Trump On Kushner's Clearance: Jared's 'Outstanding,' But It's Up To John Kelly

24 February, 2018, 11:46 | Author: Jared Lewis
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Jared Kushner looks for security clearance, Bill Morneau teaches sixth graders about gender equality, and testing your knowledge on Oscars trivia.

But earlier this week, White House officials said that crackdown won't affect Kushner or the work he's doing, according to a USA Today report that noted Kushner has had to amend a national security questionnaire after he failed to disclose contacts with Russian nationals and others. But that access could soon be cut off - unless Trump steps in with a waiver.

President Donald Trump says he'll leave it up to chief of staff John Kelly to decide whether Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will keep his interim security clearance.

Kushner has been forced to repeatedly correct omissions in his "SF-86", the government-wide form used to apply for clearances, as well as his financial disclosure forms, which experts said could delay or even nix his chances of earning a clearance through the normal process.

On the clearance issue, Mr. Trump said that he had inherited a "broken system", suggesting that it takes too long for White House employees to have their background screened by investigators. That's because sharing such information could compromise the special counsel's probe.

A White House official said staff members affected by the memo were being notified individually Friday.

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"As I told Jared days ago, I have full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio including overseeing our Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico".

But question marks still loom over the future of Kushner's access to classified information.

Kushner is reportedly anxious that Kelly is directly targeting him with the new rules. Subsequently, dozens of senior officials - including Kushner - were acknowledged to be working with interim clearances as the Federal Bureau of Investigation completes background checks, delayed by undisclosed problems in some cases.

Still, Kushner's security clearance woes could be swept away by his father-in-law, who as president can bypass the clearance process and grant anyone access to classified information. "I have no doubt he will make the right decision".

Kelly last week announced that he will revoke top clearances for any aide with an interim security clearance whose background check has been pending since last June or earlier.

Porter, whose job gave him constant access to the most sensitive of documents, had been accused of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives.

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Combined with the initial surprise, Kelly's memo has fueled uncertainty in the West Wing about how the memo's directives will impact daily operations. He did not specify the source of the information that officials were examining, the three people said. That job could require access to at least some classified intelligence.

It's also not clear whether other White House officials whose actions have been scrutinized by Mueller have been unable to get a decision on their security clearance applications. The White House has repeatedly changed its timeline about who knew what and when about the allegations, and the scandal has weakened Kelly's standing, both among staffers and the president.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said on Friday that Rosenstein "has not referenced to the White House any specific concerns relating to this individual's security clearance process".

But "the president has the authority to do whatever he chooses in terms of security - it is a presidential decision in the end", Dershowitz said.

More than 100 White House officials were still working on interim clearances in November, according to the information provided to CNN.

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