Trump Ordered Kelly to 'Fix' Kushner Security Clearance

Trump Ordered Kelly to 'Fix' Kushner Security Clearance

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (L) and Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner (R) join U.S. President Donald Trump as he holds a press conference to discuss a revised U.S. trade agreement with Mexico and Canada in the Rose Garden of the White House on October 1, 2018 in Washington, DC.

President Trump reportedly ordered former Chief of Staff John Kelly to give son-in-law Jared Kushner a top-secret security clearance, even though the decision was not supported by the intelligence community.

Kushner's wife, Ivanka Trump, claimed last month that neither she nor her husband received preferential treatment from the president in obtaining their clearances.

Clapper's remarks followed a New York Times report, citing four unnamed sources, that Trump himself dismissed intelligence concerns about Kushner and ordered the top-secret clearance.

But there was widespread concern in the White House about his lack of a permanent clearance. This frustrated both Kushner and Trump; according to the Times, the president would frequently bug aides about his son-in-law's clearance upgrade, asking, "Why isn't this getting done?"

The Times notes that only in "highly unusual cases" does the president weigh in to grant a topsecret security clearance.

The White House and the leader of the House oversight committee are squaring off for what could become a battle royale over security clearances within the Trump administration.

"There is no nepotism exception for background investigations."
Kushner's lawyer called it an error.

"That was conveyed to the media at the time, and new stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time", he added. "I have no doubt he'll make the right decision". Lowell said at the time that Kushner's "application was properly submitted, reviewed by numerous career officials and underwent the normal process". Though their defiance against the president's wish began way sooner, Kushner was eventually given top clearance in May 2018.

The Times said the memos contradicted a statement made by Trump in an interview with the newspaper in January that he had no role in Kushner's receiving his clearance.

According to the Times, citing multiple sources familiar with the case, USA intelligence and law enforcement authorities had questioned contacts Kushner had related to Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Russian Federation, holding up his clearance for over a year. The CIA, for example, grants access to human intelligence gathered from agents and operatives.

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