Kushner’s security clearance raises fresh concerns for Oversight committee

Kushner’s security clearance raises fresh concerns for Oversight committee

Jared Kushner, background, and Gary Cohn await the president's announcement on tariffs on March 5, 2018. (TMN photoT)

WASHINGTON — A report that President Donald Trump ordered administration officials to grant Jared Kushner a security clearance has drawn renewed scrutiny from the House Oversight Committee.

In a letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, committee chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) urged the administration to turn over documentation related to their clearance process  emphasizing that previous requests have largely ignored.

“If true, these new reports raise grave questions about what derogatory information career officials obtained about Mr. Kushner to recommend denying him access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets, why President Trump concealed his role in overruling that recommendations, why [former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly] and [Former White House Counsel Don McGahn] felt compelled to document these actions, and why your office is continuing to withhold key documents and witnesses from this committee,” Cummings said in the letter.

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law, was ultimately granted a security clearance after the president intervened  a move that sidestepped concerns posed by intelligence officials.

Both Kelly and McGahn reportedly filed contemporaneous memos, with the former stating the president “ordered” him to ensure Kushner was granted access to sensitive information and the latter expressing concerns over Kushner receiving clearance.

Trump previously told the Times that he would not have intervened.

White House aide Kellyanne Conway declined to confirm the report during an interview with Fox News on Friday, but said that Trump “has the absolute right to do what was described.”

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