Posts tagged with "Jared Kushner"

Steve Bannon surrenders to Manhattan DA for ‘Build the Wall’ financial fraud case

September 9, 2022

Rightwing provocateur Steve Bannon turned himself in Thursday morning, September 8, to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, where he is expected to face criminal charges of financial fraud, reports The Daily Beast.

New York prosecutors are attempting to nail him for crimes that former President Donald Trump already had pardoned. However, that presidential Get Out of Jail card only applied to a previous federal case that had to be dropped. The DA operates at a state level and doesn’t have to abide by that pardon.

Bannon—who was scheduled to be arraigned at 2:30 p.m. (EDT)—had to turn over his passport, according to a source familiar with the case. That person said the DA’s case is being handled by two prosecutors in the office’s economic crimes bureau: assistant district attorneys Daniel Passeser and Michael Frantel.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees that a person cannot be prosecuted twice for the same crime, a concept known as “double jeopardy.” However, New Yorkers fed up with rampant corruption during the Trump Administration sought to create a loophole of sorts in 2019—allowing the state to pursue criminal charges on a local level that weren’t being addressed at the federal one.

The Manhattan DA’s office has taken the same approach with other Trump World associates. Last year, it brought a criminal cyberstalking case  against another person who previously had received a Trump pardon: Ken Kurson, a former editor of The New York Observer who’s close with Trump’s son-in-law and former Observer owner Jared Kushner. Earlier this year, Kurson took a plea deal for unlawfully spying on his ex-wife.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

January 6 Committee secures interview with former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone

January 8, 2022

The Trump White House’s top lawyer, Pat Cipollone, is set to appear before the House January 6 select committee on Friday, July 8—which would make him the highest-ranking official from the 45th president’s West Wing to provide testimony to the panel, reports The Huffington Post.

The news comes after former aide to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Cassidy Hutchinson, testified that Cipollone expressed serious concerns about the legality of Donald Trump’s actions in the final days of his presidency. Cipollone did not immediately respond to a request for comment on multiple media reports that he has agreed to testify behind closed doors after having previously spoken to the committee informally.

Cipollone, according to former Trump Administration officials, was among the most forceful voices telling Trump on January 6 that his actions that day could expose him to criminal prosecution.

According to testimony already made public by the committee, Cipollone became the bulwark against Trump’s attempts to overturn his election loss through various means—including trying to pressure the Department of Justice to send a letter falsely claiming there had been significant election fraud to states that Joe Biden had narrowly won or invoking the Insurrection Act to declare a form of martial law and seize voting machines.

His threats to resign along with others in the office became so well-known in Trump’s inner circle that even Fox News host Sean Hannity wrote in a December 31, 2020, text to Mark Meadows: “We can’t lose the entire WH counsel’s office.” And in a Jan. 5, 2021, text, he warned Meadows that “pressure” on Vice President Mike Pence would backfire: “WH counsel will leave.”

Top Trump adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner told the committee in a videotaped deposition that he personally did not think much of Cipollone’s repeated threats. “I know him and the team were always saying, ‘We are going to resign. We are not going to be there if this happened, if that happens.’ So I kind of took it to be just whining, to be honest with you,” he said.

And on January 6 itself, Cipollone was the leading voice in the building telling Trump that he should not lead his mob’s attempt to coerce Pence and Congress into reversing his election loss by physically going to the Capitol with them.

Cassidy Hutchinson testified last week that Cipollone told her to make sure Trump did not go to the Capitol as he wanted. “Please make sure we don’t go up to the Capitol, Cassidy. Keep in touch with me. We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen,” she said.

She also told the panel that Meadows and Cipollone discussed their failed attempt that afternoon to persuade Trump to tell his supporters to leave the building after live television reports showed they had breached police lines and broken in.

“I remember Pat saying something to the effect of, ‘Mark, we need to do something more. They’re literally calling for the vice president to be f-ing hung.’ And Mark had responded something to the effect of, ‘You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it,’” she testified. “‘He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong,’ to which Pat said something like, ‘This is f-ing crazy.’”

