America and the rest of the world were watching on Wednesday as Mr. Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen gave testimony in front of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, revealing the president as a racist, a liar, and a con man.
Now, some more news has developed around Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner adding fuel to the already raging fire surrounding the president. According to The New York Times:
‘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, four people briefed on the matter said.’
It was clear that something like this was coming — all signs seemed to be pointing this way. But seeing it in black and white is another thing.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) February 28, 2019
When Trump made that decision back in May, senior administration officials were so concerned that White House chief of staff John Kelly wrote an internal memo about how he had been “ordered” to give Mr. Kushner the top-secret clearance.
In addition, Donald F. McGahn II, who was the White House counsel at the time, wrote an internal memo outlining concerns about Jared Kushner, including those by the C.I.A. He recommended that Kuhsner not be given a top-secret clearance.
Back in January, in an Oval Office interview, Trump told The New York Times that he had no role in his son-in-law receiving his clearance. So, this disclosure completely contradicts the president’s statements.
Abbe D. Lowell, Kushner’s attorney, said that at the time the clearance was granted last year, his client went through a standard process.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the memos on Thursday and responded saying:
‘We don’t comment on security clearances.’
On Thursday, Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Mr. Lowell, said:
‘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.’
The Times reported:
‘The decision last year to grant Mr. Kushner a top-secret clearance upgraded him from earlier temporary and interim status. He never received a higher-level designation that would have given him access to need-to-know intelligence known as sensitive compartmented information.’
It is unknown specifically what factors led to problems with Kushner’s security clearance. There had been questions raised by officials regarding 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.
It was obvious though that Mr. Trump was criticized for having two family members serve in official capacities in the West Wing.
Typically the way the process works is that the F.B.I. conducts a background when security clearance is recommended, and then the White House’s personnel security office makes that determination. In the event that there is a dispute in the White House security office, which is usually rare, the White House counsel makes the decision.
According to The Times:
‘In highly unusual cases, the president weighs in and grants one himself.
‘In Mr. Kushner’s case, personnel division officials were divided about whether to grant him a top-secret clearance.’
Here are some thoughts from the Twitter world:
Featured image is a screenshot from YouTube