Society

House Committee Probes Trump Administration's Security

| by Jordan Smith

The House Oversight Committee has requested information from President Donald Trump's administration about its handling of national security affairs following a meeting last weekend between the president and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago.

Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican who chairs the committee, sent a letter to the White House requesting information Feb. 14, according to a press release on The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's website.

Social media posts appeared to show Trump engaged in national security business in an area accessible to the public.

"Accounts and photographs from other diners seem to indicate these communications occurred in the presence of other guests. Reportedly, documents were provided by what appeared to be White House staff for the President’s review while the dinner proceeded," the letter states, according to The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump was briefed in a classified room after North Korea tested a missile Feb. 11. He added that Trump was briefed before and after dinner.

"Discussions with foreign leaders regarding international missile tests, and documents used to support those discussions, are presumptively sensitive," Chaffetz's letter added.

"While the President is always on duty, and cannot dictate the timing of when he needs to receive sensitive information about urgent matters, we hope the White House will cooperate in providing the Committee with additional information," Chaffetz went on to say.

But according to Spicer, the focus at dinner was "literally a discussion of logistics" for a press conference planned later that day, according to The Associated Press.

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The committee chairman presented a list of requests for information required for the investigation.

He called for "an explanation of whether proper security protocols were followed with regard to discussions at Mar-a-Lago, as well as who set those protocols."

The letter went on to ask for details on any classified or sensitive documents shared in public areas and confirmation as to whether any classified matters were talked about in common areas where people were speaking or recording on cell phones.

Chaffetz also requested information on the security practices at the Mar-a-Lago resort, including with regard to guests and employees.

Democrats have pointed to Trump's criticism of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the election campaign for her use of a private email server.

"There's inconsistency all over the place in terms of how much Donald Trump raised national security on the campaign trail and how he is now operating as president," Brian Fallon, who was Clinton’s campaign spokesman, told the AP. "And there's hypocrisy from congressional leaders who demagogued this issue, constantly accusing Hillary Clinton of doing something that was far less egregious than this very conspicuous departure from security protocols."

Sources: The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, AP via The Boston Globe, AP via Toronto Star / Photo credit: Department of Homeland Security/Flickr

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