A whistleblower in the White House has informed Congress that senior Trump administration officials granted security clearances to at least 25 individuals whose applications were denied by other employees. The House Oversight and Reform Committee named Tricia Newbold, a manager in the Personnel Security Office at the White House, as the whistleblower in a public memo on Monday, per the New York Times.
According to the memo, Newbold sat for an interview with Democratic and Republican committee staff on March 23. She revealed to the committee that administration officials had overturned denials on security clearance applications from upwards of 25 unnamed figures, two of whom are currently serving in senior White House positions.
The memo describes Newbold as an “18-year, non-partisan career employee of the Executive Office of the President under both Republican and Democratic Administrations.” She reportedly tried to bring her concerns to her immediate supervisors, Director of Personnel Security Carl Kline and Chief Operations Officer Samuel Price, but they offered no assurances that they would resolve the matter. Newbold ultimately decided to bring her information to the House committee because she felt it was her “last hope to really bring the integrity back into [her] office.”
According to the memo, the White House went to such lengths to disrupt the committee’s interviews with Newbold and other involved parties that they were forced to schedule the interviews for the weekend at the last minute. Newbold’s interview reportedly ran until both Democratic and Republican committee members had exhausted all of their questions.
This administration is famously gung-ho with its handling of security clearances. The most widely reported example of this came in February when the Times reported that President Trump personally ordered then-Chief of Staff John Kelly to grant a security clearance to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner so that he could serve as a senior advisor in the administration.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Oversight Committee’s chairman and top Democrat, has sent a letter to White House counsel Pat A. Cipollone demanding that the White House turn over documents related to their security clearance process. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers like Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the Oversight Committee’s top Republican, have been characteristically quick to dismiss Newbold’s claims as politically motivated attacks despite her demonstrated non-partisan credentials. Cummings says the committee is prepared to issue subpoenas as soon as Tuesday to determine if the White House has placed national secrets at risk.