White House ex-security director to ignore Congress’ subpoena over Trump security clearance scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former White House security director on Tuesday plans to ignore a congressional subpoena to answer U.S. lawmakers’ questions about allegations that the Trump administration overruled career officials’ security clearance decisions, the Washington Post reported.

Carl Kline, who served as the White House personnel security chief for the first two years of Republican Donald Trump’s presidency and now works for the Department of Defense, was scheduled to appear before the House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee at 9 a.m. (1300 GMT)

The White House on Monday directed Kline to ignore the subpoena, saying the requested testimony was unconstitutional, and Robert Driscoll, Kline’s lawyer, said he would follow that recommendation, the Post said, citing two separate letters.

Representatives for the Democratic-controlled committee could not be immediately reached for comment.

If Kline disregards the subpoena, the House could vote to hold him in contempt and seek redress in the courts, sparking a legal battle.

The committee’s Democratic chairman, Elijah Cummings, had led the push to subpoena Kline amid the panel’s investigation into security clearance process under Trump following whistleblower allegations that the White House inappropriately granted clearances to some of the president’s advisers.

Congressional sources have said those advisers included Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, who both serve as top White House officials.

The vote to subpoena Kline passed the committee earlier this month, 22-15, along party lines.

On Monday Trump sued the committee to fight a separate subpoena for his financial records.

(Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Bill Trott)