A White House whistleblower revealed that at least 25 Trump administration officials were initially denied security clearances — but that the administration overruled approved them anyway.
Tricia Newbold, an 18-year government employee who oversaw security clearances for senior White House aides, told a House committee that she had a list of at least 25 officials — including Ivanka Trump and her spouse, Jared Kushner — who were initially denied security clearances last year.
But despite what she called “disqualifying issues” — including concerns about foreign influence — senior Trump aides sent them through.
Newbold’s allegations were detailed in a letter and memo released Monday by Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform committee.
The committee has interviewed Newbold about “grave security risks” that she had witnessed in the past two years, Cummings said.
Newbold also was targeted for retaliation after declining to approve applications based on national security concerns, Cummings said.
Newbold filed a whistleblower complaint seeking protection earlier this year after she was suspended without pay for defying her supervisor, Carl Kline, who had ordered her to OK the clearances despite the objections of career staffers.
In April 2018, she also filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint alleging that Kline discriminated against her because of her height.
Newbold, who has a rare form of dwarfism, said that Kline had moved files she needed to a place that was too high for her to reach and told her that she could ask colleagues to get the files if she needed them.
The White House has the authority to overrule career staffers when it comes to granting security clearances.
President Trump ordered his former chief of staff John Kelly to provide Kushner with clearance over objections from Kelly and Donald McGahn, then White House counsel.
Cummings on Monday also threatened to subpoena current and former administration officials as part of his panel’s investigation of security clearances issued under Trump, including Kushner’s.
In a letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Cummings said his panel would look to authorize a subpoena for former personnel security director Carl Kline at a committee meeting Tuesday.
Oversight is investigating security clearance abuses that involve Kushner and others.
Democrats have made repeated requests for documents and interviews but say the White House has been stonewalling.