House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said Sunday that he has scheduled an interview this week with former White House Personnel Security Director Carl Kline amid the panel’s investigation into White House security clearances.
Kline, who was at risk of being held in contempt of Congress after not appearing last week to testify, agreed on Saturday to talk to the committee. On Sunday, Cummings announced that he had set the interview for May 1 at 10 a.m.
The panel subpoenaed Kline after a former subordinate told the panel that dozens of Trump administration officials were granted security clearances despite “disqualifying issues” in their backgrounds.
Kline defied a subpoena to appear on White House orders, prompting Democrats to threaten contempt action against him. The White House then said Kline could appear voluntarily on Wednesday to discuss “personnel security policies and practices.”
“Your refusal to participate in a deposition last Tuesday pursuant to a duly authorized subpoena from this Committee is a very serious matter that places you in significant legal jeopardy,” Cummings wrote to Kline in a letter made public Sunday. “Your actions are particularly egregious because you did not even appear before the Committee as the subpoena directed. I understand that the White House ordered you not to appear, but that is not a valid legal reason to defy a congressional subpoena. The President asserted no Constitutional privilege and has not relieved you of the legal requirement the subpoena imposed.”
Kline’s subpoena was issued as part of the committee’s investigation into security clearances issued to senior Trump administration officials, including Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former White House aide Rob Porter.
The probe intensified after Tricia Newbold, an 18-year government employee who oversaw the issuance of clearances for some senior White House aides, revealed that she compiled a list of at least 25 officials who were initially denied security clearances last year, but had senior officials overrule those denials.
The documents, which are based on Newbold’s March 23 private committee interview, don’t identify the officials on the list but say they include “two current senior White House officials, as well as contractors and individuals” in different parts of the Executive Office of the President.
The White House’s earlier defiance of the Kline subpoena came after lawyers for Trump sued the committee to block subpoenas for the president’s financial records.
The Oversight Committee, earlier this month, said it would subpoena accounting firm Mazars USA LLC for Trump’s financial information. Cummings is seeking annual statements, periodic financial reports and independent auditors reports from Mazars, as well as records of communications with Trump.
In seeking the records, Cummings has cited the February testimony of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who claimed the president inflated or deflated the value of his assets when it would benefit him.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.