There’s a new sheriff in town, Jared

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Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland gave the White House counsel’s office until March 4th to comply with a request to turn over documents and comply with interviews related to how the White House handled security clearances for some of the President’s closest advisers including, of course, Jared Kushner.
I hate to break the news to Jared Kushner. There’s a new sheriff in town. If he were a contestant on the popular TV show “I’ve Got a Secret” which ran in its first run from 1952 – 1967 his secret would be “I used my top-secret clearance to benefit the family business and spent 10 years in prison for it.”
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Cummings wrote to the White House counsel Pat Cipollone “I am now writing a final time to request your voluntary cooperation with this investigation. I ask that you begin producing all responsive documents immediately, and I request that you begin scheduling transcribed interviews with each witness identified by the Committee. I am now writing a final time to request your voluntary cooperation with this investigation. I ask that you begin producing all responsive documents immediately, and I request that you begin scheduling transcribed interviews with each witness identified by the Committee.” Reading between the lines, it sounds like Sheriff Cummings is playing good cop while he stands with the power of his badge and the subpoena authority that goes with it in the holster on his hip.
This comes after the New York Times revealed that President Trump ignored the concerns of White House Chief of Staff General Kelly and White House Counsel, Don McGahn that there were serious questions about whether it was appropriate for Kushner to be granted high-level security clearances. Both felt that it was imperative to document their concern in memos to themselves.
Cummings went on to write “If true, these new reports raise grave questions about what derogatory information career officials obtained about Mr. Kushner to recommend denying him access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets, why President Trump concealed his role in overruling that recommendation, why General Kelly and Mr. McGahn both felt compelled to document these actions, and why your office is continuing to withhold key documents and witnesses from this Committee.”
According to a CNN report:
In one letter from White House counsel Cipollone, the White House argues they are willing to “make available for your review” documents about the White House security clearance process, but says the White House believes Congress doesn’t have the oversight authority to review individual security clearance decisions, given the belief Article II provides the President broad discretion about who he shares information with. Cipollone writes, “the President, Not Congress, Has the Power to Control National Security Information.” In another letter, he urges Cummings to make requests about security clearance information “narrowly focused” and “limited.”
In Cipollone’s letter, he also asks Cummings not to go around the White House counsel’s office to try to obtain information directly from White House staffers. He specifically cites efforts to talk to Kelly.
This is from the Washington Post

“It’s crucial for the appropriate congressional committees to find out the truth of what happened here, and getting hold of these documents it appears would be the best way to do that,” Noah Bookbinder, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said.

Bookbinder said that House Democrats should try not just to obtain the memos but also to release them, albeit with appropriate redactions. “Ultimately the public needs to know if the president is overriding national security interests based on personal relationships that he has,” Bookbinder said, adding that Democrats should aim for public release of as much information as national security permits, “in the interests of accountability.”

It looks like a major confrontation is brewing between the two houses, White House and the House Oversight Committee. The Committee on Oversight and Reform, the main investigative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives which “has authority to investigate the subjects within the Committee’s legislative jurisdiction as well as ‘any matter’ within the jurisdiction of the other standing House Committees.
I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that and the Oversight Committee’s jurisdiction should give pause to Jared Kushner and his father-in-law. (from committee website)

Oversight Responsibilities

The oversight responsibilities of the Committee are set forth in House Rule X, clauses 2, 3, and 4.

House Rule X, clause 2(b), provides that the Committee shall review and study on a continuing basis—

(A) the application, administration, execution, and effectiveness of laws and programs addressing subjects within its jurisdiction;
(B) the organization and operation of Federal agencies and entities having responsibilities for the administration and execution of laws and programs addressing subjects within its jurisdiction;
(C) any conditions or circumstances that may indicate the necessity or desirability of enacting new or additional legislation addressing subjects within its jurisdiction (whether or not a bill or resolution has been introduced with respect thereto); and
(D) future research and forecasting on subjects within its jurisdiction.

House Rule X, clause 3(i), provides that the Committee shall “review and study on a continuing basis the operation of Government activities at all levels with a view to determining their economy and efficiency.”

House Rule X, clause 4(c)(1), provides that the Committee shall:(A) receive and examine reports of the Comptroller General of the United States and submit to the House such recommendations as it considers necessary or desirable in connection with the subject matter of the reports;
(B) evaluate the effects of laws enacted to reorganize the legislative and executive branches of the Government; and
(C) study intergovernmental relationships between the States and municipalities and between the United States and international organizations of which the United States is a member.


It seems to me, again as a non-lawyer, that the last paragraph in the list of oversight responsibilities ought to send chills up the collective spines of Trump and associates:
And House Rule X, clause 4(c)(2), provides that the Committee “may at any time conduct investigations of any matter without regard to clause 1, 2, 3, or this clause [of House Rule X] conferring jurisdiction over the matter to another standing committee.”

UPDATE:

A PRESIDENT enjoys a fair amount of discretion when it comes to designating subordinates for access to the nation’s secrets. But reports that President Trump personally intervened to get his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a top-secret clearance raise serious concerns that Congress must investigate.

While Mr. Trump’s insular leadership style is hardly suited for the White House, nepotism is not the primary concern in this case. The main worry is that secrets may be shared inappropriately. Mr. Kushner’s clearance was reportedly granted despite the concerns of intelligence officials. The nature of their concern is not entirely clear, though The Post reported last year that the government had received indications that foreign governments were interested in taking advantage of Mr. Kushner’s complex family business arrangements, its financial needs and his lack of foreign policy experience.

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