Former White House official Carl Kline denied the president had any influence on his security clearance decisions and accused the media of character assassination during his congressional testimony, according to a GOP memo.
The memo, authored by Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and obtained by The Daily Caller, summarized Kline’s closed-door testimony to the committee on Wednesday.
Kline sought to debunk claims from a whistleblower that he made irresponsible decisions about security clearance determinations for at least two dozen individuals. He also specifically challenged the idea that anyone in the White House — including the president — ever attempted to influence his determinations about security clearances. (RELATED: Former Official Testifies That WH Never Instructed Him To Change Security Clearance Determinations)
“I have never been approached by anybody at the White House or outside the White House to adjudicate a case, one way or the other, in my tenure at the White House,” Kline testified.
The testimony undercuts suggestions from Democrats that President Donald Trump was involved in overturning a decision not to grant his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a security clearance. Kline asserted that he does not have a relationship with the president.
READ THE MEMO:
Kline also accused the press of character assassination and said that despite his inability to defend himself to the public, he does not regret any of the determinations he made regarding security clearances. The former White House official, who now works in the Department of Defense, added that he finds leaks to the press about clearances “troubling.”
Democrats accused Kline of not being forthcoming during his testimony to the committee. The White House initially ordered Kline to ignore a Democratic subpoena to appear, but eventually allowed him to testify given he could have a White House lawyer present.
“I think that the White House [is] basically instructing the witness not to answer questions that are very pertinent to our inquiries, our legitimate inquiries, our legitimate and valid legislative purposes,” Illinois Democratic Rep. Raja Krisnamoorthi alleged.
Republicans pushed back on that characterization in their memo to the committee, stating that Kline testified for an entire day and only declined to answer questions about specific individuals’ security clearances.
The White House also declined to provide sensitive documents requested by the Democratic members of the committee.