For all eyes only
Usually when I call my Bank and need them to do me, a solid. They just wanted to charge me a bunch of money for said solid. I'm too lazy to really change that situation. But if you're not you might wanna check out aspiration, they wanna save you money while trying to save the world. I'll tell you about that later. You can download the aspiration apt to open an account today. Democrats control the house and would that control? They've been launching investigations. Surely you've heard about at least one of them. Mr. Trump is racist. Another thing they're doing is looking into security clearances, specifically how the Trump administration has been handing them out because the Trump administration has been doing things a little differently. Yeah. Well in the White House and across the federal government if you are federal employees or a federal contractor pretty much everybody needs to go through an application for security clearance. Ella Nilsson writes about congress for vox. So you fill out I think it's one hundred and twenty seven page form. Yeah. A lot of paperwork, and then you get a background check. You know, if you're a lower level federal employee or contractor. It's going to be done by a different investigative body that doesn't have quite as much power. But if you are say, a senior White House adviser, your background check is likely going to be conducted by the FBI, and we should note here that Democrats are kind of zeroing in on how certain people in the White House where granted top secret security clearance, but that's not the only kind of security clearance. It's the highest one, but there are three different levels of security clearances. The lowest one is confidential the middle. One is secret. Highest one is top secret. So for the bulk of this word dealing with people with top secret security clearances, and what do they wanna know every apartment you've ever lived in or like what radical organizations used to belong to all that stuff that and more. They want to know everything. I mean, basically what they're looking for. They're looking for anything that could potentially compromise you if you are handling the most classified US state secrets so they're looking for. I mean, probably the most basic one that anyone can think about is like past drug use. Or if you are in debt who do you owe money? Do you have any foreign contacts? Have you been visiting a lot of foreign countries lately? So basically, they're looking for anything that could potentially open you up to influence from another foreign country or another actor like that and seeing if you have any Volna r- abilities, and if you get rejected through that process is that it no security clearance sometimes, but we have been seeing in the Trump White House. That is not the case what's going on with the Trump White House. So in the Trump administration. There are a lot of people who in the past have been working off of just interim security clearances. So they haven't been given the green. Light by the FBI in career officials to have their permanent security clearance and stated or in some case there are people whose applications for a permanent top secret security clearance have been rejected by career officials yet these people still seem to be getting their clearances anyways. So where does this start exactly in the Trump administration? Yeah. So the first time that this came up was actually pretty early in Trump's presidency. So if we remember Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn who was not on the job for very long. He had to leave the White House in February twenty seventeen just months after Trump had taken office when it was revealed that he had lied to President Mike Pence about his discussions with the Russian ambassador. This was this huge scandal. One of the first of Trump's presidencies. So Flynn is forced out but Trump does not pull his top secret security clearance, which we should say right off the bat. This is an illegal Trump kind of as the president has the authority to do what he wants in the same. But it's certainly very unusual, and it raises a lot of eyebrows and gives a lot of cause for concern. And so Michael Flynn has access to everything. Get access to in the White House. Even once he's out of the White House. Yes. Other other high profile examples of this happening? So the next time this comes up, and it's this huge scandal. It's rob porter. So rapporter he was former staff secretary in the Trump White House, and he was working on an interim security clearance. So it's not like there was nothing. He had sort of had this initial vetting. But again was still waiting for his permanent security clearance to come in. And this all comes out after this separate scandal where two of his former ex wives came forward and accused him of being domestic abuse are basically, but in in light of all of this people realize that he has the president stuff secretary is handling some of the most sensitive files to cross the president's desk with an interim security clearance. So he is looking at state secrets very sensitive state secrets without a permanent security clearance. And that's a huge deal, which I guess brings us to the highest profile example of this and the most recently controversial, Jared Kushner, what's the deal with Jared, Jared Kushner, I was again working off an interim security clearance while he applied for permanent one interestingly that was downgraded to a secret security clearance in February twenty eighteen and then even after his application for a top security clearance was rejected by career White House officials. He somehow still gets it. And the New York Times recently reported that that happened after Trump himself personally intervened against the wishes of his former chief of staff John Kelly and former White House counsel, Don Mcgann, do we have any idea? Why Jared Kushner? Security clearance wasn't approved. We don't know for sure. And that's what some of these investigations are trying to find out. But we do know that Jared Kushner has business entanglements and foreign contacts, including ones with Russia. United Arab Emirates, Israel, certainly he has not disclosed things about his meetings with Russian ambassadors. Sergei Kislyak other Russian nationals that have come under the interest of some investigations, including the special counsel, Robert Muller, that could certainly be something that came up. Okay. So we've got Michael Flynn, rob porter and Jared Kushner, these three high profile examples of sort of unusual practices when it comes to security clearances are there others or is is that areas. One other notable when that we should mention, and that's Vonk Trump, Jared, Kushner's wife and the president's daughter what happened there, it's kind of the same thing as Kushner. I mean, I don't think there is the same level of detail as to whether her application was denied and. Overruled? But we know that Trump like he did with Kushner kind of personally intervened to give his daughter a security clearance, and we should note. I mean, there are these high-profile examples, but it seems like this problem is much larger than just those at the Trump White House NBC news reported that there are over thirty people that this has happened to where these career officials who are holdovers from previous administrations, they're not political appointees day have recommended that these applications be denied, and they get overruled. I guess in the case of of people like Kushner or even vodka