Cummings Issues Statement on Oversight Committee Investigation of White House Security Clearances
Cummings Issues Statement on Oversight Committee
Investigation of White House Security Clearances
Washington, D.C. (Feb. 14, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement after Chairman Trey Gowdy announced that the Committee is investigating White House security clearances, including the clearance of Staff Secretary Robert Porter:
“I spoke personally with Chairman Gowdy this morning about the document requests the Committee is sending to the White House and the FBI, which are due in two weeks. My understanding is that this is a first step, and I look forward to interviewing White House Counsel Don McGahn, Chief of Staff John Kelly, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and others to determine what they knew and when they knew it, which Chairman Gowdy said he wanted to do during a press interview this morning. It is no secret that I have been extremely frustrated that our Committee has done nothing over the past year to address the completely dysfunctional security clearance system at the White House, despite my many requests. So I commend Chairman Gowdy for taking this preliminary step. But obviously—obviously—the credibility of this investigation will be judged by how thorough it is in obtaining documents and interviewing witnesses, and how bipartisan it is in its conclusions.”
During an interview this morning on CNN, Chairman Gowdy stated:
“I would want to know from Don McGahn and General Kelly and anyone else: What did you know, from whom did you hear it, to what extent did you hear it and then what actions, if any, did you take? The chronology is not favorable from the White House. When you have the head of the FBI saying we told you three times in 2017 and once more in 2018 for good measure then I think the really fair questions are: what were you told, by whom were you told it, did you have some reason to question what the bureau told you, and if none of that is true, why did you keep him on. So Don’s one person to ask, General Kelly is one person to ask, there may be others at the White House, but those are the questions going through my mind.”
For more than a year, Ranking Member Cummings has sent many letters urging action to investigate grave problems with security clearances at the White House, including:
- November 15, 2016, letter to the Trump Transition Team asking for information about reports that President Trump sought security clearances for his family, including Jared Kushner.
- November 16, 2016, letter to the Trump Transition Team asking for a list of each individual for whom the White House has requested a security clearance, and the status of those security clearances.
- March 16, 2017, letter to the White House asking for General Flynn’s security clearance application and foreign contacts, as well as other vetting materials.
- June 21, 2017, letter to the White House requesting documents relating to the failure to suspend the security clearances of Flynn and Kushner pending investigations—which appeared to violate Executive Order 12968 and ran counter to the Department of Defense manual governing the suspension of security clearances during pending investigations.
- October 5, 2017, letter to the White House requesting detailed information on all individuals who have been granted interim security clearances.
- October 18, 2017, letter from all Democratic Committee Members to Gowdy requesting a subpoena of the White House relating to General Flynn’s security clearance information.
- November 16, 2017 letter to the FBI requesting information about Michael Flynn Jr.’s security clearance application during the transition.
- December 18, 2017, letter to Vice President Pence about Michael Flynn Jr.’s security clearance application during the transition.
- January 16, 2018, letter to Gowdy requesting subpoena on Michael Flynn Jr.’s security clearance application and foreign contacts.
- January 18, 2018, letter to Gowdy requesting subpoena for documents the White House is withholding about its failure to suspend security clearances in accordance with Executive Order 12968 and Department of Defense guidance.
- January 23, 2018, letter to the White House requesting information about Jared Kushner’s interim security clearance.
- January 24, 2018, letter to Gowdy requesting a subpoena to the White House for documents and information on employees who still have interim security clearances.
- February 2, 2018, letter requesting that Gowdy place subpoena requests to the White House on interim security clearances, security clearance suspensions, and security clearance documents for Michael Flynn, Jr. on the agenda for the February 6, 2018, business meeting.
- February 8, 2018, letter to Gowdy requesting investigation of security clearance process at the White House for Staff Secretary Robert Porter.