The White House has instructed a former official who was in charge of the security clearance process to not comply with a House subpoena demanding his appearance for an interview, the latest move by the Trump administration to thwart Democratic-led investigations into all aspects of the presidency.
After a day of tense negotiations, the White House late Monday told the former official, Carl Kline, who now works at the Defense Department, to not appear at Tuesday's deposition, contending that Democrats were seeking access to confidential information that should be off limits.
The move raises the prospect that the House Oversight Committee could seek to hold Kline in contempt, a step that Chairman Elijah Cummings warned Monday he would take. And it's the latest White House effort to stonewall Democratic investigations, coming the same day the Trump Organization filed a lawsuit to prevent an accounting firm from complying with Cummings' subpoena for President Donald Trump's past financial records.
Michael Purpura, deputy counsel to Trump, argued that Cummings' subpoena of Kline "unconstitutionally encroaches on fundamental executive branch interests," according to a letter obtained by CNN.
Kline's attorney, Robert Driscoll, said his client would listen to his employer.
"With two masters from two equal branches of government, we will follow the instructions of the one that employs him," Driscoll said in a separate letter obtained by CNN.
The flurry of letters capped a day of tense talks ahead of Tuesday's anticipated deposition with Kline, a key witness as part of Democrats' probe into whether the White House mishandled the security clearance process for top officials, including for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
Kline, who was subpoenaed to appear before the committee Tuesday, served as the White House personnel security director for the first two years of the Trump administration. A White House official, Tricia Newbold, told the committee that at least 25 individuals had been greenlighted for security clearances despite serious concerns raised during the vetting process -- and alleged that Kline retaliated against her for speaking out.
I know I keep arguing that there's more than enough evidence to impeach now, but giving the Trump regime enough rope to hang then entire bunch only makes the case against Trump stronger. There's still a decent chance that the Supreme Court won't take up this fight for some time, saying that Congress and the White House should work it out, and this could very well end up being strung along for 18 months or more.
But there's a chance that these fights build up so rapidly on so many different fronts that SCOTUS feels compelled to act sooner. Chief Justice Roberts doesn't want to be remembered as a villain, but as a Solomon-like figure of wisdom.
I still don't know the outcome though, and anyone who tells you they do is lying.