it seems almost obvious at the president might intervene personally. But is he intervening across the board. And all of these cases now, not necessarily. So the person that keeps coming up in all of these cases is a guy named Carl Kline and Klein is the director of the personnel security division of the executive office of the president in the White House. This is the office that handles security clearances dolphins that is rejecting security clearances, and a lot of these cases exactly and Klein has been working at the White House since may of two thousand seventeen we don't know that much about him. Besides the fact that he's a former Pentagon official who who came to work in the Trump White House. But the reason that we know even as little as we do about him is one of his subordinates a woman who NBC news reported was handling Kushner's application. This woman named Trish Newbold filed a whistleblower complaint. Complaining about all of these over rulings that were happening under Kline. So she was one of two specialists who made the decision not to give Kushner top security clearance. According to NBC's reporting, and we know from her complaint that she said that Klein kind of intervened when she rejected Kushner's application and p didn't wanna talk about it with her. But soon after this there's this kind of strange thing that happens where she's accusing him of workplace discrimination. So this woman Tricia Newbold actually has a rare form of dwarfism and she accused Klein of putting office files out of her reach. Yeah. And telling her she could only retrieve them if she was assisted by other staff, so there's like this kind of crazy element of workplace harassment going on here as well. And beyond just kind of dealing this in her day to day job. She has these serious concerns that he's kind of flouting past protocol. Call in overruling her and other people. So all the sounds kinda sketchy. It's it's unusual. And I mean as one former Obama official that I talked to put it to me this guy named Dan Jacobson who used to be aware in the White House counsel's office and the Obama administration. He said, quote, it's completely abnormal. And frankly shocking that they would overrule thirty recommendations from career security staff in any administration, let alone the amount of time that the Trump administration has has been in office. So again, what Trump's doing isn't technically illegal. But it's concerning to a lot of people that have been in these positions before. The Democrats turn their concern into an investigation after the break on today explained. How does a Bank account try and save the planet? Aspiration would like you to know that it takes ten percent of their earnings and give to charities that help Americans in need and offers extra cashback rewards, if you shop socially conscious businesses, and none of the money from your Bank account or anyone else's will go to fund pipelines or oil Joe. So there's there's an idea of how it works Aladdin bonus. Is you get a two percent annual percentage yield zero ATM fees anywhere in the world and the option to choose your own monthly fee. Even if it's zero it's like the Kabukicho of Bank accounts. If that's where your heart is checkout. Aspiration put your money where heart is download the aspiration to open up an account today. So Ella when and how exactly these investigations into security clearances get started. So the Democrats sent the White House a letter in late January saying they wanted documents and to call witnesses to learn more about these security clearances and the practices in the White House. And so far they haven't heard much back other than no so Elijah Cummings is the chairman of the house oversight committee, and we should note here that oversight has this very broad mandate. I mean, they're providing oversight on the executive branch. So they have a very broad authority to look into basically, whatever they want as the famous committee. We saw the Coen hearing the other day. Yes. That is the same committee. So the very fact that they sent these letters out as early as they did and are choosing security clearances tells us that they think that there is something there. What that something is we don't know yet. And so far they've. Gotten no response from the administration. What powers does the oversight committee have to? I don't know subpoena to to dig deeper so Cummings can certainly issue a subpoena at this point as of last week. He was sort of still deciding what he wanted to do last week was kind of like the final letter that he sent like all right? I'm asking please give me this or I could take further steps, but we also learned last week there a report on axios that the Democrats actually already have some of the information that the White House is declining to give because there was some leaking going on. So they have a little bit. But they will probably be wanting more. So yeah, that could take the form of a subpoena. What is the committee hoping to uncover here? Like, do they think they're actually going to find something illegal or just something unethical? I think at this point we don't really know certainly drying to see if there is some sort of abusive executive power going on here with how. How Trump is approaching this. But I think that there's also kind of this interesting angle here. I mean, we know that Jared Kushner had contacts with Russian nationals that he didn't disclose on his F B I form. And while certainly the house oversight committee is about to like duplicate special counsel, Robert Muller's investigation into Trump and Russia, there's certainly sort of these tangential things that they can do here and not just Russia. I mean other foreign contacts that Kushner has their sort of taking a little bit of a deeper look into this. It's almost kind of like another piece of something that they could find out of this is just one of a whole slew of Vesta Gatien's at the house is is kicking off since Democrats took power. How does looking into security clearances may be fit into the other ones? Yeah. So there are a number of different investigations that are going on with a pretty heavy focus on Trump in the house. I mean, the house intelligence committee, and the foreign affairs committee. Want to know more about Trump's private conversations with Russian President, Vladimir Putin. There's a lot of focus on Russia, obviously, Robert Muller's investigation in into Russia. So there is this component because they are scrutinizing Jared Kushner so closely and the stuff that we know about Kushner is just about kind of his past contacts with Russia that he didn't really want to tell intelligence officials about before basically if they can find out what was this big red flag that went up on Kushner's background check that made White House officials so hesitant to give him a security clearance. What are these alarm bells that have been going off in the intelligence community about what's in Kushner's background check? And does that fit anywhere else in to any of the other investigations that are going on this point? We don't know. But it's certainly worth asking the question. L Nelson covers congress for vox. I'm Sean Rotherham. This is today explained. Thanks again to aspirin for supporting the show today. Once more before we go to percents annual percentage yield zero ATM fees and help save the planet with aspirations fossil fuel free account is your Bank account fossil fuel free. Desperation app today. Save money, and maybe even save the plan.