House Democrats already have secret White House documents about Jared and Ivanka’s security clearances because of leaky West Wing
- The House Oversight Committee has been demanding the White House turn over the information
- However key details have already appeared in the New York Times
- The White House counsel dug in with a letter calling clearances a ‘discretionary function’ of the executive
- The panel has gotten hold of key information anyway through a leak
- President Trump reportedly overruled chief of staff John Kelly and top White House lawyer who had opposed Jared getting a top clearance
Geoff Earle, Deputy U.s. Political Editor For Dailymail.com
Amid the public document fight between the White House and the House Oversight Committee over Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s security clearance, the panel has already procured key documents through a leak.
Even as the White House dug in over its claim of a privilege to withhold the documents, the panel as documents that outline the entire approval process that resulted in the power couple getting their security clearances, Axios reported.
The committee, which has broad jurisdiction and has been looking at the White House clearance process for more than a year, has had the documents since February.
The House Oversight Committee has already obtained documents detailing the security clearance process for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump – even as the White House fights to preserve the materials
A Democratic aide told the publication they represent “part of the puzzle that we would be asking for.’
House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings of Maryland ramped up his requests following a New York Times report that President Trump intervened on behalf of son-in-law Jared Kushner’s clearances.
The White House countered by attacking the committee’s request and saying there needs to be a process of negotiation.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings of Maryland is demanding the White House turn over the materials so his panel can investigate if national security was jeopardized
White House adviser Jared Kushner got his clearance over the objections of former White House chief of staff John Kelly and White House Counsel Don McGahn
CNN reported that Ivanka Trump also got her clearances over objections from both career and political officials
White House lawyers blasted ‘unprecedented and extraordinarily intrusive demands’ in the congressional request for information, and called the area of deciding who gets a clearance one of the administration’s ‘prerogatives.’
‘Although we are prepared to continue negotiations in good faith, the Committee seeks unilateral concessions without any offer of accommodation on its part, and then complains that the White House has refused to simply turn over everything the Committee inappropriately seeks,’ White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a March 4 letter published by the committee.
He stated flatly that deciding security clearances is among the Executive Branch’s ‘constitutional prerogatives.’
‘We will not concede the Executive’s constitutional prerogatives or allow the Committee to jeopardize the individual privacy rights of current and former Executive Branch employees,’ he said.
Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, fired back: ‘The White House’s argument defies the Constitutional separation of powers, decades of precedent before this Committee, and just plain common-sense. The White House security clearance system is broken, and it needs both congressional oversight and legislative reform. I will be consulting with Members of the Committee to determine our next steps.”
The revelation that the panel already has key documents in its possession comes after a bombshell report that former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly wrote a memo detailing that President Trump ‘ordered him’ to overrule officials and grant Kushner’s clearances.
The CIA and other agency officials had recommended Kushner not get the high level clearance he was seeking, according to the New York Times report. Former White House counsel Don McGahn also wrote that he was against granting the top secret clearance.
CNN then reported that Trump had also overruled Kelly and McGahn in the case of daughter Ivanka Trump’s clearance. She is a senior advisor to the president, and had stated publicly her father had ‘no involvement’ in getting her or Kushner clearances.