Memo: Ex-White House official testified no one influenced decisions on security clearances

A memo from Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee said that former White House Security Clearance Director Carl Kline testified that he never faced political influence or interference while granting security clearances in the Trump White House. 

"Mr. Kline testified that no one ever attempted to influence him to grant or overturn a security clearance adjudication determination," the memo, obtained by Hill.TV, said. 

"He explained, 'I have never been approached by anybody at the White House or outside the White House to adjudicate a case, one way or the other, in my tenure at the White House,'" the memo continued. 

A whistleblower previously told the panel the White House intervened to give high-level clearances to 25 people who had been denied them.

The memo comes after Politico reported on Thursday that Kline told the Oversight and Reform Committee that he had overruled lower-level employees’ recommendations on issuing clearances, adding that he reportedly said he had no regrets about the process. 

Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) hit back at the memo's release in a statement to The Hill on Friday.

"Contrary to Rep. Jordan’s staff report today, the Committee has been raising serious concerns about the security clearances of specific individuals at the White House from the inception of this investigation—this is not new," Cummings said.

"What is new is the White House’s declaration this week that it will withhold all information, documents, and testimony about these decisions. We must have the information that we need to be able to effectively reform the security clearance process to ensure that those accessing our nation’s most carefully guarded secrets are above reproach.”

House Democrats have questioned how the president's daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who both serve as senior advisers in the White House, secured their security clearances.

Cummings said on Thursday that the White House blocked a former official from answering questions about the security clearances of Trump and Kushner. 

“They wouldn’t touch it,” Cummings told reporters. “And that’s one of the reasons we were so concerned about having the White House counsel there. Whenever there was any mention of Ivanka or any mention of Mr. Kushner, he shut him down.”

— Saagar Enjeti and Julia Manchester