House panel demands Kushner clearance details from White House

Report says Trump demanded top-secret clearance for Kushner

Trump ‘Ordered’ John Kelly to Grant Jared Kushner a Top-Secret Security Clearance: Report

The New York Times reports that U.S. President Donald Trump past year ordered officials to grant a top-secret security clearance to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

While Trump has the authority to grant a security clearance to anyone he pleases, it is exceptionally unusual for a president to step in after intelligence officials flag a top-secret clearance application for rejection.

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.

Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Kushner lawyer Abbe Lowell, said in a statement that "in 2018, White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Mr. Kushner's security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone".

The deadline from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform comes amid questions about the Trump administration's truthfulness regarding how senior adviser Jared Kushner got his high-level security clearance. McGahn wrote a memo in which he advised against such clearance.

The clearance issue has dogged Trump since the beginning of his presidency, partly because of a slow, backlogged investigation process and partly because of suggestions that he has overruled national security officials in the past. "I have no doubt he'll make the right decision".

Congressional Democrats said Thursday that they plan to aggressively scrutinize the role Trump played in securing Kushner's clearance.

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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. "Now the White House response is that there is no response", Wallace said.

"If it were false, if in fact the president hadn't been involved, I can't imagine they wouldn't say that".

But White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told an NBC interviewer on Friday that Trump has said he has "absolute authority" to order security clearances. Though their defiance against the president's wish began way sooner, Kushner was eventually given top clearance in May 2018. He told the Times in an interview in January that he "was never involved" in Kushner's clearance.

"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.

Kushner's temporary clearance was suspended by Kelly in February 2018 along with other officials operating under temporary clearances as part of measures to tighten procedures after White House staff secretary Rob Porter was sacked when his two ex-wives raised charges of domestic abuse.

Kushner's foreign entanglements caused anxiety among USA intelligence officials who are ultimately responsible for deciding whether he should have SCI clearances, that step above top secret, according to US officials with knowledge of internal deliberations.

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