Whatever information Cipollone provides to the committee could become public on Tuesday, July12, when the committee has set its next public hearing.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Striking contrast: Trump officials then and now

June 16, 2022

Many officials have told the January 6 committee that they tried to dissuade the former president from his bid to overturn the election. But in public at the time, their words were far different, reports The New York Times.

For example, when Bill Barr stepped down as attorney general in December 2020, he showered then-President Donald Trump with praise for his “unprecedented achievements” in a flowery letter and vowed that the Justice Department would continue to pursue the president’s claims of voter fraud “to ensure the integrity of elections.”

However, 18 months later, Barr sounded more than slightly different. In videotaped testimony played at the first two public hearings held by the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Americans have now learned what Barr avoided saying publicly about Trump at the time.

“I was somewhat demoralized,” Barr said in testimony played on Monday, June 13—describing his reaction to a monologue from Trump in December 2020 that the voting machines were rigged.

Barr’s thinking, he said, was that the president had “become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff. On the other hand, when I went into this and would tell him how crazy some of these allegations were, there was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.”

Barr’s testimony, as well as that of several aides played at the hearing, represented candid, more brutal versions of what they were saying in public shortly after the election, the Times said.

Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, and Jason Miller, a top adviser, testified to the committee that they failed to keep Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, away from him on election night. Giuliani, whom Mr. Miller described as “definitely intoxicated,” told Trump that he should declare victory. “It was far too early to be making any calls like that,” Mr. Stepien testified.

Stepien also testified that it became clear after the election that Trump did not have any realistic avenue to overturn the election. But in the days immediately after the vote, he did not publicly challenge Trump or Giuliani. And two days after Election Day, Miller raised the idea on a call with reporters that mysterious bags of ballots were showing up in states where Trump was still contesting the results.

Both appeared to believe that there was an opportunity for challenges that passed in the middle of November. Both continued working with the campaign, but receded from the forefront as Trump put Giuliani in charge of the efforts to overturn the results.

The change for some of the aides reflects the legal consequences of lying to a congressional committee, and how much Trump’s grip on his former aides has loosened in the 17 months he has been out of office.

The testimony so far reflects only what has been released publicly, and it is unclear what else the committee may have. In books written about the election in the last year, Trump’s aides are portrayed as believing that the data showed a likely victory until the afternoon of November 5, when it changed.

Barr, who testified to the committee voluntarily, spoke on the record to Jonathan Karl of ABC News in 2021 about his exasperation with Mr. Trump’s claims of fraud. Barr also recounted tense private conversations with Trump in his memoir this year.

In other cases, people such as Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and daughter Ivanka began to look toward a life after the White House in Florida, while staying inside the Administration. They tried to solidify policy issues they had worked on and, according to their colleagues, said little to try to dissuade Trump from his bid to stay in power.

And yet they remained silent in public as the president, his advisers and political allies pushed the claims on Americans and used them for fund-raising for Trump.

“After the election, he’s advised by his own people not to go out and declare victory, that they needed time for the votes to come in,” said Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California, who led the questioning at the second committee hearing on Monday.

She added: “They directly told the president over and over again, they were false. These were his people. This is Trump World, telling the president that what he was saying was false. And he continued to say the same thing.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Jared Kushner testifies to January 6 committee for more than six hours

April 4, 2022

The House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol has interviewed its first Trump family member and the highest-ranking official to date from the previous administration—meeting with Jared Kushner on Thursday, March 31, for more than six hours, reports NBC News.

The panel met virtually with Kushner—Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a former senior White House adviser—after he voluntarily agreed to speak with the committee, which Trump has accused of conducting a “witch hunt.”

A source described Kushner as being cooperative and friendly; adding that he did the talking, as opposed to having his lawyers speak for him.

The committee did not immediately comment on Kushner’s appearance.

