News & Politics

Jim Jordan Blasts Oversight Dems for 'Reckless Decisions' Regarding Security Clearance Whistleblower

Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, speaks as ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, listens during the House Oversight and Reform Committee markup of a resolution authorizing issuance of subpoenas related to security clearances and the 2020 Census on Tuesday, April 2m 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Rep Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Tuesday blasted the House Oversight and Reform Committee Democrat majority’s handling of the explosive testimony of a White House Personnel Security Office employee. The whistleblower, 39-year-old Tricia Newbold, is accusing the  Trump White House of grossly mismanaging security clearances.

Although former White House personnel security director Carl Kline has already agreed to testify voluntarily, the Oversight panel met Tuesday morning to mark up a resolution to authorize a subpoena compelling him to testify on the Trump administration’s security clearance process. The resolution was passed on a party-line vote, with Republicans voting against what they deemed an unnecessary subpoena.

In recent days, Newbold has leveled a series of so-called bombshell allegations against the Trump White House, claiming it had overruled national security concerns of career officials to grant up to 25 high-level security clearances to people who were initially denied that access.

Newbold accused Kline of asking that she change an unfavorable recommendation for a senior National Security Council official. She claims that she refused the request.

Jordan, the ranking Republican on the Oversight Committee, on Monday accused Cummings of releasing “cherry-picked” information and claimed that Newbold’s list of 25 “high-level security clearances”  includes “non-political officials such as a GSA custodian.”

“It is extremely unfortunate and disappointing that Chairman Cummings is now using this sensitive topic as a pretense for a partisan attack on the White House,” Jordan said.

During the meeting on Tuesday, Jordan assailed Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) for his “reckless” decision to bring Newbold before the committee on a Saturday.

“I don’t even know where to start,” Jordan began. “Ten days ago on a Saturday, you scheduled a transcribed interview with Miss Newbold … and didn’t tell the Republicans until the day before,” he complained. “3:30 the day before, you schedule a 8:30 a.m. interview for the very next day!”

Oversight Republicans released a memo Monday pushing back on Newbold’s testimony.

The Ohio congressman pointed out that during the committee’s organizational meeting, Cummings had promised that “closed-door testimony would be done so that members could attend.” That pledge, he suggested, was violated when Cummings scheduled the interview for “a Saturday on a week when we’re not even in session and tell us the day before.”

And then yesterday you issued a press release with hand-picked, cherry-picked parts of her testimony … and you issue a big memo and a big press release after interviewing one witness.

That’s how we’re going to do investigations in the Oversight Committee? Talk to one person and then issue a big press statement so you can get some headlines?

Now today we’re going to subpoena a guy who just sent us a letter saying he’s willing to come here voluntarily!

“I’ve been on this committee ten years. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Jordan declared.

“Oh, please,” Cummings could be heard muttering in response.

“Never seen anything like this!” Jordan repeated. “I haven’t!”

The congressman went on to complain that the Democrat majority hasn’t done anything about former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, after the Dems’ star witness was found to have lied to the committee seven times.

Following Cohen’s public testimony on Feb. 27, Jordan and Rep. Mark Meadows, (R-N.C.) sent a six-page letter to Attorney General William Barr, citing several instances where they say Cohen had lied during his seven-hour testimony.

“We won’t do anything about a guy who lied to us seven times, but we’ll schedule a deposition on a Saturday of a week we’re not here, notify the minority the day before, do a press release yesterday after talking to just one witness, and then subpoena somebody who’s already agreed to come voluntarily. That’s how this committee’s gonna operate?

“But it gets worse. We’ve got another resolution with three more subpoenas,” Jordan lamented, referring to the Democrats’ demands for more documents from the Commerce and Justice Departments. “Just three weeks ago, the Secretary of Commerce came here — 82-year-old Mr. [Wilber] Ross came here and answered questions for over six hours,” the congressman added.

“Why are we going to do that? Because the Democrats want to interfere with a court case. Three weeks from today, the Supreme Court’s going to hear arguments about a simple question. On the census, should we ask people if they’re citizens of this great country? The Democrats say no. Most Americans think we’re already doing it — because we are.”

Through the census, the Trump administration hopes to learn how many members of U.S. households are American citizens. Naturally, the effort has attracted numerous lawsuits from states, immigrant rights groups, as well as challenges from Democratic lawmakers.

On April 23, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the Trump administration’s appeal of a federal district judge’s ruling barring the citizenship question from being asked. A ruling is expected by the end of June.

“Democrats want to interfere with the court case,” Jordan argued. “You know how we know they want to interfere in the court case? Because they said so! A Democrat member of this committee said, ‘we want to do all this because we want information’ — quote — ‘that the courts can use.’ That is as wrong as it gets!”

Jordan slammed the Democrats’ skewed priorities. “So we can’t take action for a guy who lied to us — their first big witness at their first big announced hearing,” he chided. “We can’t take action as a committee for a guy who lied to us seven times, but we’re going to interfere with a court case because we want information to help us in this decision not to put a simple question on the census.”

“This is wrong. I urge all members to oppose both resolutions, to oppose all these subpoenas. Let’s have this committee operate the way it’s supposed to. Let’s do the kind of investigations we’re supposed to and historically have done,” Jordan concluded.

The congressman on Tuesday released a report on the Democrats’ “partisan investigation of the citizenship question.”

After Jordan was done speaking, a Democrat on the committee defended the majority’s actions regarding Newbold’s testimony.

“As you know, Miss Newbold came forward at great personal risk in acting as a whistleblower and she had already been retaliated against — suspended without pay for two weeks prior — so she was understandably scared about being subjected to additional retaliation,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.). “That’s why she asked for a Saturday time to have her interview conducted and, in fact, none of us had any prior notice before the time that the minority did,” he added.

Newbold reportedly returned to work on Monday without incident.

Rep. Mark Green, meanwhile, introduced a resolution to referring Michael Cohen to the Justice Department for a perjury investigation.