Dems threaten contempt as ex-Trump aide ignores subpoena

The Chairman of the House Oversight Committee threatened Tuesday to hold the former head of personnel security at the White House in contempt of Congress, after Carl Kline refused to honor a subpoena for his testimony on Capitol Hill, as Democrats press to find out why Kline approved a top secret clearance for the President's son-in-law, despite security questions raised by a whistle blower.

"The White House and Mr. Kline now stand in open defiance of a duly authorized congressional subpoena with no assertion of any privilege of any kind by President Trump," said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in a statement.

"Based on these actions, it appears that the President believes that the Constitution does not apply to his White House," Cummings added.

Kline - who now works at the Pentagon - was scheduled for a 9 am deposition behind closed doors, but his attorney made clear that Kline would not appear.

Democrats want testimony from Kline to explore the accusations of Tricia Newbold, a whistle blower from inside the White House, who accused supervisors of allowing top security clearances to go to Jared Kushner and others, even though they had been rejected because of red flags found in background checks.

In testimony to the Oversight Committee, which was released on April 1, Newbold told investigators she was going public because of her concerns that the security clearance process had become politicized inside the Trump White House.

“I want it known that this is a systematic, it’s an office issue, and we’re not a political office, but these decisions were being continuously overrode,” Newbold told Democrats on the Oversight Committee.

Newbold also claims that Kline retaliated against her for raising concerns about why certain security clearance objections had been overruled during the Trump Administration.

Even if Democrats were to find Kline in contempt of Congress, it would not guarantee any punishment, as the Justice Department is not required to prosecute such cases.

But the dispute is emblematic of the broader tussle involving Democrats the Trump White House.

"To date, the White House has refused to produce a single piece of paper or a single witness in any of the Committee’s investigations this entire year," Rep. Cummings complained.

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