White House orders witnesses to defy subpoenas from Congress
The lawlessness in the Trump White House rages on.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday morning that the White House has ordered the former personnel security director, Carl Kline, to ignore a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee to testify about the White House’s security clearance process.
The House Oversight Committee, now led by Democrats, is investigating the process after a whistleblower came forward to say that Kline had ignored the concerns of the CIA and FBI to grant Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, top-secret clearance. Other reporting shows that Trump personally intervened to grant security clearance to Ivanka and her husband.
The White House claims the subpoena “unconstitutionally encroaches on fundamental executive branch interests,” according to the Washington Post’s report. That interest appears to be protecting Trump and his family from scrutiny, after overruling concerns of the U.S. national security apparatus to grant Trump’s family members access to the nation’s top secrets. And by not submitting to any questioning or oversight, the White House is apparently trying to dodge any accountability.
This is not the first time the White House has ordered members of the administration to defy Congress.
Earlier this month, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross refused to testify about the Trump administration’s racist and unconstitutional attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
In January, the Treasury Department blocked Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin from testifying about how Trump’s record-setting government shutdown impacted the IRS.
And on Monday, Trump sued House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings and Peter Kenny, the committee’s top lawyer, to block a subpoena for financial records from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA. Those records could confirm other testimony to Congress from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen that Trump and his business have engaged in illegal activities.
The Trump administration blocking legal attempts by Congress to conduct oversight is also a trend that is likely to continue.
Congress has subpoenaed both the unredacted report from special counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly two-year-long investigation, as well as subpoenaed the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn — whose attempts to block Trump from obstructing justice were outlined in detail in Mueller’s report. Both subpoenas are likely to set off legal battles.
Ultimately, the Constitution unequivocally states that Congress has oversight power. Yet the Trump administration keeps trying to block Congress from getting the information needed for Congress to perform its duties.
Clearly, the White House is afraid of what Congress might find.
Published with permission from the American Independent. Attribution: Emily Singer.