A whistleblower who had worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations, spending a total of 18 years in the White House, told Congress that the White House had overridden professional concerns about granting 25 different individuals clearances. The immediate response from the Trump White House was “WITCH HUNT.”
This is wildly inappropriate. When Republicans controlled the House, both Reps. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. and Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, in their role as chairmen of the House Oversight Committee, initiated investigations into security clearances. And President Trump’s former hand-picked chief of staff, John Kelly, and White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II, found the process of granting clearances so disturbing that they both made a point of documenting their objections.
Never mind that some of Trump’s associates have been indicted for shady and illegal dealings with foreign governments and that this topic should be especially sensitive.
In spite of those concerns, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, wasted no time lashing out at the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and his decision to start the process of issuing subpoenas. Notably, his criticism framed the request for documents as an “excuse to go fishing through the personal files of dedicated public servants.”
In light of seemingly meritorious concerns about national security and the refusal of the White House to cooperate, such accusations would bar any scrutiny whatsoever for national security's sake. Although this might yield satisfying results in the short term — goading a self-righteous opponent almost always does — there could be real consequences. We elected lawmakers of both parties on the expectation that they would show genuine concern for and provide us with a basic level of national security. To make this into a partisan issue is to make the country less safe.
National security and the security clearances that enable civil servants to do their work must be a bipartisan concern, even if that means pushing back against the clearances obtained by the beloved daughter of the president, her husband, and other officials.