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 TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district 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 MaloneyEngel: IG report shows Pompeo's 'sham' use of emergency declaration in arms sales State says it will be cleared by watchdog report OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog to weigh probe of Trump advancements on Pebble Mine | Interior finalizes public lands HQ move out West over congressional objections | EPA to issue methane rollback: report 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 VindmanVindman describes 'campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation' by Trump, allies in op-ed Vindman marks 1 year since call that led to Trump's impeachment White House officials alleged Vindman created hostile work environment after impeachment testimony: report 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 SondlandGOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' Top Democrat slams Trump's new EU envoy: Not 'a political donor's part-time job' Trump names new EU envoy, filling post left vacant by impeachment witness Sondland 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 CummingsBill Maher delivers mock eulogy for Trump The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden comes to Washington to honor John Lewis Lawmakers set for tearful goodbye to John Lewis 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.