White House and House Democrats battle over John Kelly, ex-officials in Trump probes

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On at least two occasions, the White House has pushed back on efforts by the House Oversight Committee to reach out directly to former officials, chiding the committee’s powerful Chairman Elijah Cummings for not contacting the White House first. Their contention: Topics pertaining to former officials’ work should be sorted out with the White House first — even if the officials are no longer federal employees.

At the center of one of the disputes is former chief of staff John Kelly, whose cooperation is central to Cummings’ investigation into the White House’s handling of security clearances, including Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Cummings’ staff reached out to Kelly directly by phone on multiple occasions, which prompted a stinging response from White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

“Once again, these actions disregard my earlier request to the Committee regarding contacts with former or…

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