National Security

Chaffetz investigating security protocols at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort

The Japanese Prime Minister and American President speak about North Korea and the relationship between their countries.

 

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz on Tuesday sent a letter to the White House in response to multiple reports that President Trump discussed sensitive information about a North Korean missile test in a public setting at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

In a letter to White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Chaffetz asks for answers on security protocols at Trump’s property. The questions come after reports that Trump and the Prime Minister of Japan discussed North Korea’s launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile in a public dining room and within earshot of other diners and wait staff.

Among other things, Chaffetz wants an explanation of the vetting process of guests, employees and residents at the Palm Springs property “in order to ensure that they are not foreign agents or spies on behalf of a foreign government.”

He also wants to know what documents specifically were reviewed “at the dinner table and other common areas” and whether the documents were “classified or otherwise sensitive, and if so, what classification level and handling caveats applied.”

On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reiterated to reporters at his daily press briefing that Trump did not receive or review any classified material at the dinner table.

That narrative has been challenged after pictures and videos of Trump and Shinzo Abe – with their aides holding up their cell phones while looking over documents – were posted by fellow diners on their social media accounts over the weekend. One Mar-a-Lago guest posted a picture to his Facebook page with a man described as being the holder of the “nuclear football.”

“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 wrote.

Chaffetz asked the White House to provide the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform with the information “as soon as possible, but no later than February 28, 2017.”  

It’s the same day the White House has been asked to respond to a potential ethics violation by Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway. It’s also the day Trump is scheduled to speak to members of Congress in a joint address.

The oversight committee is the principal investigative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.