Representative Elaine Luria (D-Virginia), a member of the January 6 committee, told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace that Kushner “was able to voluntarily provide information to us to verify, substantiate, provide his own take on this different reporting,” adding, “So it was really valuable for us to have the opportunity to speak to him.”

A representative for Kushner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Asked about Kushner’s planned interview this week, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said the “White House has decided not to assert executive privilege over the testimony of Jared Kushner,” essentially allowing him to speak about discussions with Trump that would otherwise be considered confidential.

Several witnesses have refused to answer the committee’s questions by arguing that only Trump can waive that privilege, not President Joe Biden.

It’s unclear what exactly the committee asked Kushner. The panel had been expected to inquire about Trump’s false claims that he won the election and other information related to the deadly attack on the Capitol.

While Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, was in the White House and met with her father on January 6, 2021, Kushner was returning to Washington from a trip to Saudi Arabia.

The Jan. 6 panel, which has interviewed hundreds of witnesses and issued dozens of subpoenas, is also in talks with Ivanka Trump for a voluntary interview, NBC News has reported. Bedingfield said Tuesday that the White House would not assert executive privilege in her interview, either.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Jared Kushner’s company reportedly moves to evict hundreds as pandemic rages

November 9, 2020

An apartment management company co-owned by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has taken action in court to evict hundreds of tenants whose finances have taken a hit from COVID -19, The Washington Post first reported November 5.

Westminster Management has moved against largely low- and middle-income tenants in the Baltimore area, many of them Black, whose apartments are managed by the company, The Huffington Post also said.

A state moratorium protects tenants against evictions as people struggle with loss of jobs during the pandemic. A federal moratorium for government-supported housing, which includes some run by Westminster, also offers tenant protections during the crisis.

But Westminster, which manages some 20,000 apartments, and other management companies are eager to get started on the process against tenants with past-due rent. Westminster, part of the Kushner family’s Kushner Cos., said in a statement that Westminster’s actions are fully compliant with state and federal eviction bans.

Jared Kushner claimed that he gave up managing Kushner Cos. when his father-in-law, President Donald Trump, made him a senior White House adviser. But he maintained his ownership in the company. Kushner earned $1.69 million from his stake in Westminster last year, according to his financial filings.

One resident of a Westminster-managed apartment Tashika Booker, told the Post that she lost her job working for an online education company because of the pandemic. She said she’s struggling to pay rent as she seeks other work.

Westminster is fighting a lawsuit by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh that accuses the company of violations concerning tacked-on fees and poor housing conditions, the HuffPost said.

Months before the suit was filed, Trump slammed the Baltimore congressional district represented by the late Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings’ (D-Maryland) as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

Kushner properties in the area at the time had racked up hundreds of building code violations. An earlier lawsuit described one Kushner apartment as having a leaking bedroom ceiling, maggots in the living room carpet and raw sewage spewing form the kitchen sink.

As for the suit filed by Frosh, Kushner Cos. managers have denied the charges, and claim the court action is politically motivated.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Embracing racist stereotype, Kushner questions whether Black Americans ‘want to be successful’

October 29, 2020

In a Fox & Friends interview on October 26, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner played into a racist stereotype by seeming to question whether Black Americans “want to be successful”—despite everything he claims that the Administration had done for them, The New York Times reports.

President Trump repeatedly has bragged about what he has done for Black America—pointing to Administration’s funding for Black colleges and universities, the creation of so-called opportunity zones, and criminal justice reform.

But on Monday, Kusher commented, “One thing we’ve seen in a lot of the Black community, which is mostly Democrat, is that President Trump’s policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they’re complaining about,” Mr. Kushner said in an interview with “Fox & Friends,” the president’s favorite morning cable show. “But he can’t want them to be successful more than they want to be successful.”

In the interview, Kushner said that, after the killing in May of George Floyd, a Black man in police custody—an event that set off global protests about systemic racism, and that Kushner referred to as the “George Floyd situation”—a lot of people were more concerned with what he called “virtue signaling” than in coming up with “solutions.”

