Trump says Jared Kushner's security clearance is up to chief of staff

Simon Moss
February 24, 2018

White House chief of staff John Kelly and senior adviser Jared Kushner are locked in a battle to the professional death over the presidential son-in-law's security clearance, a new report says. So that will be up to General Kelly'.

Trump, however, has given Kelly his full support in efforts to reform the White House's system of security clearances, and has told his chief of staff that changes need to be made to bring the system into order, according to a person who has spoken to him about the matter. "I think he's been treated very unfairly", Trump said. "There is no truth to any suggestion otherwise", Kelly said.

White House security clearances were thrust front-and-center this month following the departure of Trump's former staff secretary Rob Porter. Those with temporary "top secret" or higher clearances are expected to be bumped down to temporary "secret" clearances, which provide more limited access.

According to a report from The Washington Post, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein spoke to White House general counsel Donald McGahn about the development, which he said required further investigation.

Trump also touted Kushner's work in the Middle East and claimed that Kelly - who he said "is doing a terrific job, by the way" - inherited a "broken" security clearance system.

Mueller reportedly crossing Trump 'red line,' investigating Kushner's business dealings
The White House, addressing questions about Kushner's future clearance, said Tuesday his work would be unaffected by the overhaul. His permanent clearance was reportedly stalled past year because he had to amend his application multiple times .

"To do this particular job without a security clearance is extraordinarily hard; just by definition, you're coming into contact with classified information every single day, and much of the material the U.S. team generates is classified material", one former senior USA official told The Jerusalem Post.

A White House spokesman declined to comment on the status of Kushner's clearance or on information relayed by Rosenstein to McGahn.

But "the president has the authority to do whatever he chooses in terms of security - it is a presidential decision in the end", Dershowitz said. Kushner has also come under scrutiny in special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. It also provided another layer of intrigue to the acrimonious relationship between Kushner and Kelly, who have been at odds over access to the President and the classified materials he views. But McGahn and Kelly chose to wait for the FBI to complete its background investigation and took no action at the time to change his access. Example, the Trump and Kushner families' massive debts they owe to banks run by Russian oligarchs, controlled by Vladimir Putin.

He has been working with an interim security clearance in the meantime, which affords him access to some of the same classified information President Donald Trump sees. If you look at it from Trump's standpoint, beating a woman is small potatoes compared to the rest of the crimes his administration are committing against the people of the United States.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article