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Rep. Cummings Won't Let Trump Lackeys Get Away With Ignoring Subpoenas

Carl Kline, head of security for the White House, and granter of clearances to one and all, decides the Executive Branch has more to hold over him than the Legislative Branch, despite their co-equal status in the government.

So, the totally exonerated White House is not being obstruction-y at all. Except for being peeps who did nothing wrong, it's weird they refuse to answer questions they are legally required to answer, what with the Chairman of a Congressional committee sending them these official-like documents saying present your damn-self and explain to us this shite that went on, if it was all on the up and up and whatnot.

Congressman Elijah Cummings, of the Investigations Committee, subpoenaed Carl Kline, who oversaw security clearances at Trump's White House. In said position, he disregarded red flags and warnings about dozens of people, issuing them the highest clearances because Trumpty Dumpty wanted Javanka to be there by his side. (To solve Middle East Peace, Chris Davis' strike-out problems, and Chinese copyright issues.) If all that were completely Kosher, why then will Kline not appear before Chairman Cummings' committee?

On Hallie Jackson's show, former U.S. Attorney Greg Brower had this explanation.

BROWER: Legally, it's dubious and the optics are terrible, but my understanding is that there is an issue or dispute with respect to whether he could have White House counsel there along with his personal counsel, and it's my understanding that the committee chair is so far saying, "No, you cannot have agency or White House counsel there." I'm not sure that's gonna hold. I think in my experience we typically allowed witnesses to bring in committees that allowed witnesses to bring personal counsel and agency counsel if they so chose and the committee simply didn't care and more interested in getting the testimony. We'll see how this plays out.

Here's the thing. If WH counsel was there, they could invoke excecutive privilege anytime there was a question they did not want Kline to answer. And as Betsy Woodruff pointed out, Tricia Newbold did NOT bring WH counsel with her to testify, for good reason. She didn't have anything to hide. She wasn't trying to protect a criminal conspiracy happening in the White House. Sahil Kapur, though thinks Dems are interested in whether or not they actually WOULD invoke executive privilege, because they haven't ever officially, as of yet.


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KAPUR: Democrats, according to my reporting in the House, are a little bit eager to see the president and the White House actually invoke executive privilege because they haven't done that yet, and the Democrats see them as playing this sort of Rope-a-Dope game where they don't invoke it, but they use it as, you know, a justification for not complying with the investigation. And, by the way, we should note that the White House is also stonewalling the Democrats in the oversight investigation of the president's financial records and the Ways and Means Committee in the investigation of the tax return and the president is saying, "Come get me."

So, yeah, Trump and the Republicans are continuing to go down their tried and true path of lawlessness and defiance at every turn, spitting in the faces of everyone in the position to rein them in. In the memo from Kline's attorney, they mention that Congress is a co-equal branch of government with the Executive Branch. And yet, he's going to ignore the Legislative Branch's legal demands for information? Thwart them in their Constitutional duties of oversight and checks and balances? Because Trump told him to disobey a f*cking subpoena?

NEW: Showdown brewing. White House instructs Carl Kline, who greenlit Kushner’s security clearance, not to comply with Congress’ subpoena. Kline’s attorney says he’s listening to the WH over Congress and will not testify.

— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett)

Carl Kline’s attorneys tell me they are holding firm, per WH orders, he will not comply with Congress’ subpoena and attend the hearing. The two branches of govt will have to duke it out

— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett)

White House is, in the past 12 hours….

1. Blowing off Dems request for tax returns
2. Suing Dems for requesting previous Trump financials
3. Instructing officials not to testify to Congress over Kushner security clearance.

— Sam Stein (@samstein)

NEW: House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings says he plans to schedule a vote to hold ex-WH security director Carl Kline in contempt for defying a congressional subpoena to testify about security clearances.

— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk)

Yeah, that does not sound at ALL like people who have anything to hide, or feel exonerated. Not playing footsie with obstruction at ALL.

Here's part of what Chairman Cummings' after Kline refused to appear for his deposition.

The White House and Mr. Kline now stand in open defiance of a duly authorized congressional subpoena with no assertion of any privilege of any kind by President Trump. Based on these actions, it appears that the President believes that the Constitution does not apply to his White House, that he may order officials at will to violate their legal obligations, and that he may obstruct attempts by Congress to conduct oversight. It also appears that the White House believes that it may dictate to Congress—an independent and co-equal branch of government—the scope of its investigations and even the rules by which it conducts them. To date, the White House has refused to produce a single piece of paper or a single witness in any of the Committee’s investigations this entire year.

The White House’s position is untenable.

Chairman Cummings has threatened Carl Kline with contempt if he does not comply. I hope the next step after contempt involves showing up on his doorstep with handcuffs.

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