House Intel Chair Announces Investigation Of Jared Kushner

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House Democrats continue to pursue new lines of inquiry of the Trump team, whether the president likes it or not. This week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said that he would be looking into Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner’s security clearance, after it was revealed in a report from The New York Times that President Donald Trump himself had intervened to make sure he got it. In the months prior, the clearance had been bogged down by concerns from officials across the government.

In response Schiff asserted:

‘The revelation that President Trump personally intervened to… grant a Top Secret clearance to… Jared Kushner is the latest indicator of the President’s utter disregard for our national security and for the men and women who sacrifice so much every day to keep us safe. There is no nepotism exception for background investigations.’

Thus, he says, his panel will be working alongside the House Oversight Committee to “support their investigation into the White House’s security clearance process.”

That committee, led by Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), announced its investigation of the White House security clearance process about a month ago. This week, Cummings said that the White House had not yet provided a single requested document or scheduled a single requested interview, and it “may become necessary to consider alternative means to compel compliance.”

Making the situation even more dismal for the administration, the Trump team including even the president himself routinely insisted that Kushner had received his top secret security clearance via standard appropriate means. Trump even insisted to reporters that he had nothing to do with the process, months after he directed then-chief of staff John Kelly to get Kushner a clearance. The chief of staff had previously gotten Kushner’s clearance downgraded after scrutiny of officials in the White House operating with only an interim clearance, as Kushner had been. According to The Times, Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, who also serves as a presidential adviser and was also affected by the interim clearance shuffle, personally complained to the president about the downgrade — and the result was as if the government is Trump’s personal servant.

Kushner’s initial background check had lagged significantly, and eventually, the intelligence community recommended that he not be granted the top secret security clearance he now has. It’s unclear exactly what points of the globally connected businessman’s activity may have most concerned them. Although they were overruled on the point of his main clearance, the intel community continues to bar him from access to the nation’s most sensitive intelligence, known as sensitive compartmentalized information.

While in his ambiguous advisory position, Kushner has supported the president on a number of key issues, identified, for instance, as a member of a small group tasked with overseeing Trump’s proposal for a border wall blocking off Mexico. He has also worked on a plan for peace in the Middle East, despite no government or diplomatic experience before his present position — because of course he has.

He’s one of a select few who have stayed close to the president throughout his years in office and record-high senior staff turnover.

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