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Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said in a statement Tuesday that he'll move to schedule a vote to hold former White House Personnel Security Director Carl Kline in contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena at the recommendation of the Trump administration.

"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. Based on these actions, it appears that the President believes that the Constitution does not apply to his White House, that he may order officials at will to violate their legal obligations, and that he may obstruct attempts by Congress to conduct oversight. It also appears that the White House believes it may dictate to Congress — an independent and co-equal branch of government — the scope of its investigations and even the rules by which it conducts them. To date, the White House has refused to produce a single piece of paper or a single witness in any of the Committee's investigations this entire year."

The backdrop: White House whistleblower Tricia Newbold told the committee in an interview this month that 25 denials for security clearance applications had been overridden by the Trump administration. She alleged that the White House ignored national security concerns over foreign influence, past criminality and other conflicts of interest that could leave officials susceptible to blackmail.

  • The committee voted 22-15, along party lines, to authorize a subpoena to depose Kline — the first subpoena that House Democrats have issued as part of their newly invigorated investigations into the president.
  • The committee had planned the deposition of Kline for Tuesday morning. The White House confirmed that it ordered Kline not to appear, but provided no Constitutional or legal privilege as basis for him to shirk the duty.

The big picture: As Cummings notes in his statement, the White House has not produced "a single piece of paper or a single witness" in any of the committee's investigations this year. The administration also appears ready to reject a request by the House Ways and Means Committee to produce Trump's tax returns.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

U.S. will give Russians written response to NATO demands, Blinken says

Blinken and Lavrov shake hands in Geneva. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed after a meeting with his Russian counterpart on Friday that the U.S. will provide written answers to Russia's security demands next week.

Why it matters: Russia claims to be waiting for "concrete answers" to its demands that NATO rule out further expansion and roll back its presence in eastern Europe before deciding its next steps on Ukraine. But the U.S. and NATO have called those proposals "non-starters," and Friday's meeting offered no breakthroughs, so it's unclear how written answers might change the equation.

More surprises await scientists at Antarctica's "Doomsday Glacier"

Cliffs along the edge of the Thwaites Ice Shelf in West Antarctica. Photo: James Yungel/NASA

Researchers like David Holland, an atmospheric scientist at New York University, are in a race to understand the fate of a massive glacier in West Antarctica that has earned a disquieting nickname: "The Doomsday Glacier."

Why it matters: Studies show the Thwaites Glacier (its official name) could already be on an irreversible course to melt during the next several decades to centuries, freeing up enough inland ice to raise global sea levels by at least several feet.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Omicron's blitz around the world has underscored the need for a new arsenal of COVID vaccines and therapeutics, experts say — and that may require an effort akin to Operation Warp Speed 2.0.

Why it matters: The virus will continue to evolve, potentially in a way that further escapes vaccine protection, and the best way to prevent more global disruptions to everyday life is to have tools ready to combat whatever comes next.