Ocasio-Cortez tears into Trump administration over security clearances

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Tuesday waded into the debate over the White House’s handling of security clearances a day after a whistleblower said that 25 were given to officials after they were initially denied access to top-secret information.

“Every day that we go on without getting to the bottom of this matter is a day that we are putting hundreds if not potentially thousands of Americans at risk,” Ocasio-Crotez said during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill. “I mean, really, what is next, putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs? This is ridiculous. We need to get to the bottom of this.”

The freshman lawmaker, who attained fame after defeating the No. 4 House Democrat in a primary upset, said subpoenas would have to be issued to find out what happened “because people in this administration are not cooperating.”

“Every day that there is an insecure line of communication that could be leaked, that could be hacked, that could be screenshotted, without proper channels, is a day that we are putting our national security at risk,” she added.

The whistleblower, White House security adviser Tricia Newbold, raised concerns over the high-level security clearances given to the officials, including three unnamed White House officials. Yahoo News reported Monday that President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, are among the officials involved.

There have previously been reports that Trump personally intervened after clearances for Ivanka and Kushner were denied them. Abbe Lowell, an attorney for both Ivanka and Kushner, has previously said the couple’s clearances were “handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone.”

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In a letter, the oversight committee requested that the White House turn over a list identifying the 25 individuals.

The committee also requested information from the Executive Office of the President People Information Center database for nine current and former White House officials, including Kushner, Ivanka and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

A Democratic committee aide told Yahoo News that all nine of these officials were not necessarily among those who were initially denied clearances, and said the records were being requested based on “previous public reporting” about issues with their clearances.

Republicans accused House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., of cherry-picking excerpts from Newbold’s testimony to justify another partisan investigation into the Trump White House.

The GOP members of the committee called Cummings’ decision to move forward with the investigation into Newbold’s claims “reckless.”

Cummings said Newbold came forward at great personal risk because she feared Republican retaliation. Ocasio-Cortez said the committee has a “unique responsibility to protect those that have the courage to come out and say when something is wrong regardless of the administration.”

— With Hunter Walker contributing reporting.

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