Paul Manafort is behind bars. Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, and Rick Gates are headed there. These are all former Donald Trump advisers who committed crimes, some of them on Trump’s behalf, only to be hung out to dry by Trump once they got caught. With fourteen ongoing criminal investigations spun off from the Mueller probe, more of Trump’s people will likely take the fall in the end. In the meantime, one current Trump adviser has decided he wants to take the fall for Trump right now.
Say hello to Carl Kline, the guy who forced through the approvals of a whole bunch of illegitimate security clearances for Donald Trump’s underlings and family members, even after security officials and the U.S. intel community had ruled against such clearances. House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings has subpoenaed Kline to testify about his role in the scandal, but according to CNN, Trump is now telling Kline to defy the subpoena – and Kline has rather stupidly decided to take Trump’s advice.
This means Kline is about to be held in contempt of Congress, which is not a good place for anyone to be in general. It’ll also put the spotlight on Kline’s actions with regard to whether he broke any laws while approving these illegitimate security clearances. Suddenly, this relative nobody is about to fully bear the brunt of Donald Trump’s abusive overreach.
Carl Kline’s attorney says he’s siding with Donald Trump and defying the House subpoena because Trump is his employer. Translation: Kline wants to keep his job. But perhaps he should ask people like Michael Flynn about just how quickly Trump fires and/or disavows people once they’ve become a liability, even if they’ve remained fully loyal to Trump. This will end poorly for Kline unless he changes his mind – and Elijah Cummings will get to the bottom of this scandal one way or the other.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report