“They’d go on Instagram and cry, or they would put a slogan on their jersey or write something on a basketball court,” he said, an apparent reference to N.B.A. players like LeBron James who joined national protests over the issue of police brutality. “And quite frankly, that was doing more to polarize the country than it was to bring people forward,” he said. “You solve problems with solutions.”

According to the Times report, Kushner’s remarks prompted a scathing response from Representative Gwen Moore, a Black Democrat from Wisconsin. She tweeted: “Trust fund baby slumlord Kushner who has enriched himself in the WH takes the silver spoon out of his mouth long enough to insert his foot with a racist trope about Black people and success.”

The Democratic National Committee was equally harsh: “According to the Trump administration, when African-Americans find fault in policies that have led to historic unemployment for Black families, an explosion of racial inequities and wealth gaps, and an uncontained global pandemic that has taken the lives of over 45,000 Black Americans, it means that we just don’t want to be successful badly enough,” said Brandon Gassaway, the national press secretary for the committee. “This dismissive approach to the issues that Black voters care about is indicative of Trump’s callousness and disregard for the lives of Black people.”

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, defended Kushner by saying his remarks were taken out of context. She accused unnamed “internet trolls” for trying to “distract from President Trump’s undeniable record of accomplishment for the Black community.”

Trump’s frequent references to what he has claimed to have done for Black America have often been accompanied by one of the most patently false claims he has made since moving into the White House—that has done more for Black Americans than any president with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln.

 

Research contact: @nytimes

All in the family: It’s hard to find a Trump who hasn’t voted by mail

June 24, 2020

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday morning, June 22, to rant about the threat he believes mail-in ballots pose to the integrity of U.S. elections—but his family seems to have never gotten the message, according to a report by The Daily Beast.

The POTUS  fired off another social media fusillade against the practice of submitting ballots through the USPS, which he has previously labeled as “horrible,” “terrible,” and “corrupt,” as well as “dangerous,” “fraudulent,” and for “cheaters.”

The Daily Beast opined, “The tweet on Monday, like his prior statements, reflected his fears over the expansion of vote-by-mail policies in several states amid the COVID-19 pandemic. ”

 “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!” Trump tweeted in all-capital letters.

But such fears apparently have not deterred either Trump, himself, or members of his immediate family from entrusting their ballots to the U.S. mail.

In fact, the Beast reports, the White House has acknowledged that the president mailed in ballots in New York in 2018 and in Florida this year—and the Orlando Sun-Sentinel has reported that First Lady Melania Trump recently also has taken advantage of the Sunshine State’s remote voting program.

On reviewing records from the Manhattan Board of Elections, The Daily Beast discovered that Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and the First Lady all had ballots mailed to them in Washington, D.C., as recently as the 2018 election cycle, and have done so since decamping to the capital three years ago. Eric Trump, who remains in New York, similarly exercised his franchise via envelope and stamp in 2017. 

Various errors—from the First Lady’s forgetting to sign the crucial affidavit, to the First Daughter’s sending her ballot back too late, to Kushner’s failure to mail it back at all—prevented the Washington-based wing of the family’s votes from counting in 2017. But the Board of Elections documents show they all successfully returned their votes in the most recent election cycle.

Neither Eric Trump nor the White House immediately provided an on-the-record response. The president and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who. the Tampa Bay Times found has voted by mail 11 times in the past decade, have sought to distinguish between absentee voting and “mass mail-in voting.”

But experts assert there is little difference between the two processes, which are both already widespread. Records show nearly 67,000 people besides the Trumps sent in absentee ballots in the 2018 general election in New York City, while the Wall Street Journal reported that more than 33 million people voted by mail in the 2016 presidential race.

The president’s spokeswoman and immediate family aren’t the only executive branch staff taking advantage of the system: Business Insider reports that Vice President Mike Pence and his wife voted via mail as recently as April. 

