Ocasio-Cortez tears into Trump administration over security clearances

Tricia Newbold, a longtime government employee who oversaw security clearances for White House staffers, told the House committee that at least 25 aides, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, got clearances despite initially being turned down.

Newbold said that in addition to the two current senior officials, security clearances were also granted to contractors and other individuals in the executive office of the president, despite their having "a wide range of serious disqualifying issues involving foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct".

Republicans argued in response that Democrats on the committee released "cherry-picked excerpts" of the interview with Newbold to "manufacture a misleading narrative that the Trump White House is reckless with our national security".

A Democratic-led congressional committee voted on Tuesday to subpoena a former White House security clearance chief over whistleblower allegations that the Trump administration inappropriately reversed career officials' decisions to deny security clearances to some of the president's advisers.

"I feel that right now this is my last hope to really bring the integrity back into our office", she was also quoted as saying in the letter Cummings sent to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.

In his letter to the White House, Mr Cummings referred to three unnamed "senior White House officials" whose security clearance cases were addressed in some detail by Ms Newbold.

The White House has not responded to repeated requests for comment.

Newbold told the committee that the Personnel Security Office recommended against security clearances - which allow access to top secret materials - for the 25, Cummings said.

'I've been on this committee 10 years, I've never seen anything like this, ' he noted.

A number of those individuals, she told the committee, eventually were denied permanent clearances, including two high-level officials.

Jim Jordan, the committee's ranking Republican, said in a statement that Cummings'd probe is a "partisan attack" and an "excuse to go fishing" through personnel files.

Cummings interviewed Newbold on Saturday, March 23 and on Monday he shared a summary of her testimony.

The White House is fighting against any questioning regarding security clearances.

Newbold, an 18-year veteran of the security clearance process who has served under both Republican and Democratic presidents, said she warned her superiors that clearances "were not always adjudicated in the best interest of national security" - and was retaliated against for doing so.

Barr has said he will issue a redacted copy of Mueller's full report by mid-April, but Democrats want it without redactions and have demanded it be given to them this week.

Two of those people whose rejections were overturned are "senior White House officials" who remain in their jobs to this day, according to Ms Newbold.

Newbold said that when she returned to work in February, she was cut out of the security clearance process. That clearance was also granted.


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