Ex-White House Staffer May Be Held in Contempt After Trump Admin Told Him to Snub House Committee
By Ronn Blitzer | Law & Crime |
Former White House personnel security director Carl Kline may be facing some trouble after he followed instructions from the Trump administration not to answer questions from the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday.
Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is now considering holding Kline in contempt, Politico reported. The 13-term congressman had some strong words for the administration.
“It appears that the president believes that the Constitution does not apply to his White House, that he may order officials at will to violate their legal obligations, and that he may obstruct attempts by Congress to conduct oversight,’” Cummings said in a statement. “It also appears that the White House believes that it may dictate to Congress — an independent and co-equal branch of government — the scope of its investigations and even the rules by which it conducts them. To date, the White House has refused to produce a single piece of paper or a single witness in any of the Committee’s investigations this entire year.”
The Democrat-led committee called Kline to testify regarding White House security clearance practices, amid reports that several individuals had been granted clearance despite concerns from officials who recommended otherwise.
White House deputy counsel Michael Purpura reportedly sent a letter to Kline on Monday, saying that the the House Oversight Committee’s investigation “unconstitutionally encroaches on fundamental executive branch interests.”
On Monday, Trump sued Cummings, Oversight Committee attorney Peter Kenny, and the accounting firm Mazars USA, in an effort to block a subpoena Cummings sent the firm to get Trump’s financial documents. The lawsuit claimed that the Oversight Committee did not have a legitimate legislative purpose for seeking the records.
Cummings responded to that by saying Trump “has a long history of trying to use baseless lawsuits to attack his adversaries, but there is simply no valid legal basis to interfere with this duly authorized subpoena from Congress.”