Since Donald Trump took office, the people he has appointed to high-level positions in the White House have one-by-one resigned, been forced out, and some have turned out to be criminals. The two people Trump cannot fire are his daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner.
Here's Ivanka Trump earlier this month telling ABC that the president "had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband's clearance." That is now directly contradicted by new reporting in the New York Times. pic.twitter.com/LGrTN5LQfZ
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 1, 2019
Kushner’s own past and financial dealings have been a source of controversy since he was appointed to the White House, and issues around his security clearance have been ongoing. After submitted his financial disclosure forms, he changed them more than forty times.
At least a few people have raised concerns about that clearance. According to a contemporaneous memo released to The New York Times by four sources inside the White House, former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was one of them. He became alarmed after Trump forced him to approve Kushner’s clearance despite his doubts.
‘Mr. Trump’s decision in May so troubled senior administration officials that at least one, the White House chief of staff at the time, John F. Kelly, wrote a contemporaneous internal memo about how he had been “ordered” to give Mr. Kushner the top-secret clearance.’
Dear @CIA @FBI @NSAGov @ODNIgov @DeptofDefense:
John Kelly was so freaked out by @realDonaldTrump ordering a security clearance for Jared Kushner that he wrote a contemporaneous memo.
PLEASE DON'T GIVE JARED KUSHNER ANY TOP SECRET INFORMATION. HE IS A NATIONAL SECURITY RISK. https://t.co/2Fw9rpmoNI
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) February 28, 2019
The memo implies that Kelly informed Trump that he would be breaking protocol if he granted Kushner the clearance, which has remained somewhat limited. Trump ordered him to grant the clearance anyway.
When questioned by reporters after rumors of the controversy were first introduced, Trump insisted he had not been involved in Kushner’s clearance. Ivanka Trump appeared on ABC News at the time to say the same.
‘The disclosure of the memos contradicts statements made by the president, who told The New York Times in January in an Oval Office interview that he had no role in his son-in-law receiving his clearance.’
President Trump reportedly ordered his former White House chief of staff John Kelly last year to grant a security clearance to his son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. pic.twitter.com/C9LTzyi07f
— Breaking News (@of_BreakingNews) March 1, 2019
A spokesman for Kushner’s attorney insists that proper protocol was followed in granting the clearance, while White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to comment, saying that the administration does not discuss security clearances.
It’s an understandable refusal considering that the memo proves Trump, his daughter, and his son-in-law to be liars.
‘Mr. Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe D. Lowell, also said that at the time the clearance was granted last year that his client went through a standard process. Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and Mr. Kushner’s wife, said the same thing three weeks ago.’
This story is on its face a scandal, but a second set of questions is why the heck John Kelly and Don McGann didn't resign over something as serious and speak out? As Cohen said yesterday, they all lie for him and it's going on in government…now. https://t.co/9RtJBLct1R
— Marc C Johnson (@TheJohnsonPost) February 28, 2019
The issue with Kushner’s clearance has not been made public, although his financial dealings with foreign countries seem likely to be the reason.
‘It is not known precisely what factors led to the problems with Mr. Kushner’s security clearance. Officials had raised questions about his own and his family’s real estate business’s ties to foreign governments and investors, and about initially unreported contacts he had with foreigners.’
Featured image via Flickr by World Bank Photo Collection under a Creative Commons license