.
McEntee worked as the president's personal assistant until March 2018, when troubles getting a security clearance reportedly played a role in his departure.
Multiple media reports at the time said McEntee was fired after he was denied a security clearance because of concerns about his finances and gambling habits.
McEntee was part of Trump's entourage dating back to his presidential campaign, and his duties included making sure the president had markers to sign autographs, delivering messages to Trump at his residence and ensuring the White House clocks were adjusted for daylight saving time,.
The Trump campaign announced upon his exit that McEntee was rejoining the campaign as a senior adviser.
Townley was a top aide to Flynn, but was reportedly denied a key security clearance that would have allowed him to serve on the National Security Council.
TheTownley's "Sensitive Compartmented Information" clearance, Politico reported in February 2017.
It was not clear why Townley's clearance was rejected. He was a close ally of Flynn's and a former Marine intelligence officer.
Investigators in Trump hush-money probe interviewed Hicks, security chief: report.
Federal prosecutors reportedly gathered more evidence than was previously known during their investigation into hush-money payments President Trump is accused of making ahead of the 2016 election. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that prosecutors in New York interviewed members of Trump's inner circle, including former White House communications director Hope Hicks and Trump's former security chief, Keith Schiller. Trump is accused of making the payments to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said they had affairs years ago with Trump.