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Oversight chair wants to hold ex-White House official in contempt

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on Tuesday blasted the White House for blocking former security clearance official Carl Kline from testifying before his panel and signaled he would seek a vote to hold Kline in contempt of Congress.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Cummings accused the White House and Kline of standing in “open defiance of a duly authorized congressional subpoena,” hours after Kline’s attorney Robert Driscoll said he would not appear for a deposition scheduled for the same day, complying with a request from the White House.

“I intend to consult with House Counsel and Committee Members about scheduling a vote on contempt,” Cummings said Tuesday. “I hope that Mr. Kline, in close consultation with his personal attorney, will carefully review his legal obligations, reconsider his refusal to appear, and begin cooperating with the Committee’s investigation.”

Michael Purpura, deputy counsel to President Trump, wrote to Cummings in a letter sent Monday that White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had told Kline, the former White House personnel security director, not to appear before the Oversight Committee because the panel was not allowing a representative of the White House to attend his deposition “in order to preserve and protect Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”

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