Monday’s rant marked the first time that the president has warned that hostile nations might dabble in the American mail stream. In the past, he has largely warned that blue states might refuse to send ballots to GOP-controlled districts, and claimed that U.S.-based fraudsters resort to outright robbery, The Daily Beast notes..

“They steal them, they hold up mailmen, they take them out of mailboxes, they print them fraudulently,” the president told radio host Michael Savage earlier this month.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Kushner says he ‘cannot commit’ to holding 2020 election on November 3

May 14, 2020

Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, refused on Tuesday, May 12, to rule out postponing the presidential election in November—a comment that fed directly into Democratic fears that Donald Trump might use the COVID-19 crisis to delay or de-legitimize the contest The New York Times reports.

“I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other, but right now that’s the plan,” Kushner told Time magazine in response to a question about whether the election could be postponed because of the pandemic.

The opinion of a White House staff member has no bearing on when the election is held. Even the president himself does not have the authority to unilaterally postpone Election Day, which by law takes place the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, the Times notes.

But Kushner’s comment raised alarms both because of the expansive power Trump has conferred on members of his family who serve in his administration and because it played into the worst anxieties of Trump’s detractors—that the president would begin to question the validity of the election if he feared he was going to lose.

It also plays into the fears of Bill Maher, the host of HBO’s popular live show, Real Time with Bill Maher, who has repeatedly suggested that Trump will not leave the White House if he loses the election.

And already, the president is suggesting that the election will be “rigged.”

The presumptive Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden gave voice to those concerns at a virtual fund-raiser last month. “Mark my words, I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow— come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” he said.

Doubts about a smooth voting process in November have increased as states have canceled or postponed presidential primary elections to avoid the spread of the virus.

What’s more, the news outlet pointed out, Kushner’s remarks undercut the president’s own publicly stated position on the issue.

“The general election will happen on November 3,” the president said last month at a news conference when asked about Biden’s comment. But he also appeared to raise the specter of election fraud, noting that “I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting.” He added, “It should be, you go to a booth and you proudly display yourself.”

Despite his victory in 2016, the Times reports, “Trump has consistently and without any evidence claimed that there was widespread voter fraud in the last presidential election.” He even briefly formed a commission to examine it, but the group never found evidence and disbanded.

On Tuesday night, Kushner sought to clarify his earlier interview. “I have not been involved in, nor am I aware of, any discussions about trying to change the date of the presidential election,” he said. A White House official said Kushner was fully aware that the date was set by federal law.

But his original remark on the election quickly drew fierce criticism from Trump critics. “Kushner’s statement reveals amazing ignorance of the Constitution and law,” William Kristol, a conservative columnist and prominent “Never Trump” Republican, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “It reveals startling arrogance in taking for granted he gets to have some say about when the election is held. It also reveals an utter lack of understanding of his very subordinate role in our democracy.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Virus whistle-blower Rick Bright says Trump Administration steered contracts to cronies

May 7, 2020

A federal scientist who says he was ousted from his job after he argued against the president’s recommendation of an unproven coronavirus treatment—a malaria drug called hydroxychloroquine—is fighting back. This week, he filed a complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency.

Rick Bright, an expert in vaccine development who was director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) until his removal in April, said in a formal whistle-blower complaint that he had been protesting “cronyism” and contract abuse since 2017.

Indeed, Bright claimed on May 5 that top Trump Administration officials repeatedly had pressured him to steer millions of dollars in contracts to the clients of a well-connected pharmaceutical consultant, The New York Times reported.

Questionable contracts have gone to “companies with political connections to the administration,” the complaint said, including a drug company tied to a friend of Jared Kushner’s, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser,

Even more damningly, the complaint said Dr. Bright was retaliated against by his superiors, who pushed him out because of “his efforts to prioritize science and safety over political expediency.”

A lawyer for Dr. Bright, Debra Katz, said he felt a “moral obligation” to get the word out that the administration was pressing to stockpile an unproven and potentially dangerous coronavirus treatment, which was supplied by drugmakers in India and Pakistan and had not been certified by the Food and Drug Administration.

