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House Oversight to Investigate Trump Admin’s Security-Clearance Process

Representative Elijah Cummings (D, Md.) speaks with reporters after meeting with President Trump about prescription drug prices at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 8, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The House Oversight Committee is planning an “in-depth investigation” into the processes governing the Trump administration’s granting of security clearances, the panel’s chairman announced Wednesday.

In a letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Representative Elijah Cummings (D., Md.) claimed that the White House and Trump’s transition team “appear to have disregarded established procedures for safeguarding classified information” in granting unauthorized officials access to such information.

Critics of the administration began to scrutinize its security-clearance process last year, after former White House staff secretary Rob Porter remained employed and retained his interim security clearance after being accused of domestic abuse by two of his former wives. Porter, who has denied the allegations, resigned in February.

In the wake of Porter’s departure, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reduced the length of time that officials can hold interim security clearances, and downgraded the interim clearance held by several advisers, including Jared Kushner. Kushner was granted a permanent security clearance later in the year.

In his Wednesday letter, Cummings requested documents related to the security clearances held by Kushner, Porter, national-security adviser John Bolton, and Trump’s former personal assistant John McEntee.

The White House has ignored Cummings’s previous requests for security-clearance-related documents but will likely be forced to comply now that House Democrats have subpoena power.

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