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Cummings holds off on holding White House official Kline in contempt

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings is postponing holding a former White House official in contempt.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings agreed in a letter to former White House personnel security director Carl Kline Saturday to a transcribed interview with him, holding off on a contempt threat.

"I am confident that the Committee could move forward with contempt against you immediately, particularly since your defiance of the Committee's subpoena was so flagrant. However, I have always endeavored to be as fair as possible in the pursuit of truth, particularly with witnesses who are willing to come before the Committee."

The backdrop: White House whistleblower Tricia Newbold told the committee the Trump administration reversed 25 denials for security clearance applications. The White House instructed Kline not to testify on the issue, as scheduled in a subpoena. It said Friday it would allow him to give testimony on May 1, limited to policies and practices.

What's new: Kline's attorneys can now attend the scheduled interview. In his letter to Kline, Cummings said Kline would be expected to answer all questions about "specific White House officials and allegations of retaliation against the whistleblower."

"If you answer all of these questions, there would be no need for the Committee to pursue contempt against you in the future."