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President Donald J. Trump’s term hasn’t come without controversy. The years since he was sworn in have seen Trump undergo scandal after scandal, both at home and abroad. Over the past week, though, new testimony and revelations have renewed calls for investigations and even a possible impeachment or removal from office.
Last week, Michael Cohen, a former Trump attorney and “fixer” with whom the president was once especially close, publicly testified against the president. In his statement last week, Cohen claimed that Jay Sekulow, who was Trump lawyer’s when Cohen submitted written testimony to Congress in 2017, altered the statements Cohen would deliver to the House and Senate intelligence committees. Cohen is set to begin a three-year prison sentence for lying in that fateful 2017 testimony, and the time since has seen Cohen cut his ties with — and regard for — Trump.
Earlier this week, on March 6th, Cohen gave more documents to the House Intelligence Committee. In these documents, Cohen provides evidence for what he testified last week. Included among the documents are edits that Sekulow mandated Cohen make to his written statement to obscure the Trump Organization’s involvement with the Trump Tower Moscow project. The veracity of Cohen’s new claims is unclear, especially because his lawyer, Lanny Davis, claims that Cohen, not Sekulow, wrote the false portion of his 2017 written statement.
What is clear is that Cohen has no regrets about turning on Trump. Last week, on February 27th, Cohen testified to the Oversight and Reform Committee that Trump’s career is marked with myriad examples of racism, fraud, and bullying, and he would know — he worked with Trump for decades. Although Republican lawmakers have pointed to Cohen’s lying in his 2017 statement as a reason to doubt his claims, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have claimed that Cohen has been entirely cooperative.
As the Michael Cohen scandal has captivated the nation, so too has another set of Trump controversies. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are concerned about Trump’s ignoring of recommendations that more than 30 White House officials requesting security clearances not receive them. Trump instead did give these officials security clearances, and while there is nothing illegal about his doing so, it is far from normal and is concerning to many White House staff.
In particular, the Oversight Committee is concerned that Trump’s giving his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner security clearance represents a nepotistic abuse of power. Trump allegedly ignored the urging of two of his former top cabinet members against granting his family members security clearances, which are reserved for government workers found trustworthy enough to know top-level government secrets.
This newest wave of security clearance concerns isn’t Trump’s first. In early 2018, it was revealed that former White House staff secretary Rob Porter worked with classified material without ever having a permanent security clearance. That this isn’t Trump’s first clash with security clearance standards is a reminder that his time as president has been marked by scandal — and that might be the one constant moving forward.