As of November 2017, over 130 political appointees working in the Executive branch with President Donald Trump continued to access classified material on a regular basis with no security clearance. The Trump administration has not released the exact number remaining, but they may soon have to.
Representative Trey Gowdy, the one-time chair of the Benghazi commission, plans to launch a more thorough investigation in the wake of the Rob Porter scandal. Porter resigned after details regarding past allegations of domestic violence. Porter was on the November list of appointees with access to the Oval Office with no security clearance or background check. President Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner also appeared on that list.
Gowdy, a Republican from South Carolina, formally requested the White House release additional information on security clearances for all senior staffers. The Republican lawmaker directed chief of staff John Kelly to provide a current list of all top aides serving President Donald Trump with pending security clearance statuses.
Porter served in the White House for over a year without a security clearance, which many critics call excessive. Also under scrutiny is the sheer number of appointees working closely with the president without completing the necessary background checks or clearances. The risk to national security caught the attention of Gowdy’s committee.
As of November 2017, White House officials who still had an interim security clearance included Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Don McGahn.https://t.co/BUw5u7g1mz
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) February 16, 2018
Congratulations to Gary Cohn on being the only staffer in the West Wing to actually get a security clearance.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) February 15, 2018
Third White House staffer who wouldn’t pass a full security clearance has now resigned, because Trump hires the best people.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 14, 2018
The House Oversight Committee is launching an investigation into Rob Porter’s employment at the White House. But what about the dozens of other White House staffers who don’t have a permanent security clearance like Jared Kushner?https://t.co/coGtGmDIqb
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) February 14, 2018
Gowdy announced his initial investigation involving the FBI on Wednesday, then expanded it to include direct questions to the White House on Thursday.
“You can call it official. You can call it unofficial,” Gowdy said Wednesday.
I’m going to direct questions to the FBI that I expect them to answer. And if they don’t answer them, then they’re going to need to give me a really good reason.”