White House Tells Former Official To Ignore Democratic Subpoena

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Amber Athey Podcast Columnist
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The White House is telling a former official to ignore a subpoena from House Democrats, the Trump administration’s latest move to fight back against investigations into the president.

Carl Kline, a former White House official who had oversight of security clearances for the administration, was issued a subpoena and ordered to appear Tuesday for an interview by the House Oversight Committee. Late Monday, the White House told Kline not to appear for the deposition. (RELATED: House Dems Subpoena Don McGahn Over Docs Related To Obstruction Of Justice)

The Oversight Committee, chaired by Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, is reviewing the security clearance process after current official Tricia Newbold told them that there were at least two dozen cases in which Kline reversed her decision not to grant clearances to individuals.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 27: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, arrives to hear testimony from Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill February 27, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Trump lawyer Michael Purpura claimed the subpoena threatens confidential information, saying in a statement that it “unconstitutionally encroaches on fundamental executive branch interests.”

Kline now works for the Department of Defense, and his lawyer, Robert Driscoll, indicated he would comply with the White House’s direction.

“With two masters from two equal branches of government, we will follow the instructions of the one that employs him,” Driscoll said.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 25: (AFP OUT) National Security Advisor John Bolton (L), US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan (C) and Senior Advisor to US President Trump, Jared Kushner (R), attend an event where US President Donald J. Trump (unseen) signed an order recognizing Golan Heights as Israeli territory in the presence of Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu (unseen), in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House March 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump signed an order recognizing Golan Heights as Israeli territory. (Photo by Michael Reynolds – Pool/Getty Images)

The White House previously told Cummings that they would allow Kline to attend the deposition if he were able to do so alongside an official from the White House counsel’s office. Cummings denied the accommodation and threatened that Kline would be held in contempt if he opted not to appear.

On Monday, Trump’s legal team filed a lawsuit against Cummings, asking the court to issue an injunction against a separate subpoena for the president’s financial records.

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