The security clearance records from the White House of Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law, and the access he has to classified information is a subject of inquiry by the Democrats appearing on the House Oversight Committee. The Chief of Staff of the White House’ 18 member panel of Democrats want to know the reasons for failing to revoke the security clearance of Kushner.
It is alleged by the Democrats that Kushner who is one of the closest advisers of President Trump held a series of meetings with the Russian state-owned bank’s CEO and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador. They claim he permitted the administration officials to say he had held no such meetings while he was applying for the security clearance, and that he did not disclose the meetings.
The letter by the Democrats questions why Mr. Kushner continued to have access to the classified information while investigations about the allegations were in progress. The letter also seeks to get similar information about the former national security adviser, Mr. Michael Flynn who was forced to resign sometimes in February for lying to the Pence, the Vice President about his conversations and contacts with Sergey during the period of transition.
Led by ranking member Elijah Cummings, D-MD., the Democrat’s Oversight Committee has pitched a brewing battle over congressional oversights, and the Inquiry and other investigative efforts is fueling the controversy. It is not surprising that the administration of Trump has overlooked hundreds of correspondences of inquiry from the Congress, and it is hiding behind a legal opinion advanced by the Justice Department claiming that majority of the Congress does not have the power of the constitution to subject the executive to oversight inquiries. Presently, the Democrats are a minority party in both the chambers on Capitol Hill, and the claims are not just an attack on them.
In a letter to Trump written earlier this month, Senator Charles Grassley the representative of Iowa who is also the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman termed the inquiry as nonsense. Using his staff, Grassley who is also known to champion strong oversight has investigated agencies of the executive branch in the past. The Californian Democrat and House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi dispatched a letter to the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, this week in which she accused the administration of waging a campaign of dishonesty if not increasing secrecy. The same letter went to Don McGhan, the White House counsel. 25 other House Democrats signed the letter too.
The legal opinion of the Justice Department has a dismissive view of individual Congress members, and claims the powers of the oversight to question branches of executive agencies about what they are doing is limited to committee chairs by the constitution. All Democrats on Capitol Hill and a majority of Republicans who do not even chair committees are frozen out
Any such letters written by local representatives asking about some problems are blown off by the agency under that policy. The House Democrats have a total of 260 letters on issues of Russian financial ties, Trumps family, and infrastructure priorities ignored by the administration under their custody.
In media interviews, Grassley said the policy of the administration is running counter to everything about checks and balances of government that even eighth-graders understand. Most members of Congress are not subjected to the checks which require them to see that the President faithfully executes the laws, according to the language from the presidential oath of office.
A spokesman from the administration gave assurance that Grassley’s letter is being reviewed by the White House, and possibly there will be a mutual agreement. Not all agencies have a hard stand against the Justice Department, but Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md compares the position of the administration with Trump’s rhetoric about draining the swamp last fall.