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House panel demands Kushner clearance details from White House with threat of subpoena

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A Democratic-led congressional panel on Friday demanded that the White House comply with requests for documents and witnesses for a probe into alleged security clearance abuses involving President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and others.

After weeks of White House stonewalling, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, in a letter to the White House, said “I am now writing a final time to request your voluntary cooperation.” Cummings panel has subpoena power.

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Cummings highlighted in his letter a New York Times story that said Trump ordered his former chief of staff John Kelly to provide Kushner with clearance over objections from Kelly and Donald McGahn, then White House counsel.

The Times said Kelly and McGahn both wrote memos about the incident and that McGahn outlined concerns raised about Kushner by career security officials, including CIA officers.

“If true, these new reports raise grave questions about what derogatory information career officials obtained about Mr. Kushner to recommend denying him access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets,” Cummings wrote to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone in the March 1 letter, which appeared to set the stage for his committee to subpoena the material.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Oversight Committee launched its investigation on Jan 23. Cummings said he and his staff have since written and spoken to White House officials multiple times about obtaining documents and witnesses, but to no avail.

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Kushner’s temporary clearance was suspended by Kelly in February 2018, along with other officials operating under temporary clearances, as part of measures to tighten procedures after White House staff secretary Rob Porter was fired when his two ex-wives raised charges of domestic abuse.

Cummings said he has provided the White House with detailed descriptions of security clearance abuses by at least nine high-level White House officials including Kushner and current and former national security advisers.

The House Democrat’s letter included a transcript from a Jan. 31 Times interview with Trump, in which the president denied ordering Kelly to overrule security officials and provide clearances for Kushner. Trump said he did not think he had the authority to overrule security officials on clearance matters, according to the letter.

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But White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told an NBC interviewer on Friday that Trump has said he has “absolute authority” to order security clearances.

Cummings gave the White House until Monday to respond to his latest demands. His panel’s probe is part of a wide-ranging effort by House of Representatives Democrats, launched since they took majority control of the chamber in January, to investigate Trump, his presidency and his business interests.

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Lev Parnas’s lawyer declared ‘open war’ on AG Bill Barr during Maddow interview: attorney

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The attorney for Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas appears to be using a novel legal strategy, attorney Luppe Luppen explained on Friday.

Joseph Bondy, the attorney for Parnas, was interviewed Friday evening by Rachel Maddow, following the day's end of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Luppen, who offers legal analysis on his popular @nycsouthpaw Twitter account, came to a conclusion that seemed to surprise him after watching the interview.

"I’ve never seen a lawyer sit on a cable panel show and make that much news," Luppen wrote.

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Democratic prosecutors wrap up case against Trump

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Democratic prosecutors on Friday wrapped up three days of arguments for seeking Donald Trump's removal from office, as the US president's lawyers prepared to take their turn presenting his defense in the Senate's historic impeachment trial.

For a final eight-hour stretch, the 100 senators listened as Democrats argued that Trump abused the power of the presidency in pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations that would help him politically and then sought to block efforts by Congress to investigate.

Democrats said they had met the burden of proof as they warned Republicans that Trump would remain a grave danger to the nation if left in office.

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‘Give me a break’: Internet unleashes on ‘snowflakes’ Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski for complaint about Schiff

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CNN's Manu Raju revealed after the Senate adjourned that Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) audibly disputed Rep. Adam Schiff's (D-CA) quotation of a CBS News report threatening senators.

"She shook her head and said, 'No they didn't. No, that's not true,'" Raju reported.

Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Jim Risch (R-ID) Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and John Barrasso also said that the report was false.

https://twitter.com/GriffinConnolly/status/1220891285910892544

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