The 89-page complaint, obtained by the Times, also said Dr. Bright “encountered opposition” from department superiors — including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex  Azar —when he pushed as early as January for the necessary resources to develop drugs and vaccines to counter the emerging coronavirus pandemic.

According to the news outlet, the report provides a window into the inner workings of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a tiny agency created in 2006 as a response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It partners with industry in developing “medical countermeasures” that can be stockpiled by the federal government to combat biological or chemical attacks and pandemic threats.

BARDA has spent billions of dollars on contracts with dozens of different suppliers, including major pharmaceutical companies and smaller biotechnology firms.

Both allies and Dr. Bright say his nearly four-year tenure as the head of BARDA was marked by clashes with his superiors—especially Dr. Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary for Preparedness and Response —and tension with some industry executives. Dr. Bright conceded in the complaint that those clashes came to a head after he leaked information on the dispute over the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to a reporter from Reuters.

The complaint says top Department of Health and Human Services officials, including Dr. Kadlec, who oversees the strategic national stockpile, overruled scientific experts while awarding contracts to firms represented by the consultant, John Clerici, a founder and principal of DC-based Tiber Creek Partners—which Clerici has said “has been at the forefront in the creation of the public health preparedness sector, including helping large pharmaceutical and emerging biotechnology companies develop creative approaches … to fund the development of biotechnology for emergency disease and engineered threats.” .

Clerici was instrumental, along with Dr. Kadlec, in writing the legislation that created BARDA.

“Dr. Bright was vocal about his concerns regarding the inappropriate and possibly illegal communications between Mr. Clerici, Dr. Kadlec, Mr. Shuy and Mr. Meekins,” the complaint stated, referring to Bryan Shuy and Chris Meekins, two other department officials.

A spokesperson for the department, Caitlin Oakley, did not address the complaints about officials there, when approached by the Times. “Dr. Bright was transferred to N.I.H. to work on diagnostics testing—critical to combating COVID-19—where he has been entrusted to spend upward of $1 billion to advance that effort,” she said in an statement emailed to the news outlet.

She added,“We are deeply disappointed that he has not shown up to work on behalf of the American people and lead on this critical endeavor.”

Dr. Bright initially was offered a narrower role at the National Institutes of Health to work on a new “Shark Tank”-style program to develop coronavirus treatments, but Katz told reporters he “has no role” and did not receive his last paycheck, the Times said.

Clerici said he “unequivocally” denied any wrongdoing, adding: “It’s sad that during a pandemic, Dr. Bright and his team have chosen to distract people like Dr. Kadlec, who are critical to the response, with politically motivated allegations. The record is clear that his allegations are false and will be proven so.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Kline is not inclined to comply with Democratic subpoena over security clearances

April 24, 2019

Carl Klinethe former head of the White House Personnel Security Office who approved Jared Kushner’s security clearance after intelligence officials nixed it—has been instructed by the Trump administration not to comply with a House Oversight Committee subpoena demanding his appearance for an interview.

This is just the latest move by the president to stonewall Democratic-led investigations, CNN reports. After a day of tense negotiations, the White House late Monday, April 22, told Kline, who now works at the Defense Department, not to appear at the April 23 deposition—contending that Democrats were seeking access to confidential information that should be off limits, the cable news outlet said.

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.

In response, the committee could seek to hold Kline in contempt—a step that Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) warned Monday he would take.

 A White House official, Tricia Newbold, told the committee several weeks ago 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 as a whistleblower.

In another letter obtained by CNN, Cummings said White House counsel Pat Cipollone previously informed the committee that Kline would not appear on Tuesday unless the committee allowed someone from the White House counsel’s office “to appear with Mr. Kline in order to preserve and protect Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”

Cummings responded Monday: “The Committee will not permit a representative from your office to attend the deposition,” adding that Kline would be held in contempt if he didn’t comply with the subpoena.

Research contact: @NBCNews