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Committee Approves Subpoenas in Security Clearance and Census Investigations

Apr 2, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Apr. 2, 2019)—Today, the Committee on Oversight and Reform voted to authorize Chairman Elijah E. Cummings to issue a subpoena for testimony to President Trump’s former White House Personnel Security Director and three additional subpoenas relating to the Trump Administration’s secret efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.  One Republican Committee Member voted in favor of the census-related subpoenas.

Cummings has now served all four subpoenas. 

Security Clearance Subpoena

Chairman Cummings made the following statement after today’s vote on the security clearance subpoena:

“Today, the Oversight Committee voted to issue a subpoena for testimony from President Trump’s former Director of White House Personnel Security after being stonewalled over the past three months.  We have been informed of grave breaches of national security, but to date the White House has not produced a single piece of paper or a single witness requested by the Committee.  I hope this is the last subpoena we need to issue on this topic and that the White House agrees to cooperate, to schedule interviews for the next four officials we want to interview, and to turn over the documents we have been seeking for months.  I am heartened that at least some Republicans joined us in pledging their support for Tricia Newbold in order to protect her rights as a whistleblower who has come to Congress to highlight the grave abuses she has been witnessing over the past two years.”

Yesterday, Chairman Cummings sent a memo to all Committee Members providing information from a detailed, on-the-record interview with whistleblower Tricia Newbold, who currently works in the White House.  She came 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.  She implored the Committee to act now, warning that “this is my last hope to really bring the integrity back into our office.”

On four occasions—January 23, 2019, February 11, 2019,  March 1, 2019, and March 18, 2019—the Committee requested a voluntary interview with Mr. Kline.  Mr. Kline never responded, and the White House refused to make him available.

Yesterday—after the whistleblower’s claims were made public, and less than 24 hours before today’s subpoena mark up—the Committee received last-minute letters from Mr. Kline’s lawyer and the White House saying he would voluntarily comply.  However, they made clear that he would not answer questions about specific officials, specific security violations, or specific security clearance adjudications, but instead would speak only about general policies and procedures. 

Census Subpoenas

Chairman Cummings issued the following statement after today’s bipartisan vote on the three census subpoenas:

“The Committee is trying to determine the real reason Secretary Ross added the citizenship question, and the documents and testimony covered by these subpoenas are critical to answering that question.  We don’t want thousands of pieces of paper that are already public or extensively redacted.  We want the specific priority documents we asked for—unredacted and in full.  We have bent over backwards to try to work with the Administration.  We identified priority documents, we extended deadlines, and we even offered to review certain documents in camera.  But the Trump Administration’s stonewalling has left the Committee no choice but to obtain this information by compulsory process.”

The Committee approved, by a vote of 23 to 14, a resolution to authorize Chairman Cummings to issue three subpoenas:  (1) to Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Gore for testimony; (2) to Attorney General William P. Barr for documents; and (3) to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. for documents.

All Democratic Members voted to authorize the subpoena, and they were joined by Republican Committee Member Justin Amash.

According to Committee Rules, Chairman Cummings may issue subpoenas on his own, but he chose instead to consult with Ranking Member Jim Jordan in advance.  Ranking Member Jordan objected and requested a Committee vote, which Cummings agreed to—something Republicans never did over the last eight years. 

 

Click here to watch Chairman Cummings’ opening statement on the security clearance subpoena.

Click here to watch Chairman Cummings’ opening statement on the census subpoenas.

Click here to watch Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s statement.

Click here to watch Rep. Lacy Clay’s statement.

Click here to watch Rep. Jamie Raskin’s statement.

 

116th Congress