The CIA was concerned about Jared Kushner's foreign business contacts. But Trump overruled them to demand his son-in-law be granted top-secret clearance — and then lied about his role.
After what has already been a very bad week for Trump and his family, the New York Times on Thursday reported that Trump personally demanded his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, receive top-secret security clearance — even though the CIA and FBI worried about Kushner's foreign business contacts.
According to the New York Times' report:
While the president has the legal authority to grant a clearance, in most cases, the White House’s personnel security office makes a determination about whether to grant the clearance after the F.B.I. has conducted a background check. If there is a dispute in the personnel security office about how to move forward — a rare occurrence — the White House counsel makes the decision. 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 Mr. Kushner a top-secret clearance.
To make matters worse, Trump then lied about his role in helping Kushner obtain that clearance, which grants Kushner access to the country's most sensitive intelligence.
"I was never involved with the security" clearances, Trump said in an interview with the New York Times back in January. "I know that there was issues back and forth about security for numerous people, actually. But I don’t want to get involved in that stuff."
Trump wasn't the only one who lied about how Kushner obtained his clearance. Ivanka Trump, Trump's daughter and Kushner's wife, also lied to ABC News' Abby Huntsman, telling her in an interview earlier this year that her father "had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband's clearance, zero."
EXCLUSIVE: Ivanka Trump says she and her husband Jared Kushner received no special treatment from her father when obtaining their top security clearances.
— ABC News (@ABC) February 8, 2019
Democrats have long raised concerns about Kushner's security clearance, calling in 2017 for the clearance to be revoked given Kushner's meetings with Russian officials — which Kushner conveniently left off his security clearance application forms.
Kushner's clearance was ultimately downgraded a year ago — after which Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, admitted that it had been a bad idea to give Kushner that high-level security clearance in the first place.
Democrats in Congress now plan to investigate how Kushner obtained his top-secret clearance. After winning the House majority in the 2018 midterms, Democrats have control over powerful House committees and their investigative arms.
The news about Kushner's clearance comes after Trump's former lawyer and "fixer" Michael Cohen implicated Trump and two of his children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., in other crimes, which House Democrats are now probing.
It's a really, really bad week to be a Trump.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.