On Thursday, The New York Times published an article that reports that in May of 2018, President Trump “ordered his chief of staff to grant his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, a top-secret security clearance last year, overruling concerns flagged by intelligence officials and the White House’s top lawyer,” citing “four people briefed on the matter.”
According to the article former Chief of Staff John Kelly wrote a “a contemporaneous internal memo about how he had been “ordered” to give Mr. Kushner the top-secret clearance.”
Don McGahn the former White House counsel the article explains also wrote an “internal memo outlining the concerns that had been raised about Mr. Kushner — including by the C.I.A. — and how Mr. McGahn had recommended that he not be given a top-secret clearance.”
This article is not the first to raise the concern over Kushner’s security clearance or lack there of, in July of 2018, The Washington Post reported that Kushner lacked, “the security clearance level required to review some of the government’s most sensitive secrets, according to two people familiar with his access.”
According to that article for the “first year of the Trump administration, Kushner had nearly blanket access to highly classified intelligence, even as he held an interim security clearance and awaited the completion of his background investigation.”
The article goes on to say that in May of 2018, Kushner was “granted only “top secret” status — a level that does not allow him to see some of the country’s most closely guarded intelligence, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss security issues.”
In January 2019, President Trump in an interview with The New York Times, told the paper he had no role in “directing White House officials to arrange.” for Kushner to, “receive a top-secret clearance.”
As the interview article notes, Kushner’s “application was rejected at least once after concerns were raised by the F.B.I. about his foreign contacts.”
According to the article the C.I.A., which also raised concerns, has continued to deny him access to “sensitive compartmentalized information.”
According to Thursday’s New York Times report, Abbe Lowell, Kushner’s lawyer, “also said that at the time the clearance was granted last year that his client went through a standard process.”
Kushner’s wife and the President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump told ABC News in early February that she nor her husband received special treatment from the President regarding their security clearance.
In light of the New York Times article and the questions that had already swirled around Kushner’s clearance, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) announced on Friday, another letter sent to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, “demanding full and immediate compliance with the Committee’s previous request for documents and witness interviews,” regarding the Committees security clearance investigation.
In his statement Friday Cummings explains that he in “good faith,” has worked with the White House to obtain the requested documents, but feels, that over the last five weeks, “the White House has stalled, equivocated, and failed to produce a single document or witness to the Committee.”
Cummings first sent a letter to the White House in January of 2019.
Reached for comment on the latest New York Times story the White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the paper, “We don’t comment on security clearances.”
Kushner’s lawyer through spokesman Peter Mirijanian told the paper, “In 2018, White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Mr. Kushner’s security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone. That was conveyed to the media at the time, and new stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time.”
For What It’s Worth: As the article published on Thursday notes, Kushner has spent the week aboard “working on a Middle East Peace Plan.”
In the there is always a tweet file: