House Panel's White House Fight Just Got More Serious

Former official defies subpoena to appear, now faces possible contempt vote
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 23, 2019 12:51 PM CDT
House Panel's White House Fight Just Got More Serious
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings, D-Md.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee says the White House is now in "open defiance" of his panel after lawyers advised a former official to defy a subpoena related to the committee's investigation of White House security clearances, per the AP. Rep. Elijah Cummings says he is consulting with members and staff about scheduling a vote on contempt after former White House personnel security director Carl Kline did not show up for a scheduled deposition on Tuesday. The committee had subpoenaed Kline after one of his former subordinates told the panel that dozens of people in President Trump's administration were granted security clearances despite "disqualifying issues" in their backgrounds.

“I intend to consult with House Counsel and Committee Members about scheduling a vote on contempt,” Cummings said Tuesday, per the Hill. “I hope that Mr. Kline, in close consultation with his personal attorney, will carefully review his legal obligations, reconsider his refusal to appear, and begin cooperating with the Committee’s investigation.” A previous story from the AP notes that contempt of Congress is a federal misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and up to a year in prison. (Trump has sued Cummings' panel, accusing the committee of abusing its power for going after years of his financial records.)

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