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sn commis ama ONE HUNDRED SIXTEENTH CONGRESS a Congress of the United States House of Representatives COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND REFORM 2157 Rayaunn House Orrce BuLONG Wasvinron, DC 20515-6143, January 23, 2019 Mr. Pat Cipollone Counsel to the President ‘The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Dear Mr. Cipollone: ‘The Committee on Oversight and Reform is launching an in-depth investigation of the security clearance process at the White House and Transition Team in response to grave breaches of national security at the highest levels of the Trump Administration, including by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and others. The goals of this investigation are to determine why the White House and Transition ‘Team appear to have disregarded established procedures for safeguarding classified information, evaluate the extent to which the nation’s most highly guarded secrets were provided to officials who should not have had access to them, and develop reforms to remedy the flaws in current White House systems and practices. The investigation also will seek to determine why the White House is currently defying federal law by failing to provide to Congress information about security clearance process required by the SECRET Act. Last year, General John Kelly, President Trump’s Chief of Staff at the time, conceded that there are major “shortcomings” with the White House’s security clearance process. He warmed that the White House “should—and in the future, must—do better,” and he stated that “now is the time to take a hard look at the way the White House processes clearance requests.” Lagree. For the past two years, I have sought information with other Committee Members about a series of extremely troubling incidents regarding the security clearances of some of President Trump's top aides, but the White House has refused to provide the information we requested, ofien ignoring our requests completely. | appreciated our meeting last week, and I am in receipt of your January 11, 2019, letter acknowledging my letter on December 19, 2018, renewing requests from the Committee’s ' Memorandum from General John F. Kelly, Chief of Staff, to Don McGahn, Counsel to the President, et al, The White House (Feb. 16, 2018) (online at htip:/apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/polities/read-kellys- ‘memo-of-proposed-changes-to-white-house-security-clearance-process!2777/), Mr. Pat Cipollone Page 2 Republican Chairmen in 2017 and 2018. However, the White House response to our requests over the past two years has been wholly inadequate, For example: * The White House did not provide information about its failure to suspend the security clearance of General Flynn after Acting Attomey General Sally Yates personally warmed White House Counsel Don McGahn that General Flynn had lied to Vice President Michael Pence and others about secret conversations he had with the Russian Ambassador to the United States. + The White House did not provide information about its failure to suspend the security clearance of Senior Adviser to the President Jared Kushner after Mr. Kushner failed to disclose his own meetings and conversations with Russian officials—and allowed other White House officials, and the American people, to be misled about his communications.* © Vice President Pence, in his role as head of the Transition Team, did not provide information about whether the Transition Team submitted a security clearance application for Michael Flynn, Jr. the son of General Flynn, despite claims that he was merely assisting with scheduling matters.’ + The White House did not provide any non-public documents about why former Staff Secretary Robert Porter was allowed to continue working with an “interim” security clearance after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) provided the White House with four reports of derogatory information from Mr. Porter’s background investigation relating to serious allegations of domestic violence.’ * The White House did not provide information about the reported rejection of an application for access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) for National Security Council Senior Director Robin Townley, who served as one of the top deputies to General Flynn. 2 Letter from Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings et al., Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to Reine Priebus, White House Chief of Staff (June 21, 2017) (online at hutps:/democrats- oversight house.gov/sites/democrats. oversight house.gov/files/documents/2017-06- 21.¥420Dem420Members?420t0%20White420 House %20COS%20re.%420Flynn?420K ushner%20Clearances. pa) Md 4 Letter from Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to Vice President Michael Pence (Dee. 18, 2017) (online at https://democrats- oversight house. gov/sites/democrats.oversight house gov/files/2017-12-18.%20EEC%20t0%20VP%20Pence pal). ® Letter from Mare T. Short, Assistant to the President, The White House, to Chairman Trey Gowdy, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (Mar. 8, 2018) (online at ttps:democrats- oversight house.gov/sites/democrats oversight house.gov/fles/8%20March?42020 18%200GR920Letter pd). © Letter from Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to General John Kelly, White House Chief of Staff (Mar. 6, 2018) (online at https:/idemocrats- ‘oversight house. gov/sites/democrats oversight house. gov/files/20 18-03-06.BEC%20t0%20Kelly- WHY%20re%20T ownley%420SCI%420A pplication pai) Mr. Pat Cipollone Page 3 * The White House did not provide information about why President Trump's personal assistant, John McEntee, was fired and immediately rushed out of the White House on March 13, 2018, reportedly because of a non-specified security concern. * The White House did not provide information about whether current National Security Advisor John Bolton disclosed his previous contacts and work with Maria Butina, a Russian national who has now pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as an agent of the Russian government.* + The White House did not provide documents relating to General Kelly's review of the White House security clearance processes, which reportedly found that 34 White House officials who had started working on the first day of the Trump Administration were still working with interim security clearances as of November 2017 and that more than 130 political appointees in the Executive Office ofthe President were working with interim security clearances as of that date. * The White House is currently in violation of H.R. 3210, the SECRET Act—a law passed by both houses of Congress with bipartisan support and signed by President Trump on May 22, 2018—requiring the White House to submit a report to Congress by August 2018 on its procedures for adjudicating security clearances." In addition to the examples above, news reports have raised significant questions about other incidents: 7 Letter from Ranking Member Eljah E. Commings, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to General John Kelly, White House Chief of Staff (Mar. 13, 2018) (online at htpsidemocrats- oversight house gov/sites/democrats oversight house, gow/ies/2018-03- 13,EEC%20t0%20WH%20re John*420McEntee pa, * Letter from Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Ranking Member Stephen F. Lynch, Subcommittee on National Security, to General John Kelly, White House Chief of Staff (Aug. 20, 2018) (online at hips:/democras- oversight house.gov/sites/democrats oversight house gov/fles/2018-08-20,BEC%201 ynch®4200%20Kelly~ WHY%20re%20Bolton®<20SF86%20Information%420Request pi) ° CNN Exclusive: At Least 100 White House Officials Served with ‘Interim’ Security Clearances Until November, CNN (Feb. 15, 2018) (online at www.enn.com/20118/02/14/polities/security-clearances-white- house/index.itnl); Scores of Top White House Officials Lack Permanent Security Clearances, NBC News (Feb. 14, 2018) (online at www.nbenews.com/polities/white-house/scores-top-white-housc-officials-lack-permanent-securi clearances-n848191), '° Letter from Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings etal. to Chairman Trey Gowdy, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (Sep. 20, 2018) (online at https://democrats- oversight house.gov/sites/democrats oversight house. gov/files/20 8-09-20,0GR%420Dems%20to%20Gowdy- (OGR%2072%20SECRET%20Act pal)