Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) has made the White House an offer House Democrats have already refused: to allow a government lawyer to attend an interview of former White House personnel security director Carl Kline.
In an April 26 letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Jordan suggests that the White House make Kline available for a “voluntary transcribed interview,” before he faces contempt of Congress proceedings next week.
Voluntary interviews differ from committee depositions in part by allowing agency lawyers to attend the interview along with its subject.
Under Trump’s direction, the White House is refusing to allow Kline to testify before the House Oversight Committee in response to a subpoena from Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), conditioning Kline’s testimony on having a lawyer from the office of White House counsel present at the interview.
Kline is accused of retaliating against a whistleblower who raised concerns about 25 security clearances for White House officials and contractors being overturned.
Cummings said that he plans to hold Kline in contempt of Congress for his refusal to testify, with Jordan injecting himself into the discussion with his letter.
“To avoid unnecessary conflict between Congress and the Executive Branch on to de-escalate Chairman Cummings’s orchestrated inter-branch confrontation, I write to ask whether Mr. Kline would agree to appear for a voluntary transcribed interview with Committee staff on April 30, or May 1, 2019,” Jordan wrote.
A Cummings spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.