The House Oversight Committee moved Tuesday to hold a former White House official in contempt of Congress for failing to appear at a hearing on alleged lapses in White House security clearance procedures. The former White House official, Carl Kline, was in charge of the security-clearance process, and now works for the Defense Department. Kline was instructed by the Trump administration to not appear at the hearing which was ordered by a House subpoena. Kline claimed his reason for not attending the scheduled testimony was that Democrats were looking for access to confidential information.
The move to hold Kline in contempt indicates an escalation of tensions between Congress and the Trump White House. The Trump administration has been increasingly resisting requests for information from Capitol Hill. “The White House and Mr. Kline now stand in open defiance of a duly authorized congressional subpoena with no assertion of any privilege of any kind by President Trump,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said in a statement. “Based on these actions, it appears that the President believes that the Constitution does not apply to his White House.”