The House Oversight Committee has launched an investigation into White House security clearances that targets some of President Trump's closest advisers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
In an 11-page letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent Wednesday, Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., says that the investigation will look into why the White House and Trump's transition team “appear to have disregarded established procedures for safeguarding classified information.”
The “in-depth investigation” will examine what classified information was given to officials who “should not have had access to them” and will also “develop reforms to remedy the flaws in current White House systems and practices,” Cummings said.
The probe is expected to focus on Kushner, Trump's senior adviser, who received a permanent security clearance in May 2018 after he operated with an interim security clearance for more than a year while he was still undergoing an FBI background check.
In February, NBC reported that more than 130 political appointees working in the Executive Office of the President did not have permanent security clearances as of November 2017.
It will also zero in on the administration's handling of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who maintained his security clearance even after the White House learned he lied to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador. Flynn later pleaded guilty to charges brought against him by special counsel Robert Mueller, and he is awaiting sentencing as he continues to cooperate.
Cummings said the White House has made no changes to the security clearance process, even after Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly announced early last year he would be overhauling it.
"For the past two years, I have sought information with other Committee Members about a series of extremely troubling incidents regarding the security clearances of some of President Trump's top aides, but the White House has refused to provide the information we requested, often ignoring our requests completely,” Cummings wrote.
Cummings also seeks information about reports of security clearance issues involving multiple current and former officials, including:
- Former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland
- National security adviser John Bolton
- Former White House Staff Secretary Robert Porter
- Former National Security Council Senior Director Robin Townley
- Trump's former personal assistant John McEntee
- Former Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka