Whistleblower: Trump White House reversed security clearance denials

Donald Trump and Jared Kushner appear at the White House in December 2018

Jared Kushner, the son-in-law to President Donald Trump, has been identified as the senior White House official whose security clearance was rejected by career officials but was granted access to top secret information anyway.

Her heroic act: telling the Democrat-controlled House Committee on Oversight and Reform in a private interview, that White House officials had grown frustrated with her attempts to block more than 25 Trump administration people from getting security clearances and overruled her and granted the clearances.

In his nine-page response memo, Jordan said Cummings had "cherry-picked" excerpts of Newbold's nine-hour interview, and that the 25 examples of overruled recommendations she cited include nonpolitical officials such as a Government Services Administration custodian. Kushner's security clearance has always been scrutinized by outside watchdogs and while he is not named in Newbold's testimony, many believe he is one of the 25 people she is describing.

Newbold alleged 25 individuals were given clearances or access to national security information since 2018 despite concerns about foreign influence, conflicts of interests, questionable or criminal conduct, financial problems or drug abuse.

This is completely within the president's power, "but in most cases the Personnel Security Office (where Newbold works) makes a determination about whether to grant one after the Federal Bureau of Investigation has conducted a background check", the Times wrote. But the panel said it is reviewing the clearances given to Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Kushner, and National Security Advisor John Bolton.

On April 1, Cummings released a press statement referring to Newbold as a whistleblower who "has come forward at great personal risk to warn Congress-and the nation-about the grave security risks she has been witnessing first-hand over the past two years". The Republican document also suggests Newbold's concerns were "overblown", saying that four or five of the clearance denials for "very serious reasons" were a small fraction of about 5,000 employees who work in the Executive Office of the President.

In testimony to the committee, Newbold described the Trump White House as far more lax on security issues that previous presidents she had worked for.

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"I disclosed all of my holdings for the Office of Government Ethics, and what I did with them is they told me what to divest, what to keep, what rules to follow". She was suspended for two weeks after Kushner's security clearance was approved because she had refused to "support new procedures your supervisor implemented".

The White House has been divided on immigration throughout Trump'spresidency between Miller's hard-line camp, which largely reflects Trump'sviews, and others - including Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump - who hold more moderate positions.

Rep. Jim Jordan of OH, the committee's ranking Republican, said in a statement that Cummings' probe is a "partisan attack" and an "excuse to go fishing" through personnel files. The office also announced a plan to "restructure" that would remove her from a supervisory role, she said.

But Cummings said Kline will not answer questions about specific security clearance applications or violations - details the chairman wants.

"Really, what is next, putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs?"

Tricia Newbold claimed applications that were denied for "serious disqualifying issues" were later reversed with little explanation.

The president has sole authority to decide who receives security clearances and is therefore within his rights to have deputies provide them.

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