Unprecedented and extraordinarily intrusive demands

Soooo this is horrifying:

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.

The whistle-blower, Tricia Newbold, a manager in the White House’s Personnel Security Office, told the House Oversight and Reform Committee in a private interview last month that the 25 individuals included two current senior White House officials, in addition to contractors and other employees working for the office of the president, the staff said in a memo it released publicly.

Ms. Newbold told the committee’s staff members that the clearance applications had been denied for a variety of reasons, including “foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct,” the memo said. The denials by the career employees were overturned, she said, by more-senior officials who did not follow the procedures designed to mitigate security risks.

It’s breathtaking. People who know what they’re doing say no, these are security risks, and people higher up the hierarchy who don’t know what they’re doing and don’t give a rat’s ass just throw that out the window.

Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the Maryland Democrat who is the Oversight Committee’s chairman, included information provided by Ms. Newbold in a letter to Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel*, on Monday again demanding that the White House turn over files connected to the security clearance process and make administration personnel available for interviews.

That sentence is slightly confusing. Cummings sent a letter to Cipollone, and in the letter he included the information from Newbold.

Mr. Cummings said he was prepared to authorize subpoenas as soon as Tuesday to try to compel the White House to comply with an investigation into whether national secrets were at risk — an escalation that could force Mr. Cipollone either to reach an accommodation with Congress or fight in court.

The White House, as you may recall, has been flatly refusing to comply with any Congressional requests…which is, yet again, not how any of this is supposed to work.

Mr. Cipollone has argued repeatedly that the power to deny or grant security clearances “belongs exclusively” to the executive branch and therefore Congress has no authority to make such “unprecedented and extraordinarily intrusive demands.”

And if a hostile power succeeds in getting a traitor elected to the executive branch then that’s just how it is, and the executive branch has the authority to run the entire country off a cliff.

Mr. Cummings said he planned to issue a subpoena for the testimony of Carl Kline, who until recently served as the head of the personnel security division and was Ms. Newbold’s boss, and he identified five other senior White House officials whose testimony he planned to seek.

He requested summaries of the security clearance adjudication process and any related documents for nine current and former officials, including Mr. Kushner; Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and White House adviser; and John Bolton, the national security adviser. Mr. Cummings also asked for a document Ms. Newbold said she assembled on the 25 individuals whose clearance denials she said were reversed.

This is all rather frightening.

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