For a long time, the people of America had never even heard Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s voice. He rarely talks to the media during his trips circling the globe. Trump has given the 38-year-old a remarkable amount of responsibility: negotiating Middle Eastern peace, handling the opioid crisis, diplomacy with Mexico, diplomacy with China, reforming the VA, reforming the criminal justice system, and reinventing the U.S. government into a business. All this, but he has had a huge problem.
Jared Kushner appeared on Axios on HBO and talked about his top-secret security clearance. When he first applied, he was turned down. Trump intervened over his own staff’s advice. It would have been impossible for Ivanka’s husband to perform his many, many tasks had that clearance been denied. Kushner and his father-in-law continually discuss key decisions.
However, Kushner denied what has become common knowledge. In fact, he went a step further and denied that the two had ever talked about his security clearance issues.
This gave the House Oversight and Reform Committee just that much more ammunition for its investigation. The Oversight Committee had opened an investigation regarding the many security clearances that flowed through the White House without much regard for whether the individual was worthy of them.
The committee opened the investigation after a whistleblower testified before it in early April. Apparently, the department where she worked had flagged 25 people with “disqualifying issues” and denied them clearances. However, the White House overruled career professionals for each clearance.
Representative Cummings said that the whistleblower:
‘(H)as come forward at great personal risk to warn Congress—and the nation—about the grave security risks she has been witnessing first-hand over the past two years. She has informed the Committee that during the Trump Administration, she and other career officials adjudicated denials of dozens of applications for security clearances that were later overturned.’
Oversight subpoenaed former White House Personnel Security Director Carl Kline, who was responsible for security clearances. Yet, the White House did not want him talking to the committee. However, committee chair Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said that he would hold Kline in contempt unless he complied.
Kline said the whistleblower’s information was correct. He had overruled the career people regardless of whether their argument. He claimed that he did this on his own volition, that the White House had not put pressure upon him to do so. Kline was handpicked by the Trump administration for that job.
The career people originally denied Kushner’s request due to his private business concerns and worries about how foreign influence might impact him.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed that the Democrats were the ones “acting in bad faith” by holding a hearing over the security clearances given to people around the president;
‘We’ve been cooperative on that front. But we’re not going to put the 3 million people who are full-time employees of the federal government that hold security clearances personal information at risk because Democrats want to pretend and play games instead of doing their jobs.’