House wants documents on McEntee's security clearances

House wants documents on McEntee's security clearances
© Greg Nash

The House Oversight and Reform Committee on Tuesday demanded that the White House turn over documents regarding the security clearance of John McEnteeJohn (Johnny) David McEnteeOPM chief abruptly resigns Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges Trump administration hires another college senior for key role MORE, a top aide recently rehired to lead the Presidential Personnel Office.

McEntee, President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE's former personal assistant, was fired in March 2018 for undisclosed security reasons but was rehired earlier this month to oversee the office tasked with vetting presidential appointments and recruiting candidates to work in federal agencies.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyTop House Oversight Democrats ask DHS to reduce immigrant detainee population FEMA tells House panel national supply of ventilators running low Stimulus opens new front in Trump's oversight fight MORE (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone renewing a request for documents the panel had previously requested last year about McEntee's security clearance and background check.

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Maloney's missive comes after Axios reported last week that McEntee met with White House liaisons from federal agencies and asked them to identify political appointees believed to be anti-Trump in an effort to undermine people in government considered to be insufficiently supportive of the president.

“Reports that Mr. McEntee is singling out political appointees that are not sufficiently loyal to President Trump for adverse personnel actions suggest that he may be using this role to advance the President’s political agenda rather than ensure the safety, integrity, and effectiveness of the Executive Branch,” Maloney wrote.

Maloney pointed to reports that McEntee was fired from the White House two years ago because of a gambling addiction and that he was under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for financial crimes.

At the time, the Trump campaign announced that McEntee would be joining the effort for Trump's reelection as a senior adviser for campaign operations.

Maloney cited the official guidelines for granting access to classified information that state criminal conduct and psychological conditions should be considered and suggested that "pathological gambling" could disqualify someone for such access.

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"Reports of Mr. McEntee's return to the White House raise significant concerns about whether he is now suitable for such a sensitive position after he was escorted out of the White House and reportedly was unable to maintain a security clearance," Maloney wrote.

In his new role, Maloney added, "this responsibility also carries with it the risk of abuse—including in the form of improper retaliation against public servants."

Since the GOP-controlled Senate acquitted Trump of the two articles of impeachment earlier this month, the White House has pushed out multiple officials who testified in the House impeachment inquiry into the president's efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political opponents.

Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanTrump takes heat for firing intel watchdog during pandemic America's diplomats deserve our respect White House withdraws nomination for Pentagon budget chief who questioned Ukraine aid hold MORE and his twin brother, the latter of whom did not testify during the impeachment inquiry, were both booted from their posts at the National Security Council earlier this month. Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandTrump takes heat for firing intel watchdog during pandemic White House withdraws nomination for Pentagon budget chief who questioned Ukraine aid hold Juan Williams: Will the GOP ever curb Trump? MORE, another impeachment inquiry witness, was also dismissed from his post as the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee previously requested the documents about McEntee and other White House aides in January 2019 under then-Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMaryland postpones primary over coronavirus fears Maryland governor: 'Simply not enough supplies' on hand to tackle coronavirus Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges MORE (D-Md.), but Maloney said so far the White House has not been responsive.

Maloney asked that the White House provide the documents and a briefing by March 10.