Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsOvernight Cybersecurity: Lawyer charged in Mueller probe pleads guilty to lying | Sessions launches cyber task force | White House tallies economic impact of cyber crime Oversight Dems urge Equifax to extend protections for breach victims Top Oversight Dem pushes for White House opioid briefing MORE (D-Md.) is demanding information on the background check of a close Trump aide who was fired on Tuesday, amid scrutiny over the administration’s security clearances.
“This recent report about President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out ‘subversion’ at VA MORE’s personal assistant is just the latest indication that the process for vetting White House employees for security issues is seriously flawed,” tweeted Cummings after reports that John McEntee was fired because of an ongoing investigation into financial crimes.
McEntee, a close confidant of the president who is now being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, is the latest White House staffer to be pushed out over security clearance concerns.
Following the resignation last month of staff secretary Rob Porter amid reports of domestic abuse, Democrats and some Republicans have sought clarity from the administration on its security clearance process.
In a letter to White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, cited reports of an “unspecific security issue” regarding McEntee, and called for all documents related to McEntee’s vetting by the White House and FBI background check.
“I have been warning for more than a year about the White House’s deficient background check process — as well as specific officials who have been granted access to our nation’s most closely guarded secrets despite derogatory information known to White House officials,” Cummings wrote Kelly.
The Maryland Democrat also said Kelly had “stonewalled congressional oversight efforts,” referring to the official inquiry into White House background check processes by committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyOvernight Energy: Dems ask Pruitt to justify first-class travel | Obama EPA chief says reg rollback won’t stand | Ex-adviser expects Trump to eventually rejoin Paris accord Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won’t stand GOP lawmakers: Obama admin ‘hastily’ wrote lead ammunition ban MORE (R-S.C.).
Gowdy is demanding a sit-down demanding a sit-down meeting with White House staff after the administration turned down his request for information into the decision to grant an interim security clearance to Porter.
Cummings backed Gowdy’s request, and asked Kelly to also provide a full list of any White House staff who have received interim security clearances since 2016, and any employee who had resigned or been fired over issues with their background check.
Multiple White House aides have resigned since Kelly changed the White House rules for temporary security clearances, preventing some — including Trump’s son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerKushner resisting giving up top access amid scrutiny over security clearances: report Kelly says he has ‘full confidence’ in Kushner on foreign policy White House: Security clearance review won’t affect Kushner MORE — from gaining access to classified information.